The Russian Princess Coat

The Russian Princess Coat

Girl in a red coat

Full Disclosure Edition

Seems to me like a Russian Princess coat, anyway. Or Madeline, as celkalee said.


The coat was finished, and not a moment too soon (actually a little late), as winter arrived on Monday with about six inches of snow (and another six on Tuesday, and again Wednesday and Thursday. Friday and today have been snow-light; more is forecast for tomorrow). Also, of course, providing the perfect backdrop for this coat. Snow and spruce trees for the win.

Even after four coats, I still haven’t really got that “facing/hem” thing figured out. I know there’s a way to make it happen really neatly (I’ve read two or three different sets of instructions on it, even), but somehow my pieces never quite line up and I end up fudging and hand-stitching to make it work. Ah, well. If some future couturier in distant decades dissects this coat, they’ll find plenty of other construction quirks to puzzle over (like, oh, how I padstitched the collar after sewing it… yeah, yeah.

Vent being pulled wonky by ining

The only bit I’m really not happy with (other than the sleeves still being uncomfortably tight) is the rear vent. I used the Cupcake Goddess’s instructions and while the basic principal is sound, I can’t figure out how to do it without creating and offset in the lining so you have a seam allowance (or making the cut-out side shorter). This, added to the difference in the length of the lining vs. the length of the back, meant that my vent-extensions lined up really poorly, and while they lie flat when worn, the lining is a bit short and makes the coat hike up if anything goes off of plum. Also the whole thing requires a degree of precision I find difficult to achieve at the best of times, much less when wrestling five pounds of wool coat around my sewing machine.

The rear view

All in all the pattern went together fairly well. My only serious objection with it is the narroweness of the sleeves. I added 2cm in sleeve width after the second muslin, but they are still really snug—it makes an attractively slim line, but not a comfortable coat, and it’s pretty impossible for Tyo to put a sweater under it at the moment. Thanks everyone for their suggestions on this problem, by the way… I’ll probably be tackling it in the next week or so. Or, y’know, tomorrow if I’m a good mom.

Next up: jeans and a stab at Lekala patterns!

Click to go to slideshow!



Filed under Sewing

25 responses to “The Russian Princess Coat

  1. Tyo is gorgeous in this! What a great job you’ve done (you’re the only one who can see the imperfections – from here it’s perfect.) She looks so cute with the matching hat.

  2. It looks amazing! I think I spent my tween years in puffy neon coats! (This was the late 80s.) She’s a lucky girl!

  3. This coat is so cute! Love the lines. Such a great look for a little girl. She does indeed look like a Russian Princess! As already stated, you are the only one who can see the quirks. With every project, particularly one as challenging as this, we learn. You did a great job, now get cracking on your new Jeans!

  4. Gorgeous coat! The snow-drift photos make me so jealous (though the summer here so far has been drizzly and cool, so I can’t complain) and they’re so perfect for the coat. I love little girls in red, maybe something about Red Riding Hood’s fashion sense… It just looks so pretty against the snow.

    When I figure out coat facing/hems, I’ll let you know. My Cat Pine coat facing/hem went all skewy on the right side (the side that shows. doh.) I had to rip it out a few times even though it is still twisted.

    As for precision… I don’t know how into it you’d be, but piecing quilts does wonders for my precision, for feeling like my tools are an extension of my hands and mind.

    • My winter coat was incredibly wonky when I sewed the facing in. I ripped, re-sewed, and still wound up putting in rows of hand stitching to force it to curve the right way. At least this one doesn’t flip out… it just took some fiddling πŸ™‚

      Nothing against quilting as such, it’s just at the end of it… I’d have quilts.

      Not that I don’t love quilts. I still have the one my grandma made me when I was three (Syo uses it now). I just don’t feel like we need more. πŸ™‚

  5. Karen in VA

    Beautiful coat and she does look very striking in it..the background does help. I think you did a great job — you are way braver than I am in tackling a project like this….Snow…ahh…I live in DC and am hoping we don’t get quite as much as we did last winter, although it was nice having a week off…..

