Posted in sewing

Red Burberry Trench Coat: Burda Magazine 1-2008 #128

I’m heading to the ATL later today for a 36 hour trip for a friend’s wedding. I’m super excited because I get to wear the yellow vintage dress, the Chinese quipao and hopefully an Indian sari.

I was hell bent on finishing my trench for the weekend since my ‘fall’ coat is good for October in Baltimore, but a little heavy for Atlanta. Plus, I *must* squeeze in a visit to the Margaret Mitchell House and I’ll feel very fancy in a new trench.

I started this trench way back in March 2011. It moved at a glacial pace because I wanted to draft a zip out lining using the Burberry warmer on the right and I wanted perfect buttons.

I finally drafted and cut the lining and ordered buttons from England. Then, in May, I just gave up on it because I screwed up my cutting and it went from double breasted to single breasted.  The warmer is sadly just in a bag waiting to be used on another project. Sigh. Plus, it got *hot* here and I didn’t feel like working on a coat.

Now, it’s late-October, rainy and cool and I decided to finish it off. Plus, it’s a good coat for this weekend and Florida with my parents for Thanksgiving.

But, it’s all for a good cause because the trench is finished and I don’t hate it! Well, I don’t love it either.

There really isn’t anything *wrong* with it.  Well, except for it’s magical neck shortening abilities (more on that later). But, it is just NOT the double breasted, red, Burberry trench that I pictured. Color me disappointed.

The sleeves are lined with lining from Jomar at like $1 per yard. I bound the edges for finish and there is no lining in the body (the fabric is reversible and waterproof).

I made a FBA by adding darts from the Vogue Guide to Sewing and added shoulder pads.

The collar is a little high for my taste and makes me look too much like a Nutcracker. Funny how I never thought I had a short neck before….

The hem is also hand stitched

I added  double bands at the cuffs and decided to remove the pocket flap that I originally had.

There is a fun kick pleat in the back

Overall the jacket is about one or two sizes too big and just isn’t flattering on me. That is again due to my edits to accomodate a warmer.

The belt provides all the shaping. A friend with a less defined waist tried the coat and it wasn’t the best look on her.

What am I trying to say? Well, I should have muslined. And, honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t use the Burda’s 9-2006-103 trench pattern. Like I said, I don’t hate this red trench. But, I do not love it like I do my military wool trench coat. I can’t wait for it to get cold so I can wear my wool trench!

I did get three unsolicited compliments yesterday when I wore it for the first time. The color is good. And at the end of the day, I do have a Burberry coat. Plus, it fills a serious hole in my wardrobe. It’s just not my favorite.

Happily, I can report that I have two other Burberry lengths. One will be a coat in the spring and the other will hopefully become a cape this season.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in sewing

Melton Wool Trench Coat, BWOF: 9-2006 #103

That’s me outside in the upper 20s and I don’t feel a thing! We’ve had some colder than usual winters the last two years in Baltimore.

It’s done! Seven years ago I tried to make a coat that was so hiddy, I threw it out with the next day’s garbage. I won’t be doing that with this melton wool trench coat. When I was in middle school, my parents bought me a beautiful red wool coat in Budapest in the late 80s. I even remember trying the coat on in the middle of the store because there were no dressing rooms.  I wore that coat all the way through college on to my first job as a reporter. Finally, my mom gave me $100 and told me to buy a new coat because mine was so beat up. In making this coat, I wanted something nice for wearing over a suit but elegant enough for dress up winter events.

I realize maxi coats are not on trend right now. Although, I suspect long coats are too expensive to make. My other coats are sometimes shorter than my skirt and I didn’t like that look.  Mmmm. I love the military look and I fear you’ll be seeing a lot of trench details from me this year.

Materials Used:

  • Wigan (for the sleeves and hem)
  • Knit tricot interfacing for the center front, tabs, belt
  • Woven fusible interfacing for the upper back
  • 21+ black and grey buttons from my FabricMart stash
  • Buckle, I think I got this in Panama a few years ago
  • Sleeveheads
  • Shoulder pads from my stash. Well, they were filling out the bra cups of my dress form
  • Flannel back satin lining from Joann’s fabric


  • I made a size 40 with a 1/2 inch FBA
  • I increased the sleeve / bicep by almost two inches. I wanted to comfotably wear sweaters underneath.

The coat cost about $120 or so to make. A search on Nordstrom and Macy’s shows that coats of this length in wool fall between $300 and $600.

Here are some detail photos. And, um, yeah. After being outside and taking about 50 photos, I uploaded to the computer to see that I left one button open!!!!! Grrrrr. What can I say? There are 14 down the front (I copied this from the Burberry website vs. the 10 Burda calls for and is considered traditional). I’m vain, but not  vain enough to go back outside and take more photos.

Sleeve belts and tabs. I love the two button detail.

Gun Flaps. I like the look of two, but it’s hard for me to get them to match perfectly. I ended up moving the button so visually they were symmetrical.

Chin Strap. So. Warm. What a great detail to include in the pattern.

Back vent. There’s no way I could have done the slit without Summerset’s help! I was stressed about sewing the vent and she sent me some great directions from her son’s vintage coat. Thanks Summerset!

Welt Pockets. I think this is the third time I’ve done them? Not nearly as hard as they seemed three years ago.

Flannel backed satin lining from Joann’s on sale for about $25. The interweb consensus is that it’s not very high quality. But, by the time I heard that, it was already cut out and partially sewn. It can replaced in a few years if need be.

There are things I’m not 100 percent happy with. But, hey, it’s my first ever wearable coat. The slit is super flattering, but I’d rather do without. It does let in a breeze.  I would prefer it to start about five inches lower. But, that’s what happens when you don’t make a muslin.

I wanted a long coat, but I wouldn’t mind if this was five inches shorter. It really must be worn with heels. I’m not terribly tall at 5 ft 6 but, the coat does not drown you. The hem is wonky in parts, but I think I’m the only person who’s going to notice. I may also add a snap to the lower front.

That’s it! I love it. I was so smug on Sunday afternoon getting coffee with a friend. S-M-U-G. Like, walking around wondering how  people weren’t just stopping me on the street to ask where I got my amazing coat from. It’s only the second time I’ve felt like that and it’s the greatest feeling of accomplishment.

I’m going to be in trouble if I lose a button. These were literally ALL I had of this one style. In fact, I’ve got alternate buttons holding the chin strap in place.

Yep. Can’t tell me nuthin’. Because, I made a coat!