I'm going to start this post by being honest and saying that I'm in two minds about this project; part of me likes it, part of me really isn't sure. It's not quite my usual style so that perhaps isn't too surprising, but when I saw the Lottie coat in issue 33 of Love Sewing magazine I thought it looked interesting so I'd give it a try.
The Lottie coat is a collarless unlined shell coat, with side seam pockets and three-quarter sleeves. Coats do have a reputation for being a bit tricky to sew, and properly tailored ones do definitely require some skill, but this coat is very simple and would be fine for relative beginners I think.
I didn't make a toile for this project because I decided that the fit was relaxed enough that I'd be able to make any little adjustments that might be needed along the way. I think that worked out fine - the fit on me is pretty much the same as on the models in the magazine anyway.
I did make a few changes to the coat to suit my personal tastes. As I mentioned, the pattern is unlined but I wanted to have some kind of lining, both for a bit of extra warmth and to make the coat easier to put on and take off. Instead of drafting a separate lining, I opted to underline the main pieces with lining fabric. As this would leave the raw edges visible on the inside, I made them a bit prettier and used a Hong Kong finish with bright pink satin bias binding. I think the little flash of pink that this gives on the inside of the coat is probably one of my favourite things about this project!
I did originally use the in-seam pockets from the pattern, but once I'd put them in they made the coat hang really strangely and gaped open in a not particularly attractive fashion. I unpicked them and closed up the side seams, but I think that a coat really needs pockets - I'm sure I'm not alone there am I? Patch pockets seemed like the easiest option to me, particularly being as I have a coat that I love which has patch pockets that I could use as a guide. I think they turned out quite nicely, even if I do say so myself.
The coat is meant to close with a single button at the neckline, but I decided to use a snap fastener instead. I'm pretty sure that I won't ever wear this coat without a scarf, so a pretty button would always be hidden, and using a snap fastener eliminated the worry about whether my machine would handle sewing a buttonhole on this fabric.
Having worn the coat, I'm going to go back and add a couple of extra snap fasteners down the front to help it stay closed a bit better.
I also lengthened the sleeves slightly. I originally lengthened them quite a bit because I thought that I might wear the coat more with full length sleeves, but with the width of the sleeves that just didn't look right. I tried a couple of different options - basting one sleeve so that it was long still but much narrower, and basting the other at three-quarter length - and the shorter, wider sleeve looked much better. In the end, I think my sleeves are 2 inches longer than in the pattern.
My main fabric is a lovely dogtooth coating from Clothspot, and the underlining is an acetate lining fabric that I picked up when it was super cheap in the sale at The Village Haberdashery. I really like both fabrics and how they work together. You can't really see all the colours in the dogtooth in these photos, but they're really pretty and I love how the pink seam binding I used picks out the pink in the fabric.
Overall I'm happy with how the coat turned out as a project, but I'm not completely sold with how it looks on me. I like it much better once I've got a scarf on with it (hence the scarf in most of these photos!), and I'm using that as an excuse to knit myself a bright pink chunky scarf to wear with it. I definitely don't hate the coat, so I think it might just take a bit of time to get used to wearing this different shape. After all, it's good to try new things every now and then, isn't it?