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The Clare Coat

October 28, 2017



This story begins at the 2017 Pattern Review Weekend. On the Saturday of that weekend, my group began our shopping day at Metro Textiles. If you haven’t been there, it’s an amazing store that’s chock full of the most wonderful fabrics at the most reasonable prices. I bought all kinds of fabrics at this stop, but then I started worrying that I wasn’t pacing myself very well. I worried that I wouldn’t have room for all my purchases in my luggage. So when I saw this amazing plaid mohair, I stopped myself from buying it. I took a picture, but left Metro Textiles sans mohair.


I regretted not buying that mohair almost immediately. When I got back to Boonetowne, I kind of pined for that fabric. I know it sounds nuts, but some fabrics stick with a person.

Fast forward three months. I was visiting Mulberry Silks and Fine Fabrics in Carrboro, NC. This is another amazing fabric store, and while I was checking out their beautiful textiles, I ran across the Clare Coat Pattern by Closet Case Patterns. I have a thing for coat patterns, and View A of this pattern called to me. At that moment, I knew what I had to do: (1) Buy the pattern; (2) Call Kashi at Metro Textiles and buy the mohair; and (c) Enter the PR Wool Coat Contest.


After I bought the pattern, I called Kashi. I was nervous that the mohair would be all gone, but I got lucky. I wasn’t sure what to do about the lining, so Kashi sent me photos of some options to my phone. How awesome/dangerous is it that–a fabric store that will text you photos of fabric!! I went with the royal blue charmeuse.


Before I could cut into my beloved mohair, I decided to make a muslin–a wearable muslin. I felt like I was kind of out of my depth with this pattern. I had never made a coat before and the side zipper scared me a little. I had big piece of wool that I had purchased at our humane society’s rummage sale. I think I payed $10 for 3+ yards, so this seemed like the ideal fabric for my test drive.


At first I had a little trouble with the collar because I put in on upside-down!! But then, once I straightened that out, things went pretty smoothly. I did not line the muslin and I ended up chopping about 6 inches off the length, but I ended up with a jacket/tunic that I actually like.



Since the muslin went OK, I decided it was time to summon the courage to cut the mohair. Did I mention that it was PLAID mohair???? I have never spent so much time cutting out a pattern. It took me an entire day!


I slowly began assembling the coat. Everything went well–with all plaids matching–until I got to the damned collar. Once again the collar was my nemesis. I could not get the collar to line up with the plaid. I tried recutting it but could not make it work. See how the lines just go cattywampas?


I couldn’t live with the wacky plaid lines on the collar, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and piece together a collar that lined up.



After I pieced it together, the collar lined up pretty well. Here’s a picture of the collar from the finished coat. The lines are so much better.


I decided to use a two-way brass zipper. I thought it might be cool to be able to open the zipper from the bottom as like a vent or a slit. I bought a very heavy zipper because I wanted the metal to be very prominent. The heaviness was great for bling, but it made shortening the zipper more difficult that I expected. I usually use wire cutters to remove zipper teeth, but my wire cutters were no match for the #10 brass zipper. The zipper alteration involved a lot of cursing.

After I got the zipper in, I started work on the lining. Boonetowne gets pretty cold in the winter, so I decided to add an interlining. I used pieces of left-over Polartec. It’s an Easter egg themed interlining.


I had never worked with an interlining before, but it wasn’t too bad. I had also never bagged a lining, but that also went together pretty easily. The tutorial on the Closet Case blog is a lifesaver!! How did people learn how to bag linings without the internet???????



I actually can’t believe I did it, but I did. I made a coat…a plaid coat…I made a plaid coat. I think it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted to sew.


Once I got the lining in and the hand sewing completed, I was feeling pretty good. I liked the coat–especially the side zipper. I decided that I wanted to add a leather tassel onto the zipper just because. Since I didn’t have a leather tassel, I decided to make one. I used some leather from a jacket I bought at Goodwill (I bought it for the leather.)


I cut a small rectangle and cut fringe alone one side.


Then I used some double sided tape to help me roll it up. I added a little loop and hook to use for attaching it to the zipper.


Then I took my belt hole puncher and punched a hole so that I could add a rivet.



I set a rivet to hold the whole thing together. It was actually super simple to make and I really like how it looks.


I’m proud of this one and super excited to wear it. In fact, I’m wearing it right now as I write this blog post. 🙂








In case you want to see even more pictures, here’s a video:

From → Stuff I Made

  1. This is lovely! I can see why you pined for this fabric.

  2. How did you find the sizing/fit??

    It turned out beautifully!!! I love the plaid, it fits very nicely and that tassel is perfectly paired!!

    • KS Sews, I usually sew a 10 or 12 in the big 4. In this pattern, I cut a 10. It fits pretty well, but I probably could have gone down to an 8 in a less bulky fabric/interlining. Quite a few reviewers noted that the sleeves were narrow. Mine fit fine, but if had I thought about it, I would have reduced the sleeve seam allowance to 1/4 to give a little more room.

  3. danvillegirl permalink

    Great job with this coat! Truly fits you very well and great job with the plaid fabric! The details about your experience is very helpful.

  4. Eileensews permalink

    Your coat looks great!

  5. nalani permalink

    Congratulations on a beautiful coat. Inspiring!

  6. I think you have truly achieved your goal of being a badass. this is stunning. and thank you for the details on construction. ive had this pattern for a few years and cannot get up the confidence to make it. that collar would have made me insane – how you solved it is remarkable.

    • Thank you!!! This was definitely a learning experience, and now that it is over, I can definitely say that it was worth it. I’ve kind of forgotten about all the cursing in the middle!!

  7. That looks awesome. I really like how you pieced the collar so that the plaid matches perfectly through the center front. And the zipper and the leather tassel really compliments the overall look of the coat.

    • Thanks so much!! I really had no idea I could make a tassel, but it turned out to be super easy. I might just put tassels on everything now! 🙂

  8. PsychicSewerKathleen permalink

    I love your Clare. I’ve been sitting on the fence re this pattern for almost 2 years which sounds silly. I’m just not sure how it would suit me BUT everyone I’ve seen I love and now yours is truly nudging me SERIOUSLY. That plaid is gorgeous and I love the side zipper. I’d really like to make myself a gortex winter weight coat (I live in Victoria BC and our winters are so rainy!) I have the gortex, I’d just have to figure out a lining that would make it a little warmer…like a wool lining. I’d certainly have to make up a wearable muslin first like you did…can you feel my vacillating? I’m thinking I would be better off with her Kelly Anorak 🙂

    • Thank you!!! The fleece interlining has made this coat surprisingly toasty. If you end up making the Clare, you might want a somewhat “slippery” lining on the sleeves. The sleeves on this coat are tapered and somewhat narrow. A wool lining on the sleeves might make the sleeves feel a little tight. I had originally thought about using a fleece lining, and got talked out of it. In hindsight, I’m glad I got talked into the slippery lining. Best of luck!!!

  9. Wow, I’ve been going through your posts and you are really talented!! Love this coat!

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