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.