The Weatherproof Lace Trenchcoat

Coming from Singapore, I do not really need a trench coat do I?

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However, the challenge of sewing something new and different never fails to send my adrenaline up the roof! And I LOVE that feeling! But, in case you think me an impulsive sewist, I did put quite a bit of thought into this. You see, after confirming my trip to Denmark, I decided that a waterproof version was travel wear essential. After all, we’ve experienced unpredictable rainy weather during our Sydney vacation in July 2011 and rain again on our first day in Paris last May. With kids and luggages around, holding an umbrella is next to impossible.

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Again, for practical reasons, I chose a dark color fabric since I was only gonna bring one coat on holiday, I find that it’s easier to mix and match with my holiday wear.  And with kids around, dark color is generally safer around the dining table.

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I bought some olive colored coated cotton raincoating from Gorgeous Fabrics early in the year. Then, in March, I saw this absolutely AMAZING grey eyelet version by Novita from Very Purple Person. Her project inspired me to add a layer of lace to my trench coat and immediately I bought some cotton lace in army green to sew a military inspired feminine version.  This is a very light weight lace as I didn’t want the coat to be overly bulky.  IMG_2601I love the design of  Sewaholic’s Robson coat, it has a more feminine cut which reminds me of these trench coats I saw on Girls Generation Paparazzi MV.

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I am so in love with the color and the lace effect. Only the close up photos does it justice. IMG_3216I also love the fact that I can wear it buttoned up or …

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down, with lapels. Making it more versatile and again flexible with the weather or wind conditions. And I adore the length, it’s just so feminine!IMG_5894

For the buttons, I had some problems with them being aligned like they are now when I stuck to the pattern lines, not sure why so I removed the two problematic misaligned ones, wore the coat and re-drew their positions before sewing them on again. I’m happy with where they are now. I also left the pocket welts, downside of the collar and the back of the tie-belt in the original rain coating fabric for some contrast.

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I was busy packing for the trip when I took less than 5 minutes to snap these photos. It was all the time I could stay in a trench coat even with tee and shorts underneath at more than 30 degrees Celsius but I couldn’t wait to show you the coat!

The coated cotton does have a tendency to crinkle quite a bit so I’m glad to have spent the time and effort to overlay it with lace.  Even if it rains, the lace might get wet but at least my clothes and me stay dry. Here’s a look inside. The coat is finished with orange bias tape. I didn’t follow the instructions on finishing the bias tape but stuck to my usual method which was to sew on one side (right side facing), turn it around, press and sew on the other side. It’s an extra step for every bias tape but it’s easier. I used some grey burberry plaid inspired cotton for the pockets. I adore the contrast between orange and olive and chose to do a bound seam for the centre back seam. The orange brightens up the inside significantly.

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I must have started on the robson trenchcoat in late April but it took me a month to get all pieces of both fabrics cut and basted and another month to get the coat done.IMG_2602

I sprayed water on each rain coating piece to identify the right side which is waterproof, in this case the top piece, before basting on the lace pieces.IMG_2605

These are the pieces queuing for their interfacing.IMG_2648

I love the instructions for finishing the pockets. A bias tape is attached to the pocket and baste to seam. This keeps it in place. I also added a tiny button to add weight and keep the pocket down.IMG_2868

And when I got my new sewing machine, I just couldn’t resist trying out the letters and embroidery mode on the back facing. I also used it to sew on the sleeves and top-stitch the back facing.

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Trouble trouble! This project was not as smooth sailing, however, and worse when the issues were totally my own fault.

The iron must be on a little too hot when I was pressing on the left front facings. That burnt the lace at at least 4  places down the facings including the top (which would be visible on the lapels if I didn’t button them on) and I only saw the holes after top stitching. I spend 2 days unpicking the topstitching, bias tape, the seams connecting the back facings, the basting on the lace, re-cut the lace piece and redo that piece all over again. Thank goodness I had enough lace left for one front facing piece! Phew!

