Monday, January 20, 2014

The Liberty Trench!

Hooray for my first finished garment of 2014! I actually finished my trench about a week ago. But you know how I am about photos...anyway, it's all done.

This is a long review. Just so you know.

So to review, I used the #1925 Barbara's Trench pattern from Silhouettes Patterns. This pattern is based on a Burberry trench with the addition of a french dart for shaping. Most of my fit adjustments are mentioned in this post, so I won't go over them again.

For the coat, I used:

  • 4 yards water repellant tan cotton sateen from Fabric Mart
  • Leather buckles (1" and 2") from Wawak
  • 1.5 yards Liberty of London Tana Lawn in Claire-Aude from ebay
  • 1 yard polyester lining for the sleeves
  • 1 package hem tape in ivory
  • An alarming amount of buttons (18 for the outside, 10 clear for inside support) from Wawak and Pacific Fabrics

Had it not been for the Liberty lawn, this coat would have been fairly cheap to make. I snatched up the sateen from Fabric Mart during a sale for $5.20 a yard. Initially, I ordered all of my buttons from Wawak. Once they arrived, I noticed that my buttons were two different colors (product numbers were correct). Rather than risk getting more of the same, I headed over to Pacific Fabrics for buttons.

Now a few words about the pattern...

I've never used a Silhouettes pattern before. Most of the styles offered don't really appeal to me.  I honestly don't remember how I ended up on the Silhouettes Patterns site. I think I fell down a google image search wormhole.

The pattern comes in two size ranges (regular and plus) and includes separate cup sizes (B, C, D) for each. Win. So, if you've had trouble finding a trench coat pattern that fits, you may want to give this pattern a try. Also, there are no body measurements given, only finished measurements. You will need to have a good idea of the amount of ease you prefer in order to select the correct size. I made a size 4 with D cup, grading down to a size 3 at the hips.

There are also two webcasts with tips and instructions for constructing your trench coat: Part 1 and Part 2 . Each webcast was extremely helpful. I was able to finally figure out how to make welt pockets. Another win. I loved all the little details on this coat. I only skipped one: the coat hook and eye at the collar. I couldn't get it to work.

Welt pockets, sleeve buckles, epaulettes, chain-stitching, oh my!

The webcasts also shed some light some of the pattern instructions. Although this pattern is great, there are a lot of fiddly parts and new things to grasp. First, all the seam allowances are 3/8". I LOVED that. I spent no time trimming seam allowances. No bulky seams. Perfect. There was also a new-to-me technique to get perfect collar points without trimming corners or using a point turner.

The instructions boast that the coat can be made with most fabrics (poplin, garbadine, denim) without using interfacing. However, if you chose, you could interface the entire coat with fusible knit interfacing to combat wrinkling. No way would I have made this coat without interfacing. I interfaced the entire coat with knit interfacing. Worked extremely well and it did indeed keep the wrinkles at bay.

Relaxed and all buttoned up

Fiddly that jumps to mind are the belt loops. The pattern pieces are tiny rectangles. You need to cut and sew each one. No to that. Instead, I cut a strip of fabric the same width, folded and top-stitched, then cut to the correct length. Next, the instructions for finishing the hem of the coat and lining did not make much sense. From the illustration, I couldn't tell if the lining was supposed to hang free or be stitched to the coat as you top-stitched the hem. If I would have followed the instructions for the coat hem, there would have been a sizable gap between the top of the coat hem and the bottom of the lining hem. You could see the wrong (interfaced) side of the coat. Again, no to that. Instead, I finished the coat hem with hem tape. This closed that unsightly little gap.

Finally, the sleeves gave me the most grief. Most was my own fault. I had to raise the armsyce considerably (about 2"). This made the sleeve misbehave and not line up correctly. The pattern required tie interfacing for the sleeves. I kind of hate it when a pattern requires something special and doesn't list any alternatives if that something special is expensive or hard-to-find. Tie interfacing is available through the Silhouettes Patterns website for $9.50 a yard. I thought I could get around that by going to Goodwill and buying a couple of old ties. Turns out Goodwill is not that cheap anymore. Argh. But all this for tie interfacing when essentially you're using it as a sleeve head. There are several tutorials (here and here) for this process and you don't need tie interfacing to do it.

Despite the few fiddly bits, this is a great pattern. It fits well with minimal effort and the details elevate it above other trench coat patterns I've come across. I really love this coat. I do plan on making others in a multitude of colors. But that's later on down the road. The next few sewing projects in my queue are a lot less labor intensive. It will be a while before I tackle another project of this magnitude.


  1. I love this!!!

    I am embarking on my first outerwear piece next month. I just saw this tan fabric on FM but ended up buying the black ($2.40!!).

    I am so impressed by all your details you added. Perfection. Absolute perfection!

  2. You did a great job. That is a first rate coat that anyone would be proud to wear! I LOVE, LOVE the Liberty fabric as your lining. A very special touch!!

  3. Your trench is gorgeous! It fits beautifully, and I too love the lining!

  4. Your trench coat is superb. The Liberty fabric is a very nice touch. I imagine it feels so nice against your skin. I used it once for a dress and it was so darn nice to work with. I'm currently hoarding some now. One day I'll use it.

    But back to your coat. It looks really professional. Feeling tempted to add this to the to-make list.

    1. Thanks!

      I was thinking of buying more Liberty to make a popover blouse just like this one from J.Crew:

  5. OMG! This coat us beautiful, simply beautiful!

  6. Whoa! This one is stellar! I'm not sure I would have the patience for all those little fiddly bits, but you're really enticing me. Your coat is just amazing! I really love the little peek of Liberty on the undercollar.


Thanks for commenting with thoughtfulness and maturity.

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