When I first saw the fabulous Sewing Engineer’s version of the Style Arc Stella coat recently it went straight to the top of my queue. Her review, as usual, was very comprehensive so I knew she had my back too. Don’t you just love the sewing community?
(The line drawing is slightly incorrect, as it fails to show the centre back seam)
The real star of the show is Fabworks’ Rich Chocolate twill melton. Their description is pretty spot on, but I went to the shop to check it out for myself. Still in stock, it’s a gorgeous, firm, 100% heavyweight wool with a slight sheen and is lovely and soft. It doesn’t fray, eases beautifully, but needs a lot of pressure and the use of a clapper to iron flat. I wasn’t entirely successful with my pressing either, later on that ,and the coat has a few wearing creases too as I couldn’t wait to try it out.
The lining is Liberty Silk Satin in pattern Manning, which I had sourced already, bought when it was on sale. It’s still available here. I know silk is not the most durable of linings but this coat won’t be worn all the time, so I thought it was worth it. It really elevates a fairly plain coat in my opinion. And I’m not allowed to buy new fabric until July either.
(that pose is not a great one out in public, ha!)
I debated whether to use any interfacing at all, because the fabric is pretty heavy and firmly woven already, but went with advice from the Fashion Incubator. As I’ve used this before with success I went with Silky Touch Couture fusible from English Couture and used it on all hems, facings, sleeve heads and across the whole of the front. It’s very lightweight. For perfection I might have used an additional layer across the chest but I was wary of making the coat too stiff.
Sizing wise I went with my normal 10 from Style Arc, which in hindsight was
probably definitely a bit small in this pattern. This was most noticeable across my shoulders, unusually for me. I often find Style Arc to be generously sized around the waist area and this was the case with this pattern, so no adjustments there. The hips also are snug, but not overly so and I didn’t end up adjusting them, although I would normally expect to.
I did make a few alterations, as usual
- small upper broad back adjustment 1cm
- Forward shoulder adjustment 1cm
I also gave myself a tiny bit extra room width wise (there’s plenty of seams here to adjust) when sewing up for extra ease.
My toile also lied as I had quite a bit of trouble getting the sleeve to hang right after adjusting it for the forward shoulder. I fiddled about with it and eventually got it somewhere close but there wasn’t quite enough room width wise across the upper cap which could have been because it was too small in the shoulders.
The length of the coat is as drafted, and I’m 5’4″
No adjustments were made for sleeve length, which is unheard of round these parts. I usually lop off a couple of inches on every pattern I make for my T rex arms.
I topstitched all the seams to help them lay flat and to add a little extra interest.
This pattern would be great for an adventurous intermediate as it’s a fairly simple sew, for a lined coat. There’s no buttonholes or notched lapels to worry about and plenty of seams to adjust for tweaking fit. The pattern is beautifully drafted, despite an odd notch or 2 missing on the lining. Style Arc’s instructions are pretty sparse though, but if you’re prepared to look up how to do things then I think you’re good to go.
A sewing friend mentioned that she alway has had her coats professionally pressed, and I’m still considering whether to do that or not. Looking at these photos I’m quite tempted, as it was the most unsatisfactory part of the process of putting it together. I just need to find someone I can trust enough to hand over my precious coat.
I’ve never owned a wrap coat and I don’t know why. It’s very versatile, easy to slip into, and out, and feels super smart. My version is lovely and warm and even feels classy, not normally something I aim for when I dress. Seriously.
Stay Classy San Diego.