Sewing coats is one of my goals this year. I've started checking other goals off the list... Curvy Pants Month helped make a dent in my leg coverings ambitions and I recently tried and loved my experience with the Sewing Workshop, so there's a bit of new-to-me done and dusted. Coat making was the obvious next step.
I've been wanting to make an unlined fall/spring jacket that hangs open, with no fasteners. I figure this is a good first foray into coat making. I have no coat making experience, unless you count my twill Kelly Anorak... that was so easy to make it almost seems like cheating to count it!
Because I am an unabashed pattern junkie, I had several patterns in my stash fitting into this category: Lisette for Butterick 6244, Burdstyle Loose Jacket, Style Arc Josephine, Simple Sew Trench Coat, and Burdastyle Light Trench. In the end, I went with Style Arc Riley for no particular reason except that it looked appealing to me on decision day!
Style Arc describes Riley as "Suitable for every season, Riley has a very “on-trend” shape with its deep panelled raglan sleeve and free flowing front. This coat is unlined and so easy to construct."
Organic Cotton Plus offered to let me try some more of their fabrics in exchange for a review (note: although I received the fabric for free, all opinions are my own). After my great experience with their french terry, I was keen to test out more of their lovely and thoughtfully sourced fabrics.
With my Riley coat in mind, I chose some of this local wool in olive, described by Organic Cotton Plus as follows:
"Our wool fabrics are made of 100% pure virgin wool, or fiber that has not been processed or woven before. The sheep are American-raised and the entire production process, from scouring the raw wool all the way to the finished fabric, is carried out completely within in the United States. Purchase knowing you are contributing to local commerce all while cutting down on the carbon footprint. Use this fabric for cozy blankets, warm winter shirts, rug hooking & backing, historical re-enactment clothing and much more!"
When I got the wool, the fabric was a little bit thinner than I had imagined. To be fair, I should have been tipped off by the "use this fabric for...warm winter shirts" in the description and the weight (13 oz/sq. yd) that was listed. But I've yet to really figure out what those weights really mean, practically speaking!
Although lighter than I thought it would be, this wool was still actually a great weight for my planned coat. And such a gorgeous, rich color! I love olive green as a neutral. Organic Cotton Plus has some other great colors in stock, too... the red and the rust are particularly pretty!
The fabric was very easy to cut and sew, and pressed well, which is important for a coat like this with a lot of seams!
For my Riley, I opted for Size 16, which fits really well. Riley is an oversized cocoon shape with deep, two-piece raglan sleeves, so the fit is forgiving. Lots of room through the body. The angled hem is quite small, but it's not meant to meet at the bottom.
You can add an optional snap/popper to the collar if you want to close the coat at the top, but I knew I would never close it, so I omitted it. I'll probably opt to wear the coat with a big ole scarf, as pictured here.
The pattern calls for interfacing the neck, hem and front facings. I didn't want to lose a lot of drape in the front, so I went with the same interfacing I typically use for shirt collars. It's an iron-on interfacing, but I couldn't get it to stick to the wool. Instead I basted it around the edges, which seems to have worked out ok.
Speaking of facings, the pattern calls for hand sewing the facings down along the front seam and at the back neck, but, due to my well-publicized distaste for hand sewing, I just carefully pinned the facings down and stitched in the ditch from the outside along all of the seams, except where the in-seam pockets are.
I serged my seam allowances and the edges of the facings. I considered binding them, which would look really cool, but ultimately laziness won out and I used some fun coordinating green serger thread.
I am really thrilled with this coat! I adore the color and think the style is both cool and classic. The weight is great, too, for a fall or spring coat and there's plenty of room for layering, too. I know others who've made the Riley have lined it, so if you're looking for a lined coat, it's doable here.