A Head Full of Dreams

A hit or a miss?

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Dreams of winter coats… Now maybe in a colder, snowier climate, white and cream are fine for outerwear, but it’s not the most obvious choice for a coat in the UK.  It’s far to wet and muddy here in the winter.  So why make a white coat you ask?  Because I had the fabric, is my answer!

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Burda Jacket/coat 117 September 2015 9 (a little longer IRL!)

I spotted this “coat” number 117 in the September 2015 issue of Burdastyle magazine and rather liked it.  Not altogether my style, but something about it kept me coming back to look at it.  Then I remembered I had 3m of off white/cream basketweave English wool in my stash.  I’d bought it from Arkwright’s Mill in Derbyshire in 2012 for a song, £6/m!!  Originally I had intended to dye it, even on a good day that amount of cream/white does nothing for me.  But how do you dye a 3m x1.5m length of fairly heavyweight wool?  I certainly didn’t have the facilities.  So it sat in the stash.

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Cream English wool coat and dark grey herringbone tape for the edges

I thought, if I made the coat in the wool and it didin’t turn out quite right I wouldn’t have lost anything, beause the fabric wasn’t doing anything anyway.  I thought I’d make it a little better for me by buying an awful lot of dark grey herringbone cotton tape for all the edges. Of course, having mis-read the amounts, I bought 20cm too little and had to get another whole metre to rectify it, but that’s all done.

The pattern pieces are huge!  I suddenly wasn’t sure I had enough for the whole thing,but managed to fit all the pieces on the fabric by opening it out and cutting in a single layer.  The belt had to be pieced but I don’t think it’s noticable.  The tape was sewn on by hand – all of it!  I ironed the tape in half, lengthwise (of course) and pinned like mad.  I sewed one side, then the other, in sections and mitered all the corners.  That’s a shedload of hand stitching folks.

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Coat with pinned grey herringbone tape, awaiting handstitching…

So, the pattern itself.  It’s a big, chunky style, narrower at the hem.  I used the overlocker for everything as the insides are easily seen and the coat is not lined.  There are no hems or facings, the edges are bound with bias or seam tape. The belt goes through a slit in the right front/side to wrap around the body, but apart from that slit, there’s nothing holding the belt in place, so you have to wear it tied up constantly, or leave it off.  I added a chunky belt carrier to the centre back to there’d be more support for the belt, but in actual fact, now I am wearing the coat I prefer it unbelted.

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I stil wasn’t sure whether or not it was “me”.  Wrapped over and tied up I felt like a bag of potatoes.  There was too much cream, too much bulk.  I’d made the 44, but wonder if, with the size of everything, that a smaller size wouldn’t have been better.  Possibly it just doesn’t suit my body shape.  Those big flappy “lapels” all in white over my front just seem to enlarge everything from where I look – down.

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Can I just say that while I’m not sold on the bulk, I love the huge turn-ups on the sleeves, and the decent size in-seam pockets!

After making it in plenty of time for the cold winter the coat languished in my wardrobe.  It was never cold enough to wear!  Until last week, finally proper winter temperatures, frost on the ground and the car.  Cold enough for a heavy, warm wrap around coat.  I make sure to wear it with dark coloured clothes and scarf, and never, ever tie it shut!  It looks better draping down and the dark scarf and trousers underneath at least give a hint that there might be a shape under all that bulk!  Saying that, the cream is still the least practical colour I could ever have chosen to buy!  I must remember that although dying fabrics is a great idea, I need to actually be able to do it.

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So for now, I wear the coat.  I don’t love it and I don’t think it’s amazing, but it is at least being worn.  You never know, I might cut it up and make something else out of it for next winter!  Or send it to a charity shop, which would be a shame….

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These photos were all taken after I’d finished the coat back in October, sadly thankfully I have no-one to take a pic of the coat belted, seriously, you really wouldn’t want to see it anyway.  I am working on a pair of Birkin Flared Jeans by Baste & Gather at the moment, looking forward to seeing them with this coat! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Author: Anne W

I love fabric, and sewing. And I could do nothing else but sew, all day, every day, if I could!

20 thoughts on “A Head Full of Dreams”

  1. I think it looks fabulous!!!
    But if you truly decide against it, could you wear it inside as a cuddly, whilst lounging in front of a fire and reading? With a quilt tucked round your feet for warmth?

    1. Thanks Dell, so far it’s ok, I’m getting used to it as long as I don’t have too much white to look at! As for wearing it indoors, too heavy. I ought to weigh it!

      1. Good to hear you’re getting used to it, since it’s heavy fabric! (Oh, just remembered you’d considered dyeing it. What a job that would have been. 😉)

  2. It’s a lovely coat. Sometimes moving around and going about your business is what makes a garment come alive. I once made a nylon/cashmere coat just like yours, except with faux leather binding and much longer. In the mirror, I had the same concerns as you are writing about – the lapels and the length of the coat seemed to envelope me. But while out and about, the coat must have looked ok because of the compliments it received.
    Also, I think you may want to go a size smaller — if you make it again?

    1. It has had loads of compliments! 🙂 I will just get used to the colour and bulk. If other people think it looks good I’ll have to believe them! 😉

  3. That is gorgeous! What beautiful fabric. I’ve made several cardigan vests that are of a similar cut and I know how you feel about it. The unstructured style took a bit of getting used to but now I wear mine all the time. Sometimes I use a pin to secure it closed and to one side and I love wearing it that way. I think it will grow on you:) as its cozy and comfortable and very stylish too.

  4. I’m a massive fan of white/cream coats, despite the fact they need cleaning every time you wear them. I think the coat is gorgeous and the whole style looks really good on you, I bow for the hand stitched tape. I made a Burda cocoon coat, which isn’t my style at all, but I have ended up wearing it every day, because it is so warm and cosy.

    1. Isn’t it funny how we make stuff we know isn’t for us, then worry about it, then fall in love with it afterall… This coat is certainly warm and cosy. 🙂

  5. I grew up in Michigan(miss it still) and moved to Tennessee in 1979 when I was 35. We called that white Winter White, an elegant color. Personally, I think the coat looks good on you, but ultimately you will decide how comfortable you are wearing it.

    1. Thank you,I guess it will grow on me, I just need to wear it more often! The weather needs to play ball though – definitely a proper cold weather garment! A friend of mine grew up in Michigan, now in Illinois. That’s a proper winter!!

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