Ginger Made: RDC Gerard Coat!!!!!

You guys you guys you guys it’s a fuchsia coat!!!! Please pardon the idiotic levels of excitement… it’s just that I’ve been working on this for ages and it’s finally done!

Republique du Chiffon Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

I knew that I wanted to try a coat in this silhouette when I first saw one about a year ago. I’d planned to make one last spring, but couldn’t quite get things together, so I was determined to make one this fall. Well, it’s my December Mood Sewing Network project, but, I mean, December is almost fall, so, better late than never. But I’m glad I got it done now as we’re having a patch of milder weather and I’ve gotten to wear it this week, yay!

Pattern:

I used République du Chiffon‘s Gerard coat, a pattern I’ve had my eye on for some time. It’s a style that I’m really into lately and have been quite anxious to try out, plus every version of this pattern that I’ve seen pop up online has made me want my own even more (check out Jolies Bobinesthree versions!!!)! However, I should tell you right away that there are some things you need to know if you’re considering this pattern. First, the instructions are minimal and the translation isn’t perfect. There are two steps that aren’t translated at all, so you have to find your own way if you don’t speak French. Second, if you aren’t a person who’s really into PDF patterns, you’ll probably hate this one. The pages didn’t match up very smoothly for me, so I had to futz and futz with them to get them to line up. It’s been ages since I printed this out, so it’s possible I could have had a setting wrong or my printer was acting up… I really can’t say! But once you’ve printed out the PDF, you have to trace it because the different pieces are printed on top of each other (like a Burda magazine), THEN you need to add the seam allowances. Ugh! The seam lines didn’t match up correctly, so I had to fix or ease them so they would match up (probably exacerbated, if not caused, by the fact that the PDF didn’t match up). Also, the pattern pieces are hand drafted and they’re named and numbered by hand and in French, so you need to refer back to the cutting chart in the pattern to make sure you know which piece is which. It also helps to re-label the pattern pieces with the more common English terms (“top of inside facing’ = back neck facing, for example) so you don’t get confused.

So, this pattern isn’t for the faint of heart and requires a bit more effort than most. But on the plus side, it wasn’t very expensive (I caught a 20% off sale in the Kollabora shop, so it only cost $8, a good value for someone like me who doesn’t have access to cheap Big 4 pattern sales in chain stores). And the style is exactly what I wanted, so, for me, it was worth it to use this pattern, even if it was a bit of a headache at times.

Republique du Chiffon Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

Materials:

The fabric I used is a cotton/nylon bouclé from Mood Fabrics NYC that I bought wayyyyy back in March when Clare was visiting and we had a big group of sewers gathered together at the store. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that I was WAY over-caffeinated and overexcited that day, so when I saw this bouclé with neon pink running through it, I lost my mind completely and bought three yards of it without even the slightest idea what I would do with it. I really find it odd that I bought it… it’s a weird color for me and I’m not sure what I was thinking. Let’s just blame this on Clare’s intoxicating presence! I used a total of two yards for the coat.

The lining and interlining were bought with this month’s Mood allowance. The lining is a stretch charmeuse, not something I would normally choose, but it was a perfect match to my outer fabric, so I had to have it! The interlining is a Theory wool-blend flannel, which I thought would add warmth without losing too much drape. I used 2.5 yards of lining and 2 yards of interlining.

Since the bouclé is so loosely-woven, I fused Pro-Sheer Elegance Light to every. single. piece. of the shell fabric to give it a bit more stability and opacity (weep for me, kids!). Then I used Pro-Weft Supreme Medium Fusible on all the pieces that the pattern suggested interfacing (collar, facings, etc.). [Sidenote: I am such a fan of Fashion Sewing Supply! I know I’ve recommended their interfacings before, but with this last order, their customer service really impressed me. They included a note with my order saying that the interfacing was about to go on sale, so they gave me an extra half yard to make up for the fact that I paid regular price for it! How nice is that?!]

I knew my big struggle with the bouclé would be to contain the fraying. Fusing all the pieces helped, but I also serged around every single piece for added security after this was suggested to me on Instagram by Brooke, Aunty Maimu, and Amanda. To recap, I cut out every single pattern piece in both the main fabric AND the interfacing, fused them all together, cut MORE interfacing for the parts that needed a heavier one and fused THOSE pieces again, THEN serged all the edges of each one of these pieces. This took approximately 9,853 hours.

