I swear, January always feels like an inordinately long month. I realize that it's only November and I'm skipping ahead a bit, but November and December seem to fly by, and then time slams on the brakes, screeching to a slow crawl in January.
It could be that we're often cooped up indoors or it could be that after the whirlwind of the holidays, regular routine simply doesn't seem to fill as much time. Either way, because of this apparent quantum mechanical time phenomena, I find January to be one of my most productive sewing months. And it's a great time to tackle larger, more involved projects where slow sewing is the key.
That's why for January 2020, we've chosen Trench Coats. Not quite as daunting as a full winter coat, a trench is an ideal winter sewing project. They have lots of parts that you can work on separately, and you can work on it slowly as the month progresses. And they're an essential part of any wardrobe with three-season wear and instant cool factor.
With our four options, we've tried to offer an potpouri of the trenches out there, with a simple, shawl collar duster in our Sew Fearless Box (perfect for newbies to coat making), to a classic, no holds barred version in our Sew Indulgent Box. But no matter which one you choose, you'll end up with a coat that will last you for years!
Sew Fearless Box: Cambria Duster from Friday Pattern Co
When we were planning this box, we almost panicked when we saw that Friday Pattern Co. had removed this beauty from their paper pattern collection. Thankfully, it came back in stock just in time and, better yet, with extended sizing!!
We know that this duster is not a classic trench; however, it has the feel of a classic mackintosh, and we figured that was close enough. Plus, this coat is designed for confident beginners in mind! Patch pockets stand in for the much more daunting welt pockets and a shawl collar replaces the two piece notched-collar. The loose shape makes it much easier to fit and the waist tie brings it all together to give it a trench look. We absolutely adore the pattern.
So, let's look at the fabrics!
- Mulberry Tencel Twill - The pattern calls for fabrics with drape, and in our minds, that means Tencel. Tencel has brilliant drape but more body than a viscose and silk making it ideal for a coat. In a rich mulberry hue, reminiscent of red clay, this fabric is earthy yet neutral, our twist on the traditional brown trench. A stunning color for a stunning duster.
- Grey and Blue Diamond Jacquard - The heaviest of our three options, this jacquard still has a gorgeous drape that makes it a knockout fabric. From afar, it looks like a dotted grey fabric, but up close, you can see a diamond pattern with blue centers inside each shape. If you've ever struggled to find a coat to wear with your more dressy outfits, this is the make for you!
- Navy Tencel Twill II - An ounce heavier per yard than the mulberry Tencel twill, this fabric has the same great drape and body as the one above. And in a deep navy, it will make a coat that is as versatile as it is stylish. A no brainer choice if you want a long coat that you will wear for years and years.
Sew Confident Box: Luzerne Trench from Deer & Doe Patterns
Deer & Doe is our go-to for classic patterns with modern styling. And the Luzerne Trench is right on trend, as an unlined, fit-and-flare, double-breasted trench coat with princess seams. It has many classic details which make it an involved and rewarding sewing project such as its skirt which features pleats on the front and back and diagonal welt pockets, as well as two-piece sleeves, which add both comfort and elegance.
A large collar with a collar stand give a more modern look, and bound buttonholes add a couture finish (Though you can easily convert these to regular buttonholes if you desire). The back yoke alludes to traditional storm flaps but in a more streamlined way, and buttoned sleeve tabs dress up the wrists of the two-piece sleeves. All in all, a stunning coat that will be as challenging and it is satisfying (what I'm always searching for in a sewing project, to be honest)
In keeping with the blend of classic and modern, we've chosen fabrics that reflect this balance. Let's take a look!
- Burgundy Cotton Duck - Up until researching fabrics for these coats, I have to admit, I only vaguely knew what duck cloth was. So don't feel bad if you've never heard of it before. Duck is actually a type of canvas that features a high thread count and smoother hand, making it great for some garment sewing, like trench coats. The duck we've chosen for this trench is a beautiful, burgundy red. The elegant colors contrasts perfectly with the simple weave of the cloth and makes for one heck of a trench coat (if we do say so ourselves)
- Cotton + Steel Mishmesh Indigo Cotton Canvas - Leave it to Cotton + Steel to make a fun and stylish canvas fabric. Lighter weight than most canvas you might think of, this fabric is soft and supple, and has a geometric net pattern criss-crossing on its face. Subtle yet striking, this fabric will become a striking trench coat that will truly be one of a kind!
