Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Le Vie en Rose - Trench Part Deux!

Here's the finished trench coat, and, as the French saying goes, l'm in the pink!  Well, pink and yellow that is. There really is no wonder this pattern got so many commendations online by other stitchers and makers, it is a dream to put together and considering this was my first coat project, all went very smoothly indeed.  Nevertheless, I still spent until 2am in the morning sewing hems and buttons to get it finished!  I wanted to wear it last weekend to a few days away with girlfriends to Liverpool, and having had such a busy couple of weeks already, it required a middle-of-the night sewing session to complete the job. 

In case you missed the first post about this, (Trench Part 1), the pattern is McCalls 5525 which features a number of trench coat versions to customise.  The pattern is now out of print but I got mine, uncut from eBay, for a bargain price and I've seen it come up from time to time for sale on line second hand.  The fabric is a cotton sateen with a bit of stretch and is a combination of plum and damson tones with shots of yellow and moody greys.  The coat has a great shape, lots of structure and detail with a fab stand-up collar.

I chose view E, the longer line classic trench coat.  There really were no real issues with the pattern at all and the fit was spot on with virtually no adjustments needed.  I cut a size 12 and although it'll never be a coat for wearing over bulky layers, as a dress coat it is a perfect fit.  There are absolutely loads of reviews of 5525 online as it was voted best pattern of 2009 by Pattern Review website, so there are lots of versions of this out there on the net.  The only couple of points to note, as others have done, is that the yoke section is drafted slightly off kilter, so you just need to double it over and cut it on the fold of the fabric so that each side is even.  

Also the pockets are indeed very small, so if you like to have deeper pockets then do cut them bigger.  I didn't want huge pockets as it's unlikely I'll want to put more than a phone or my hand in there, so I just added another inch or so around the bottom for a bit more depth.  The only other slight hiccup I encountered was working out the pockets flaps, where topstitching is described that is actually underneath the flap and so unseen.  The diagram shows the pocket flap facing towards the back of the garment instead of where it sits in its finished state towards the front, and shows the 'topstitching' running along the underneath, which is a bit confusing as this stitching is actually concealed in the end.  For some unknown reason this really bent my brain for a few minutes! Anyway, not a deal breaker, more likely to be down to the way I visualise things sometimes.  I added a hanging loop at the inside collar so that I can pop it on a peg or hang it up in a public loo when the need arises.

I chose to topstitch all the seams in grey thread, although with such a busy fabric it probably isn't that noticeable on the main body of the coat.  The buttons are a natural grey and black horn colour, as is the buckle on the belt.  There are epaulettes, sleeve bands, a tab at the collar, lined back yoke and pocket flaps, all of which add to the classic trench look and provide lots of detail that I really enjoyed making.  

The lining inside is a medium weight cream satin, as are the pocket bags, as I thought a quiet and sleek inside was the best option given the very exuberant exterior.  It's a luxurious lining and makes the coat lovely to wear and easy to slip on and off over layers.  

I didn't think about fabric pattern repeat really when I was cutting out as matching wasn't really that much of a consideration.  Also I was really squeeeeezed for fabric and only just managed to place all my pieces without cutting into seam allowance, which meant very little room to manoeuvre around the fabric design.  Fortunately I don't think I have any odd looking areas and it's all worked out ok.  The colours are fairly evenly spaced.  I did have a bit of a dither about whether the roses should be facing up or hanging down.  In the end they are hanging down, as this looked more natural I thought.  

The trip to Liverpool was a great road test for this coat with lots of opportunity to see how it weathered three long and busy days of shopping, walking, lunches, bar hopping and generally being carted around everywhere.  Here it is enduring a lengthy window shopping session!

After being scrunched up on a train luggage rack, taken on and off in changing rooms, flung over cafe chairs and bar stools and jostling with crowds at the Cavern Club at midnight, it still managed to to look cool and crease free. 

Not too hot or heavy to wear over light layers on a sunny afternoon, but with plenty of coverage for keeping out cold northern breezes when the evening draws in.  It's my new favourite day-to-night coat.  Cheers!


  1. Hi Sarah, the finished coat looks fabulous, nice work in getting it all completed in time for your weekend away. This has inspired me to think of my next big sewing project. Perhaps you could wear it to work one day so we can admire it!

  2. Thank you for such a lovely comment JB! Glad you like it, it was great fun to sew. I'll definitely bring it in for an appraisal! Sx

  3. A great looking coat, and congratulations on getting it ready in time for its first outing at the weekend. I'm sure you'll get lots of wear from it - you maybe need to make another one so you don't wear that one out!

  4. Thank you AWR, I've worn this every day since it was finished! You're right, I need another one on the production line. I'm thinking blue? Sarah x