Sunday 5 April 2015

Wardrobe Staples: Easy Raw Hem, Unlined Camel Coat

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The camel coat to me is a piece of ultimate timelessness. I've been debating between a wool coat and a classic trench, the main predicament being: the season for wintery outerwear is is wrapping up, and the perfect trench weather only lasts for a brief time. I wanted something that can work as a layering piece but is also lightweight enough to wear long into the spring, and even on chilly summer nights. Enter the unlined wool camel coat, perfect all year around, fuss of making minimized.

Tutorials take a lot of time & effort to create, and I choose to make mine available for free. If you enjoy this guide, you can support me with a donation that feels right for you, here.

photo 0 Tools.jpg
Camel lightweight wool, depending on desired coat length, I used 2.3 m  |  Matching thread & sewing machine  |  Scissors  |  Pencil or fabric marker  |  Pins  +  Optional: some fray-stop glue

I. Trace the back piece of the coat, 2 front panels, the sleeves, and a long rectangular piece that will make up the notched lapel. You can use a blazer for guidance - add a couple cm all around to achieve a looser fit. (Note that I had the exact right amount of fabric and made my collar piece out of 2 bits I sewed together.)
photo 1 Trace back.jpg
.. Cut the pieces out and they should look something like this:
photo 2 Cut front panels.jpg photo 3 Cut back and sleeves.jpg
II. Start constructing from the shoulders. Pin the shoulders together, right sides of fabric facing. The front panel pieces should go over the edge of the back piece shoulder line by about 1 cm, like this:
photo 4 Pin shoulders.jpg
Sew a straight stitch through, about 1 cm from the edge of the back piece. Use an iron to press a fold on the longer edge and to fold it over the shorter one:
photo 5 Ironed shoulder seam.jpg
Pin down, and on the right side, sew a nice straight stitch about 0.7 cm from the first seam to create a a semi-flat felled seam that looks like on both sides.
photo 6 Shoulder sewn.jpg
III. Continue with the sleeves. Pin them to the armholes, right sides facing.
photo 7 Pin sleeves.jpg
Once done, cut little notches along the way to remove pull from the curved seam. Press the seam flat with your iron.
photo 8 Cut notches.jpg photo 9 Press sleeve seam.jpg
IV. Now for the sleeve under seams and the sides. Still right sides facing, pin the sleeves together and continue all the way down the sides. On the sides, do the same thing as with the shoulders; attach the seams with the front piece having 1 cm more seam allowance.
photo 10 Pin sides.jpg
As with the shoulder seams, create the same kind of seam on the sides - first iron a fold, pin, and sew on the right side.
photo 11 Iron seam fold.jpg
For the seams of the sleeves, I only finished the seam like this about 10 cm from the end (for a finished look when I roll the sleeves), and the rest of the way simply ironed it flat on the inside. Life is short, if it doesn't show or fray, who cares.
photo 12 Side seam done.jpg
V. As the last step, pin the rectangular collar piece to the coat like this. To make sure the seam on my collar piece was on the non-visible side, I had to pin the right side of the collar piece to the wrong side of the coat. Same thing applies if your fabric has a wrong and right side - make sure the right side of the collar piece is against the inside of your coat.
photo 13 Pin collar.jpg
From there it's just a matter of pressing the collar flat (I used some iron-on hemming tape to secure the folds in place). I also trimmed down the size of the collar quite a bit, trying on and cutting narrow slits off until I had the size I wanted.
photo 14 Press and cut collar.jpg
The last optional step (depending on the quality of your fabric) is to treat the raw edges with a fray-stop liquid. This will keep them clean over time.
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Selfmade coat, selfmade bag, Topshop shirt, Madewell jeans, Larsson Jennings watch, Dolce Vita boots
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  1. That looks so great!! Was the fabric expensive ?

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  3. Thank you:) Not at all, you can get wools starting at $15/yard or even cheaper on sale if you go looking. Online stores have really good rates too!

  4. Love all of your designs! Do you have a non-wool fabric that you would recommend for a coat like this? Thanks very much and have a nice day! :)

  5. Thanks Claire! That depends.. If you want to use a more lightweight fabric then I might consider going for a microfibre which drapes really nicely and doesn't wrinkle. If you want to still have a thicker fabric to preserve the form, a wool blend could be a good choice - there are probably over 200 types of wool out there, so if you're thinking pure wool is too warm, you can easily find a suiting mix that's stretchy, light, but still holds its shape. Hope that helps! Happy sewing and I'd love to see your projects!!

  6. ...Just a note on microfibre: it will eventually fray so you'd probably want to finish off the seams. Another option if you are looking to make a warmer coat is felt - doesn't fray so you could leave the edges raw. Alova suede is another non-fraying one.


I would love to hear what you think and learn about your DIY adventures! If you use one of my tutorials, tag me on social @contour_affair, I'd love to see!


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