The weekend long read.
I'm obsessed with this coat.
Strong opening sentence for a strong garment.
Last winter I worked on releasing my first coat pattern, the Darcy Coat. I wanted it to be the mother of all winter coats. Whether it is is down to personal opinion but I think it’s pretty close…
This pattern is an oversized long coat with a big collar, welt pockets and adjustable sleeve tabs. It’s extremely roomy to give plenty of space for layering over bulky winter jumpers. This is the 4th one I've made, the others being in wool, waxed cotton and a shorter version in denim. I love all of them and they all serve a different purpose so this is a pattern that can work hard for you.
Last winter I made this coat in a beautiful green fabric that was sold to me as 100% wool. When I brought it back to the studio it melted on a high heat iron so it turned out to be a wool/polyester blend. The fabric has already started to look very worn out, despite having only worn it for about 4 months last winter. It was so frustrating to put days of work into sewing something and it not turn out to not be the substantial life-long piece you were aiming for.
I wanted to re-create a new Darcy Coat this winter to satisfy that wool-coat-itch and also to run through this gusset pocket pattern again. You might recognise the pocket as a hack addition for the Potters Jacket. I’m working on adding this to the official instructions for the Potters Jacket rather than an additional hack as it seems to be very popular. I wanted to run through the instructions using a wool which is a bit more bulky and I’m really pleased with the result.
Other than the pocket the main changes I made for this version was making it longer and thinner. The change has transformed the garment so much more than I thought it would. Read below for all of the changes I made.
Before we get into the details of my make I thought I'd share some tips for sewing your own Darcy Coat:
1. Treat cutting out and pre-fusing as a separate task before your sewing day. It’s a long piece to sew and it's a good part to do separately.
2. Try to get a 100% wool fabric if you can and if you end up with a blend remember to use a pressing cloth to avoid melting the fabric.
3. Pressing is SO important for this piece. Take your time and treat it like a craft in itself. Use a bit of body weight on the iron to get a nice flat seam. Don’t use a continuous steam setting as it will drench the fabric and cause it to stretch, use steam intentionally and sparingly. And don’t over-press and burn the wool! Do a test piece to see where the limit is for your fabric.
4. Once you’ve finished leave it for a day and return with fresh eyes for the final pressing and buttons and button holes. Take your time with the final pressing as you can really sculpt the garment to look fantastic as this stage.
5. Work up to it. This isn't a quick piece to make and not one for beginners to tackle. If you're still building up your sewing skills our workshops are there to give you a strong foundation to your techniques and knowledge. I recommend taking your time to get a strong base for yourself with a couple of these workshops before tackling the Darcy Coat.
Let me know any thoughts and questions and have a happy Sunday.
Cut: Darcy Coat
Fabric: 100% wool loden, 385GSM (sourced from a wholesale supplier)
- added 20cm to the overall length
- removed about 10cm from the back side seams at the hem (total circumference at hem = 146cm)
- shaved a tiny bit off the collar point
- added bellow pockets
- replaced popper on the sleeve with tie and clasp
Adding to the length
Firstly I added 20cm to the length of the body pieces as I wanted a bit more drama with this piece. I’m 5ft 10 and 20cm extra has given me plenty of length.
I also removed width from the side seams. I wanted this to feel long and sleek so I folded the pattern at the hem to nothing at the armhole. This gives you the shape and then remember to re-check the length of the seams after you’ve chalked around the pattern - if one is longer adjust the length from the hem end.
Note that if you're playing with the length and width of the coat you'll need to amend the lining and facings too. Don't be nervous, it's not as complicated as it seems, it just takes a bit more time!
I also didn’t fuse the hem facings as I wanted the hem to fall straight down rather than hold the volume with some movement.
I love the dramatic pointy collar but I shaved a bit from the tip of the pointed collar for this piece. The photo below shows the original shape and the new stitching to remove about 1.5cm from the end of the point.
I wanted to play with having a clasp and tie on the sleeve to mimic a trench style coat. I can’t say this has 100% worked with this bulky wool. It seemed to fall nicely before I attached the fused facing at the cuff. I will live with this for a bit and see if I want to make any adjustments in the future. I might revert back to having the poppers on the tab or I might remove the fused facing to allow the sleeve to fall into pleats more easily.
I think the gusset pockets have turned out to be a great success for this piece. They add to the ‘designer’ feel and they’re extremely comfortable to use as well. I positioned them quite low so I can plunge my hands into pockets in the cold and also low enough to be out of the way of the waist belt.
I will be adding these into the official instructions for the Potters Jacket but they are also downloadable below for anyone who wants to use them. I’ll also be posting a reel with the sped up step-by-step process so keep an eye out for that.
Gusset Pocket Download
Overall I’m very excited to start swishing around in this coat. It’s the perfect time to be sewing winter coats, it’s dark outside and plenty of the season left to wear them so it’s a great time to tuck yourself away for a big sewing project!