An exercise in tracing and cutting flimsy fabric: Burdastyle asymetric trench coat
If you saw my Make Nine on Instagram, you know one of the items on the list was a drapey trench coat. I didn’t have a specific pattern in mind, but put an image of a Burdastyle 02/2018 pattern in dusky pink drapey fabric there as a possible contender. I was also considering the Victory patterns Ulysses. But then I saw a gorgeous trench coat made by Vesna of @kelerabeus on Instagram and was instantly drawn to the asymetric hem, the soft lapels, and the back pleat. She used another Burdastyle pattern, this time from the 04/2018 issue. I own this one and have considered the pattern before, but until seeing her version made out of crepe, it didn’t occur to me to use it for a less structured fabric that I had in mind. Here are the official photos of the pattern from the Burdastyle website:
As it comes from the Burdastyle magazine, it needed to be traced from the famous mess of lines that is the pattern sheet enclosed with the magazine. There were 17 pieces to trace. Even just finding them was a challenge and at one point I got so frustrated I nearly gave up. But I persevered and found and traced them all, even though it took several hours of me crawling on the floor.
There were additional 5 rectangular pieces that you are just given measurements for and are meant to draw directly onto the fabric. I preferred to draw them on tracing paper nonetheless.
Next time I decide to make a pattern with so many pieces, I’m considering just buying the PDF and sticking that together instead, rather than tracing it all… Recently I found that if you shop on the Russian Burda website, the patterns are much cheaper, and in their recent sale I bought 6 patterns for about 3 pounds.
For me, the idea of making a drapey trench started with the fabric. I had my eye set on a dusky pink cupro with a bit of viscose in it and I thought it could work for this type of garment. Yet having made it, I am not so sure. The fabric is lovely and has that gorgeous almost peachskin finish on one side, but it creases as soon as you even look at it, it isn’t easy to iron, the hand stitching really shows, and the front asymetric piece doesn’t quite hang as well as it should. Also, cutting out the 20+ pieces, some of which were cut on the bias, of 5 meters of it, was a bit of a nightmare .
For lining, I used the main fabric for the sleeves, pockets, and storm flaps, and a remnant of Atelier Brunette Twig Blush viscose twill for the body.
Construction-wise, I had some trouble ironing and sewing the back pleat neatly due to the fluidity of the fabric. Also, as there is no waist seam and the back pleat only starts below the waist, it is essentially constructed in two pieces – the edges of the coat back pieces folded inward to which another piece of fabric is attached that forms the bottom of the pleat. Once you sew them together, the top corners of the pleat on the inside are not attached to anything to keep them in place, making the whole of the bottom of the pleat drop and extend below the coat hem.
This probably does not happen with more structured fabrics, but it really bothered me here. So I catch-stitched it to the lining in the end, but it’s not a very neat solution, because suddently there is a line of hand stitching in the middle of my lining. Oh well… If you have any tips on how to handle this better, please let me know in the comments!
The lining in general was a bit of an issue, as it does not accomodate for the wide pleat. The lining is narrower, so the hem isn’t attached to the coat hem at the back at all, only at the front. Burda instructions being what they are, it took me quite a while to figure out how exactly you are meant to handle this and I’m not all that happy with the result.
Size and modifications
- I made a straight size 42 with no fit alterations
- I didn’t use any buckles for the belt or the sleeve bands. Instead I lengthened the sleeve band pieces and rounded of the tips. Now, like the belt, they tie together into a little bow. Absolutely love this detail!
- I shortened the belt by about 50cm, as it seemed way too long.
- I pieced the back piece of the lining out of several bits so that I made the most use out of a remnant of the beautiful Atelier Brunette fabric and I’m chuffed I made it work.
As the weather over here has been still too cold to wear this coat, I haven’t had a chance to test wearing it anywhere yet (and by anywhere I mean walks in the park or to the food store, as there still isn’t much else we’re allowed to do). So time will tell whether this has been a successfull make or not. Let me know your thoughts! One way or another, I’m still happy to have made it and learned some new things.
Till next time