Ginger Made: Gerard #2, or, I Always Wanted to be a Tenenbaum, You Know?

Hi, guys! Hope all is well with you, and that if you’re here in the northeast, you’re not too tired from digging yourselves out of the snow! I must confess to secretly being glad about the snowfall… what better excuse to wear my new faux fur coat?!

Friends, I’ve wanted a coat like this for many years (to be exact, since I first saw The Royal Tenenbaums way back in 2001, when I was but a wee college freshman. I fell in love with the movie, the soundtrack, and Margot’s coat). I’m so excited to finally make one! I know that sewing with faux fur can be intimidating to many, but at the workshop where I began working this past summer, we sew with it all the time, so I’ve gotten in some good practice and I want you all to know that it’s not hard at all! It takes some time, to be sure, but it’s not difficult and it’s so rewarding! DO NOT FEAR, DUDES! Moody Margot Tenenbaum coats for everyone!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

So, I decided that my first Mood Sewing Network* project of 2015 would be The Coat! I spent ages at Mood, torn between different fabrics, and had a really hard time making a decision! But this golden fabric looked really expensive and lush, plus it’s imported from France, ooh la la! As a bonus, I look like a giant golden retriever, and who doesn’t want that? Decision made!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

I considered a few different patterns, but in the end, opted to use the République Du Chiffon Gerard pattern again, the same one I used for my bouclé coat. Doesn’t it look different in fur??? I love how much fabric choice can alter a pattern’s look! Plus, this is a pretty simple design, which is key when you’re working with faux fur. Each seam takes time to prep and finish, so you don’t want to add extra work for yourself, plus the fur itself will obscure the lines, so there’s no point in making something with lots of design lines. Another thing to think about is that since fur is puffy, things look bigger in it, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing a shape. You can see how much bulkier this coat looks than the bouclé version!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

Since I didn’t want any unnecessary seams, I cut the coat back and the lower facing on the fold (originally they both had a seam at the center back). I also eliminated the patch pockets and instead made side-seam pockets for a smoother silhouette. Now, this is controversial, but I didn’t use any interfacing at all! I’d initially planned to baste in silk organza, but I decided I wanted a very soft look, so I skipped it. But I did tape the neckline, lapels, and any other area I thought might stretch, applying twill tape that I’d ironed to shrink with a catch stitch. Faux fur can get really heavy, so I wanted to make sure things wouldn’t sag and stretch out of shape over time. Likewise, I taped the roll line like I did last time. I meant to include a back stay again, buuuuuuut… I forgot. Oops! Also, I realized this time around that I made a slight mistake on my last Gerard by adding a seam allowance to the upper edge of the sleeve interfacing… this made my sleeves 1cm shorter than they should have been. The length is perfect with the 1cm added back in!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

The most important thing of all when you’re dealing with faux fur is to check and double-check that your nap is going the right direction! It would be super uggo if one of your pieces is cut the wrong direction! It can help to make an arrow on all your pattern pieces just to make sure you’re positioning everything the right way. I had to re-cut the upper collar because I got confused and cut it the wrong way… I just barely had enough fabric to do this, phew! I sewed everything together with a longer straight stitch (around 3mm). After sewing the seams, I use a comb (just a regular plastic comb for hair!) to pull the fur out of the seam on both right and wrong sides, then I trim all the fur out of the seam allowance. I couldn’t press this fabric, so I just finger pressed the seams open and catch stitched them down. Slow, but it does the trick! I’m going to post some detailed tips on how to work with faux fur very soon, so keep an eye out for that!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

If you sew a faux fur coat and decide to bag the lining, learn from my mistake and do not, I repeat, DO NOT try to turn it back out through a hole in the sleeve lining. Holy cow, that was a huge mistake! It’s not that the opening isn’t big enough, but rather that the coat is too bulky to pull through the sleeve itself. Turning it through an opening in the center back seam is a much better idea. 🙂

I splurged on kasha lining from A Fashionable Stitch for the coat, and it’s really, really nice! Kasha is a flannel-backed satin, much thicker and warmer than usual lining fabrics. For additional warmth, I interlined the coat with lambswool from Steinlauf & Stoller here in the city. The coat is so warm and snuggly… I love it! I used 2 yards of faux fur, 1.5 yards of lining, and 1 yard of lambswool (we had a miscommunication at the store,  but I was able to make it work by piecing one sleeve together… phew!).

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

I’m really pleased with my final coat! I’ve left off a closure for the time being as I’m still deciding what I want to do, but I’m leaning towards a large hook and eye so I can wear it open or closed without seeing any kind of closure (I’m thinking a snap might look kind of ugly when the coat is open). The whole thing is a bit over the top, but hey, it’s really fun to wear! Man Friend, on the other hand, isn’t so sure about this one. He was excited by the fabric (“you’ll look like a lemur!”), but when I tried on the finished product, he thought I looked like “an ewok”. Honestly, I thought he would go for a Joe Namath comparison, so an ewok is pretty flattering by comparison. 🙂 I don’t care… I feel like a sassy starlet in this! No pictures, please! 😉

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

What do you think? Tempted to give faux fur a go??? It’s not hard, I promise! Now, tell me, what are you working on??? Anything fun? And, do you think golden retriever fur counts for Jungle January? 😉

*Once a month I receive a fabric allowance from Mood to make something fun! I blog it first on the MSN blog, then over here. If I use stash materials or things purchased from another source, I’ll let you know in my post. 🙂

212 responses

  1. Oh man! Why our winter has to be so hot! Now I want one! I love it! It so awesome to see how the same sewing pattern can produce two-so different-garments! I would never have thought that Gerard could become such a lovely faux fur coat!

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  2. Love a good fur coat in winter! I really like the simple shape and your fur looks really beautiful. I have some but with longer hair and I still don’t know what to make with it.

