Totally Awesome Coat Dress

I have been wanting to make a coat dress for awhile.  Since this is a bigger project, I decided to get a Marfy pattern, #3222.  When I got the pattern, I did not yet have fabric for it.  I found the perfect fabric on ebay, a Pendelton wool that is sort of a plaid pattern in shades of turquoise.  (If you want Pendleton wool but don’t want to pay Pendleton prices, check out the vintage fabric on ebay.)  I love this fabric!  The wool is even soft enough to leave unlined, although I do plan on wearing a slip.  Even though I had several bumps along the way, I am quite happy with how this dress turned out.

I wanted to match the rows of the pattern all the way around, but I couldn’t match everything because I had a limited amount of fabric.  Overall, I managed to make it work.  The only thing I don’t like is the proportion of the collar.  I shorten the bodice by an inch below the armhole, and I think I should have done it above the armhole instead.

I made a couple of alterations to the pattern.  I shorten the bodice and the skirt by an inch each, and the arms by half an inch.  I also took in the back waist.  When I bought the pattern, I thought that it was a coat-dress, but it is actually supposed to be a dress coat.  It still worked; the biggest change was the closure.  The original pattern just had a buttoned belt at the waist.  That obviously wasn’t going to work for a dress, so I made buttonholes instead.  The buttons are from Mood, which actually has quite a nice selection of buttons.


Figuring out the buttons.

The construction ended up being a bit haphazard.  Marfy patterns do not have any instructions, which is both good and bad.  It’s good because it has forced me to become a more confident seamstress and to figure things out for myself.  The downside is that I don’t always think things through and end up having to come up with fixes on the fly.

I decided I wanted to hand-tailor the collar using hair canvas and padstitching, but I wasn’t sure how much to underline with the hair canvas.  I ended up using the center front pieces and only going a bit beyond the collar in terms of length.  This means that the front princess seams have hair canvas on one side and not the other.  I also didn’t think about the fact that the facing doesn’t cover the entire center front.  I had not planned on doing a lining, but the hair canvas is way too itchy to leave uncovered.  I used a partial lining to remedy that, but it doesn’t look too pretty on the inside.  After doing a try on, I decided that I needed to shorten the hem a bit and also take in the back waist.  I always hate unpicking and fixing things when a garment is almost done (especially if it is already good enough), but I’m glad that I took the time to really do a good job.

The tailoring.

I like having such a unique garment, and I am happy to have one more warm dress adding to my arsenal (I tend to think of winter clothing as weapons against the cold).  I have at least two more wool dresses planned, but they will have to take backseat to my  wedding sewing until at least after the new year.

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