Clare Coat sewing pattern // Funnel neck collar with exposed zipper // Closet Case Patterns
Sewing Projects

A SPECIAL CLARE COAT (WITH LEATHER SLEEVES & AN EXPOSED ZIPPER!)

Full disclosure: I am about to talk about one of the most favourite things I’ve ever made, but have to confess the I made it almost an entire year ago and didn’t for various reasons get a chance to take photos of it until now (ie. loaning it to magazine and then having a building fire in which I was separated from all my precious cargo for many months). But here it is! My new(ish) Clare Coat, complete with leather raglan sleeves and a big exposed zipper. Just in time for winter (or rather, the pleasant part of winter, because again, confession time, I’ve learned the only coat that sustains life in the withering frozen tundra of a Montreal January is a huge down parka that rustles every time I move my arms. Long drawn out sigh).

Clare Coat sewing pattern // Leather Raglan Sleeves // Front view // Closer Case Patterns Clare Coat sewing pattern and Ginger Flares Jean pattern // Closet Case PatternsClare Coat sewing pattern // Funnel neck collar with exposed zipper // Closet Case Patterns

So, this baby makes me pretty happy. Completely and utterly inspired by all the army green coats with leather sleeves  I’ve seen around the last couple years, I decided it would be a snap to do using my Clare Coat pattern. While I haven’t seen colour blocked versions of Clare out in the wild, I think it really works – there is something appealingly graphic about the material change around those raglan sleeve seams. Also, I like that by just switching up a few fabrics you can make a slightly vintage silhouette feel totally modern and “on trend”.

Clare Coat sewing pattern and Ginger Flares Jean pattern // Closet Case Patterns Clare Coat sewing pattern // Leather raglan two piece sleeves // Closet Case Patterns

I went all out with this one. I used real lambskin for the sleeves, an absolutely stunning double faced twill from Mood (sadly now sold out), and a silk charmeuse lining (more on that later). It was definitely one of my more expensive projects at around $150 in materials, but I suspect would have cost three to four times that if I had bought it in a store (I by the way am firmly in the “sewing saves you money” camp, especially if you have natural fiber tastes on an H&M budget).

The leather was surprisingly easy to work with, although I deeply regret not spending a little more on a heavier-weight hide. It is slightly too thin for sleeves, and as a result is not quite as structured as I would have liked, although I’ll be sharing everything I learned about sewing with leather later this week. It’s a really interesting material to work with if it doesn’t make you feel weird.

Clare Coat sewing pattern // Leather raglan two piece sleeves // Closet Case Patterns Clare Coat sewing pattern // Leather raglan two piece sleeves // Closet Case PatternsClare Coat sewing pattern // Leather raglan two piece sleeves // Closet Case Patterns

The exposed zipper is one of my favourite features (I have a well documented love of exposed zippers here and here and here and um, here). I wanted to experiment with having a zip continue throughout the length of the tall funnel collar and also provide an alternative to buttons or snaps for View B (why should View A have all the fun?)

I absolutely love it open around the face….

Clare Coat sewing pattern // Funnel neck collar with exposed zipper and leather raglan sleeves // Closet Case Patterns

… and it’s the ultimate wind shield/neck fort when done up all the way (at the bottom of this post I explain how you can add one yourself…)

Clare Coat sewing pattern // Funnel neck collar with exposed zipper // Closet Case Patterns

As for the guts — SO PRETTY. I’ve never used silk charmeuse as coat lining before because $$$, but I have to say, it’s worth every freaking penny. Besides being so soft and slippery you feel like you’re sinking into a warm cup of heaven, it is also LEOPARD PRINT. It is physically impossible for me not to be filled with a balloon of happiness every time I see this lining. Sewing is all about the secret pleasures.

I took time making this Clare, with lots of careful pressing, topstitching, and some seriously nice bar tacks along the pocket opening. I also made sure I included a leather hanging loop to prevent the neckline from stretching out when it’s hung on a hook. It’s basically my ultimate coat. I’m not sure how I’ll ever top it (so much so that I’m a little scared to wear it and ruin it).

