Let me begin this post by explaining the ‘cosplay’ element going on here, as at first glance this outfit does not in fact appear to be a cosplay outfit. The pattern used is McCalls 7373, which is a design by Yaya Han for her cosplay range. There’s a whole separate website for all the McCalls Cosplay patterns, which is actually a larger range than you would expect – and they have an alarming amount of patterns that I really like.
When I first saw the pattern for this coat I knew that I had to sew it. However, the poofy sleeves were never going to happen and the buttons were just too much bling. Thankfully, the pattern includes templates for regular sleeves too, and the buttons issue would be easily fixed by buying something a little less shiny-shiny.
Due to the way the coat is constructed, it feels like you cut out about a million pieces of fabric, interfacing and lining. You then get the joys of attaching the interfacing to EVERY-SINGLE-PIECE of coat fabric. Overall I think I spent more time cutting, marking and prepping than I did sewing the thing together.
The coat actually came along quite quickly, once you get your head around the best method of inserting each of the godets and getting a crisp point at the top. I decided to add topstitching to the seams, just to give it that little something extra, and originally continued it down the sides of the godets but I quickly found out that it caused problems with how the pink fabric folded around them in the skirt of the coat. Hello seam ripper, goodbye bright idea.
I also discovered that after I had dutifully followed the pattern instructions of interfacing the contrasting godet fabric, that again it caused problems with how the skirt hung because the banarasi fabric I had chosen was thicker than the brocade fabric the pattern suggested, and those sections ended up stiffer than the main body of the coat and stuck out all funny. So I cut out the interfacing (thankfully I had used sew-in rather than fusible), and hurrah! All looked good.
The lining is constructed in just as many pieces as the body of the coat – godets and all. In the past I would dread working with slippery lining fabric, having it move around the cutting board as I’m trying to cut it out, and ending up with a piece of fabric that in no way resembles the shape of the template you were cutting around. Seeing how many pieces needed to be cut out of the lining for this coat would have given me cold sweats before I discovered a little thing called spray starch. It’s an aerosol can filled with amazing-ness that you can spray over your slippery-slidey fabric, and then iron it into submission – it will now behave on the cutting board while you cut it and won’t slide around like a piglet on an ice rink.
The coat has six of the lovely godets, a vent at the back, two-piece sleeves and a small mandarin style collar. I would have perhaps preferred a regular shirt-style collar (I do love a good pointy collar) but it’s nice to sew something different. The pattern suggested inserting shoulder pads, but I didn’t really think it needed them. The only things I wish I had done differently is placed the godets on *exactly* the same piece of pattern (they vary ever so slightly left-or-right by a centimetre or two, as I eyeballed it rather than precisely measured), and centralised the pattern on the banarasi with the point at the top of the godet so that the pattern was symmetrical. Lesson learned – think before you cut. They all look pretty similar though so I’m not going to cry over it.
One thing that was completely new to me construction-wise for this coat was the armholes. Usually, I would sew the lining and the coat outer as two separate shells, and then the lining would be slipped inside the coat. With this design though, the sleeve and the sleeve lining are sewn together at the armhole edge, and the same is done on the body of the coat with the outer and the lining being sewn together. The sleeve is then set in to the body of the coat as normal, and the raw seams covered with bias tape. Wearing the coat I have noticed no difference, and given how fiddly the bias tape was to get in place I’m not yet sure of the benefits of doing it this way, other than the prettiness-factor.
For the buttons I went for an old-gold plain metal design, a few millimetres smaller than the pattern recommended. I thought there was quite a lot going on already with the godets so didn’t want to overdo it. The coat has eight buttons, which makes for a mammoth session to take the coat on and off, but it definitely needs it to keep the lower front under control, especially if it’s windy as the flap-factor is pretty big.
The hem is finished off with horsehair braid – something that I haven’t used before but was definitely worth the effort as it gave the hem a really nice shape. Before I put it in, the skirt of the coat just sort of hung there, but the stabiliser it gave it a little bit of ooomph around the hem.
Here’s the braid as it’s being installed – the hem was then folded up so that the side of the braid with the white cotton running through it was at the top, and the other side ran along the hem crease. You then pull the cotton tight and adjust the ease of the braid, to get the desired shape to the skirt of the coat, and sew your hem in place as normal.
It was really nice to make something a bit fun and different, and the twirl-factor of the coat is definitely to be enjoyed 🙂
Photography credits: Photos by Hmexus