Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Polka Dot Silk Robson Trench Coat!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

I really enjoyed the challenge of making my first Robson coat last year and had been considering making another for this spring. I spotted this Marc Jacobs Water-Resistant Ecru Dotted Silk on the Mood Fabrics website way back at the start of the year and knew it would be a match made in heaven for Sewaholic's awesome trench coat pattern. It was love at first sight!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

I was a little apprehensive about working with this unusual type of fabric but I've been trying to push my fabric boundaries so jumped in at the deep end with my second make for the Mood Sewing Network! I'm so pleased I did as this treated silk is just wonderful. It's got a gorgeous sheen to it and I absolutely love the proportions of the dots; from afar it almost looks like a plain classic trench but move a little closer and you pick up on the added pop of fun!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

Being silk it's pretty lightweight and despite the waterproof coating has a nice drape to it. It's definitely weighty enough to make up into a very elegant coat on it's own but I felt in the rather temperamental London climate I wanted a little extra warmth and protection. I chose to underline the entire coat in a mid weight navy cotton sateen to match those polka dots! I love cotton sateen for the vivid colours it is available in and Mood has a great range here. The decision to underline did add a whole lot of work and time on to this project but it was so worth it; the combination of the two fabrics feels so luxurious! With the exception of the pocket linings and the underside of the storm flaps I cut all the pattern pieces from both fabrics and then hand basted each pattern piece together within the seam allowance so I could treat them as one throughout the rest of the construction.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

Another bonus to the underlining was that I could apply my fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the sateen, preventing any wrinkling in the silk over time and also meaning I could sandwich the interfacing between the fabrics and completely hide it even though this coat is not lined. I made sure to trim down my interfacing pieces to keep them out of the seam allowance as the double layer of fabric made some areas pretty thick to sew through. I also chose to only interface one of each pair of pocket welt pieces and leave out the under collar interfacing to prevent these aspects from becoming too stiff.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

I just love the unexpected flash of rich blue inside and how the ecru and blue look together.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

This special silk does require a little extra care and attention when sewing. It's a little bit like sewing with a very lightweight oilcloth. I tried to use as few pins as possible and was careful to keep them within the seam allowances as much as possible as any holes from pins or unpicked stitching will stay put. I used a medium heat on my iron with a pressing cloth as the coating will melt and stick straight to the iron if heat is applied directly. I used a sharps needle in my machine and I would recommend using a teflon or walking foot as a coated fabric like this will want to stick to your regular foot. I don't have either of these so tried out the trick of putting masking tape on the bottom of your foot; it wasn't a perfect solution but still made a huge difference.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

I had a few issues when it came to the topstitching as the sateen under layer was running smoothly through the machine but the coated silk was sticking slightly and therefore running through a tiny bit slower. Over the course of a long seam this started to create those dreaded twisted wrinkles. To combat this I lengthened my stitch slightly and reduced the pressure of my presser foot which really helped. I was worried about the fabric sticking when it came to the button holes but they turned out to be the best I've ever done!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

Once I'd worked out how to best handle this new to me type of fabric it all came together very smoothly with the exception of the belt loops which were a bit of a nightmare. The double thickness of fabric combined with the sticky top of the silk meant turning through the long skinny loop as instructed was nigh on impossible. After struggling with it for a fair while I decided to go my own route with them! I still used the belt loop pattern piece but treated it a bit like bias binding, except cut on the straight grain as I didn't want them to stretch. I pressed each of the long raw edges into the centre, pressed it again in half so all raw edge were concealed then topstitched as per the instructions which worked out great.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

As I've made the Robson Coat before I knew exactly how much I needed to shorten it. This time I shortened it at the 'lengthen or shorten here' markings rather than taking it off the hem. This means the pockets are in a much more natural place to put my hands in. I'm 5ft 3 and took 2.5" off the length and 0.5" off the sleeves. If you are going to adjust the length of this coat remember that you'll need to re-space the button placement markings and notches to mark the belt loop positions as they are both intersected by the alteration line. Apart from this I sewed up a straight size 4 as I did before and the fit is spot on with enough room for a jumper on colder days. I used just under 4 yards of the dotted silk and 3.5 metres of the cotton sateen (although if you cut the belt in two pieces instead of on the fold you could get away with 3m in this size). I also used 14.5m of navy bias binding to finish all the seams and facing, much more than the 12 yards the pattern envelope calls for.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

