It is a little too late in the season, but I decided to fill the fall coat gap in my wardrobe with a new Style Arc Stella wrap coat. I had a very good experience with this coat before and wanted to make another one.
The Stella is a true wrap coat, held in place entirely by the belt. There’s no side seams. Instead the side front panel wraps around to meet the side back panel, 1-2″ away from where a side seam would normally be. (When I added room for my hips I added it to this seam.) This offset also makes the front pockets less bulky and puts them in a more comfortable location.
At 2.25″ Mandarin style collar is quite tall—if you have a short neck, you’ll probably want to chop down the height a little.
Style Arc suggests topstitching the back yoke, pockets, belt loops, belt, and along the front edges.
I think this coat is Style Arc’s version of the Burberry wool wrap coat. Burberry seems to do a slightly different version of this coat every year. (I’m not sure when the Style Arc Stella pattern came out, but since it is one of their earlier patterns I would guess sometime in 2011/12.) It looks like this year it is a more oversized fit, with a much smaller collar. I prefer the sharper and more fitted look of the Stella.
As far as patterns go, this one is very complete with what is included. There’s separately drafted lining pieces, along with pieces for sleeve hem and sleeve head interfacing. There’s also pocket facing pieces. One thing I should add is that the line drawing is slightly incorrect. There’s actually two center back panels, not one, so a seamline goes down the center back as well as on the sides. I also feel like the shape isn’t quite as A-line as depicted in the line drawing.
The fabric I used is a fluorescent pink wool/poly blend I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics last January. (When I showed my dad the coat he asked if I was going hunting!) The description refers to it as a suiting, but IMO it is too heavy for a dress, pants, or most skirts. It is a great fabric for a jacket or lighter weight coat though.
I lined it with a deep pink silk twill from Fabric Mart that’s been sitting in my stash for almost five years now. Silk keeps it lightweight and breathable while being a little bit more insulating than a rayon Bemberg lining.
I added a hanging loop using some 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon.
I had a hard time finding thread that was a matching color, so instead of my normal Gutermann Mara 100 for construction and Mara 30 (or Mara 70) for topstitching I used “Pink Pink Pink” Magnifico, which is a thin but strong high-luster polyester thread. One spool was more than enough to complete the entire coat and lining. When I needed to topstitch I used a 5mm long triple stretch stitch (which is Mode 2, #20 on my Janome 6500P). It is painfully slow compared to topstitching on my industrial machine, but I think it is an attractive finish.
I didn’t want to wind up an additional bobbin for such a small amount of stitching, so to finish the edges of the belt loops and pocket facings I decided to use the faux overlock stitch on my Janome.
For interfacing I used Fashion Sewing Supply’s Pro-Tailor fusible canvas for the collar and Fashion Sewing Supply’s lightweight Pro-Weft for everything else. In addition to the sleeve head, sleeve hems, back yoke facing, and front facing recommended by the Style Arc instructions, I also interfaced the entire center front piece, armholes, and hems per Kathleen Fasanella’s lined jacket fusing map. I added a 1/8″ turn of cloth allowance for the collar, which encouraged it to wrap more smoothly around my neck.
Since my silk twill was such a shifty fabric I block fused some iron-on tear-away stabilizer to the fabric prior to cutting out the pocket pieces. Since the bias was in effect neutralized it made a big difference when it came to sewing on the pocket facings and sewing the pocket bags together – no ripples or stretching! I think I’ll be doing this much more often for pocket bags made out of silk and rayon lining fabrics. It seems like if I don’t do this everything gets stretched out of shape the moment I lift it up from the cutting table.
- Added 6″ to the hips
- Added a total of 1″ width across the upper back. Rather than dart out the excess at the shoulder, I chose to ease it in with the help of some steam. Fortunately this fabric was incredibly malleable and cooperative.
- Lengthened 1/2″ between bust and waist, and 2.5″ between crotch and knee
- Lengthened the sleeves 1.25″
- Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves
- 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration (on the sleeve only)
- Added 3/8″ to the bottom of the yoke as a rounded back alteration
After trying it on I made a couple of additional tweaks:
- Took in each side back/side front panel seam 3/4″ at the hip
- Took in each side back/center back panel seam 1.25″ at the waist
- Shortened the sleeves 1/2″. This required ripping apart part of the sleeve seams and adding more interfacing. (Interfacing for hems should extend 1/2″ beyond the fold.)
I didn’t make any style alterations, but due to a lack of foresight while cutting I ended up having to seam the belt at the center back. I added a belt loop to the center back to help cover it up. (It also helps keep the belt in place better.)