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I also realized too late that the buttonhole mode of the new machine didn’t work too well with lace. When I tested on 8 layers on rain coating fabric, it worked perfectly but the lace seems to jam the buttonhole stitches at some point making the bottonholes smaller than they were supposed to be. Imagine unpicking buttonhole stitches! Yes, I had to do that. *sigh* and I went back to my old machine to finish up all the buttonholes thereafter.
When the trench coat was finished, I swear it looked a little weird. Turned out, I was so blur that I had sewed the sleeves back to front and didn’t even realized it till the coat was finished so I had to unpick the bias, the sleeves and redo them again. One step forward, two steps back. Yes, I know.
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Nonetheless, I still enjoyed sewing this project and love how it looks now:) That’s what really matters.
Thank you so much! I just realized that I’m almost reaching 600 followers on my blog and have just passed 100 on twitter so I’m gonna do a lace fabric giveaway when I’m back on vacation just to thank you. We will be on the flight midnight today and I’m so excited! Meanwhile, be blessed my friends:)
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63 thoughts on “The Weatherproof Lace Trenchcoat

  1. The coat looks great and admire your “stick-to-it” attitude! I really hate when i have to pick things out, but it happens. I do wonder how you find time to sew with your busy life!

  2. Hi Adey! You did an amazing work on this Coat. I think your version is the most beautiful Robson Coat that I ever saw.
    Wishing you a very safe flight and happy holidays!

    @Hana aka Velvet Ribbon from Macau

  3. The lace over the waterproof fabric is genius! And gorgeous!
    I have a feeling I will be stealing this idea for a future project…
    : /

  4. Hi Adey, a labour of love is what I’d call your commitment to this project. And it was soooo worth it! You will be the most stylish traveller in Denmark. Have a great trip.
    From Belinda (MMM13 aka Sing sewist)

  5. Wow! Simply Wow! I love all your details, and your determination despite setbacks – a huge create, and so, so worth it – definitely my favourite Robson thus far for sheer practicality and masculine/feminine.

  6. It’s beautiful!
    Hope you enjoy your stay in Denmark, and my bellowed city Copenhagen:)

    Let me know if you have any questions about cph:)

  7. Your coat is beautiful. I want a lace thrench coat eversince I saw it on the fashion runway. Thank you for posting concerning all the issues you had with the coat and time it took for you to complete the coat. It gives the reader a realistic idea about how much time it will take to complete a similar coat.

  8. What a beautiful coat! I’m totally in awe! What a shame that you had to do so much unpicking on it, but it was definitely worth it in the end!!

  9. Wow! This is absolutely stunning. I desperately want to make this coat, but couldn’t decide between a lace version or a waterproof version…why did it never occur to me to do both?! Thank you for leading the way!! Sorry you had a few hiccups along the way, but it turned out perfectly in the end. This is such a lovely trench!

  10. Absolutely beautiful!!! Well done! The orange bias binding is a nice tough. I also love how you embroidered your name on the back facing.

  11. It really is so beautiful, I love it! I can relate to all of your challenges in sewing it, sometimes you just have to persevere and it all turns out in the end!

  12. This coat is gorgeous! But it sounds like quite a lot of roadblocks to get it done. Thanks for sharing–so glad to hear that you persevered to finish it!

  13. So beautiful, hearing your story of having to unpick makes me feel so much better. Knowing such a great seamstress like yourself still gets out the unpicker and can still manage such a beautiful garment gives me inspiration to keep on going even after i hit and problem on one of my projects.
    Thanks for sharing

  14. What a beautiful piece of work – so professionally finished; to say it is gorgeous is an understatement. I would be so frustrated with all that unpicking – but you stuck with it and look at the results! Love the lace on the trench. From a fellow Singaporean (aspiring) sewer

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  16. This is breathtaking!! I live in Texas and have NO excuse to have a trench coat, but now I really want to make one!! Well done :)

  17. Wow! That is the most beautiful trench I have ever seen!! The lace is gorgeous and the orange binding inside must bring a happy smile every time you put it on. You’ve inspired me to be brave and try a bigger project – the time and perseverance has certainly paid off! :)

  18. Fabulous! I’m so inspired by your work. I might have to try this myself… like I really need another coat. :) Oh well… Thank you for sharing your great tips.

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