Sewing, Tailoring, Tutorials

Trench coat project part 6: The finished trench coat


… so here is the latter half of today’s posting, go here, if you missed the first part and here, if you want to start the series from the beginning.

Hooray! My trench coat is finally finished! This has been a long journey that I started already in April, when I wrote about my coat plans. At that point I hadn’t found my pattern, yet and hadn’t met my wonderful, wonderful sewing teacher Michelle, who helped me tremendously along the way.

Then I managed to find the McCall’s 5525 coat sewing pattern on Ebay and started drafting a coat. I used the pattern only as a starting point since I had a clear image on my mind of the coat I wanted: a fitted coat, with a flared hem and leather piping.

Image: My trench coat at the bridge.

During this long project, I have learned a ton of things: How to draft a coat pattern of my dreams using a commercial pattern as a base, how to use sewn-in interfacings, how to make a beautiful collar, how to draft and fit a sleeve, how to use tailoring finishes in hems and buttonholes, and much more. Above all else, I learned to rip out the things that didn’t work and to try again and again to get a good result. Sometimes I only figured out my errors as I was writing my blog posts and had to stop and rip out the things I was writing about.

Image: My trench coat from the back.

All the time, though, I was having fun. A long time ago I decided not to make things if I wasn’t enjoying my work. So every time I felt frustrated I hanged my coat onto my dressform and left it there until I felt better. Luckily I started in spring so I had plenty of time before I actually needed a coat!

To be honest, the coat is still missing three buttonholes, one from the gun flap, one from the collar tab and the last (more optional) from the inside where I would prefer to have two buttons and buttonholes instead of just one. However, I run out of buttonhole twist and just started wearing the coat. I will do the buttonholes when I get the silk but right now I already feel like the work is done.

The finished trench coat

Yesterday, we went for a walk in the Seurasaari open-air museum in Helsinki. The weather was sunny but the wind was really chilly.

Image: Walking on the sea side.

So, this is how the coat looks like when buttoned up. The fit is perfect. All the time up until the sleeves were fastened I was worried about the coat being too big. That was because I needed to leave a lot of ease and with unlined materials the whole thing looked like a tent. Not anymore! I can easily move and swing my hands and feel no resistance from the coat.

Image: My trench coat buttoned up and belted.

The belt makes my waist look smaller and the flared hem adds some curves to my figure. The length keeps even my legs warm. I was pretty sure that I was going to shorten the coat, but the longest length in the McCall’s view E ended up to be the one that I ended up using. However the silhouette of the coat is very different after I took in a lot of ease and added some flare to the hem. Furthermore, I reshaped the flaps and redesigned the pockets completely. Now they are big enough to hold a litter of puppies if it came to it!

The sleeves were redrafted. I wanted a two-part sleeve and I had another coat pattern with a sleeve that had approximately the same width. I made a toile using a combination pattern from those two sleeve patterns and after a few small modifications got sleeves that are not only comfortable but also sleek.

Image: Coat looks nice open.

All that internal structure makes the coat behave nicely when worn open. Instead of looking baggy it still sits well.

In the picture below, the checked lining is visible. You can also finally see the little white buttons that support the big black ones on the inside. Oh, and I made the skirt, too. That was a while ago after I fell in love with this Alexander McQueen skirt style on Pinterest.

Alt: Showing the checked lining.

Here is another picture from the side. The pocket flap tends to slip inside a pocket when I put something in my pocket. That used to happen in my previous trench coat too, from which I took my inspiration for these pockets…

Image: Coat open, side view.

So, finally I am super happy and can do nothing but twirl in my coat for the amusement of passing spanish tourists.

Image: Me twirling in my new trench coat.

I think my face tells best how I feel after all this work is successfully finished! I don’t regret anything I did. Yes, there are still mistakes and imperfections but listing them wouldn’t do any good. After a while I probably can’t even remember those things I might have wanted to improve on.


So, here we are at the end. I hope that these posts about my trench coat project were useful to you. In any case, I thank you for visiting my blog and hope to see you here again. Happy sewing!


  1. Dagmar

    You look like a million dollars in your coat!

    It is fabulous and you are correct when you say it fits beautifully and hangs really well due to the inner construction. I will be following your process if I ever make something so complicated. 🙂

    25 . Sep . 2017
  2. Kay

    That’s such fantastic sewing and you look marvellous in the coat! So impressive.

    25 . Sep . 2017
    • kk

      Oh, thanks so much, Kay!

      25 . Sep . 2017
  3. Georgia S

    So beautiful end result! It was all worth it! Very inspiring!

    26 . Sep . 2017
  4. Janet

    This is an awesome piece of work – great fit, fantastic construction and a brilliant result. So pleased you love it too.

    26 . Sep . 2017
    • kk

      Oh, thank you, Janet!

      26 . Sep . 2017
  5. Alexander Wang

    Quite impressive! I see a lot of detail work, having done a lined jacket myself I know that they are very time consuming, especially on the first try. The black pipped edge really adds unique style, did you improvise this or was it in the pattern?

    The only imperfection I can spot is from looking at the pictures is the wrinkles on the coat front near the edge where the buttonholes are. I had this problem with tops in the past, a quick solution would be to use a medium weight fusible interfacing about 2 inches wide down the front (commercial jackets tend to fuse the entire front), this helps stiffen the fabric near the edge and prevent rippling. But anyways it might be a trivial defect when the rest of the jacket looks great already.

    17 . Dec . 2017
    • kk

      Thanks! And thanks for the tip with the interfacing. I don’t know whether it would help. The rippling is caused by the faux leather trim that stretched a bit while I was sewing it. I perhaps should have used water-soluble tape or something to prevent it from stretching. I tried to reduce the effect by adding some notches to the piping, but if I remember correctly I only ripped out the outermost topstitching to do that. There is already two layers of interfacing at that edge, so I don’t know whether the fusible would add too much bulk. In any case, I want to try to fuse the whole coat at some point, perhaps after this coat wears out!

      17 . Dec . 2017
    • kk

      Oh, and the trim was one of my numerous additions, like the shape of the collar, the flared hem and the pockets. I have seen some gorgeous piped coats online so I wanted to make something similar.

      17 . Dec . 2017
  6. Alexander Wang

    I’m also fascinated over pipped edges, so far I’ve only done one on a polo shirt placket, but haven’t done full length ones that curve all around. Personally I feel that pipped edge look sharper than bound edges, there something particularly appealing about a thin contrast line along the edge of the garment. I see you have a tutorial on pipped edge presser foot selection, though the link seems to be broken…

    About the rippling, now that you explain it, it seem clear that it’s caused by gathering due to being sewed to a shorter piece. In this case adding interfacing wouldn’t help much, and as you said, extra bulk may not be desirable. Either you take out and redo the pipping ( probably too time consuming ) or try stretching out the trim and applying heat so that it becomes the same length as the coat fabric, but I’m not sure if it will work on faux leather.

    Well, maybe you can consider it as a decorative effect… 🙂 I’m a sewing perfectionist so I know it’s hard to get over small defects ( I once spent an hour trying to fix a welt pocket with a corner that’s not square ), but most of the time other people won’t even notice these things.

    18 . Dec . 2017
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