Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vogue 8754 - Marc Jacobs Wool Coat

More pictures


I am introducing a new feature! From time to time, I plan to talk about something that Seemed Like a Good Idea! And maybe it is a good idea. Or maybe it isn't. :)

The Coat

Time for another coat! Though I am no longer suffering from a coat deficit, I continue to make coats. My climate loves a good coat, most of the time. I now have 8 of my 12 jackets and coats completed for 2011. Will I finish all 12? Who knows!

It seems like it took me forever to finish this!!! Started weeks ago, before moving to the sewing room, this is the first item to be finished in the sewing room.

This pattern was new in the fall Vogue collection a couple months ago. I liked the neckline and the binding. And I had a piece of fabric that I thought would work. It does, mostly. But more about that later.


  • Marc Jacobs wool blend, black with harbor blue dashes, from FabricMart (300619). You need to treat this fabric like a stripe. It is super soft and thick - kind of spongy. The design is woven - not printed - so the back of the fabric has floats where the harbor dashes appear; it's a good candidate to be a lined garment. A friend received this fabric in her free mystery bundle from FM and gifted it to me. It's *really* nice. This had disappeared from the FabricMart website and then more yardage recently reappeared. They also have it in a blue colorway with cream dashes. I've also seen this colorway on Fashion Fabrics Club, though it is more expensive.
  • Scraps of Vera Wang pebbled silk for pockets.
  • Lining: blue polyester charmeuse from Fabrix (and left over from another project).
  • Trim: black organic bamboo doubleknit (98% bamboo, 2% lycra) from FabricMart (891855). I cut 2" strips.
  • Interfacing: black tricot fusible from Fabrix for collar and fronts.
  • 3 giant square snaps from Britex.

The fabric front is on the left. The back of the fabric, with the floats, is on the right. The strips of bamboo doubleknit for the binding are at the top.

Alterations & Modifications:

  • Started with a size 18 and made View C.
  • Lowered and enlarged the dart - added 2.5".
  • Lengthened the front interfacing to correspond to the additional length from the FBA.
  • The pattern, just released recently in the fall Vogue collection, is described as a "semi-fitted lined jacket." It is semi-fitted through the bust. It has a dart in the back neckline (2 darts total) and I widened the back another 1" (2" total additional width). I took up the extra width at the neckline by adding another dart for a total of 4 neckline darts.
  • From the waist down, the jacket is much wider through the hip area. I chopped off the hip shaping.
  • I straightened the edge of the inseam pocket because I'd removed the curve at the hip.
  • Narrowed the shoulder seam by 1".
  • Allowed for turn-of-the-cloth at the collar. Because this is a thick fabric, it was a noticeable amount of excess. You can see it in the photo - it was a bit more than 1/4" that I removed.

    Turn of the collar. I cut off the excess. After basting the outer coat to the lining, 5/8" is trimmed off all around the edge and then the binding is applied.

  • I sewed the binding to the coat with a 3/8" seam allowance. I stitched the other edge of the binding by hand.
  • I shortened the sleeves by 2".
  • I hand sewed the sleeve lining to the coat. Lots and lots of tiny stitches.

  • I used three giant navy snaps from Britex as the closure. In the flash pictures, these snaps appear to be a bright blue, but they are actually such a dark navy that they almost look black.

    An accurate depiction of the snap color.

Comments and Conclusion

It seems like these pattern companies make very specific decisions about what constitutes a "Very Easy" pattern, and they don't always make sense. One measure of a "Very Easy" pattern seems to be the number of pattern pieces. In this case, they avoided making any facings. They also avoided any lining pattern pieces. This has some ramifications:

  • There is no back neck facing piece. I went along with this idea, and I didn't love it. I did not sew the four neck darts in the lining, but turned them into pleats. I usually prefer to draft a back neck facing when one is not made available.

    The back lining. You can see, I hope, the four pleats into the collar.

  • There is no front facing. You cut four fronts. This means that the coat is two layers of the main fabric at the front. The coat also has darts, which I made a lot bigger. Since I used a fairly heavy coating, that is a LOT of thickness in the dart area. I think it would be better if they had broken down and created a front facing and front lining pattern piece, to avoid bulk.
  • In general, I had trouble with the darts. No matter how much steam and pressure I applied, I could not make this spongy fabric lie flat at the darts. This bothers me, but I finally gave up, after several attempts.

In the end, it's a serviceable coat. A little boring. The pattern could have been designed better. I probably won't make it again, or if I do, I will draft proper facings and a front lining.

It Seemed Like a Good Idea

You may have noticed the sweater I was wearing in the coat photo shoot, though only a bit of it can be seen. I bought this two years ago at one of those multi-designer sales that happen periodically. It is the softest black alpaca. What attracted me to this piece was the attached scarf. Yes, the scarf begins at the hem of the garment, and then narrows and extends for quite a ways. You can loop it around your neck any way you like, but I generally wear it knotted, as you see.

Doesn't this seem like a good idea?

I thought so, which is why I bought it. I've worn it maybe 2 or 3 times in the last two years.

Why has it received such minimal wear?

Well, I first wore it to Thanksgiving, two years ago, at a friend's house. It was a nice chilly fall day. But once you enter a heated house, you are stuck wearing a scarf that you can't remove. Unless you want it trailing on the floor. It's hard to find an event that has a suitable mix of fancy-ness and chilly-ness to wear this piece.

Oh well, I still like it. :)

More Pictures


Partially closed

Fully closed

The lining fabric is used only in the back, sleeves, and in-seam pockets.


