Friday, 30 January 2015

Finished: Boiled wool coat

As of today, I'm the proud owner of a boiled wool collarless coat! I took my time making it, and apart from a couple of niggles, it's more or less exactly as I imagined it would be. It's an open coat i.e. not designed to have fastenings, so it's pretty casual, almost like a long cardigan when worn with jeans. The classic lines means it can also be worn with a skirt and heels and still look good (no photos of it styled this way I'm afraid, but trust me, it looks nice!). 



Annoyingly, the collar's twisted on this shot, but you get the general idea
The pattern I used (a Burda PDF which I talk about in this post), was well drafted and I really like the fit of the coat. The instructions, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. Burda aren't exactly well known for the clarity of their instructions and the lining paragraph made no sense whatsoever! It was pretty easy to work out what to do though, and at a bargainous £3.99, I still think the pattern is good value for money.


In terms of fit, I sized down to a 38 everywhere except the bust area (which remained a size 40) as I wanted a slimmer fit, I shortened the arms by 1.5 inches and the overall length by four inches. I also shaved ½ an inch off the shoulder height. This resulted in the sleeve head being a bit too full and puffy for my liking. I knew this would annoy me, so I reduced the amount of ease in the sleeve and redrafted it using this methodA pain to do admittedly, but worth the effort in the end.


So what was the boiled wool like to work with? Well, I had high hopes of working with it and it didn't disappoint. As per the advice of my readers and my own list of tips, I used a ballpoint needle, a longer stitch length and a walking foot. The walking foot proved to be an absolute life saver - layers of boiled wool can quickly resemble a shag pile carpet and it really did help chomp through all the layers with ease. It also helped stop the layers shifting about - essential once the silk lining was in place. Because boiled wool is quite a bulky fabric, I top stitched either side of the main seams and trimmed the seam allowances back. I really should have used a pair of duck-billed appliqué scissors for this job (read a great explanation of their use in this post of Kerry's), as I was in serious danger of snipping through the main fabric. In fact I'm amazed I didn't! Stitches do tend to sink into the fabric though, which makes unpicking them a long and tedious process, so it pays to go slowly for an accurate finish.  Top stitching everything down also uses a LOT of thread - I went through three spools altogether. 

You can see one of the top stitched seams in this shot
I picked up the lining fabric from Classic Textiles in the Goldhawk Road. It was sold to me as Liberty silk, but unlike the other Liberty silks I could see, there was no Liberty of London mark on the selvedge. My immediate thought was, "Liberty silk, my arse", but I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and look up the design. Imagine my delight when I found it actually was a Liberty Silk! The design is called Kilburn Rose and it's part of a 2013 range designed by actress Tamsin Grieg! Whoops, soz for doubting you Classic Textiles, I take it all back! 

Liberty Kilburn Rose silk lining
I love the colours in the lining - they complement the blue of the boiled wool perfectly - and the vintage style of the roses are so me. I should have guessed it was a Liberty fabric as it was such a pleasure to work with, it doesn't fray much and has a beautiful, silky drape to it. At £12 a metre, it's more than I would normally pay for a lining fabric, but for Liberty silk, it's a bargain. I only needed 1.5 metres so I think the investment was worth it. To make the sleeves easier to slide on and off, I lined them with plain green lining fabric, which, in comparison, was a complete nightmare, forever fraying and sliding around! 

Aside from the main fabrics, I used a washable supersoft interfacing from The English Couture Co on the facings, and stay tape on the neckline, shoulders and armholes to prevent them stretching. I also added a couple of sew-on press studs to the front of the coat - I'm not sure if I'll need them but at least they're there if it gets windy! I barely used the iron whilst making this coat as I was scared of stretching the wool, I found that finger pressing the seams into position before top stitching was all it took.


It's an almost perfect make: one of the sleeves drags up at the back slightly where I've attached the lining, and the top and bottom of the facings misbehave a bit. No amount of restitching seems to make any difference, so I'm just going to forget about them. I still have a gorgeous, warm, classic coat that's going to get a LOT of wear.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Coat fabric was given to me free of charge for review. All views my own.



