Wool coating fabric // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files


Wool coating fabric // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

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.


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.

Wool coat fabric // Clare Coat Sewalong // Closet Case Files

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.

[Read More]
Clare Coat Sewing Pattern // Styling Inspiration


Clare Coat Sewing Pattern // Styling Inspiration

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.


I like it both ways.

[Read More]



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.

There was some excitement about the potential for a View A/B hybrid. Rebecca attempted this during testing and I have to admit, I’m in love. I got so excited when I saw this for the first time.

I’ll be explaining how to do this during the sewalong if you’d like to make your own frankenClare!

[Read More]
Clare Coat Pattern // Sewalog Schedule // Closet Case Files


Clare Coat Pattern // Sewalog Schedule // Closet Case Files

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.

Clare from Sew Dizxie Lou in a Clare Coat // Closet Case Files

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:

  1. Inspiration & Styling – Monday, November 23
  2. Materials & Supplies – Wednesday, November 25
  3. Fitting & pattern alterations – Friday, November 27
  4. Cutting Fabric, Lining & interfacing – Monday, November 30
  5. View A Front assembly – Wednesday, December 2
  6. View B Front assembly – Friday, December 4
  7. Attaching Sleeves – Monday, December 7
  8. Attaching Collars – Wednesday, December 9
  9. Inserting Zipper for View A – Friday, December 11
  10. Facings & Lining – Monday, December 14
  11. Bagging the Lining &
[Read More]
Clare Coat Pattern // View B // Closet Case Files


Clare Coat Pattern // View B // Closet Case Files

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!

Clare Coat Pattern // View A // Closet Case Files

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.

Clare Coat Pattern // View A // Closet Case Files Clare Coat Pattern // View A // Closet Case FilesClare Coat Pattern // View A // Closet Case Files Clare Coat Pattern // View A // Closet Case Files

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.

Clare Coat Pattern // Welt Pocket // Closet Case Files

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.

[Read More]
Sewing Your Own Jeans eBook // Closet Case Files


Sewing Your Own Jeans eBook // Closet Case Files

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.

Sewing Your Own Jeans eBook // Closet Case FilesInstalling a Fly Front Zipper // Sewing Your Own Jeans eBook // Closet Case FilesInstalling a Fly Front Zipper // Sewing Your Own Jeans eBook // Closet Case Files Fitting jeans & pants // Sewing Your Own Jeans eBook // Closet Case Files Distressing Denim // Sewing Your Own Jeans eBook // Closet Case Files Installing Jeans button // Sewing Your Own Jeans eBook // Closet Case Files

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!

Making flared jeans // Sewing Your Own Jeans eBook // Closet Case Files

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!

[Read More]



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.


Peter made metallic silver jeans. They are magic. That is all you need to know.

A gorgeous tweed dress from A Fashionable Stitch.

Jenny made a dope trench coat. I desperately need to make one after my favourite vintage number disappeared a few years back.

Chie made a very chic parka.

A hand dyed, cableknit sweater from Sew Pomona.

More great knits from Julia Bobbin.

Cassie Stephens finally unlocks the secret of what to make with that bold Ikea fabric.

A very pretty polka dot dress from Attack of the Seam Ripper.

I need to copy this cowl neck dress from Very Purple Person.

A show-stopping green skirt in one of my favourite colours from Beaute J’adore.

Two great Closet Case makes from Sallie (illustrator extraordinaire)  this week: a sweet Sallie romper,

[Read More]


Fashion illustrations for printed patterns // Ginger Jeans // Closet Case Files

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.

Closet Case Files - Printed patterns

My preliminary idea was to create a sturdy cardstock folder with a Moleskin-like yellow elastic that held everything together.

[Read More]
Closet Case Files - Printed patterns-3


Closet Case Files - Printed patterns-3

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.

Closet Case Files - Printed patterns-2

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,

[Read More]
This week in sewing blogs vol. 68 // Wool and the Gang Cross Country Coat // Closet Case Files


This week in sewing blogs vol. 68 // Wool and the Gang Cross Country Coat // Closet Case Files

Happy weekend makers! I am currently enjoying a little weekend getaway at my friend’s Vermont country house. She’s a big knitter so in preparation I went to pick up the last skein needed to finish my Brooklyn Tweed Bedford sweater and wouldn’t you know it, they were out. I ended up picking up some crazy jumbo wool to make the Wool and the Gang Cross Country Coat. I started it last night and am amazed at  how fast chunky wool on 15mm needles knits up. Here’s what y’all have been making.


These pants from Ms. Wabi Sabi are very cool.

More cool pants/culottes/jeans from Petit Main Sauvage.

In love with this belted sweater from We The Sewing. Ingrid also recently made a rad Sydney Jacket that made me want to start looking for double faced wool…

My heart melted when I saw all of the Barbie clothes Megan Nielson made as a little kid. I wish I had saved mine….

A wonderful plaid coat from Mainely Dad (aka The Japanese Pattern Challenge, but Mainely Dad is too good).

If I saw this sweater knit the last time I was at Mood I would have squealed like a little pig.

Have you seen the new Thread Theory Supply Shop launch? Great tailoring supplies and some beautiful books!

Carolyn hacked Nettie into a tie front cardigan. I have to try this!

Kelly’s silk Rigel bomber is a thing of beauty.

Really, really feeling Erika B’s 70’s babe realness in this outfit.

[Read More]