  1. I love the fabric and it's wonderfully matched to the pattern. Great job!

    Rose in SV

  2. My initial impression upon seeing the first shot was "Oh, what a nice, conservative (by shams standards) look" After reading through the post & seeing all the pics, my impression is "Oh, what a nice, conservative (by shams standards) look". Yup, definitely wearable, and......nice. ;D

    I REALLY appreciate the comments on pleating the lining at the neckline! I'll remember that one - definitely an improvement over trying to duplicate darts, so I thank you for that! :)

  3. I like the coat...the fabric is wonderful! I also love the big snaps. I bet this grows on you (oops, don't mean that literally!) after you get over all the work you did on it. Would you believe I have that same sweater, in a gray melange, and have the same feeling about it!

    Great review, by the really write the important details.

  4. Lovely sweater you made with the scarf! Very nice. :) You don't see many of those made (if any at all). I like it!

    You did a wonderful job on the coat. Like the buttons and the style. Very nice! :)

    (second post, not sure if the first even posted at all, if so, sorry)

  5. I looks very nice on you in the photos. Sorry the fabric was the pits to deal with and that the pattern was not up to par. thanks for always going into such detail on your creations!

  6. Fabulous coat! Great match of fabric and style even if the pattern wasn't quite up to par.

  7. I really like the fabric and think you made a good choice for a simple coat shape. Came out very well although I agree with you on your issues with pattern design. I frequently change all the inside parts of a pattern to suit my methods - and put lots of pleats inside coat linings to allow for movement. Great pics of the inside and the lining color is fab. that sweater is a clever idea although I could see your dilemma when inside. Perhaps a under a coat when you sip your coffee at an outdoor cafe?

  8. I am suffering from a serious dose of coat envy. I love everything about the coat - fabric, pattern and finishes. My all time favourite from your collection.

  9. This fits you beautifully. You sure made the right decisions there! I think its a really nice coat on you. I think we have come to expect a more funky design from you. Isn't it interesting how we get these opinions?

  10. You make the best coats! And I love all of the details you add to them!!!

  11. I like it. I especially like it closed all the way up the collar. So cozy looking. You did a great job of adapting that pattern to suit you.

  12. This looks like such a wonderfully cozy coat. Looks great on you.

  13. A great looking coat! The simple lines and shape are a good minimalist look, imo. We had the fabric at SB a couple of years ago. I loved the colors but didn't know what I'd do with it. I like what you've done with it!

  14. It looks great! I love the fabric and those colours on you. And that jumper with attached scarf is some kind of genius! I love it! I can see how it might be tricky for when it gets hot, but it must be fab to wear at this time of your year when things are cooling off a bit...

  15. Your coat looks great but I will take on board the comments and suggested changes if I decide to use the pattern.

  16. What a super coat! Love the fabric, and the binding is perfect for it. If I wore that sweater though, I'm sure I would find a way for it to choke me to death!

  17. It is nice to see this fabric sewn up in coat. I knew it would look good! You picked a great style for the fabric. I kept putting the fabric in my shopping cart and taking it out. I have so much wool coating.

  18. I loved this fabric when I saw it, but haven't made a purchase yet! This coat looks fabulous on you, and I appreciate the detailed review of this pattern. I think you may get more wear out of this coat than you may expect!

  19. I absolutely love this coat! I love the idea of pleating the lining. You did another great job!! I've put this pattern in my basket.

  20. This turned out lovely, but man I can appreciate your annoyance with the pattern. I really hate when they dumb down patterns... it may or may not make it easier to sew, but it definitely degrades the result. I made a huge, crazy winter coat last fall that had the same thing---just cut the front piece 4x---and the front opening wound up twisting badly towards the outside because the "facing" was too wide and heavy. I wound up basically padstitching the whole front to keep it in place (fortunately it was easy to hide the stitches in the wool). If I ever make it up again, I will definitely draft a facing. :P

  21. I like to read your blog because you are so specific about what worked and what didn't. I like to use pleats in linings also. I LOVE alpaca and can see why you bought the sweater.

  22. Fantastic coat, Shams. You look wonderful.


  23. I think your coat is gorgeous . It may be a simple design but it looks wonderfull. I love that fabric and the snaps are awesome. I have never seen snaps as lovely as those.

  24. Well, as everyone has said - it is a fabulous coat - that fabric is super special! It looks warm and stylish - you've done a great job. I understand your disappointment with the pattern instructions - why would they not line a coat like this?

  25. So much to catch up on! Shams, you never cease to amaze. I thought this coat was the most nebbish thing I'd ever seen, and you've turned it into a thing of wonder. Love the fit, love the fabric, love it on you!

  26. I love everything about this coat, Shams--the fabric, the lining, the pattern, and best of all the way it looks on you.

    I think it would be fun for you to make a scarf that shows only the wrong side with the leftover fabric, with the floats. Perhaps you could stitch over the floats with a single line of black stitching per row to keep them from getting snagged. I know it would be labor-intensive, but the wrong side of the fabric, at least as the photo shows it, is as pretty as the right side. It would be great to capitalize on that. I think it would add even more interest to the coat. Just a random musing...

  27. I do not understand what you mean by there being no lining pattern. The layout for the pattern pieces shows a lining layout.

    1. I did not say there is no lining. What I was trying to say is that there are no pieces specifically provided for the lining. This results in fewer pattern pieces, which is one of the criteria for "Very Easy". But I prefer a more traditional lining, which has facings and requires separate pattern pieces.