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Saturday, 2 January 2016

The Adventure of the Ulster Coat

Happy new year friends!

You may have noticed that it's been very very quiet around here. Well, here on the blog. Things have been very busy in the real life, what with Christmas and being the best sew-er evar!!!

I finished the coat on Christmas Eve, just in time for the unseasonably warm holiday weather!

I'm so happy (and surprised) with how well it turned out! It's so comfortable and cozy.

While working on the muslins, I was having trouble telling whether or not the proportions were going to be flattering, but I think it looks really smashing!

You may recall that this is very much inspired by Sherlock's Belstaff Ulster. I immediately fell in love with the pleating in the back of his coat and I think my version stands up admirably to the original. I only wish I had included a pleat in the back bodice to match the back of the skirt, but I was unsure of how to line it so I kept it simple. As it was, I had to really wrangle the lower lining to get it to work with the pleat and the enclosed hem, which was non-negotiable. I'll be posting a step-by-step of what I did. I have no idea if the way I attached it is conventionally acceptable, but I couldn't find a satisfactory answer online, so I had to improvise.

Speaking of Sherlock, did you guys watch the Abominable Bride yesterday? I'm still trying to decide whether or not I liked it. There was definitely some stuff that happened that had me like "what's the point of this?" and then there were the scenes with Moriarty, which I thought were brilliant and hilarious. Man, that Andrew Scott is an absolute nut! Such a good villain.

Speaking of villains, here I am acting mysterious and turning my coat collar up so I look all cool. Tragically, The fabric I used is a little too soft and drape-y to keep my collar popped. I'm also missing the cheekbones necessary to really do this look justice. Such a pity.

I ended up using three different patterns, plus adding my own drafted pockets. After lengthening and fitting Vogue V8626, I was having trouble finding the collar shape I wanted. I just didn't really know what the type of collar I wanted was called! I posted on reddit and someone suggested that I wanted a peacoat-type collar, so I bought the Burda Style pattern for "Navy Peacoat 10/2014 #125." 

Turns out what I wanted was just a wide peaked lapel with a very deep notch. This was my first time sewing a peaked lapel but things went pretty smoothly, thanks to Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket. Finally, I added cuffs by modifying a pattern that I found at Value Village - McCall's 5524.

Of critical importance to the success of this coat was its movement when worn. Early in my research I saw something - I can't remember where - that recommended the use if drapery weights in the hem. This is absolutely genius. I'm so happy with the way this coat moves that I had my wonderful photographer/cinematographer friend, Brian, make a gif for me!

(The ground was soooooooo slippery!)

I should mention that Brian Chambers took all of my photos for this post and is an absolute champ. I knew that I needed photos to do the coat justice. Thank you Brian!!

Edited to add: I just watched TAB again and I totally do like it.


  1. You'll have to change you blog handle. There is nothing dysfunctional about this awesome coat!

    1. Thanks for your kind comment! I definitely feel differently about my clothes than I did when I started!

  2. Heyy this is awesome. It hangs so beautifully, fits your frame well and looks professionally tailored. Well done!
    PS: I tried commenting with my Wordpress ID but it wouldn't let me..

  3. Your coat project is a complete success. So fashionable!

  4. Just stumbled upon your blog. This coat is amazing. Great job!

  5. I'm astonished by the result, so well fitting and so professional looking. I'm sure you will wear and cherish this coat for years !
    Kind regards,