96 comments:

  1. Wow - this is such a fantastic coat Jane! The colour is gorgeous, and really suits you. And that Liberty lining is a perfect match, such a lovely luxurious touch. I can imagine you will get a lot of use out of this coat!

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    1. Thanks Suzie, I'm sure I'll get lots of wear out of it! I was actually thinking of you when I bought the Liberty silk - I remember you buying some when you visited Goldhawk Rd too! x

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  2. fab coat and a lovley colour!

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  3. This is a beautiful coat! I love the shade of blue you finally used.

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    1. Thanks, I think I now prefer this colour to the one I originally chose! x

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  4. Your coat is beautiful Jane! Although you missed out on the colour you originally wanted I think that colour looks great on you :)

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    1. I think this colour was meant to be! Thank you! x

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  5. It's lovely Jane - very you, right down to the lining, which is particularly gorgeous! I didn't know Tamsin Greig had designed for Liberty (they seem to have some random designers) but the fabric is just lovely and a great match for the blue. It's a lovely stylish and classic style and the topstitching looks great.

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    1. Thanks so much Kerry! Yes, I'm always amazed at the diversity of the Liberty designers - I can understand them commissioning Grayson Perry for instance, but Tamsin Greig?! I think she's a great actress though, so the fact that she designed my lining fabric is a big plus! x

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  6. Great looking coat! Love the blue shade.

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  7. It turned out beautifully, Jane! I hope you enjoy it for years to come!

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    1. Thank you Gail, I really hope so! x

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  8. Totally goyjus Jane!! It's a very neat coat and I love the colour on you. Thanks for finding out about the design of the Liberty - that's the design I've got in a gen-u-ine Liberty Jersey, from Shakut. Bet you're nice and toasty now xx

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    1. Ah, didn't realise you had the same design in jersey, that's fab, we can be Kilburn Rose twins! x

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  9. Lovely coat, really like the colour and the lining finishes it off perfectly!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, the lining makes my heart sing! x

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  10. it's gorgeous! and i am totally going to classic textiles to see if they have any more of that silk at that price! the colour is a perfect match for the lining roses!

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    1. Go, go, go, run like the wind! They had lots of lovely Liberty silks, at least 20 I'd say. And thank you! x

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  11. I think this is the perfect winter coat, warm and versatile. It will look equally wonderful with a chunky infinity scarf or a silk square scarf. A total success!

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    1. Thanks so much, I think it's going to be very versatile too! x

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  12. A perfect coat for the current bout of cold weather! An actual woolen coat is always a great thing to have and its certainly a bonus when it turns out as nice as yours!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! The 100% wool makes it very toasty and I'm VERY relieved it turned out as well as it did! x

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  13. Such an elegant make, the lining is a beautiful match and the sleeves and shoulders look very well fitted

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    1. Thank you Kerry! A pair of appliqué scissors have just been ordered thanks to your recommendation! x

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  14. Well done Jane, your coat is gorgeous and the colour looks beautiful on you.
    I also like the pattern you've used, very nice.

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    1. Thanks once again for the BEAUTIFUL fabric, it totally makes the coat! x

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  15. It's really gorgeous. I'm so impressed with the details, like the top-stitched seams and the lining. Your work really is impeccable.

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    1. Wow, thank you so much for your lovely comment! x

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  16. You did it! This is such a great coat! The color is absolutely perfect on you. Yay!

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    1. Yay! Indeed I did! Thanks lovely! x

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  17. Your coat turned out lovely, that shade of blue is really beautiful and what a great matching lining. Great to hear your thoughts on the boiled wool, I have some pink that I have been scared to cut into. Happy coat wearing!

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    1. Ooh a pink boiled wool sounds fab - go for it! And thank you! x

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  18. Sensational!! Gosh is that a great color for you Jane, and I love it with your red purse! I totally make have to consider sewing this pattern in the future, it's so perfectly classic and retro and casual at the same time. Amazing job. :)

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    1. Thanks so much Tasha! I must say, the change of colour turned out to be the right move, I think I prefer this one now to the original! x

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  19. Oh this is lovely on you. I think the lack of securing/ belt would annoy me - but easily fixable if I decided to follow your lead and try this coat.
    I keep thinking I need to learn to make a coat so I can finally find one that fits my arms properly!