  6. oh holy cupcakes, that looks gorgeous!! love the brilliant red and black, it really does look like a russian princess coat πŸ™‚ ok i’m getting closer to needing to make my coat now, it’s actually getting colder (i needed gloves last night!) and i keep think, taran made 3 already! any advice for lining and interlining choices? my wool isn’t thick enough (kilt weight) for a winter coat.

    • I really like a flannel-backed satin for the lining (the brand we have here is called Kasha)… not only is it warmer, but it’s way nicer to sew than regular lining, it’s firm and kinda crisp. You’re probably SOL if you’re looking for a cute print, though. I’m under the impression that your coat won’t need to stand up to the kind of temperatures I’m sewing for, so I’d probably skip the interlining but go for a nice flannel underlining, this will add warmth and give the shell fabric a nice body. If you deal with a lot of wind and rain, you may want to consider a back-piece of wind-proof nylon or goretex (sp?) or something similar (the traditional material is chamois leather but I’m not convinced this is necessarily better)… this goes across the upper back. Other than that I’d follow most of Gertie’s construction suggestions for interfacing etc. Have fun! πŸ™‚

      • perfect, thank you!! yeah the coldest we get is around 0F, nothing like what you need to sew for! the only thing that worries me is that the wool is thin for a coat. it feels like a fall/spring weight wool not like winter (even mild mid-atlantic winter!) great idea for wind/rain proofing!!

      • The underlining should serve to thicken up the outer wool. If you do decide to interline as well, depending on what you use you can treat it basically like another layer of underlining, or quilt it to the lining (or just pick a quilted lining, although these always look tacky to me…) or make a separate layer to float between the two, just in the bodice.

  7. You could simply avoid the vent-lining problem:
    a. don’t put in a vent – make the CB seam go right to the hem; or
    b. stop the lining before you get to the vent (I think we have an army surplus greatcoat done this way – I’d check, but it’s packed and inaccessible)

  8. She does look like a Russian princess! It looks fabulous. What a great mom you are. The snow is beautiful– we never get any good snow here. Just some slush (and everyone panics and cleans out the milk and bread at the grocery store). I just read you jean post, too and they look fab.

  9. Sewista Fashionista

    The pictures of her in that red coat in the snow are gorgeous! Snow already where you live? Brrrh!

  10. This is so amazingly beautiful and so is your princess! I can’t believe you are a mum of a 10-year old! you look too young to be one!

  11. Oooooo…. vents. I’m really struggling through this. My white skirt was all messed up – I finally picked apart yesterday and realized I had flipped the vent the wrong direction! No wonder it was twisted!

    I am working on a skirt now, I sort of followed Sunni’s instructions, then attached the lining to the skirt by lining up the bottom edges (of the lining) when pinning to the vent, then trimming the top of the side of the lining that was off – does that make sense? It’s a total workaround, but it worked…

    There’s a tutorial in a Threads magazine (one from the last six months – I can look it up later) where the lining vent area is cut in a curve and somehow attached differently so it doesn’t catch at the top. Honestly, the pictures confuse the heck out of me, so I haven’t tried it.

    Vents. Grrrrr….. someone commented on one of my posts that she just does box pleats. Hm.

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  13. chefaerztininspe

    Pretty awesome coat! Especially with the snowy backdrop!

  14. Such a beautiful coat. Now you have to order her not to grow up so she doesn’t outgrow it. πŸ™‚

  15. Yay! It looks fantastic, and the photos in the snow turned out beautifully! You’ll be able to see her a mile away in that wonderful red colour. I like the Kasha lining too, so much more stable and well-behaved.

    It just started snowing here last week and this week, it’s been minus ten. Which sounds warm to you, but for us that’s total craziness!

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  17. Gorgeous! She looks very happy with her coat. I love that red!

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