I'm absolutely delighted with the way this turned out and feel a lot more confident about using tricky fabrics in future. I've already tested just how water-resistant this fabric is as we couldn't even get a few snaps without being rained on this weekend. I don't think I'll ever be pleased to wake up to rain but at least it will give me an excuse to wear this beauty!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

66 comments:

  1. This is amazing! what gorgeous cute fabric too :)

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    1. Thank you Zoe! It's hard to describe how lovely and unusual it is without you guys being able to touch it, I was a little nervous cutting into something so nice!

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  2. What a gorgeous version :) I've been planning to make a Robson coat fir a while but haven't worked up the courage yet. I might get that pattern out again now :)

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    1. O do do do! It's a long project but so good for building sewing confidence!

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  3. So pretty! I can see exactly why you don't mind so much when it rains now :)

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    1. Thanks Lauren! I think the fabric makes it just the right amount of feminine don't you?!

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  4. I have no words. Apart from THIS IS FLIPPIN' AMAZING.

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    1. Aw!! Thanks so much! This comment has put a huge smile on my face!

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    1. O you guys are making me feel so great with your lovely comments! thank you!

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  6. Oh my! This is such a gorgeous coat! Your fabric choice has really elevated this pattern to new heights! I hope you wear the living day lights out of it when autumn comes around (I'm hoping for a proper summer this year, lol!)

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    1. Me too! As much as I love this coat I need some warmth and sunshine! I know for a fact I'll be wearing this for a long time to come! Thanks so much for the lovely comment

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  7. That's gorgeous Fiona, very designer. Well done on overcoming the challenges with the fabric.

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    1. Thank you Kathleen! There were a few frustrating moments but it's such gorgeous fabric I was determined to get it just right so I managed to step away and think about the best way to approach it rather than ploughing on through which I have a tendency to do!

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  8. Beautiful job. I really want to make one of these one day - when i'm braver. Your fabric choice is perfect and I'm 5'2" so will be taking on board you shorten notes

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    1. O you don't need to be braver! The instructions are really great for guiding you through in little straightforward chunks until you suddenly realise that you've made a coat! It's super simple to shorten too

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  9. I have not seen a better Robson coat. You did well the first time; but you outdid yourself on this one. Just gorgeous! Love the polka dots, and I must make something similar.

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    1. O thanks so much! The fabric really has stepped up my game on this one. I'm on a bit of a polka dot addiction at the minute!

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  10. You did a fabulous job! It's gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks Lindsay! It's hard to know how you feel about a project when you're so involved with sewing it for so long but now I've seen the pictures I know i'm definitely in love!

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  11. This is a gorgeous Robson! You will be very stylish on rainy days.

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    1. Thank you! I hope so, and hopefully just a little different to everyone else on my train in the morning with my polka dots too!

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  12. I've had my eye on the Robson coat for a while and recently found just the right fabric for it(navy blue with a blue and red polka dot lining) After seeing your version,wich I absolutely adore,this is the next thing on my sewing list.Great job!!

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    1. Ooo that sounds like a gorgeous fabric combination, I can't wait to see! Enjoy the process of making it and don't rush yourself!

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  13. What a gorgeous coat! It turned out beautifully :) The Robson coat pattern has been on my wish list for a while and I can't wait to try my hand at it looking at yours as inspiration.

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    1. My favourite comments are one's when people say my make has inspired them to crack on with one of their own projects, and I cannot recommend the Robson enough as something to try! i hope you do make one up

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  14. Really lovely! Wonderful work, Fiona.

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    1. Thank you Nicki, I'm pretty proud of this one!

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  15. This is so beautiful! My mouth actually dropped open when I saw it. You've done such a great job with it. I've just finished my Robson and can completely see why you made another. You will turn heads when you're wearing out!

