Clothing Engineer

Style Arc Stella Wrap Coat

This is the first tailored coat I’ve ever made. I took me almost a week to complete – 1 day to cut out and adjust the pattern, another day to cut out the fashion fabric, 1 day to cut/fuse the interfacings, and 2 days to cut out the lining, sew, and press the finished product.

This coat is partially to fill in the spring coat gap of my wardrobe, but also to fully test out this pattern and to practice my tailoring and coatmaking skills before I take on something more complicated (like a lambswool interlined wool winter coat). Kind of like a wearable muslin, but with more careful stitching. I didn’t serge the seams though as the lining will help protect things, and I made this for the learning experience and really don’t care if it lasts more than a year or two.

The Stella is slim fitting for a coat. Notice how the back has very few gathers at the waistline.The sleeves have about 2.5″ of ease, so if you layer or want to wear a heavy sweater under it you will probably need to add some width.

The fashion fabric is a hefty Italian cotton double-faced twill from Mood, and lining is a nylon taffeta from Fabric Mart that ended up being a really good color match. The lining and fashion fabric were a total of less than $30.

Since this is a rather thick and sturdy cotton I constructed and topstitched the outer shell on my Seiko STH-8BLD-3 using Gutermann Mara 30 thread. Gutermann Mara 100 is “normal” weight thread and Gutermann Mara 70 is somewhere between the two, and more suitable if you are stitching on a domestic machine. This machine topstitches like a BOSS. Unlike my Janome it doesn’t struggle at all getting going after pivoting a corner, and I can use this Mara 30 thread in the bobbin as well as on top. When I tried to stitch with this thread on my Janome it kept pulling up the normal weight bobbin thread, and completely broke the needle when I tried it in the bobbin as well as on top. Anyway, this project gave me a good excuse to try out my Seiko’s new 1/4″ topstitching foot.

For this project I used lots of different interfacings. The front, back yoke, and front facing is fully interfaced using the lightweight Pro-Weft from Fashion Sewing Supply. For the sleeves, hem, armholes, and outer collar I used the medium weight Pro-Sheer. Lightweight Pro-Sheer was used for the back yoke facing and belt, and Pro-Tailor fusible horsehair was used for the inner collar. For the sleeve head interfacing I used the medium Pro-Weft. Style Arc included the pieces for the sleeve head and sleeve hem interfacing. I kind of guessed on the interfacing. My choices ended up resulting in a fairly structured coat. If I wanted something softer next time I would interface the front in Pro-Sheer instead.

Fitting adjustments were a 1/4″ broad back alteration, adding 1″ of length to the sleeves, and adding 2″ of length to the coat with an extra 3/4″ of length at the CB. I also added a total of 5″ to the hips and 3/4″ to the sleeves. During fitting I took in the CB seam 5/8″ (removing a total of 1.25″) from the lower waist all the way down to the hem.

When I was cutting this out I made sure to allow for turn of cloth by trimming down the inner collar and the lapels of the front. My general rule for turn of cloth is 1/8″ for lighter fabrics and up to 3/8″ for heavy fabrics. I went with 5/16″ for this one.

I really appreciated how Style Arc included the lining pieces. One thing that has made me hesitant to make a Burda jacket or coat is that they expect you to draft your own lining. I know it isn’t impossible but I prefer to limit the amount of new things I have to learn for one project.

This is the first time I ever bagged a jacket/coat. I followed this tutorial by Grainline Studio. Gigi also has a great visual tutorial on bagging a coat. She learned this method from this original post, which is one of the nameless tutorials written by Kathleen Fasanella of Fashion Incubator. By combining the visuals from these tutorials I somehow got a bagged lining. Of course I managed to get both sleeve linings twisted. Yes, BOTH of them. I rescued them by slitting an opening in the sleeve lining, untangling and resewing them from the opening, then closing the slit and stitching it closed by sewing extremely close (1/16″) to the edge by machine. I think I may just leave an opening in both sleeve linings next time and attach the sleeves through that as I can totally see myself doing this again. Due to the bulk of the coat, instead of pulling it through the sleeve opening I pulled it through the front facing opening.

I’m not sure if my struggles with bagging the lining were due to never doing it before or the fact that I had spent all afternoon and a good chunk of that evening sewing and was just tired. All I know is that I got so annoyed I ended up chucking the partially bagged coat in the corner of my sewing room, only to pick it up the next day and decide that I was going to make it work, if only for the learning experience! I felt a lot better once I fixed the sleeves and starting pressing it. It started looking like a real coat then instead of a lumpy mess.

The other thing I got annoyed at was turning the belt. At first I left the seam allowances as-is but it did NOT want to turn. I then undid what I had turned and trimmed the seam allowances down to 3/16″. Still had to spend some time turning it, but it went much quicker the second time around.

Would I make this coat again? Absolutely! For once I have a coat that is long enough in the arms and cut wide enough for my arms and bottom half, with the waist shaping in the correct spot. It is a neat twist on the classic trench but isn’t too weird, and the fact that Style Arc includes the pieces for the lining, fusibles, and facings saves time and helped me make this coat a success. I also really like how there’s no closures, which saves time and takes finding the perfect button out of the equation. I have a navy wool twill with a coordinating lining sitting in my stash, waiting to be made into Version 2 of this coat.