Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

The Traveller Coat // Bella Loves Patterns

I love making coats and jackets. Really. (Despite my recent bomber jacket fail!). I always make epic coat plans every winter though I often don’t get around to doing them until the cold season is almost over! This year I was determined to get in there early!

I’d been sitting on this piece of beautiful caramel wool coating from Fabworks Mill for several years now. Seriously, I think it moved house with me! I got in with plans to make the Rumana coat from By Hand London but I sat in my laurels for long enough that that pattern/ fabric combo no longer appealed to me! Next, I planned to make a DP Studio Le 805 coat with the fabric but couldn’t decide on a contrast fabric to go with it (although that particular plan lingered in my brain for a couple of years). Finally, I came across the Traveller Coat from Bella Loves Patterns and just felt “this is the one!”. It probably helped that the pattern was on sale at the time – I’m a sucker for a discount!

The Traveller Coat promised all the trappings of a good tailored cost with an oversized style. The loose fit, full length thing seems to be all the rage right now! It’s got a dropped shoulders and exaggerated epaulettes, a back vent, a fully lining and is double breasted with a tied belt. I loved that the pattern came in two height size groups. As a shorty, I’ve only had the experience of height based patterns from Russian companies such as Vikisews and Grasser and loved the novelty of not having to shorten my pattern pieces!

I was determined to do this project justice and really tried to take my time with it. The instructions include lots of high end tailoring techniques which automatically take up more time! (Overall I took about two weeks to make this, which doesn’t sound like much but for me it is a lifetime!).

The foundations for a good coat, it seems, is lot of interfacing! Lots of pattern pieces were cut from block fused fabric and were then doubly reinforced with bias interfacing tape at the seam edges and woven interfacing tape at the vents/ lapel. As an added layer to wrangle, I chose to add an underlining to the coat as I felt my main fabric wasn’t going to be thick enough to make a really warm winter coat. For this, I used the domette interfacing from William Gee and add this to the upper half of the coat bodice pieces and the sleeves.

The pattern is beautifully cut and came together well. I made no changes to the pattern itself (I made a UK14 FYI) bar cheating with the epaulettes and sewing the button straight through instead of sewing a buttonhole. An odd place to cut a corner some might say after spending so long trying to get everything right but I was reaching the limit of my patience by the end!

I decided it looked too boring as a plain ol’ brown coat and added some gems that I found at Walthamstow market to jazz it up! They’re only hand sewn on so if I decide I hate them, I can easily take them off!

Honestly, I probably should’ve spent even more time finessing each step and I definitely should’ve spent even more time pressing the darn thing! I do really like it but at the mo, I keep seeing bits I could’ve improved!

Patience is unfortunately a virtue I don’t have!

That being said, I think this is a really good project for anyone looking to get their teeth into tailoring. With this pattern you learn a lot of technique but the loose fit means you can do it without having to worry too much about the fit!

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1 Comment

  1. It looks fantastic – and that caramel-coloured wool is perfect for this season. I love getting my teeth into a good coat project, it’s so satisfying when it all comes right in the end xx

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