In addition to the coating fabrics and lining we discussed yesterday, you’ll need to gather a few additional supplies to make your Clare Coat. I’m hoping most of this will be available at your local shop, but I’m also providing as many online resources as possible.
While Clare doesn’t demand the kind of elabourate interfacing applications of more tailored jackets (think roll lines, pad stitching etc) it is imperative that you stabilize key areas, especially around the shoulders, seams and hems. Interfacing adds a little body to your fabric, and prevents fabric from stretching over time. Do not skip this step!
Weft fusible is my preferred interfacing for Clare; it is a classic tailor’s supply, and adds fluid drape and structure to coating fabrics. If you are making Clare with a fabric that can’t be pressed (I’m thinking about velvet or faux fur) you may also substitute it for sew-in fabric interfacing. It is woven, not the solid sheets you might be used to, and has a little stretch or give to it, but not quite so much as interfacing designed specifically for knits. It generally comes in wide widths, but I also include quantities for the narrower 20″ kind if that’s what you’re using. Unless you’re sewing a very light coloured fabric, black should be fine; I find it is more commonly available. You should be able to find this in the interfacing section of your fabric store.
If you’re lucky, your fabric will come pre-interfaced. This is generally more common with end lots from manufacturers, but it will save you some prep time. If your fabric is not as beefy as you’d like,
Today we’re going to walk through the fabric & lining options for your Clare Coat. I’ll follow up tomorrow with a post on additional supplies so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Clare can be made with a variety of fabrics, and while I’m partial to wool, I’ll also be covering wool alternatives down below.
WOOL COATING FABRIC
The best thing about making coats, besides the whole “I made a gorgeous thing that prevents me from dying of exposure” thing is getting to work with wool. I. LOVE. WOOL. As I’ve said in the past, it basically purrs when you apply heat and steam; it wants to become things. Sheep are basically like, “Yo, humans. You’re welcome.” It’s naturally insulative, water resistant, breathable, wrinkle resistant, easy to sew and shape, and finally, it takes dye incredibly well, so you can drape your bod in the most beautifully saturated colours.
Because Clare doesn’t have a lot of internal structure, it’s important that your fabric have enough body to create a clean, crisp silhouette. I highly suggest working with medium and heavy weight wools only; suiting weight is too drapey for this pattern. I learned this the hard way when I feel in love with a lightweight melton; even when I interlined it with cotton flannel it failed to have the body I was after and hung a little limply in the sleeves and across the back.
Most fabric stores will have a wool coating section. Wool can come from sheep (merino & shetland), alpaca, goats (mohair & cashmere), rabbits (angora) and even camel. If you’re allergic to wool, try experimenting with a sample of a wool alternative to see if you have the same reaction.
Why make a coat? Well, if you live in a place that isn’t non-stop sunshine all winter long (I’m glaring at you California), a coat is something that you actually wear every single day. Why not spend the time to make one that is truly beautiful, one that makes you feel polished and put together even when you’re just throwing it on top of your pajamas to go pick up a liter of milk?
I love coats. Winters are long and brutal in my city, and the only thing that makes it somewhat bearable is reaching for something stylish and warm to brave the elements. I’ve rounded up some dreamy coat inspiration to get your own coat wheels turning; there are a lot of directions you can go in with coat fashion!
You know that day mid-January when everything is covered in grey (or yellow) snow, and every person you see is sludging around with looks of utter despair on their winter-weary faces? That day is cheered up 100% by a gorgeous coat in a pop of colour. People will actually smile at you from their black parka prisons, promise. While deep saturarated colours are always a big hit, consider too softer pastels like mint or lavender; either way you’ll stand out in a crowd.
Curious about what the Clare Coat looks like on a variety of bodies besides mine? After a few requests I thought I’d share a few versions made by some of my pattern testers. I was quite happy overall with the fit on everyone; raglan sleeves can be pretty forgiving (but don’t worry, I’ll be covering how to make modifications if you have broad or narrow shoulders). I made quite a few tweaks after testing, including changing the grading on the sleeves so they are a little slimmer on the upper sizes, and modifying the collar on View A to stand up a little more, but this should give you a rough idea of Clare out in the wild.
I forgot to mention it before, but the two-piece raglan sleeve also has an elbow dart; you can see the lovely shape it gives to the sleeve in Camelia’s version below.
A huge, heartfelt thank you for the amazing response to the Clare Coat pattern this week. I was more nervous than usual this time around because it’s kind of an unconventional design and I had been told that “coats don’t sell”. Thankfully, it seems a lot of you love Clare as much as I do! If you’re aching to see another version, the real life Clare has shared a gorgeous plaid number on her blog today; no one has ever looked cooler matching pram and coat, I think it’s safe to say.
We have been processing your orders as they come in; we ship out on Tuesday and Friday so hopefully you’ll be getting your packages shortly. Shipping has been a huuuge learning curve so please let me know if there are any problems; its much more complicated that I had anticipated, as most things in life are.
For those of you who would like to participate in the sew along, the tentative schedule is as follows:
Inspiration & Styling – Monday, November 23
Materials & Supplies – Wednesday, November 25
Fitting & pattern alterations – Friday, November 27
Cutting Fabric, Lining & interfacing – Monday, November 30
Wheee! After months of development (including making and steaming wool coats in the middle of August while trying not to die of heat stroke) the Clare Coat Pattern is here!