The other difficulty with this fabric was that, because it’s a cotton/nylon blend, it’s not a huge fan of the iron. I had to keep the heat low and use a press cloth, but try to get the fusible to adhere to the fabric. And as you can imagine, with fabric that doesn’t want to press well, the seams didn’t want to stay flat, so I had to catch stitch them all open. This was tedious, but really improved the look of things.

Also, it didn’t even cross my mind until I’d finished sewing the whole coat that it would be impossible not to snag a bouclé coat on e v e r y t h i n g. Any tips for avoiding/fixing this???

Republique du Chiffon Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

Construction:

I decided to work in a different order of operations than I usually would and construct the lining first to get it out of the way. Now, clearly I’ve been spending too much time around Puu and her little French jackets, because I found myself wanting a quilted lining! [Sidenote #2: I owe 1000 thanks to Puu for giving me SO many helpful suggestions, answering all my tailoring questions, and generally talking me off the ledge when I got overwhelmed and wanted to abandon the project. I couldn’t have done this without her expertise and cheerleading!] First, I cut out my interlining using the lining pattern pieces. Then, I chalked lines parallel to the grainline, 2″ apart across the width of each pattern piece, and quilted the lining to the interlining along those lines. Finally, I stitched all the way around each piece, just inside the seam allowance, to keep everything together. After that I assembled the lining the way I normally would, but, just like the shell fabric, the seam allowances didn’t want to press open nicely, so I had to catch them all flat. This was lots of work, but I really like the feel and functionality of the quilted lining, and I’m sure I’ll do it again!

Since I was already going a little overboard with this project, I decided to add a back stay (they’re used to stabilize coats through the shoulders). I used a bit of cotton shirting left over from my first Hazel dress and followed Tasia’s tutorial.  Hopefully this will help Gerard stand up to lots of wear!

I didn’t follow the pattern instructions for the lower facings and instead stitched them all together to form a lower facing unit that I sewed on in one fell swoop. I also changed the construction order a bit so it was closer to what I was used to (shoulders, side seams, sleeves, facings).

Since I wouldn’t be able to go crazy steaming the collar and lapels, it seemed important to tape the roll line so everything would roll over nicely. I cut twill tape a bit shorter than the length of the line and eased in the excess, which helps the lapel to roll, then I catch stitched it in place. Lisa has a great tutorial showing how to do this here! I wasn’t very sure how to find the roll line, so I assembled my shell first, then popped it on my dress form, saw where the lapel naturally wanted to roll, and chalked a line to mark it.

Where I really got confused in the pattern instructions was sewing the notched collar. There’s one hand drawing and a series of steps in French, but nothing in English, and I’d never sewn one before. I spent about three days procrastinating because I reallllly didn’t want to tackle this step. I kept researching and researching and getting overwhelmed. Luckily, Angela and Kelly both recommended this YouTube video in their Gerard posts, and I ended up following it and having good results (OK, I watched the part about the notched collar, beginning around the 15-minute mark, about 7 times, and didn’t watch anything past that).

As I sewed the collar, I catch stitched the seams open (the seam where the undercollar attaches to the back neckline, and the seam where the upper collar attaches to the facing). Then, to close the collar, I laid those two seams on top of each other and did a weird, loose catch stitch so they’re attached. Also, to properly sew a notched collar, you need to clip into the seam allowance all the way to the stitching line a few times, which terrified me, so I used Fray Check on the clips, and then got scared and went back and ironed a little patch of interfacing over them, so hopefully it won’t disintegrate!

Republique du Chiffon Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

One semi-stressful thing about this pattern is that it doesn’t give you the placement for the pockets or buttonhole, probably not a huge problem unless you’re majorly indecisive like me. I waited until I had assembled the shell so I could try it on and pin things in place (the only downside to this was that it was hard to keep the facings out of the way when I stitched on the pockets!). I decided to do just one button, and placed the buttonhole slightly below the breakpoint on the lapel (the place where the lapel starts to fold back on itself… sadly, it’s completely different from Point Break and has nothing to do with bank heists or meatball sandwiches). I angsted for the longest time about the pocket placement, but ended up with them about 3″ from the bottom of the hem and 2″ in from the side seams. I’m pretty happy with this, but I think the button looks a little dopey and should be a few inches lower. Ugh!