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  3. Amazing coat! Judging by the landscape, it hardly matters what it makes you look like, so long as it keeps you warm 🙂
    As I am just making a faux fur jacket myself at the moment, can I please ask a few technical questions?
    When you say bagging at centre back, this is assuming there is a centre back seam or is it at the bottom between coat hem and lining hem? Also, how did you manage the wool interlining, basted onto the kasha lining? Cheers, Alex!

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    • Absolutely! Yep, there is a center back seam in the lining pattern for this coat. You could also just handstitch the lining down at the hem like you described, too. And I machine basted the lambswool to the kasha, sewing it 1/8″ inside the seam allowance and then trimming the wool down to get rid of as much bulk as I can. In the past I’ve also quilted interlining to the lining (I did this on my first Gerard coat… you can see a picture of it in that post) but I didn’t feel like doing it this time.

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  4. that coat is awesomesauce. i have a black fur jacket i bought over 10 years ago on clearance for like 20 bucks and I still whip it out every once in awhile. i call it my gorilla jacket. i look ridiculous and i don’t care. love the royal tenenbaums–it’s once of my most favoritest movies.

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  5. Haha– if golden retriever fur counts for Jungle January, then I can play next year! Not an animal print girl, generally speaking, but their fur does end up on everything I sew!

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  6. Duuuuuude…
    Sorry, I just had to stop over here to leave you another groan-y, incoherent comment. I. LOVE. THIS. SO. FREAKING. MUCH! Gah! It hurts! I am shaking my fists at the Texas weather and it’s ability to make sewing a faux fur coat seem laughable…

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  7. This is supercute on you! Looks great with your hair and skin and who doesn’t love the Tenenbaums? B-) What kind of workshop are you working at? Professionally or as a hobby? I think I missed that. Sounds like a great place!

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  8. Geee! You like a real movie star. Don’t take off the shades!!! I’ve never sewn with fake fur (or real one for this matter), but now when I see your coat I’d like to try, I think. You look so comfortable and warm in it! I also want to mention the boots, THE BOOTS! What a star!

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    • Thanks, Inna! I’m so surprised! You seem like you would have made something with fake fur before, probs because you’re so glamorous! You know what, the boots I found secondhand on eBay but they have always looked fancier than that!

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  9. OH….MY…..GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is outstanding!! I love how you give us tips and everything, I’m pinning this so one day when I venture out into the abyss of fur coat making I can reference back to your post. Lush and Lovely! I would steal it if I were your neighbor. haha

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  10. I think I missed the news about you working at a workshop now, what? That sounds pretty cool, I would love to know more! Your fur coat is awesome, well done! In the heat of summer right now down here, fur is my nightmare right now, lol! Hope this gets lots of wear 🙂

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  11. You look amazing! I want to go out and make 10 of these, all in different faux fur colors!!! I love the idea about the hook and eye – or maybe you could even do some sort of a sash closure? You don’t want anything to be too distracting from the coat.

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  12. Aghhhh!! This is truly fantastic!! You look amazing in it, perfect perfect faux fur! Love everything about it- tell the man in your life he is all kinds of WRONG!!
    I am a lining away from two faux fur coats in my workroom- I will be working on those this weekend now, thanks for the inspo 🙂

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  13. If golden retriever fur doesn’t count as Jungle, surely Ewok fur does. I mean, they live in giant trees, so that’s got to be jungle-ish, right?

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  14. Ohhhh man, this has got to be far and away my favorite Gerard to date! It works outstandingly well with the faux fur. I had never seen that coat lining before, it looks perfect- thanks for the tip!

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  15. Do you work for CTW? Just wink once for yes and two for Grover. Your coat looks so plush! Me, I’ve just finished one dozen stretch velvet turbans in assorted odd color combos for my sister’s birthday party.

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  16. This. Is. Amazing. I can’t even… Seriously! I would never have the guts to wear a coat like this one with all the fur, but on you, it’s just amazing. I’m a bit jealous of not being able to wear something like that haha This coat is just awesome. It’s bold! Don’t be scared to wear it. You rock in this thing 🙂

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    • I don’t blame you! It’s a serious mess. I’m still vacuuming up bits of fur! And it’s alllll over the workshop… literally everything is coated in a thin layer of fur and feathers! Sequins are enough of a mess for you! 😀

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  17. Yes! Love this. Looks just like Margot’s. And not at all like a lemur or ewok!
    The only problem with faux fur is that I can’t stop petting it. So don’t come too close or we’ll have an inappropriate stroking moment.

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    • AHHHHH, DO IT! Girl, I still want to try the Yona, and also the new Grainline coat. Is it possible to have an actual addiction to making coats? I’m seriously getting worried about it!

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  18. omg, this is just the most glamorous thing I have ever seen. I don’t get all those Tenenbaum references, but I’m sure whoever you modelled this coat after looked absolutely stunning. Makes one almost wish for more snow…

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  19. I completely want to make one of these coats. You have made it so beautifully i’m inspired.Thanks for posting it. Happy sewing

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  20. Pingback: How To… Sew with Faux Fur! « Ginger Makes…

  21. I missed this post while I was out of town last week, but WOW what a fabulous coat!!! Sonja, this is really a masterpiece and such a fun idea. I’d never heard of that type of lining before, but I’m making a mental note to give it a try sometime. The more warmth, the better! Congrats on a really awesome project. From the number of comments you’ve gotten here, I can tell I’m not the only one who loves it… not surprising! 🙂

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    • Thank you, Carolyn! You’re too kind! I heard that B&J Fabrics here in NY has kasha lining (I think they call it “sunback”, though) in lots of colors. I think you have to call the store (it’s not online), but that sounds like a pretty good option!

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