I absolutely LOVE coat making and specifically designed this pattern to be approachable and achievable for all sewing levels, so that even the beginner sewist could discover how much fun it is to make outerwear, with enough interesting details and techniques to keep it interesting for the more advanced maker. Clare features a two piece raglan sleeve and an easy fitting A-line silhouette, which means no complicated tailoring skills or setting-in-sleeves required. It comes together relatively quickly, and I think features my best, most thorough instructions yet.
I had a lot of fun designing the details of this pattern, and came up with two major variations for two very different style vibes.
View B is 60’s inspired with princess sleeves, welt pockets and a face framing funnel collar, while the exposed asymmetrical zipper integrated into the seam line brings it into this century. This was the jump-off point for me with this pattern; it’s actually inspired by a vintage coat I’ve had for 10 years. I get stopped on the street every time I wear it and wanted to put my own spin on the silhouette.
View A feels like an elegant “dressed up” coat, especially in a bright jewel-toned wool. It provides a great oppurtunity to play around with hardware and fun details like zipper tassels.
Fully lined, this coat looks as great inside as it does out, and I love the modern way it looks when it’s left undone.
Later today I’ll be debuting the new Closet Case pattern, but I thought I’d start off by introducing another project I’ve been working on the last few months: my first ebook!
Sewing Your Own Jeans has been a real labour of love. As I’ve started teaching Ginger workshops, I’ve learned even more about making and fitting jeans and wanted to offer an expanded and improved jeans-making course. While the sewalong is still available on the blog, this ebook offers a lot more photos and information in a beautifully designed PDF format. You can take it with you, and easily follow along on your tablet, computer or phone while you’re working on your jeans.
The ebook is over 90 pages long and features 220 images. Jeans-making is broken down into 13 bite size lessons so you can follow along at your own pace. I’ve also included special bonuses like a printable jeans-making cutting list, and a chapter dedicated to hacking your skinny jeans in flared jeans!
While this ebook is a great companion to the Ginger Jeans pattern, I’ve tweaked the instructions to make sure they can be applied to any jeans pattern. Hoping you guys will find this helpful on your jean-making journeys; it’s available now in the shop!
What a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching weekend it’s been. The world mourns for Paris and Beirut, and I dearly hope that if you live in either of those cities you are okay. Friday night was filled with worry, as Guillaume was in Paris and I did not hear from him for a few hours, imagining the worst. Thankfully he was safe, but he was very close to one of the shootings without realizing it. My heart goes out to everyone affected by these tragedies. There are no words.
While it seems impossible to follow that up with some light sewing blog news, I shall do my very best.
If you’re a design/colour/branding type A maniac, designing the packaging for a forever product that people will buy, use, and maybe pass down over the years is the kind of thing that will keep you up at night, haunt your dreams and occupy most of your waking hours. When I decided I was going to release paper patterns, it’s basically all I thought about for months, and I experimented with a lot of different approaches before I settled on one that felt true (and that I could afford).
The entire process was a huge learning experience. I’ve never had to deal with a manufactured product before, and it’s incredibly complicated. Here’s the hard truth: printing is very expensive. It is especially expensive when you’re dealing with small runs, and you live in Canada where there are simply less print shops, and thus less competition. Most printers will only do huge corporate orders; it can very challenging to find people willing to do a run of 1000 copies, even when 1000 copies seems like an astronomical number. That number is 1000 for a reason; McCalls actually does all the tissue printing in North America (they may actually be the only printer in the world capable of printing on such large sheets on tissue) and while their pricing is surprisingly affordable, their minimum order is 1000 copies per design. While McCalls will also print your envelopes and instructions, I wanted something more custom and ended up working with a print broker in Canada, which was a lifesaver. Brokers will negotiate with big commercial printers for you, and can generally get much better pricing than anything you can find on your own.
My preliminary idea was to create a sturdy cardstock folder with a Moleskin-like yellow elastic that held everything together.
It’s been a crazy year, and if I’ve been a little cagey about what I’ve been up to, it’s just my tendency to plan for the worst, and not wanting to talk about things until they are locked down tighter than maximum security after a prison riot. But… I think it’s finally safe to say that Closet Case printed patterns are about to become a reality. Unless I decide to scrap the whole plan and make a REALLY big box fort in my apartment.
This development has been a long time coming and something I’ve wrestled with over the last year or so. The reality is that paper patterns mean inventory, storage, staff, dealing with delivery services…. It’s much easier making digital products that exist in the ether and require little to no overhead to manage. But just because something is easy, doesn’t necessarily make it the the right move. In my survey earlier this year, most of you told me loud and clear that you preferred printed patterns, and as I meditated on what I wanted to do with my growing business, in my gut I knew it was the next logical step. Since then, I’ve spent the year researching, organizing and planning to bring printed patterns to you. As is always the case with big shifts like this, it took much longer than I anticipated. A June debut got pushed back to September, which got pushed back to November, due to all the million little things that go wrong and need to be dealt with when you’re dealing with a printed, forever product with no take-backs.
It’s been alternately terrifying (business loans are no joke), challenging, and unexpectedly fun. It meant reworking the back catalog so that everything was flawless once those tissue sheets got printed,