When I inserted the lining, I reviewed Grainline’s bagged lining tutorial since it had been a while since I’d last done it. I mostly followed this, but I also referenced the step-by-step photo tutorial for RDC’s Michelle blazer, since the lower facings were the same style. Also, Jen tells you in her tutorial to attach the lining to the shell at the underarm using a thread chain, which I forgot how to do, so this Susan Khalje Threads video was helpful.

Republique du Chiffon Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

Shocking Confession:

Guys, I didn’t make a muslin for this. Idiotic, I know! For some reason after I’d gotten all my pattern pieces ready, I dove right into cutting the fabric. I almost wish I’d cut a size larger so this was slouchier (like Kelly did), but maybe that would have overwhelmed me. Dunno! I could use a bit more room through the hips, but this is totally wearable.

Dramatic Conclusion:

The whole time I was making this, I was really unsure about how the project would turn out. It felt like it had the potential to be a colossal failure! But, now that I’m done, I really like this coat! It’s not perfect, not even close, but it’s definitely workable and you know what? I just feel happy traveling around in a cloud of neon fuchsia! I’m usually pretty nitpicky about issues in garments I’ve made, but the imperfections sort of fade away when I wear this. It’s just a happy coat. Yay!

Republique du Chiffon Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

So tell me, what are you sewing these days? Making any outerwear? Holiday outfits? Do tell!

 

171 responses

  1. Love the color. Re: snagging…if you don’t already have a snag repair tool, it’s worth the (small) investment. It looks like a turning tool only it’s the size of a seam ripper, and it fixes snags in a jiffy.

    Like

  2. You. Amaze. Congratulations for your stick-to-it-iveness. Also, it struck me that this was one of those great projects where you use absolutely every skill you have accumulated for sewing, and then had to learn about 10 more. Those are the most rewarding kinds of projects. And it looks great!

    Like

    • Thank you, Nicole! You’re so right- it’s always nice to get to the end of a project like this and realize that, even though it was scary, you’ve done it and the next time you do it, it will be easier and more approachable! Hooray for learning!

      Like

  3. I really like your coat; it looks great. I understand the impulse towards that raspberry fabric–it’s lovely & the lining makes me want to squeal with delight.

    However, I *love* the story of making your coat. Some days I want to read substantial posts that teach me something about sewing. Other days I want inspirational fun. This post was both & is wonderfully well written! The narrative is so engaging that the technical aspects of the process are still absorbing. I love your honesty about the challenges of making this coat–it adds to the dramatic tension in the story, but it also resonates with my experiences in making things. It’s inspirational: perseverance and good-enough leads to a beautiful coat (while perfectionism-my issue-is a dead end with no reward). Also, thanks for the many links to tutorials throughout.

    Like

    • Thank you, teaweed! Perfectionism is such a struggle, isn’t it? I always find it difficult to find a balance between knowing when you can and should do a little better, and when you’re just being too picky. Sometimes we are just so hard on ourselves! When I’m teaching a sewing lesson, I always tell people that we wouldn’t expect to sit down at a piano for the first time and bang out Tchaikovsky, so I’m not sure why we expect precision and perfection when we’re trying out new sewing techniques! It can really choke the joy out of making things.

      Like

  4. Looks gorgeous! it is a happy coat and fits perfectly your style! This post is getting super bookmarked – I got the Gerard on the same sale and your post is so full of really useful notes and links 🙂

    Like

  5. Crikey this is amazing! I am in awe of the time and care you took to make it, but it is fabulous so well worth it. This post will be really helpful to anyone else making this pattern or just coats in general, as you have linked so many useful resources. Bravo for the pink coat of happiness 🙂

    Like

    • I really hope the post helps someone! It was hard to find all the info I was looking for, and while I have a good book on tailoring, it was almost too much information and became kind of overwhelming!