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    1. Claire I've just hoped over to your blog to see your Robson and it's amazing! I love what you've done with the fit. Thank you for such a lovely comment!

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  16. I just love this, I am particularly drawn to polka dots and have some fabric ready to make this pattern up, just haven't got around to it yet. Really must set aside some time to get started!

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    1. O fantastic! The world needs more Robson's! Thanks Lizzie

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  17. This is amazing Fiona! Such a brilliant fabric to make it out of, and you've done a wonderful job - it looks absolutely fantastic. The underlining looks beautiful as well. I really must get on and find some fabric to make mine with, I have massive Robson envy!

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    1. Thank you :) It was a really challenging make for me but I'm really proud of it. I hope mine does inspire more of you to try the Robson because it really is fantastic!

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  18. This is so gorgeous! Well done you. I love the fabric choice, it's beautiful (and hopefully practical too!).

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    1. Thanks Sally! It's super practical I am happy to report! It's almost making me happy that a little rain is forecast later in the week...almost

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  19. Amazing work, Fiona. I love it! Challenge well and truly paid off x

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    1. Thank you so much, I do feel really proud of myself when I put it on/look at it now. Taking the plunge is really the only way to improve sometimes isn't it?!

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  20. Gorgeous! Amazing fabric, I didn't even know that existed! I still need to get started on my Robson, but seeing yours makes me want to have one asap!

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    1. I didn't know that it existed either! I think intrigue about what this fabric actually is was a fairly large part of my reasoning for ordering it! So pleased to here that my project might spur you on in making yours!

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  21. Fiona this coat is the perfect match of fabric to pattern, and your alterations are spot on. It looks amazing - good job with your hard work!

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    1. Thank you so much! I feel like using such a special fabric really pushes me to make my construction and alterations spot on. No cutting corners here!

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  22. I can't even deal with this. It's just so beautiful!

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    1. Aw thanks so much Sonja! You could totally have your own!

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  23. This is such a great coat - you're right to be delighted with it!

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    1. Thank you Ruth! Now a little bit of time has passed and I've sort of forgotten the difficult points in the construction I love it even more!

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  24. I love the contrast between the main fabric and the navy underlining. Beautiful work Fiona! x

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    1. Thanks Jane! I had actually been hunting high and low for some sateen to match the 'ecru' background. It turns out there are a whole lot of different shades of cream/beige around! It worked out for the best though as I am so delighted with how the navy looks!

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  25. Polka dots on a trench! That's the best combination. Love the fabrics you've chosen.

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    1. Thanks so much! I saw this fabric and literally could not resist! It was nearly my very first project for the MSN and I couldn't stop thinking about it!

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  26. You did an amazing job with a slippery fabric and the results look great. I love how natural the pockets look in the front now that you've made the change. Also, I love the colour you chose for the inside of the coat with all the neat bias bindings.

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    1. Thank you! It took quite some time fiddling with settings and googling tips to work out the best method for the fabric but I'm very pleased with the results! I too am so pleased with the pocket placement now

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  27. I love this! It looks absolutely gorgeous on you! It was lovely meeting you today and you totally convinced me to make an Anna dress! :D

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    1. Thank you so much! It was really lovely meeting you too. It was a shame I couldn't wear the coat to show you in reality but I'm not complaining about the sunshine!

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  28. This is amazing! You've absolutely outdone yourself. Gorgeous, gorgeous coat.

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    1. Thanks so much! It feels pretty special to wear and even more so when I get to tell people I made it!

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  29. You look the bees knees! This is seriously impressive. You've been knocking it out of the park with your Mood makes :-)

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    1. Thanks so much Amy! I'm absolutely in love with it!

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  30. i'm kind of in awe of this - i always see versions of this pattern and practically die of exhaustion considering all of the fiddly bits it would take to finish! your version is great, with loads of personality - beautiful work.

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    1. You could totally deal with a pattern like this! I love all the little bits as it breaks it up. I think as long as you accept that it's a project that's going to take some time it's really great

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!