Clare Coat sewing pattern Silk charmeuse coat lining and leather sleeve // Closet Case Patterns Clare Coat sewing pattern Silk charmeuse coat lining and leather sleeve // Closet Case Patterns

ADDING AN EXPOSED ZIPPER TO THE CLARE COAT

I thought i had taken a million great photos of how I did this but it turns out… I didn’t. Rest assured if it’s something you’d like to do yourself, it’s relatively easy. You’ll just want to sew in the zipper to the left side of your coat seam before you attach the lining, keeping in mind the 5/8″ seam allowance at the top. Overlap your coat fronts at the center front notch and with your left side folded over the right, find where you should locate the other half of the zipper. Use a matching thread to sew the zipper tape to the actual coat. It will look something like this once they’re both sewn.

Clare Coat sewing pattern // How to install an exposed zipper // Closet Case Patterns

So, do you like my new(ish) coat? Have I brought you over to the dark side of exposed zipper admiration? What does your ultimate coat look like?

Details: Clare Coat pattern, Ginger Flared Jeans, Firmoo prescription sunglasses

  • kristin

    omg. gorgeous.

  • Marlise

    Excellent work! Exposed zippers are the best!

  • NO. WORDS. Okay…not true. Your Clare is GORGEOUS! What a truly awesome make!! And yes, I do love the exposed zipper!

    Looking forward to reading tips on sewing with leather.

    • Thank you Sue! I gotta get my act together today and start editing those photos…

  • Manju

    Love this! Just perfect combination of fabrics.

  • Shawn Lewenza

    Do people stop you on the street and ask “where did you buy that jacket?”.

  • That is an incredible thing of beauty!

  • I love wool-leather combos! Well done!

  • Megan Francine

    A complete transformation of the Claire! I love how you have created two totally different looks with one pattern! Also, I can’t wait for the leather tutorial!

    • Isn’t it crazy how big a difference fabric choice can make?! I LOVE SEWING!

  • fayedoll1

    IT’S GORGEOUS!!!

  • Carolyn Norman

    I agree I sew to save money and your amazingly beautiful coat is proof positive of that fact. I love everything and I mean everything about this stunning coat!

    • Thank you Carolyn! I know you have a sweet tooth for gorgeous fabrics too 😉

  • I’ve been waiting for this post! Wonderful job.

  • Kathryn

    This is killing me! So amazing. Thanks so much for sharing.
    I was *just* starting to plant my Christmas break project. It’s a second Clare, View B this time, in kelly green melton. My local bargain fabric shop really came through!

    So, obviously I will be adding some leather details now!

    • Omg KELLY MELTON? That sound divine. Kelly green was my “signature” colour for many years and I love it very much. That’s gonna be a stunner!

  • Jolianne

    Is it legal to look so cool? Amazing job, “il te fait comme un gant”!

  • Caroline

    My ultimate coat… actually looks a lot like yours, except the fabric portion is maybe navy. And my OTHER ultimate coat (because I can’t pick one of anything and I WON’T BE HEMMED IN BY THE DICTIONARY WHERE THE WORD ULTIMATE IS CONCERNED) is also a Clare… but a ridiculous ballet pink faux fur one. With a fabulous lining. I can not explain why.

    • HAHAHAHAHA.

      Okay, so. I have a few yards of a dirty pink faux lambswool I have been totally hoarding for two years, and either this year or next I am going to make a drop dead get out of town Clare with it. So you’re not alone with your plan!

      • Caroline

        That is AWESOME. I’m torn between a dreamy short shag that is super pet-able and a dramatic long and curly faux Mongolian yak. I have (more than) a few skill building projects scheduled before I hit my Dream Clare project, though, so If you beat me to it I am totally mining you for faux fur dart tips!

  • Do we like this? Are you serious? This is beautiful!!!! I don’t want to hear another word about any “deep regrets” because this thing is seriously the max.

    • Aww thanks Kirstin! Always seems like there is *something* that can be improved but I guess that’s what keeps us addicted right?

  • Jennifer P

    Holy mother chuckin cow!! This is stunning. I love the green and leather combo and I want to know how it was to sew with the leather (after watching project runway this season and now this coat!). Love it!!!!!!!!!

    • Sewing leather is pretty easy! Much more than I thought. I will be sure to share my thoughts soon 😉

  • Karen Caron

    Your coat is truly beautiful! I love it so much!

  • Lisa

    Oh man goodness. I love this. It’s amazing!

  • Lisa

    *my goodness, not man goodness! Ha!

  • Laura

    Loveeeeee. I have never wanted to make a coat but now THAT ONE. The leather is perfect. Good work.