      Like

  6. every time I see your pictures, you always have a smile and your smile is so contagious. God bless you! You remind me how much fun it is to sew. Great work on your jacket. I wish I would have taken the time to sew a stay on my jackets. They are now showing signs of aging:( Have a lovely day

    Like

  7. This looks fab Sonja, and I LOVE the colour! But man I am exhausted just reading about all the steps you took! I have just been on a little sewing marathon of sewing 3 things in a week for pattern testing and sewalongs, and now I am happy not to have anything that I NEED to get done – might make myself a cosy Christmas dress, but only if I have time 🙂

    Like

  8. Gorgeous! I love pink. Your dedication to this coat is so admirable. These are the kinds of posts I like to bookmark for all of their many tips. Yes, I’m STILL working on my Gingers! They were kinda huge in the legs & a bit in the waist so I’m readjusting (lesson: always check fit before cutting!). I used your tip on taking in the waist, thank you! 🙂

    Like

  9. Super cute coat. I have not tackled a coat yet. I’m afraid….also, I find that I’m into quick makes and when I tackle something that takes time, I get sidetracked and want to sew a quick sew while doing the big project. And by big project I mean something in a woven. Ha! My time sewing is limited due to work, kid, hubby, etc so I’ve found that knits are the way to go for me for now.
    Great job with the coat and thanks for posting, it’s a nice color and makes me smile, hope it does you too!

    Like

  10. That is darling! The colors are awesome and I love the lining! I definitely need a new coat in my wardrobe, but I’m up to my ears in holiday decor and gift sewing! Just one more week and then I can focus on other projects!

    Like

  11. I think the sizing looks good on you, and a size up may have look un-intentionally big, but I know what you mean about choosing how ‘slouchy’. It looks like a great jacket and the simple shape works well with the bright boucle. high five!

    Like

  12. Wow, that’s a gorgeous coat! Sounds like a labor of love, and totally worth it. Great choice on the lining, it’s perfect! I wish I was making a coat this winter, but today I’m rushing to finish a tote for my uncle who ordered it last night as a Christmas gift. Yikes, I hope it gets there in time!

    Like

  13. Dude, that coat is a knock-out! Wowzers! You have much more discipline than I do to take all of those steps to assemble together the PDF pattern, but all of your hard work definitely paid off. Bravo!

    Like

  14. Love it! If I can get myself motivated in the next few days, I plan to make myself a fuchsia Christmas dress. Bright colors are the best and bright outwear always makes people smile! =) The lining fabric is so fun!

    Great job on all the details – definitely something you can be proud of and should last far longer! As for the snagging, it’s just the nature of boucle and tweed. Get a “knit-picker” (it’s a little hook that looks like a seam ripper on the notions wall) and hope for the best.

    I think you subconsciously like to live dangerously, which is why you didn’t make a mockup, hehe.

    (btw, how was your blog not in my reader?? I’ve been here before and could have sworn I’d added it to my reader! That is now fixed.)

    Like

    • Ooh, I hope you have time! Fuchsia would be a great color on you!!!

      The snagging looks a little worse than usual, I think, because of the nylon content. A snag puffs up and is really noticeable… yuck! I’ve never heard of a knit-picker, so thanks for the recommendation! 😀

      Dude, there’s totally some truth there. Livin’ on the edge!

      Like

  15. Beautiful coat! I love that boucle and the lining, perfect together. I love seeing all the steps that went into making it. I just sewed up a quilted tweed dress and had to go through a similar process, the serging took forever!

    Like

  16. Congrats on completing the coat! I’m in the middle of a project (lined trousers) that I have similar feelings about. I want them to come out really well, and I keep hesitating over various steps. I’m making progress though! Thanks for sharing your process! You certainly needed skill and dedication for this one, and the results show it all off.

    Like

    • Thanks, Tasha! Good luck with your trousers- that really seems like a complicated project. It’s hard to keep going when you’re not super confident about the next step, but I know you can do it!

      Like

  17. This is so fun! I’m so proud of you not letting the imperfections steal your joy in wearing it. It is so bright and cheerful
    I’m pattern testing a trouser pattern and have to sew up the new Thread Theory Camas Blouse. Since we just moved there’s not a lot of holiday stuff going on so I’m getting a head start on summer sewing.

    Like

  18. Wow, I am tired just reading about everything you had to do to finish this coat. Amazing job, Sonja, it looks incredible and I love that color on you. Way to knock it out of the park on this garment.

    Like

  19. Wow Sonja!! I am so impressed with your attention to detail and how well you handled a tricky fabric. Which is gorgeous by the way!! I love that you enlisted help from so many sources, it does take a village! Such a stylish jacket, amazing job~! Cheers

    Like

  20. Goodness, I love this! The neon fuchsia is just what winter needs! and guess what: I made a coat with a quilted lining as well – a duffle coat that just needed a bright orange lining. And if the rain ever stops here I might be able to get some pictures taken…

    Like

  21. Fabulous coat! I’m crazy about this silhouette since I made one for myself. Now I need another in brighter color like this one!

