An Exquisite Autumn (In a Messed-Up Climate)

Despite my very best efforts, my wardrobe planning is always juuust a bit behind on the season. I finish floaty dresses as late as September, only to get frustrated about the dropping temperatures. The penny doesn’t drop to think about a party frock until mid-December. And once I’m knee deep in snow, I kick myself for forgetting about cardigans.

But every once in a while, I get lucky. This past autumn has been beautiful, long and mild. So my autumn coat and I have had a lovely season together, even though I only finished this beauty mid-October.

Pauline Alice Quart coat

This is, of course, Pauline Alice’s Quart Coat. I was immediately intrigued when I saw this pattern. It’s simple and clean with pleated sections at the sides for a bit of interest. It looked like something I’d be able to wear with skirts as well as pants, which is often a problem in my wardrobe. Okay, more likely in my head. But still.

Like most of what I’ve been sewing lately, this coat had to be practical. And it is! It’s the perfect length for cycling, it looks good with or without a scarf, it has handy in-seam pockets AND, perhaps most importantly, I feel put-together when I’m wearing it. Begone, social anxiety! I am stylish and self-assured, just look at my coat!

I muslined this baby thoroughly – a step I have to admit I often skip. I’m glad I persisted with this one, though. I muslined a size 40 and made a few changes: broadened the shoulder, lengthened the sleeve and took a wedge out of the princess seam at the back. The result is far from perfect, but I see it as a good start towards getting the right fit.

Construction-wise, the pattern is fairly straightforward. The only issue I had was with the lining. I got confused about the pleats and ended up lining the pleated section separately, sewing up the lining and the shell together at the side seams. This little trick made it impossible to bag the rest of the lining, so I had to sew it in by hand. I was a bit bummed at first, but the result has held up nicely and I don’t mind the hand-sewn look of the slip stitches.

Quart coat liningFor this project, I tried my hand at a few couture techniques. I added a back stay, shoulder pads and sleeve heads. Fun fact: a sleeve head is called ‘snorretje’ (‘little mustache’) in Dutch because of its shape. The things you learn when you sew!

IMG_6067Look at those buttons! Wouldn’t you just eat them up? You know … metaphorically speaking? Fabrics and notions are all from Pauwels Stoffen. Charming lady of the house Lindsey advised me to pre-wash the denim to get this stunning, stonewashed effect. I wouldn’t normally pre-wash fabric for a coat, but she was absolutely right. The crackled look is beautiful.

I am so, so pleased with how this coat turned out. I deliberately paced myself, taking on this project slowly and mindfully. That’s why I fully expected the weather to be too cold for this coat by the time I was done. Good thing climate change took care of that for me. Maybe this will be the year when the climate finally catches up on my wardrobe planning?


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