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    1. Yes, the lack of fastenings bothered me at first but at least I've given myself an option! I have short arms so it's always good to make something that fits them perfectly! x

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  20. This is very impressive and stylish, looks great on you!

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  21. This coat is beautiful, versatile and it must be nice and warm, too! Love the lining! That is a wonderful color for you.

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    1. Thank you! I think it's going to get a lot of wear! x

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  22. Beautiful coat! Love the color and that lining is very pretty, I know the pattern is like taht using snaps but I wonder, it might be difficult to do button holes in that thick fabric?

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    1. Thank you! I'd be a bit scared of making machined buttonholes in such thick fabric. If I had a bit more patience I'd try bound buttonholes - admittedly they take longer but the finished thing looks so professional. x

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  23. Really cute and I love the lining, it very pretty.

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    1. I love the lining too, thanks! x

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  24. Love the coat, especially the bright blue colour and the lining. I do the same thing, I try to fix it a few times but if it doesn’t work I just ignore it.

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    1. Yep, I find it's the best answer, life's too short to worry about wonky facings! x

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  25. This really is a beautiful coat. I love the colour and your lining is just perfect. I dream of being able to make something like this one day. And what a great pop of colour for a miserable Winter's day :-)

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    1. You could totally make a coat, I'm sure of it. The colours really do brighten up the unrelenting grey days! x

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  26. The colour and shape of the coat are lovely. Lining totally rocks.

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    1. I think the lining rocks too, thanks! x

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  27. Beautiful coat, love the colour and the lining sounds divine.

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    1. Thanks Sharon, the lining IS divine! x

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  28. So lovely, Jane! Really inspiring, now all I want to go make one myself!

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    1. You should totally make one yourself Alex, you'd rock this style! x

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  29. Lovely and great score on the lining fabric! Worth the investment.

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  30. I'm just going to go ahead and correct that first sentence: You are now the proud owner of an AMAZING boiled wool collarless coat. This is stellar Jane! x

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    1. Oh you angel - thank you so much! x

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  31. This is great! I enjoy reading your blog.

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    1. Ah thank you, that's nice to hear! x

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  32. It's gorgeous! The color is divine, and the construction perfect.

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  33. You look beautiful in your new coat! Nice work!

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  34. That is a coat to be worn much!! Love the classic lines, the topstitching is very clean, and take the design up another notch. I love boiled wool - the color of your coat is fantastic!

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    1. This is my first time working with boiled wool and I love it too now! x

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  35. Such an elegant coat. Such a beautiful colour. Such construction. The perfect coat, no?

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    1. Oh I hope so Evie, it's looking promising so far! x

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  36. Wow-wee! it's amazing. I am very jealous it is beautiful.

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  37. Lovely top stitching Jane! We have a boiled wool coat making weekend at Ray Stitch coming up very soon. Great for anyone not quite as bold as you and who would like their hand holding through the process.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know about the coat workshop Alice. I'll mention in my next post it would be a great opportunity to get to grips with coat making with a bit of guidance. x

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  38. Beautiful coat Jane! It's such a good fit and the style is great on you - v elegant! And such luxurious lining! x

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    1. Thanks Shivani, I thought you'd like the lining! x

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  39. It looks amazing and I really like the top stitched side seams. And the - both inside and out - is pretty much perfect. xx

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  40. Love the color AND the simplicity! You did some awesome work!

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  41. It's such a knockout, Jane. And the lining! Beautiful. I'd never take it off.

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    1. I love it too, thanks Colleen! x

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  42. What a great coat I love the vibrant colour and the simplicity of the design x

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    1. Thanks Josie! Actually I bet this style of coat would suit you! x

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  43. Well it might not be perfect (although you're probably the only one to see that) but it is simply beautiful. Love that lining. Just gorgeous.

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  44. Wow the coat turned out amazing, what a fantastic job you've done and it looks gorgeous on, love the colour!! (Sorry I'm commenting so late, somehow missed it when originally posted) x

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    1. Thanks so much Sandesh. And thanks again for all your advice, it was invaluable! x

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  45. wow - what a lovely coat - the wool has a gorgeous colour and both colour and fit suit you really well.

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  46. Thanks for mentioning this. I love the lining especially. I have yet to try boiled wool.

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