    • Thank you Laura! Coat making is super fun. Highly recommend 😉

  • Beeeeauuutiful!!! So many excellent choices here

  • Quinn May

    I am so so so so in love with this coat. Perhaps even as much as you are 😉 I tried a coat this year (Dressy Talk Pattern’s 4 in 1 coat) It went okay… It’s the second thing I’ve ever fully lined, and it looks pretty great on the hanger… but I missed the mark on getting it to fit me.
    I’d love to try this coat (complete with leather sleeves and zipper), but first a few simple projects to build up my confidence again.

    • Aw, its such a bummer when you can’t get the fit right on an ambitious project. If you’ve already lined a coat you’d have no problem wit this pattern – I think it’s pretty simple as far as coats go, and raglan sleeves and A-line shapes are easier to fit 😉

  • missceliespants

    I love it. And, I wonder if the sleeves would have been too thick if you’d used a thicker hide?

    • I think I could have sewn through something quite a bit thicker… ahh live and learn!

  • Michelle Rainer

    This is really wonderful and has completely transformed my concept of what this pattern can be. I have had it ready to go in my sewing queue for awhile now (in this view with the snaps), but really prefer the edgier look of the zipper so I’m glad I procrastinated!

    Would also like to add a note of appreciation for your inspiring blog and your patterns. I made my mother a pair of linen/viscose Carolyn pyjamas with silk piping for Christmas. As she does not know about your blog I can share that I gave them a “test sleep” and they are as comfortable as they are beautiful. I can’t wait to give them to her (and have already bought more fabric for a set of my own).

  • Heather I just have to say how MUCH I love your coat – perfect for a Victoria BC winter. It’s so stylish and luscious and of course so perfectly constructed. WOW!

  • idaaidasewing.wordpress.com

    Love how you made this coat Heather, i’ve been thinking of of a leather wool combination as well, good to see how it looks like.

  • You had me at neck fort.
    This is very lovely indeed.
    – typed in an office while I wear the ginormous puffy otherwise discussed.
    We need a makable cold weather coat that isn’t deeply ugly. Or maybe it’s so ugly it’s beautiful (the Norma Kamali/Issey Miyake sleeping bag coat).

  • Holy snickerdoodles, that’s beautiful!! I am droolingII This is the level of sewing I would love to reach someday, but I am definitely not ready to work with that kind of fabric yet. You are my spirit animal!!

  • Jessica H.

    This is amazing! I’ve had tweed fabric for a Clare coat since last winter but keep holding off because I’ve been envisioning it with an exposed zipper just like this and have been mulling over the best way to do it. Guess this is the universe telling me to get on it!

    So gorgeous! I love the color-blocked leather sleeves.

  • Really gorgeous and your sewing is just beautiful. Winner!

  • Amaia CE

    What a stunner of a coat!! I’m just about to make my first Clare in wool. I might add a zipper to view B!

  • Estelle Jalink

    Wonderful!! I loved making the Clare Coat recently, I wear it everyday. Wonderful pattern, messyessymakes x

  • Natalie

    This coat is totally gorgeous. I’m researching coat sewing, and I also checked out your Grainline Cascade, which you said you lined with kasha. Any thoughts on pros/cons of using Kasha vs. silk charmeuse?

    • Kasha is much warmer and less delicate. I would only use charmeuse on a mild weather coat unless you plan on interlining with lambswool or thinsulate.

  • megan

    what length of zipper did you use?

  • Jacey Grusnick

    This coat is everything. Pretty much everything you make, makes me drool. Really love following your blog and instagram accounts. Your style is impeccable and it’s nice to have the kind of maker inspiration for on trend items you provide on the daily!

    • Aww thanks Jacey! I’m so glad to hear that. Square foot hmmm. I’m gonna say like 15 maybe??

  • Jacey Grusnick

    Any idea how many square feet of leather something like this would take?

  • Lisa

    I’m making view B with zipper right now. What zipper brand and size did you use for yours?

    • Its YKK and 26″ long. I’d say you want at least 2-3″ of space at the bottom.

  • CasalingaCreativa Marie

    This will be my next project! So in love with that jacket!!
    I’m looking at the quantity of fabric to order, on the pattern it says the total amount, but I would like to know how much for the body and how much for the sleeves? Thank you!

    • Hi Marie. I’m not sure exactly but I think you’d need about a yard for the sleeves. Depending on your size you could probably order less for the body but you’d have to look at the cutting diagrams in the instructions to know for sure.