- Once upon a time, a long time ago I stumbled across the coat of my dreams…. unfortunately it was being worn by Sarah Jessica Parker and many hours of googling found nothing similar to buy- and certainly not at a price I liked! 18 months ago when I started sewing again I would never have dreamt I would have the sewing skills to recreate it, but as time went on and my confidence grew I began to feel brave…!
The next problem was finding a pattern. I searched and searched but none of the line drawings I found were anywhere near the same shape. Eventually I found Burda 8292. Hideously dated cover pictures but pretty good line drawings that in my bravery I thought I could tweak. The priority being getting rid of that massive collar, and DEFINITELY no bow or shoulder pads in sight!!! 😄The hunt for velvet was also pretty time consuming, but eventually I decided on going green. Gorgeous forest green velvet- as being a redhead I should wear more green, right? And can you have too much green? No, no, why not add a green shot silk for the lining? Both purchased from Fancy Silk Store, Birmingham.
I read up alot about sewing with velvet- and put it off for a long time!! But actually much to my surprise it was relatively pain free! Big number 1 tip? A walking foot. That’s it-it really is that simple! I started off basteing everything within an inch if its life, but actually as I got braver, I found it wasn’t really necessary, certainly on an ordinary straight seam at least. So basically- don’t fear velvet! Just have your hoover at the ready, it makes one hell of a mess!
For the main body of the coat I just followed the pattern. Very straightforward I must say. Even with the usual basic and limited Burda instructions. I shortened the sleeves by 4″ at the ‘lengthen/shorten here’ mark to make it bracelet length sleeves and cut the overall length to halfway between the jacket and coat versions to try to emulate the SJP version as much as possible.
The pockets are different on the original inspiration coat so I left the front and back side panel seams open below the waist and just sewed up the side seams to the bottom. I didn’t want either inseam or patch pockets like the Burda pattern. I wanted slanted pockets joined inseam into the front and back panels. So I got creating and came up with this! I attached the lining to the velvet right sides together along the top diagonal seam then pressed and turned right sides out, pulling the velvet over to the back by 1.5″. Then just roughly stitched down the sides and bottom to hold together temporarily. They were then inserted into the side seams and all sewn up together. Yeay!!! 👍🏻 Who doesn’t love a nice big super deep pocket? So pleased with how they turned out! (Photographing this fabric is ridiculously hard- it looks a different colour every time!)
Next main change was the collar. The upright collar in the Burda pattern was about 5″ deep! As we’re not still in the late 80’s I obviously hacked it! I rounded off the front edges and made it 1.5″ deep instead. I definitely basted this bit. Don’t judge me on this messy photo!! It shows how much the velvet frays though! This was where my excitement at making the adjustments got the better of me and in my eagerness I cocked up 😣 I didn’t realise until I went to button it up and by that time it was WAY to late to change. I made a lovely mandarin collar, yes… but I didn’t leave a gap from the front seam- so when it’s buttoned up it overlaps. So annoyed with myself that I didn’t think of it at the time. Believe me, velvet seams are blimmin’ hard to unpick and re-sew once trimmed due to the horrendous fraying. But. To be honest, I don’t much like wearing coats done up and in the original picture SJP was wearing it open… that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! 😄
The rest went smoothly- the buttonholes that I held my breath over sewed like a dream much to my surprise! Thank goodness! I used self covered buttons too.
Lining went in easily as well. Other than where it joined the velvet at the front bottom corners. 3 attempts to get it to lie flat and I’m still not completely happy with it, it doesn’t hang nicely there. But after 3 unpicks and re-sews I don’t have enough leeway in the seam to try again so it will have to stay like it. Unless one day I decide to shorten the whole coat by an inch!
All in all I love it! 💚 I’m not worried about the bracelet sleeves not keeping my wrists warm, as I have huge pockets to do that!! It will be great dressed up for a night out and also get loads of wear on a normal day with my jeans. I’m definitely not saving it for ‘best’ because it’ll never get worn then!! My husband thinks he’s very funny as he says he thinks I’m auditioning for a part in Robin Hood…..
We tried to get some quick photos during a 5 minute rain break! I’ll be sure to add more to Instagram as I wear it with different outfits but here it is with my Bettine. Hope you like it!! I know the 18 year old me would have loved swanning around in the 6th form common room in this! 💚