February 25, 2016

My First Handmade Coat – Republique Du Chiffon Roger Trench

This coat was made out of necessity. I’m trying to recognise where there are gaps in my wardrobe so I don’t just blindly keep making silk By Hand London dresses. Yes, I LOVE them allllll! But I have so many dresses and so few occasions to wear them (one silk Flora did get an outing to a friend’s wedding last weekend though!). Rosie has been saying that I should get a new coat for a while and it turns out since I stopped wearing my old one that she thought I looked like a floppy brown dishcloth in it. So I figured this was the right time to use up some fabric and clear some space and try out a new pattern. (Quick sorry for the washed-out photos, taking detailed photos of black fabric is hard!)

I’ve been storing both this pattern and the wool since last Winter and I knew that if I wanted to get any wear from it at all this year then I had better get making. The pattern is Republique du Chiffon’s Roger Trench.

RDC coat

First thing – this pattern is in French. Do I speak French? Not a word. Well, now I do know some basic sewing words….Β I had to google translate every single word and write it on the pattern which took me a long time. I think RDC are gradually translating all of their patterns into English so it might be available now, but I wasn’t going to buy a whole new pattern so google translate it was.

Second thing – the pattern has no seam allowances included in the pattern. I remembered this time (unlike with my first RDC project that was soooo tiny). The pattern pieces are printed out overlapping which I get saves paper, but it makes it a bit more annoying to trace and cut. I decided to just add my seam allowances when I cut the wool so I might have added some of them a bit wonky.

RDC coat

I had just enough wool to cut out the pattern. I did lengthen the arms a bit but I probably didn’t need to do this in hindsight as I ended up cutting a fair bit off before I added in the sleeve facing. I do have quite long arms so this might not be necessary for everyone. Now, this might be because of the French problem, but I’m almost certain that there are some mistakes on the pattern. For the collar pieces it said to only cut one, but I needed two of both the collar and the collar stand. The was one piece that just seemed to never be used and so I ended up just sewing it in where I thought it went. There also aren’t many diagrams which I was relying on a lot and the cutter guide was missing – it was just a blank piece of paper… All that said, I do really like the shape of the coat.

RDC coat

RDC coat

RDC coat

The thickness of the wool was just about my machine’s limit I think. There were some seams that ended up huge and I couldn’t squidge them under my machine foot. I graded the seam allowances but some of them could probably have done with a slightly better press. If anyone has any tips on how to deal with super chunky seams then please do let me know. I pressed them quite a bit and some of them still sit so fat and open, like the one at the bottom of the coat between the shell and the bottom facing.

RDC coat

I really like the shape and size of this coat. Because I sized up one size, I like the way it looked oversized and the shoulders have slightly dropped. I don’t think this is what everyone will be after, but for this fabric it was definitely right.

The top-stitching on the pocket is a bit messy and I wish they were slightly deeper. This is my fault, I cut them slightly too small…

RDC coat

The pattern calls for buttons and buttonholes. You can see the button placket here, but without any buttonholes. It all ended up really bulky once I had added in the placket and facing and, despite grading the seams, I decided I would never wear it done up and so didn’t add any buttons. This is probably a lazy decision and I might add some in later even if they’re just for show.

RDC coat

So here you have it, my first coat! I’m super pleased with it and have worn it every single day since, think that makes it a huge sewing success for me. It’s also very warm and is going to see me through to Spring.

Hannah

RDC coat

4 Comments

Camilla

Lovely coat. In case you do decide to add buttons, there’s a place in Soho called DM buttonholes off Berwick Street that machines buttonholes for you. I used them years ago for a jacket I made.

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thenewcraftsociety@gmail.com

Hi Camilla, that’s such a good tip! I might just do that, when the wind blows it so chilly at the moment. Thanks!

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thenewcraftsociety@gmail.com

Oh my god I just had a quick look at their site, Β£3.50 for buttonholes!! I don’t think I’ll ever do my own buttons again! :) going to head down this week!

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Jacquelyn Turner

Great success! Don’t hold your breath for the English version. They’ll probably use Google translate too.

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