Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vogue 1069 - Issey Miyake Embroidered Wool Coat

As Self Stitched September was waning, I was beginning to get a hankering to make a coat... or three. When I ordered this embroidered wool fabric from Fabric Mart months ago (it's no longer available), I was surprised when it arrived. It was quite thin, kinda rough, but very drapey. I can't remember what I originally had in mind for it (and maybe I had nothing in mind at all), but I was perplexed when it arrived - it reminded me of a thin army blanket that had been embroidered. I put it away.

Later, I cut a square and threw it in a load of laundry to see what would happen. It felted up, so was less thin, but much of the embroidery unraveled and I really didn't like the result, which was now thick(er) and still rough.

Some time later I was at a friend's house and she had this Vogue pattern laying out. I had never really paid attention to this Miyake pattern before – it looks so... conventional. ;) But I started really studying it and it had some features that I liked: the shawl collar, a shoulder princess seam that curves to the side seam, the slight fullness at the hem, and a sleeve gusset.

Actually, when you open up the pattern, it is more interesting than it first appears. The seams are all sewn as lapped seams. The sleeve and the curved piece at the side are both cut together - and that pattern piece is where the gusset is attached. The front band and shawl collar are a single pattern piece. You cut out two of these, sew in a tuck and a large dart to create shaping, seam them together as center back, and then attach to the coat backwards. The lining is then attached and the collar is brought around to the front and partially attached. The rest is left unsewn, so it flaps open when you move and the wrong side of the fabric can show.


  • Navy wool with embroidered rayon squiggles from FabricMart. (They no longer have it on their website.)
  • Slate blue poly charmeuse from Fabrix for the lining.
  • Leftover black, diagonal poly used to line my McCalls 5525 trench coat - used for the pockets.
  • Two size 10 (3/4") black Dritz sew-in snaps.

I cut out View A (the shorter version) in the largest size (20) and made some modifications before the constructing the muslin:

  • A princess seam FBA on the side front. (I didn't modify the side piece that is attached to the sleeve.)
  • Shortened the sleeve by 4".

Modifications and alterations after the muslin:

  • The sleeve is a bit narrow at the bicep. I widened it 1" at the top of the sleeve, tapering it to nothing at the elbow. (This widened the sleeve a total of 2" at the bicep.) I had to move the gusset slit – I traced off the original gusset slit and then moved it to the new location and copied it.

  • After making the muslin, I tweaked the FBA further.
  • I drafted a pocket in the princess seam.

    The pocket pattern that I drafted, next to a pocket sewn into the coat.

  • The pattern calls for lapped seams that are zigzagged. I didn't want to use this construction because of the rayon embroidery, which tends to ravel where it's cut. I used conventional right-side-to-right-side seaming. This required thinking ahead, especially for the collar.
  • I managed to lose the gusset pattern piece, so I drafted a new one.
  • The pattern calls for hidden buttons/buttonholes and I was planning to do that. But when the time came, I decided to use snaps instead. The biggest snaps I had on hand were size 10s (3/4"), but I would have used bigger ones if I'd had them on hand.
  • Where the embroidery looks like it might unravel, I applied Fray Block.
  • After the outer coat was constructed, I took it in a bit at the side seams. I always do this final tweak at the end of construction.

Worn open

Trying to show how the front flap opens to reveal the wrong side of the fabric - but the camera went off a bit too soon. :)

Flashing the lining. Silky soft to wear, nasty to sew. I didn't mention it in the text, but I also did a bit of gathering at the bust to fit around the cure. This was accomplished in the wool shell as easing, but you can see the slight gathering in the lining, particularly on the left side.

Pocket closeup

Used 3/4" snaps instead of buttons

Reverse front flap is left partially unsewn.


This is a fun unstructured coat. I'm not sure how flattering the wide hem is, but I will see how I like it over time. It really needs pockets,so I would recommend adding those. And the bicep is narrow, so I recommend making a muslin first. Because the way the coat is constructed, the shawl collar is formed at the very end. I find that it's a bit "messy", as shawl collars go. It doesn't lay as well as one might like. I'm not sure if this is a result of the FBA or not. It's ok, and I like how full it is, but it's a bit fussy.