Sunday, December 1, 2013

Burda Knee Length Sweater Coat (with Oopsies)

Joining in Patti's Visible Monday!

I mentioned on my last post that Elizabeth brought this pattern to my attention. It is a Burda from the Dec 2010 issue, but it can be downloaded on the Burda site.

This coat is a fairly simple design and is perfect for showcasing a special fabric. It has no lining or facings or closures. I elected to finish it with a binding and I added some closures.

I had a very special fabric in mind for this coat.

A year ago, I bought an Italian wool sweater knit from Emma One Sock. It's a lofty, fairly stable, sweater knit, though the cut edge does curl a bit. I bought a little over one yard, which was all Linda had left - I planned to mix this fabric with another. Margy had also bought a couple yards of this fabric. Then Margy went through a bout of wool/lanolin allergy and she gifted her fabric to me.

So generous!

(By the way, I see that Marcy currently has some of this fabulous fabric for sale on her site.)

When I saw this Burda coat, I knew I wanted to use the wool sweater knit. I purchased the pattern and printed it out. I decided to use a size 40, based on my upper bust. I did do a vertical-only FBA, though I avoided sewing the dart and eased the extra fabric at the side seam at bust level. I made no other pattern alterations for fit.

I did make some very stupid mistakes when making this coat. People don't seem to believe I make stupid sewing mistakes, but I am quite capable! My first mistake happened when cutting. This fabric has an amazing selvedge, which is different on each edge. I decided to put the selvedge at the hem, reminding myself that the back and the fronts needed to be positioned along the same selvedge.

I first cut out the back. There is supposed to be a center back seam, but I didn't want to interrupt the fabric, so I placed the CB on the fold line. As soon as I finished cutting the back, as soon as I took that last snip, freeing the piece from the yardage, I realized my first blunder.

I forgot to add a seam allowance.

I was quite proud of my reaction. I didn't reach for food, alcohol, or anything else. I started thinking of how I might fix this. I then (calmly) called Margy. I said to Margy, notice how calm I am? I then told her what I had done and some of the ideas I was forming to work around this blunder. Margy proposed that I just add twice the seam allowance to the front (for example, to cut the front out with 1" seams, instead of half inch). I knew that would work well, as I really only had to worry about the shoulder and side seams - the neckline and front was to be finished with a binding. And I always have to cut fabric from the armscye anyway, thanks to my narrow shoulders.

First problem averted.

I then proceeded to cut out the fronts.

As soon as the fronts were cut out, I realized my second blunder. I had put the fronts on the OTHER selvedge edge, which definitely looks different, so the fronts and the back would not match up at the hem.

Once again, I was calm. I went to bed and decided I'd worry about it in the morning.

In the morning, I decided that I didn't want the selvedge on the hem anyway. The selvedge, while beautiful, is light-colored and I didn't want a lighter color at the hem. So, I cut the selvedges off the front and back. I decided that I wanted a slightly shorter coat, anyway. I hemmed the coat by turning up the raw edge.

Second problem averted.

I had a third blunder. And, you know what? I can't even remember what it was. So it couldn't have been so bad. ;)

Wait! I do remember! My third blunder was that I placed the pockets too low. I thought I had carefully marked where to put them, but they ended up too low. Not much I can do about that except pretend it was on purpose. :)

The pattern is designed with in-seam pockets. I am not a fan of in-seam pockets, so I sewed curved welt pockets. I used wool crepe for the welts and the pocket bags are made from scraps of black ponte.

Curved welts made from wool crepe

Pocket area reinforced with interfacing.

Completed pocket

I decided to bind the front and neck edge with a speckled, floppy sweater knit that was left over from a Sandra Betzina sweater I made years ago. But before binding, I wanted to stabilize the edge of the sweater. I sewed a 1/4" twill tape to the front and neckline edge, by hand.

Neckline and front edge reinforced with cotton twill tape.

The binding fabric sheds like crazy when cut. I cut the strips at 2-1/2" and folded the strips, wrong sides together, matching the raw edges. I sewed the raw edges of the binding to the front edge with a 1/4" seam allowance, wrapped it to the back, and hand stitched in place. (Because the knit was so floppy, I first hand basted the binding to the coat before stitching on the machine.)

Sweater knit used for binding, up close

Which sheds, when cut. (I used the back side, which is less shaggy, for the binding.)
Binding up close

More binding

The coat is designed with no closures, but I used jumbo snaps at each front corner and a leather toggle just below the bust. I purchased the closure at Britex and used my hole punch to create the holes. I then sewed it on using black perl cotton. The coat is more functional in our foggy SF climate if I can close it.

Closure, up close, sewn with perl cotton

Finally, I took half a yard of faux Persian lamb, also purchased from Emma One Sock many moons ago (for another project), and sewed up a Koos style infinity scarf (sans twist).

There are lots of ways to wear this coat, thanks to the optional scarf and the optional closures. I have already worn it for three days straight. This may be one of my favorite makes ever! (It's like wearing a snuggly blanket.)

Faux Persian lamb infinity scarf

More Pics

With faux fur cowl

Without cowl

One lapel down

Both lapels down

Worn open



  1. Faux Persian Lamb Infinity scarf??? YES!!!!!!! And i love how you were CALM about your sewings blunders. The coat looks fabulous and so do you!

