Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Style Arc Grace Coat

It was 45°F when I took these pics. Perfect weather for a snuggly coat!

I decided that I wanted a new winter coat. I started with the Style Arc Grace coat, which was released last month, but I made a number of changes. For supplies, I shopped my stash. Because I didn't have enough fabric for the coat, I used another fabric for the facings. Ditto for the inside - I used two lining fabrics. Most of the fabrics came from Fabric Mart, except for the wild lining, which I found at Fabrix a couple years ago. This was a very engaging project, with lots of hand sewing. It kept me busy for awhile.


  • A Bensoni wool blend from FabricMart. This black and cream fabric has a weave and drape similar to a handwoven - the cream threads have loft. It is reversible, more black on one side and more cream on the other. I used both sides. The black threads are wool, the cream threads are not - they feel like a soft short staple cotton. I had only 3 yards, which is not enough, so I had to make some accommodations.
  • Black wool coating, from FabricMart. I didn't have enough of the Bensoni wool for the facings, so I used a solid black wool. At the end, I had only a small piece of the Bensoni wool left.
  • Black silk charmeuse lining backed with interfacing, also from FabricMart. Because it is backed with interfacing, it is extremely easy to cut and sew. I didn't have enough to line the entire coat, so I used it for the pocket and sleeve linings.
  • Black and cream poly charmeuse from Fabrix. I didn't have enough to line the entire coat, so I used it in the body of the coat, but not the sleeves.
  • Knit tricot fusible interfacing for the facings.
  • 2 toggle-style clasps.
  • 1" shoulder pads.
One of the two lining fabrics. Also, the contrasting solid black wool used for the facings.

Alterations and modifications:

  • FBA, adding length only. (There was enough width.)
  • Extended the closure to be asymmetric.
  • Swapped out the collar.
  • Did not want to use bindings, so added conventional hems.
  • Drafted linings and re-drafted the front facing to accommodate the asymmetric closure.
  • Converted welt pockets with flaps to curved welt pockets at the side seams. I used the curved welt pocket from the Style Arc Jacqui coat, and drafted a curved welt to replace the knit ribbing.
  • Narrowed the shoulders by 3/4". This coat is designed to be off the shoulder, but I always have to narrow the shoulder of a Style Arc pattern by 3/4", so this alteration means that the shoulders fit as the designer intended.
  • Because I was short on yardage, I shortened the jacket by 2-1/2".
  • Omitted the sleeve cuff, but intentionally left the sleeves long so I could fold them back. In fact, I lengthened the sleeves by 1-1/4", but in retrospect this was a bit too much. Drafted a sleeve facing to accommodate the fold back cuffs.
  • Instead of buttons, used two toggle-style clasps.
  • The pattern did not call for them, but I used a pair of 1" shoulder pads.
  • Used a double thickness of the selvedge to trim the right side of the coat.
The altered front pattern piece.


Asymmetric Collar

I really liked the collar used on the Vogue 8854 tunic that I made recently, so I made the coat asymmetric and drafted a similar collar.

Curved Darts

When I did the FBA, I added in length only, as there was enough width in the loose fitting coat. When I went to sew the dart, which I had placed in the side seam, I realized that sewing a straight dart would be problematic because it would end up too close to the armscye. So I sewed a curved dart. This was easy to do in this loosely woven, very malleable wool. I am very happy with this dart.

Curved Welt Pockets

Because of the curved front hem and the curved darts, I decided I wanted this coat to have curved welt pockets. I borrowed the curved welt pocket from another great Style Arc pattern, the Jacqui Sweater Coat. You can see the process I used to make those pockets here.

For the Jacqui coat, the welt was made from a rectangular piece of ribbed wool knit. For this version, I drafted a curved welt. Because the fabric is so thick, I used the lining on the back side of the welt.

Selvedge Trim

This fabric had a beautiful selvedge, so I harvested it. I layered one strip of selvedge on top of another with a slight offset - about 1/4", sewed them together, and used the resulting double selvedge as a trim for the right front of the coat and the hems of the sleeves.

Closeup of curved welt pocket, selvedge trim, and toggle clasp

Toggle Closures

As previously blogged, instead of buttons or snaps, I used two toggle-style clasps. I thought I would have to use snaps in addition to the clasps, but I found they were not needed.


This coat is absolutely wonderful to wear. It is loose enough and the armholes are wide enough to fit over most any garment. I love the changes I made to the collar - there are many ways I can wear it. It's a beautifully drafted pattern. It feels completely luxurious to wear and I can already tell that this will become my go-to winter coat.

Another thing I wanted to mention. I don't know if you follow Merche's blog, Aventuras de Costuras, but you should! She lives in Spain and posts in Spanish and English. I found her blog some time ago and she makes the most gorgeous clothing for herself and her children. She used my Cocoon Sweater instructions and posted (with permission) her own version, in Spanish and using metric measurements. She really rocks this design - check it out!

More Pictures

This is me, dressed for my eye appointment today. I am wearing my Style Arc Cassie pants, which I really love, and a black Sewing Workshop Salsa top, which you can't see.
Collar worn up