Friday, June 6, 2008

Heidi's coat plans...and cry for help!

I am so happy (and simultaneously scared) to be part of this sewalong. I have been wanting to make a winter coat for a couple of years, but it seemed too big a project to tackle on my own without the guidance of an expert or teacher. I consider myself an advanced beginner, but I am willing to take on the challenge of creating a tailored winter coat.

I need your help.
It gets very, very cold in my neck of the woods in the winter. I live in Wisconsin and have family in northern Minnesota who I visit every Christmas, so I need a WARM coat. I also take the bus to work and have to stand outside a couple times a day. Therefore, I need/want a double-breasted coat to prevent any wind from getting to my torso. I also want a coat that's about upper-knee length to cover my thighs (why do upper thighs get so cold when there is so much fat there???).

With this in mind, I selected two patterns. The first is out-of-print Vogue 1266. I am looking at the two double-breasted styles (the blue one and the black one with the fur collar).

I'd have to shorten it and eliminate some of the flare on the bottom. I don't care for the fact that the princess seams go into the sleeve. I have quite broad shoulders and this style always makes me look broader than I am. (I am a true inverted triangle.) It did receive a good reviews on, so that is encouraging.

My second pattern, and the one I am leaning toward, is Burda 8171.

I like that it has shoulder princess seams. I also think the trench-style collar (with a large space at the notch area) might make it easier to button up to the top and flip up the upper collar so that it covers my ears and neck a bit. I think I'd have to add an extra set of buttons so that it has three sets instead of two. Does it look too robe-like to you? I doubt I'd add the belt.

My questions to you guys are:

1) Do you see the benefits of one pattern over the other, given my climate, body shape, and sewing skills?

2) What fabrics should I look for to make this a warm coat? I know I want something that won't be too scratchy, as I will be flipping up the collar to keep my ears warm. Is flannel too light? I don't know the difference between regular wool, melton, and flannel.

3) I should plan to underline/interline with flannel and line with a Kasha-type lining, right?

Sorry for the long post! Thanks for your help!


Nancy K said...

Depending on your budget, a cashmere blend is very soft and warm. Gorgeousfabrics is having a sale on coatings, so go take a look and see if there is something that appeals to you. Yes to interlining with either flannel or lambswool and adding the sunback or Kasha lining would also help you. The other thing is a windshield out of chamois cloth. I have never done this as there is no need for it here on LI, but I think that Kay is using this and maybe she could chime in on what to use and how to do it. I believe that it is used in the shoulders front and back.
You would trace off the upper part of your coat pattern to make a pattern for this.

Lisa said...

Hello Heidi,
It sounds to me that you really like the Burda and are only "luke warm" about the Vogue. Go with the Burda. I don't think it looks robe like. It will make up lovely in a solid wool.

KayY said...

My climate is like yours. The Vogue pattern covers you more so will be warmer - especially if you are standing around in the cold, I'd go for long over short any day. The flare can be a pain if you are getting in and out of cars but it will be great for standing/walking and bus-riding.

All of that said, if you reduce the flare and length of the Vogue you lose the style of this pattern. It sounds like you are really leaning to the straighter short Burda so just do it!

For coating materials in your climate I do not think flannel is warm enough. It's blazer weight - you want a coat. Melton is good. What you put inside depends on the weight of your coating. I had a thick wool tweed coat once (I live in Ottawa Canada - it gets *COLD* here) and it was only lined with kasha (flannel backed satin lining). It might have had a chamois layer in back - that was it. And it was warm.

If you have a lighter coating then interline with lambswool or even flannelette - with kasha lining and chamois it will also be warm (I have made this combo).

The main thing in coating fabric is that you don't want the wind whistling through it. Hold it up to the light. If you see any, reject it. That's why I am rejecting my nice wool bouclé for my winter coat :(

The chamois layer - it`s just thin and supple suede-like leather just like the stuff they sell for washing cars (!) - the key is that it will not let any wind through and it won't make the coat stiff. It is only needed in the back, above the waist.

Liana said...

Why wouldn't WindBlock fleece work as an interlining layer? I don't think it's any thicker than regular fleece, and it's very light in weight. There's also WindPro which is not totally wind-proof, as the other is.

I agree with the Burda pattern. If you don't like armscye princess lines, don't start with the Vogue. You can keep looking around a bit too, as maybe the perfect pattern that will speak to you is still out there.

Nancy K said...

I have a windblock fleece jacket and It is less supple than either the cotton flannel or the lambswool. But it is an interesting idea. It is expensive though

Dawn said...

I hadn't thought of a windblock fleece. There are lots of different kinds; some more supple than others. I am thinking of interlining/underlining (I can't remember the difference) with a warm layer. I have a melton and a flannel coating. The flannel is thicker than the melton. I am still debating which one to use. The chamois layer is something I will definitely do if it is easy. :)

I like the Burda pattern too. I am doing one too. It is similar to the Burda that you picked out.

Liana said...

I just looked at and their special this week (Fri-Thurs)is $5/yd off WindPro, which they say blocks 4x the wind of traditional fleece. It comes in different weights and finishes too. NAYY, just info.

Marji said...

I lived in northern Michigan (Traverse City) for 11 years, and walked a mile to work many days. Some days, the wind coming off the Bay, combined with the cold temps, made for some truly cold weather.
The warmest coat I've ever owned (except a fur) is a melton wool, underlined with a flannel-like fabric, and lined with just a tightly woven rayon satin, that could have been cut from the Vogue pattern you've pictured. It was full skirted (I should say, is, since I still own it), but I can't wear it where I live now, since it never gets cold enough in St Louis to wear it.
The very long length plus the fullness of the skirt I think combine to make it incredibly warm.
Yes, everytime I get into a car with it, I have to reach over and pull in the rest of the skirt, because it's full, but walking in this baby, when it's -8F, I just pull the collar up close around my neck and I'm toasty.
Just my experience.

Digs said...

Go for the Burda: a straight coat can be very beautiful! However, I'd concur with Marji in recommending that you make it long, long enough to overlap with your boots. In cold weather one can lose a surprising amount of body heat through the legs, since they have a lot of surface area.

Heidi said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I think I will stick with the Burda, or another pattern like it if I come across it. I love the idea of more warmth and a longer coat, but I am only 5'4" and I feel like I'd look so short in a longer coat.

Dawn, which pattern are you using?

Digs said...

Ahem, ONLY 5'4"??? That's 5'7" in shoes, boots, etc, plenty tall enough. A lovely long straight coat will make you look taller than a short one.

Dawn said...

It is 8022. Similar but more detail; belts, pockets, topstitching, etc.

Heidi said...

Digs: oops! Sorry to all of you shorter than I! :)

You gotta figure in the snow accumulation, too, when calculating how "long and lean" one looks! With our record-breaking snow this past winter (101", which blasted the old 70" record), everyone looked like they were standing in a snow bank!