I've been on kind of a Style Arc bender lately . . . And I've been obsessed with this pattern ever since Sam made hers last spring. So I finally broke down and bought it a few weeks ago, along with a few yards of this Italian wool blend coating. I'd really intended to make this coat in a classic camel, but decided to find an outer to go with this silk CDC lining I'd bought last month.
This wrap coat has a slim silhouette. As with my Dotty blouse, I bought the pattern in size 8 to accommodate my shoulders, but of course had to grade out to about a 12 from the waist down. I did many of my typical adjustments after a tissue fitting: shortened the sleeves, did a broad back adjustment, low round back adjustment and sway back adjustment. Although the line drawing shows three panels across the back there is actually a center back seam, which is great for me - when a back is cut on the fold I usually have to convert it to a seam to make the adjustments for my back. All those vertical seams means that there are plenty of opportunities for grading in or out as needed.
This design is also clever in that the front piece doesn't go all the way to the side. There is a narrow panel at the underarm, so that the on-seam pocket in the "side" seam is actually positioned a bit to the front, placing it just right for easy access.
I've said this before, but I really love that the seam allowances are marked on Style Arc patterns. The typical seam allowance is 3/8", but I've noticed that the neckline seam allowances tend to be 1/4". Because my fabric was so thick, I took that up to 3/8". It took me a while to get used to this after 40 years of predominantly 5/8" allowances! But I realized that the smaller seam allowance basically means that the seams are pre-trimmed, and I like that a lot.
On both the Style Arc patterns I've used so far, the sleeve heads have been perfection. The amount of ease is so spot on that the sleeves insert beautifully. The sleeve heads are also shaped with more volume at the back, which is what I need for my forward shoulders. It is so nice - and so novel - to use a sleeve "as written."
For this pattern, there was a new-to-me concept of using fusible interfacing as the sleeve header. I really liked how this worked for this jacket, which is softer in shape and has little interfacing and no shoulder pads. Something to keep in mind for future projects.
I liked pretty much everything about the pattern. I didn't love working with this thick wool very much, although I like the outcome. It really didn't want to hold a press, so I ended up topstitching all the seams except the sleeve set-in - which means that I sewed every seam three times. I wasn't so sure about the look of the topstitching, but I was unanimously outvoted when I asked my Instagram friends! In the end I'm happy with it though, and although it added a lot of work to the process, it was still probably less than catch-stitching all those seam allowances down by hand.
The pattern gives instructions for a bagged lining and even has a couple of diagrams. But I felt more comfortable making the lining and facing into a unit and sewing the whole thing to the outer at the front and collar edges, then closing it up by hand at the sleeve and coat hems.
I put in the last hem stitches just 15 minutes before I had to get ready to go downtown for a concert Friday evening. It ended up being a warm-ish evening, so I pushed myself to finish. And I have to say, I felt like a million bucks in my new coat and silk Dotty blouse! I did have a little bit of a scare though when the kid next to me on the subway opened up a bottle of some bright red sports drink! You better believe I got up and walked to the other end of the car! I have a feeling I'll be worried about stains every time I wear this coat, but I love it all the same.
A last note on the length: I did not shorten the body, which surprised me. I'd wanted the coat to come to must below my knees, and that's exactly where it ended up as drafted. It surprised me because at 5'4" I generally do have to shorten things.
I'm a huge sucker for outerwear, but I think this will have to be my last coat for a while. My closet is crammed full! But I can see making this again in the spring in a cotton twill, maybe in a mid-thigh length.