- Black Technical Twill - The lightest of our fabric options, this cotton twill is thin yet sturdy. In a deep black, it's the perfect fabric if you want to make a trench that is a true rain coat. You can even treat the fabric with waterproofing if you're looking to sing (and dance) in the rain. A truly classic option if you're looking to make a truly classic trench.
Sew Curvy Box: Chilton Trench from Cashmerette
The Chilton Trench from Cashmerette is actually the inspiration for this entire theme. When it came out last year, we were instantly enamored with its classic styling and figure-flattering lines. As Jenny put it in her blog post announcing the pattern "We believe that curvy women deserve classic coat tailoring without short-cuts, so we designed the Chilton Trench Coat with a curve-friendly single-breasted style, and ALL the bells and whistles."
We couldn't agree more, and in fact, we built a whole box around it! Fully lined, with topstitching, epaulettes, roomy pockets, and an easy to sew collar, it's the trench coat of our dreams. And best yet, you can customize the look you want by adjusting what details you decide to use!
Such a lovely coat deserves lovely fabric, so let's dig in.
- Evergreen Stretch Bengaline - This fabric is all about the color. A deep, verdant evergreen, it's a bold color without being bright, a statement without shouting. The simple cloth will really let the topstitching and trench details shine, and we guarantee you'll love the way you look in it!
- Black and White Houndstooth Wool - As part of Cashmerette's inspiration photos for this coat, we spotted a gorgeous houndstooth version and we had to recreate it. Luckily we got our hands on this medium weight merino wool that would be perfect for this pattern. Live your black and white dreams with this supple and soft wool, and make a coat that will have everyone asking where you bought it!
- Navy Cotton Duck - As we said earlier, duck cloth is perfect for coating. High thread count gives it great body and hand, and in a classic navy color, this fabric will become an amazing "wear with everything, go anywhere" trench. A little bit military-inspired, you can channel old sea captains (or Jack Harkness for Dr. Who fans) as you show off your new coat to all your friends
One last thing! We're going to send you matching polyester charmeuse fabric, but let us know if you want a contrast fabric. We can even send flannel backed satin (for an extra fee) if you want to turn this into a winter coat! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sew Indulgent Box: Robson Coat from Sewaholic Patterns
It still kinds of bums us out that Sewaholic Patterns isn't still producing new patterns. We loved feminine and modern designs they came up with and they still hold a soft spot in our hearts. Lucky for us though, they're still printing the patterns, and that means we can offer the Robson Coat as part of our boxes.
If you are looking for a classic trench, the kind Don Draper or Carmen Sandiego would wear, this is the coat you would come up with. A wide collar, double-breasted front, epaulettes, storm flaps, sleeve tabes, welt pockets, a tie waist: this coat as it all! And that's why we hope you'll indulge yourself in making this slow-sewing project all your own!
With such a great pattern, we really wanted to up the ante with fabrics, and we think we've got some great options for you. So here they are!
- Scarlet Cotton Duck - If Carmen Sandiego can rock a bright red trench coat, so can you! There's something so appealing about wearing a brightly colored coat when it's cold, rainy, or snowy out (or, gasp, all three!). Don't let the weather get you down when you have this bold and cheery trench to lift your spirits. And in a cotton duck, you know it will feel just as great as it looks.
- Slate Blue Floral Jacquard - We went back and forth on whether to stick to solid fabrics and demure patterns for the trench coats. But then we found this absolutely stunning jacquard and all those debates went right out the window. A navy background is covered with silver and white flowers, and it doesn't stop there! The wrong side of the fabric is the reverse of the print, opening up so many possibilities for playing with pattern along the collar. If you want to make a trench that will knock your socks off, this is the fabric for you.
- Black Waxed Canvas - We've been seeing this type of fabric popping up on instagram lately, and it's hard to ignore how perfect it is for a raincoat. Black canvas is coated in wax to make it water resistant, and in the process, the fabric takes on a great hand and unique look. The best part is that the fabric will age with your coat. It develops creases and wrinkles over time, much like a favorite old leather jacket. That means will will become not only a part of your wardrobe, but a record of your life. What could be better than that??
That's it for this month! As this is the box available for most of the holiday season, we wanted to make sure you had the best boxes we have to offer. They make great gifts (even to yourself)!
In our classic boxes, we are offering our super popular jeans-making kits so if you're not up for coat-making, we've got another great slow sewing option for you.
And one last thing, we have some amazing things planned for the holiday season, from black Friday sales to special holiday boxes to great gift surprises. So if you haven't done so already, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media so you don't miss all the cool news!
Until next time, Happy Sewing!!