Like most of my sewing projects, I started with a bit of inspiration from some ready to wear pieces. Namely these Hell Bunny Isadora and Collectif Pearl coats.
I love the fur trims, the full skirts and the hood on the Hell Bunny version. I’ve made coats before, but never with fur. It couldn’t be too difficult, right?!? Well this coat has been keeping my tailors dummy nice and warm for the last few weeks while I tried to figure out the best way to add the fur to the hem.
I had McCalls 6800 in my stash, which is actually pretty close in style to my inspiration coats. It has princess seams and a full skirt. I’ve already made it once before, so I knew what to expect. For this version, I made view D with a few minor alterations, including a 2″ full bust adjustment. I added a inch at the hem of each side of each panel, tapering to nothing at the waist. (Basically making the skirt of the coat a lot fuller at the hem). I also shortened the collar, made the hood smaller and added faux fur trim to the hood, cuffs and hem.
I really wanted a nice heavy wool for this coat, but couldn’t find anything I liked. Instead I found a ‘washable wool’. It’s actually a polyester viscose, but feels just like a really soft wool melton. The lining is a bright cerise crepe satin. I used it with the shiny satin side out, to make the coat easy to slip on and off. But my favourite part is the faux fur trim. The faux fur is absolutely gorgeous and is so soft and snuggly. The small amount of fur (1/2 metre) cost almost as much as the coat fabric, but was so worth it. If you’re looking for good quality faux fur, this is the one I used: Alaska Fox Faux Fur.
Though this should have been quite roomy, it’s a touch more fitted than I expected. It’s still a nice fit, but I didn’t take into account just how thick my fabric was.
For the cuffs, I wanted roughly the bottom 5″ of the sleeves in fur. I cut the fur from the sleeve pattern, but cut it doubled over so I could turn the fur to the inside. I sewed the fur to the sleeves about 5″ up from the hem then turned the fur to the inside. I then cut the sleeve lining around 4″ shorter and sewed the lining directly to the fur. This keeps the fur turned to the inside and makes the cuffs super warm and windproof.
I cut the hood and lining as per the pattern, but it was absolutely huge. I tried the hood on, pinning out quite a lot of excess along the centre seam before sewing it all together. I cut a piece of fur the length of the hood by about 8″ wide. I sewed the fur onto the hood then attached the lining to the fur. From the inside, I tacked the fur down to the coat fabric to give a bit of structure. Even with all the excess I removed, it’s still a very roomy hood!
For the collar, I shortened the height of the pattern piece by 2″ and cut an extra collar piece from the faux fur for the inside. The pattern calls for the hood to be detachable. Instead, I sewed the hood to the coat at the same time as attaching the collar. I think it actually makes the hood look a lot nicer than the detachable version, especially when worn up.
My fabric is so thick there is no way I’d be able to sew a buttonhole on my machine, so I opted for bound buttonholes. They are not my favourite thing to sew, but I do like how they look. If you’ve never tried them, they’re actually not that difficult, just a bit fiddly. I used Gertie’s tutorial as it’s the easiest and least fiddly method I’ve found. The buttons I found on Etsy.
The fur trim on the hem was the final part and took me ages to figure out the best way to tackle it. (It seems so simple now it’s all done). I cut my coat about 1 ” shorter than my lining, then sewed the fur trim to the hem of the coat. I turned the fur to the inside and sewed the lining to the fur. I did the majority by machine, leaving one panel free to turn the coat right side out. I hand stitched the last panel closed. I don’t recommend hand stitching fur. It’s impossible to see what you’re doing!
I did plan on adding horsehair braid to the hem but the fur trim gives it loads of volume and movement. Swishy is the best way to describe it. I don’t think adding the braid would’ve made any real difference.
This is absolutely my new favourite coat. It was tested against some freezing coastal winds and I stayed nice and toasty. I’m so pleased with how this turned out but I don’t imagine I’ll be making this again. I mean how many fur trimmed coats do I really need…?