    Like

  22. I am completely in love with your pink coat!! So worth the hard work. I totally feel ya on how involved and overwhelming these outerwear projects can be. I felt the exact same way with the (also pink!) blazer I did recently. The quilted lining is a fantastic idea. It must feel so luxe!

    Like

  23. Very pretty coat! You’re looking so very great in it. The fabric is divine too. I know what you mean, about the moment that those imperfections turn out to be nothing after all. That is the sign of a great job.

    Like

  24. This coat looked great on you in person, and all the work you put into it paid off for sure! But man, what a lot of work with the PDF, tracing, seam allowances… Not sure I’d have the patience. I’m glad finishing the seams helped keep the boucle from fraying (crazy how fast it wants to shed) and that the weather has been warm enough to take some outdoor photos. Yeah, I’ve given up on that. 🙂

    Like

  25. Wow! Such a lot of work! I’m super impressed. Seeing all of your extras inside really adds to the story and what a major investment in time and coffee this must have been. Wow. Again. It’s fab. Totally worth it. I’m glad it makes you happy. I’m sure you bring cheer to everyone when you’re out and about wearing fuschia!

    Like

  26. Holy monkeys hats. Wow! Sonja, I seriously can’t believe how fierce you sewing technique, knowledge and skills have become. I am in awe (and inspired!) Epic work, lovely!

    Like

  27. Omg you’ve outdone yourself. Thanks for a truly informative post, while totally cracking me up. Haha! This is amazing! I’ll definitely come back to this post for info. And it looks so fun to wear 🙂

    Like

  28. it looks really good, happy colorful stuff in winter are the best! République du Chiffon’s patterns almost always have some kind of issue – even if you understand the French instructions… It’s such a pain, but the patterns are so much more modern than other indie designers, that I usually give in and buy them anyways. If you ever need some help with French instructions, you can totally ask me, I’d be happy to help! And I totally agree with your button placement issue, I remember having the same one, and I ended up measuring my computer screen and did some weird maths to figure out what the placement was on the sample garement :p

    Like

    • Ahhh, that’s so smart! I wish I’d measured the computer screen… I bet I would be happier with my button placement! And I agree with you- the patterns are so modern and chic that it’s worth dealing with some irritation. 🙂

      Like

  29. still loving this coat! that boucle is the stuff dreams are made of! i love the up-close shot where you can really see how neon-y that pink is! it’s amazing how all the colors blend to a really flattering fuchsia when all together. and you did such an amazing job on the construction! whew!! i get exhausted just THINKING about catchstiching SA’s and taping roll lines and quilting linings…. but the results are so SO worth it. i really need to remember this the next time i’m tempted to take the easy way out!

    Like

    • I haven’t always loved boucles because the bright colors sometimes blend into something that’s kind of muddy and dull when you look at it further away, not my style at all! But this fabric is pretty far away and a fun surprise when you get close to it!

      Like

  30. It’s a great color and shape on you! And the quilted lining is so impressive. I am making my first lined blazer with notched collar just now (also without muslining:-) so I can relate to the being overwhelmed part! In fact the blazer lies there while I procrastinate tackling the next step, as we speak… great job on yours!! And I love your whole outfit:-)

    Like

  31. I had the worst time sewing mine. I made it in the thickest corduroy which was……awful!!!! What happened for me is the lining just doesn’t fit. I couldn’t figure it out. So, it’s a fail because the lining got bunch with the buttonholes. I’m going to work on it again to figure out another way to do it because I like it. Sort of….

    I’m so glad you made yours because you have the most explicit instructions I can find!!! Thank you.

    Like

  32. Having gone through my own tedious coat-making project earlier this fall, your level of excitement at being done isn’t idiotic at all! All of the detailed hard work paid off, and kudos to you for finding a lining fabric that goes so well with that boucle. It looks like not the easiest color to match! (I’m also excited to know that there is natural-fiber boucle out there that isn’t wool!)

    Like

    • I actually thought of you when I saw this boucle! They didn’t have any other colorways, though, and for some reason I thought you preferred blues/greens/purples to pinks, although I should have just emailed you right away. I’m sorry!!!

      Like

Got something to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: