Saturday, 22 August 2015

Channelling my inner Olivia Pope!

I'm not gonna lie, I was completely inspired by a winter white coat worn by Olivia Pope, while I was engrossed in a Scandal watching marathon!  Would it fit in my wardrobe and would I have anything to wear with it - who cared, I was making it anyway :-)

Winter White Trench

The coat itself has been a bit of a marathon make.  I already had the Robson Coat by Sewaholic Patterns in my stash. My first attempt at this pattern had been a complete disaster, for a couple of reasons but anyway if I was going to make this one work I needed to get a muslin sewn up and work out the fit issues. So that happened in February 2015.

Sorting out my fit issues took a while - I couldn't work out why I was getting putting on the front armscye where it joined the side front.  I tried adjusting the armscye itself, but to no avail. So I let it smoulder for a few months.  Then in May I had a brain wave and went back to the muslin to adjust the bust curve on the princes seam - letting it out to provide more room. That combined with a slight change in the armseye shape on the side front so it was less of a curve, provided that extra room that allowed freedom of movement.  Here is the list of adjustments I made in the order I made them:
  • I started with a size 10 (upper body through to waist), then tappered into a size 6 at the hips and the length of a size 0.
  • Lengthened the bodice by 1/2" at the high bust. This lowered the apex of the bust and the armpit, both which I need as I am much taller than the woman the pattern is designed for.
  • Removed 1" from the length of the coat - I did this 5" above the hem.
  • Added 1/4" to the armscye on the side back to provide more room for my broad back. I also had to make this adjustment to the back flap to ensure it would sit across the back and match the new cutting line of the side back.
  • Removed 5/8" from the front flap at the centre front side. I wanted the front flaps to sit under the collar - something I had noticed from the first disaster attempt!
Robson coat in the making
  • Added 1/2" to the base of the armscye curve on the sleeve piece to provide for the extra length I had given to the bodice.
  • Added 1/2" to the cap of the sleeve to add more fullness.
Robson coat in the making
  • Omitted the epaulets on the shoulder to reduce the bulk.
So with the fitting solved, I set to and cut into my fashion fabric. Back in February (I think), or it could have been back in later 2014 when I got the inspiration for this project, I picked-up this beautiful winter white cotton jacquard from The Fabric Store. It was $28 p/m but well worth it. I hummed and harred over the binding, debating over all kinds of options, but in the end I went with this subtle neutral toned cotton, also from The Fabric Store - a little more pricey at $32 p/m but I only needed one metre.

The cotton jacquard was really opaque, but I still thought it needed to be interlined - well for a couple of reasons really: one, to ensure that any dark colours I wore under the coat wouldn't taint the collar of the coat from the outside; and two, that the inside would be lined making it easy to put on over other clothing fabrics.  So on another one of my visits to The Fabric Warehouse I got this really lovely, light weight, shinny, polyester lining - oh yes I did say polyester, but it is just lovely and I figured that it would help keep the warmth of the coat in.

Work in Progress

I hand basted all the lining pieces to the shell fabric pieces by hand, then sewed them as one. To avoid an additional row of stitching rather than binding the seams closed I used a hong kong finish, the raw edge of the bias tape was closed in when I top stitched the seam down.

Work in Progress

Work in Progress

Work in Progress

The exception was around the edges of the pocket.

Work in Progress

Overall, the inside of the coat looks soo nice. But attaching all that bias tape took forever, and I'd get fed-up with the process, so I'd treat myself by taking a break and sewing something completely different.

Winter White Trench

At first I wasn't quite sure what to wear with it, and because it's such a statement piece, the first few times I worn it I felt like the clown at the party. Now I've worn it with dresses and pants and am feeling a lot more comfortable.

Winter White Trench


Winter White Trench

Winter White Trench

I finished the look by added some mottle light brown buttons. I am totally happy with the final fit of the coat. I can comfortably wear two layers underneath without it feeling tight or uncomfortable. It is exactly as I imagined it would be!

More photos on my Flickr -->

26 comments:

  1. beautiful coat. You did such a nice job with it. I think I'd smile every time I put it on.

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    1. Thanks Julia. It makes me feel special every time I put it on :)

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  2. Oh, it's spectacular! It looks so crisp and cozy. It is a statement piece but it's also neutral - I'll bet you'll find it works with more and more outfits!

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    1. Thanks :-) The fabric is quite lovely and holds it's shape well without being all stiff. I find myself wearing it at least once a week lately.

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  3. All your work paid off - it fits really well and is so chic! I think every woman needs a winter white coat. They are so glam and kind of deluxe just by nature of their slight impracticality (I only wear mine as an evening coat, since I'm so paranoid about it getting "schmutz"). Well done! This is one of my favorite Robsons. I love the alteration you made to the flaps - my only quibble with the pattern is the way the flaps are drafted.

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    1. You are so right, there is just something about a winter white coat that is a must have, regardless of how practical. I wear mine to work, when I have special places to go or clients to see. Now that I've got the fit of the coat right, I wouldn't hesitate in making it again.

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  4. Wow! Stunning coat! Very classy and stylish and you look fabulous wearing it. Having said that you look fabulous anyway but the coat add extra fabulousness ;)

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    1. Thanks Marta - you made me giggle xx

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  5. I think you hit the jackpot. This is ah-mazing!!

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  6. This is gorgeous! Love it in the white fabric; it's both a stand-out piece and a neutral color. Great job on the fitting too.

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    1. Thanks Lisa, I do love the fabric itself and neutral is working well so far :-)

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  7. So beautiful Sandra - and thanks for the wonderfully detailed description of the alterations to get it to fit.

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    1. Thanks so much - what I like most about other blogs is the detail on changes and fit, so I hope my tweaks here and there are helpful.

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  8. I think it looks spectacular and that fabric looks really nice! I just picked up the Robson pattern myself, and can't wait to get started...

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    1. Yay! I really like the rounded collar of the Robson pattern, which is what drew me to it rather than others. Enjoy the Robson journey :-)

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  9. Looks fabulous. All the work on the seam binding was worth it.

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    1. Thanks! It defeinitely tested my patience, but I'm super happy at the result.

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  10. This is really gorgeous Sandra - I love the fabric you chose, and the insides look amazing - so much patience to do all that binding!

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    1. OMGosh that binding was like running a marathon, it just seemed to go on forever. I really like the finished effect though.

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  11. Stunning coat - I'm a big fan of winter whites. I especially love the exquisitely made lining. Your hidden secret.

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    1. Thanks Gail. I could definitely do with more winter whites in my wardrobe instead of the black!

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  12. What a stunning coat! I love the jacquard. It was the perfect choice.

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