Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Best Classic Wool Coat Patterns (a completely biased survey)

I've been so involved in my artist residencies and making soft toys and toy patterns that I haven't posted about my other sewing projects lately. I'm going to try to address that right now in a short series of posts about coat making!

This fall has been all about coats-- the classic wool winter coat. It is too much for one post, so I thought I'd start off by just talking about some of the patterns I considered on my journey.

Choosing a coat pattern is a big deal! In fact, I've posted about coat patterns before... but there are new choices to consider. Making a coat is a big project, and one doesn't want a pattern that you will regret once you are too far into it to back out. Also, with all the effort and cost put into making a handmade coat, the expectation is that you will get YEARS of wonderful warm wear out of it, so you want something that will look good now and won't look ridiculous in 3 or 5 or more years.

It is also a very personal style choice-- for those of us who live in cold climates, the coat you wear is more often then not the first impression people have of you.

I had a short list of requirements for a good coat pattern:
--A great draft with a fit that works for the majority of people who have sewed it, without the need for dramatic changes.
--A classic shape. Enough shaping to highlight the female form, but loose enough to be an easy fit over a wide variety of clothing. Princess seams are a plus. Shapeless blocky forms aren't really my style.
--Multiple views that achieve a different look with the same basic pattern is a big plus. If I'm going to commit to a pattern and go through the effort of prepping it and fitting it, I love the idea of being able to use it again to make another coat in the future. However, no one needs to coats that look exactly the same in their closet... so different collars, lengths, or styling.
--Timeless styling. Nothing too trendy.
--No voluminous skirts or gratuitous pleats. No shawl collars or giant floppy lapels. Nothing obviously retro, at least for this particular project. I reserve the right to incorporate all excluded gratuitousness in future sewing projects.

As you can see, I'm pretty open on many things. Collars, for one... I love a great lapel, but I also love a good funnel neck. Probably not double breasted, but I might consider it as an option for the future. A zippered option is also intriguing to me.

Let's start with the coat patterns that have come out since my last coat pattern post. I LOVE Butteric 6385 Lisette for Butterick-- I rushed out and bought it at the first Simplicity sale. Princess seams, back yoke, and two choices of collars-- what more could I ask for? I've never sewn a Lisette pattern, but I strongly suspect the drafting and directions are much better than Butterick's usual fare. At the time I was starting my coat there were no reviews yet, but now there are several people who have made great coats and give the pattern excellent reviews.

Also exciting and relatively recent is the Clare Coat by Closet Case files. I'm fairly certain that this pattern would be a joy to sew, with beautifully thought out details and instructions, and there are lots of inspiring examples that people have made. It has a lot of features that I admire... I love the zipper option and the oversized funnel neck, how amazingly cozy does that look! The biggest hesitation for me is the boxiness of the silhouette-- I think I'd like something more shaped for this particular coat project. I don't own this pattern yet... the printed version is on my wishlist.

My biggest contender from last time was Burda 8292. This might be out of print-- I couldn't find it in Burda's online catalog, but is is still available on Patternreview.com. If you can get past the ridiculous styling and pose of the model, it has classic lines and nice collar choices.

Also from my last coat post, there is Simplicity 2508. The raglan sleeves are growing on me. Once again, the pattern envelope styling makes me cringe, but you can see from the line drawings that it has great lines and many intriguing options to get a different look with the same pattern. This pattern has a big following on Patternreview.com, with lots of inspiring coats made using it.

In my next post, you'll find out which pattern won out, at least for this fall's coat making!


  1. Great post, Loved the designs, especially the patterns. Truly amazed.

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