Contemplating Coats

IMG_1979Yes, it’s been hot and humid this summer, but we Chicago gals know that won’t last for long. Before we know it, the weather reports will be talking about wind chill. Before that happens is the best time to assess our outerwear for fall and winter and decide whether we need to add to that part of our collection.

To help us plan, Linda walked us through a comprehensive list of practical considerations when constructing a wool coat that can stand up to long waits on an El platform in the worst of Chicago’s winter weather. In addition to warmth, her advice addressed durability so we won’t have to tackle this project again for several years. For greatest durability, Linda recommends sew-in interfacing. Coat designs with single button or no closure are great for those whose only exposure to the elements is the trip across a sidewalk from a limousine, but the rest of us in the Windy City need a full complement of buttons. And don’t forget to check the pocket size on your pattern. You might need to increase it so it can accommodate the warm gloves you’ll need to stow away.

Liz B. brought a gorgeous faux fur-trimmed coat she made and a copy of the Marfy pattern catalogue for us to browse beautiful coat patterns. It was enough to inspire even the most reluctant of us to try our hand at a coat.

Our handout collected information on Wool Melton from More Fabric Savvy by Sandra Bettina and Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide, off-grain openings and steam shrinking sleeve caps from Couture – The Art of Fine Sewing by Roberta Carr and construction notes Linda took in a class with Marla Kazell. Another highly recommended resource is Tailoring from the Singer Sewing Library.


Sew & Tell included Mollie’s latest beautiful knitted sweater and a fun and practical hat she was inspired to sew after reading an entry on Rhonda Buss’ blog.

Liz B. showed us a great dress she made from fabric reclaimed from a vintage skirt. The “vintage” McCall’s pattern she used for this adorable dress was the pattern Mollie’s bridesmaids used. In the author’s opinion, it looks absolutely perfect to sew and wear today.


Debbie wrapped up our August Sew & Tell with the latest dress she made from her favorite go-to pattern. Don’t you love the pocket detail?


Happy Labor Day weekend to all.

3 thoughts on “Contemplating Coats

  1. Thanx for the coat review. In MN we get the ‘weather’ first and send on to Chicago, so am also planning a new coat. Brag, Brag–was involved in the production of the SSRL Tailoring book 😎

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Having moved to California from Colorado, I no longer own a coat and sadly, have no need for a rain jacket either. I had a great long wool winter coat in California with a leather collar to which I added Spanish lace…. kinda wish I’d kept that. Think of me this winter when you’re building a snowman and know that my sandman is totally jealous. I miss the seasons most; just green all year except Spring when the jacaronda trees turn purple. Hugs and keep up the creative work!

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