Baby It’s Cold Outside

I’m a third through my first project of 2011. I spent most of my Christmas furlough working on a winter coat.  There is something to be said for having several days to focus on one project. I’m attempting the September 2006 Burda Trench Coat. I realize the September 2006 trench is hard to distinguish from the half a dozen trench coats they produce annually!

I’m using the most incredible 100 percent wool. It’s still available from Fabric Mart. It’s a ‘Civil War Heather Grey’ from Uruguay.

This Civil War Heather grey 100% Melton wool is dense thick coating from Uruguay. It is heavy weight, has a smooth slightly brushed hand, a wide cone drape, sheds the rain and blocks the wind. This is the ideal winter coat fabric. This would also make a great cape.

I don’t think it’s ‘thick’ but it is ‘dense’. And, it’s a pleasure to sew with!

Truth be told, I’m exhausted from working on it. I interfaced, shaped and pressed so much  the last two days I have a blister on my hand!! I didn’t have this fabric when I went to NYC or I would have had it interfaced throughout.

I’m using every tool and trick in the book for this coat.

I interfaced most of the front in addition to chest

Fused a woven back stay

Fused a chest gaurd from weft insertion for shoulder reinforcement


Tricot fusible for the facing, pocketing

Twill tape to shape the shoulders

Made welt pockets

Sewed and shaped the collar

Fused: belt, sleeve loops, epualets, welt pockets, back vent… the list goes on

I also went with two gun flaps instead of one. I like the opposite print on the reverse. Sort of my own version of Burberry!

I cannot believe how much work a coat is!! I’m not even 50 percent done. I still have to do the lining, interlining, sleeves, attach all the loops and tabs plus hemming.  Oh, and the vent which I’ve never done before and lining. And the buttons. Oy. Am tempted to wear it with the belt until I can take it to NY for professional buttonholes.

I was thinking I would finish this over the New Year’s furlough but the amount left to do is a bit daunting. And, I seem to have picked up a bit of a head cold. So, I’m going to bag it for the rest of the day and finish my BBC America Marathon. Who knew Law and Order was so much better with British accents?


  1. That is looking beautiful, so far! I saw that fabric on FM but was too busy buying them out of wool blend boucles. 😉

  2. Yes, it is a lot of work but just think at least you will have a coat in the end. If you were making a jacket you would have had to do almost all the same stuff to get a good result. It will be so wonderful when you get done!!!
    Great techniques on the inside matter and will wear and fit better too and just wait for the compliments!!!!
    Jo Ann

  3. I’m not sure I should have read this, seeing how I just decided this weekend that I should stop kidding myself and admit that I live in a place that does necessitate a true winter coat :-).
    That said, yes, these things are a lot of work. But you do know, don’t you, that interlining isn’t -mandatory-? And have you tried fashion-incubator’s tutorials on bagging linings? That’s 3 days saved right there..

  4. Oh, I saw that fabric online! I suspected it was a great choice for a coat. Yeah coats are a lot of work. Especially a trench. But it is going to be amazing.

  5. This is looking so good and I’m sooooo jealous! I’ve just been thinking that I would like a wool trenchcoat type coat and here you are making one. Just work on it a little at a time now since you’ve gotten the shell done. I’m sure you will get it finished in enough time to wear it quite a bit this winter.

  6. Wow! YOu’ve really done so much already. I know, making coats takes a long time, especially if you want them to wear well and be warm. You’ll appreciate all the hard work later. It looks fantastic already!!!

  7. Your coat is looking fabulous. I agree that a Burda trench is a lot of work. I’m working on a dress length version of the trench jacket that you made recently.

  8. Every time I look at that issue of Burda WOF, that coat just grabs me. Definitely requires big black leather boots and a fur (or fake fur) hat a la Queen Elizabeth II wore to her Christmas services over the weekend. Lara from Dr. Zhivago, here you come!! The one thing I love about making a coat is that when you are done, the work is sooo worth it. I have been wearing my brown coat all winter (especially today)and when I walk to work (especially today), all that work has paid off. My face is cold (shoot, my eyeballs almost turned into concrete this morning), but ‘nuthin’ else. The interlining, the extra layers, the interlining in the sleeves. Everything is there to keep you warm. It’s great to have something that’s fashionable – and completely useful and pragmatic as well. All Hail Coat Sewing!!!

  9. Wow, that looks like a major sewing operation. Can’t believe you’ve kept quiet about it until now. Good luck with the rest! It looks fabulous so far.

  10. Wow, it’s almost easier to move to warmer climates! I’m exhausted just reading it. Even though I have travelled to -20 or -30 degrees, it’s always hard to imagine such cold on a regular basis for me living in tropical Queensland, Australia. I love the look of your coat and not only will it be truly warm, but I bet it weighs a tonne!!!!
    Great job!

      • You won’t regret the hard work when you have a sexy, WARM coat. I hate being cold so I would inter-line it. Can’t wait to see the finished project.

  11. I’ve always been smitten with this coat. I have this magazine and would love to make it one day too. It’s amazing how you jumped into this project. You’re right, coats are a ton of work. Take as many breaks as you need. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  12. Coats are a lot of work, but just think of how cozy you’ll be wearing it. SO much better than RTW. Have you seen what they’re passing off as “winter coats”? Not even a warm lining.

    • You’re completely right Irene! The RTW coats look warm on the outside but they aren’t at all! Hate that.

  13. Wow. That is labor intensive. It’s the prep work and all the structure and reinforcement stuff that takes FOREVER. It’ll be worth it in the end.

  14. You’re doing a beautiful job, and you won’t regret any of this effort in all the years ahead when you’re snug, cozy AND stylish wrapped up in your trench!

  15. Your coat looks like it is coming along really well. I bet you are worn out after getting so much done in only two days.

  16. Wow, this is looking fantastic. It’s a lot of work, but you’ll feel pretty proud of yourself when you’re wearing it on a cold day!

  17. I love the length of this coat. I’m tired just looking at the things you’ve done so far!

    And I love BBC America! Did you catch the Luther series? It was marvelous. Too bad it only lasted 6 weeks.

  18. Jamie Bamber is the reason I got into Law and Order: UK! Did you watch him on Battlestar Galactica also?

  19. That’s going to be gorgeous! I’m with you, at about the same point in coat making.

  20. Your coat looks wonderful. Coats are time consuming but so well worth the time. You will be able to wear it for many years to come. If you want to hold off on button holes, have you considered sewing covered snaps on the inside of the coat to support closure?

  21. Wow… That fabric is gorgeous. You should make some special hidden pockets you can fill with cedar balls – don’t let the moths get it!

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