Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Diva Coat!

My Contribution to the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook:

No really, I couldn't say that I often sit at home sulking about the fact that I can't go to a cool party. In fact, I often choose staying at home (and doing something creative) OVER being at a cool party. But today is different. Today is the official launch party for the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook, to which all the contributors were invited. How I would LOVE to be there in New York! I've lived in New York for five years and often dream about going back - today more than ever.


I'm definitely counting on you fellow bloggers and BurdaStyle to take pictures and blog about it sometime soon! Please?

We were asked to keep quiet about it for such a long time now that it actually feels strange to finally show and tell.
I will divide this story up into three or four posts, so that I can share a lot of photos and information about how this coat came to life. Today is just a first overview.

Below are the sketches everything started out with. Burda had asked what kind of a garment I would like to make, and my choices were either a dress (because I own very few dresses) or a coat (because I love coats). They then sent me the technical drawings of the dress and the coat patterns, and I got to fantasize about what my version would be. I was pressed for time, so the sketches really aren't that great. But Burda chose my coat version, which I was really thrilled  about.

Who knows, once the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook is in my mailbox, I might make the dress, too! (Click to enlarge)

I don't know about you, but I sometimes really wish patterns came with a "preparation time" just like recipes do. Just so I know how many hours I need to calculate in. I guess that is completely impossible, as every seamstress - especially self-taught ones - is different in precision and pace and every little detail will change the time you need. But just for my own curiosity, I have been keeping a bit of a time record lately, and I did for this coat, too.

From the day I started cutting out the paper pattern to the dead line, I only had two weeks, which is plenty for a dress, but not for a coat... It took me 12 days to make it. In case you are interested, this is how my progress went:

  • Day 1 (half day): Preparing the Paper Pattern
  • Day 2 (half day): Buying the Materials
  • Day 3 (whole day): Making the Muslin 
  • Day 4 (half day): Making the Bodice 
  • Day 5 (3/4 day): Making the Balloon Bottom
  • Day 6  (3/4 day): Collar, Zipper, Facing
  • Day 7 (half day): Finish facing, sew black band embellishment, re-cut sleeve cuffs, sewing sleeves
  • Day 8 (half day): Setting in the sleeves
  • Day 9 (half day): Making the lining bodice  
  • Day 10 (whole day): Bottom part of lining and white band embellishment
  • Day 11: (half day): Finish embelishment, sew in lining
  • Day 12: (half day): Finishing!!! Belt, beltloops, handsew lining  

Half days sometimes meant only two, but up to about four hours of work, 3/4 days up to six, whole days 8 up to even 10 hours. I think I am a rather slow seamstress. Oh, and by the way, I decided to always start the day with cutting out the pattern pieces I would need for the next step. Which meant about an hour of cutting in the beginning of each day - with all the interlining, fusible lining, lining and shell pieces I must have cut out hundreds of pattern pieces. But I just couldn't bring myself to cut everything out first at once... Ugh.

I will write about one post per week about the making of this coat, taking about 4 days per post with explanations and photos about the steps I took... This was at that time my most "professional" coat I ever made, and my best guide was Gertie's new blog for better sewing . She made a coat in her blogging beginnings and she started this wonderful series introducing the coat vlogs. ;-) It starts with THIS POST, and ends HERE. If you also take a look at Sherry's RTW Sewalong over at Pattern Scissors Cloth, which I got to know later, you will end up a real Coat/Jacket pro!

That's it for today. Have fun. At. The. Party.



  1. Oh Mann , was für eine Herausforderung ! Und was für eine Leistung!!! Da stimmt ja wirklich alles!Vom nähtechnischen bis zu den Details Futter und Puschelkragen innen. Ich bin vor Bewunderung hin und weg !!Und von den superexakten Ziernähten ganz zu schweigen . Soo schade , dass sie es in N.Y. launchen und Du nicht dabei sein kannst . Ich frage mich jetzt mal, warum eine Zeitschrift wie Burda so ein Fest in Übersee machen muss
    Liebe Grüsse Dodo

  2. Oh My Goodness! What a fantastic coat! You've done a wonderful job. Absolutely love it.

  3. WOW! :-)
    Wie gut kann ich verstehen, dass du dich danach sehnst in NY vor Ort zu sein!!!

  4. What a gorgeous coat, and it'll be fun to hear about the process. It must've been hard not to write about it before now!

  5. Sehr, sehr schön geworden, der Mantel... ich komme gar nicht darüber hinweg, wie genial die hinteren abgesteppten Seitenteile aussehen. Echt super!

  6. Beautiful! This is so inspiring, I could see this at Saks 5th Avenue or Nordstroms in NYC selling for hundreds of dollars. These are the kinds of coats that the ladies on Park Avenue wear and I wish I could buy. Amazing work :)