  2. oh I just love that coat! I love how the simple style and the unique fabric work together. The binding and closure are very nice. The optional scarf is really pretty.
    Very nice!

  3. From here it looks perfect! Perfectly beautiful any way it is styled. Great job, with the oopsies and all!

  4. I like your coat version better than the patterns version. I wish my blunders worked out as well as yours do. Great job!
    Have a great week.

  5. I can certainly see why this is a favorite. It is wonderful and the PL scarf is the perfect accessory. I think as our sewing experience matures we know there are solutions to nearly all sewing problems and can resist that wadder temptation. It is so much more empowering to work it through and you did that beautifully here.

  6. This looks wonderful on you! I think I'd steal your idea and add the same closures if I made this one, they make it much more functional, and cute.

  7. Great fabric the closures...and the pockets are inspired! This is a fabulous make!

  8. I love,love this jacket! It's amazing with the curved welts and that unique closure .That fabric ain't bad either.

  9. This is absolutly a perfect pairing of fabric and pattern. Inspired. How did you hem this?

  10. Gorgeous coat and way to overcome the blunders, although I can't tell any of them. Love the scarf.

  11. I was wondering how you dealt with the snap when it's left open, and now I see--it looks like another dot! Great coat, perfect for SF.

  12. What a fab coat! I like it with and without the collar. Thanks for sharing it with Visible Monday.

  13. OMG...4 coats-in-one! Fabulous pairing of fabric and pattern! Winner!

  14. Years ago I paid a seamstress to make a similar coat for me from some black boiled wool with a royal purple knitted binding. Wore it only a couple times before I accidentally left it at a restaurant, never to be seen again. Now you've inspired me to make my own replacement once I find some fabric that will make me feel as good as you look in yours!

  15. I love this coat! Love the fabric and the style!

  16. Alas, the spell of your perfect sewing is broken. Now I can see that you are human but dispite this knowledge, I still bow down to your creations. The jacket is beautiful!


  17. I just love it. The fabric, the closure. Everything. Looks fantastic on you.

  18. This coat suits you so beautifully. I love it worn closed with the infinity scarf. Very classy outfit.

  19. Wonderful, cuddly coat, and it looks so good on you. No one would ever guess that it (and you) survived 3 snafus, Shams.

  20. Amazing coat, I would never have looked twice at this pattern til I saw your version. I may give it a go next winter (i'm in NZ)

  21. I might be one of those people who thought you never made a mistake! Nice to know even experienced sewers have their the new coat.

  22. I really like your additions to the coat: the binding, the closure and the pockets. It gives me confidence to make changes to a pattern.

  23. I love how innovative you are with fixes. And I love the coat - good job!!

  24. Truly fabulous. Thanks for the run-down on mistakes and fixes. Makes the resulting pieces even more impressive. I especially love the binding.

  25. Wow! Love your coat and overcoming your sewing blunders with a great attitude! Very classy!

  26. Fabulous fabric--what what a creative closure!

  27. Another beautiful creation. Looks great on you and sounds perfect for your weather

  28. Lovely! The simplicity of the pattern really compliments the gorgeous fabric and closure. That toggle closure!! If only I could find such things in my neck of the woods. I know all about those projects that just seem to have issues from the outset (mostly self-inflicted) and are irksome through the whole process. Glad you persevered to such a successful outcome! And thanks for turning me on to this pattern--I think I may have to download a copy for myself. I have a couple (hah! if only a couple) fabrics that might show well in this pattern.

  29. I can see why this coat could be a favorite! It's beautiful, but looks so soft and cozy. The simplicity of the pattern just lets the fabric stand out all the more. I especially like your pockets. Thank you for sharing your oopsies, too.

  30. And yet the end result is professional and fabulous. I second (third, fourth and infinity) the 'not into seam pockets' opinion. Horrible gape-y stuff, low functionality and why bother when there are so many other beautiful options. Love your curved welt alternative.

  31. Your wisdom and calmness shows in this problem, fuzzy problem...mismatched selvedges...cut those puppies off..Brava!
    That closure is to die for!

  32. what a great coat, love both patterns actually

  33. My oldest is in high school. In the past few years her and her friends had a habit of posting pictures of themselves...then all the friends would comment saying how beautiful the individual is...they would totally get creative in expressing this as often each girls picture would have over 100 comments and somehow they couldn't repeat anything that'd already been said.

    Your makes remind me of that...although the thing with the girls is hysterical and they've since thankfully abandoned the practice, your makes are so sensational that I have run out of adjectives. You seem to have this phenomenal skill at picking terrific patterns and then seemingly always choose the exact perfect fabric to make it up with...then of course you completely nail the fit.

    This is another wonderful example of your brilliant skill with a good pattern, some nice fabric and years of experience.

  34. That is a wonderful coat and you look really smart and stylish wearing it :)

  35. Delicious! Ooops-es or no, brilliant job. You have one of the most enviable wardrobes, but then you know that. Talented, talented girl!

  36. I am currently in Bend, OR and it is 11F. Please send coat. Thank you, mary

  37. Totally gorgeous and actually nicer than the original. I love the pocket placement, and the fabulous closures. It's looks deliciously cosy.

  38. The coat looks great! I completely identify about making blunders.