I fell in love with the Republique du Chiffon Gerard Coat after seeing a number of cool versions on different blogs, namely Ginger Makes and Cut Cut Sew. I hadn't made a coat before but I wasn't too worried, I just thought it would take me a bit longer. I set about reading lots of advice before buying any material. In particular I read Cut Cut Sew's posts, I was really grateful for the link to this video on creating a lined jacket, which I must have watched 6/7 times.
I bought my lovely wool and red lining from Barry's Birmingham at Christmas, I had been saving the vintage button for a special project, and this was it!
I made a toile, I'm glad I did as I got quite confused with the pattern. I found it quite difficult to follow because although it's in English, it's very spartan and the diagrams are in French. I only had access to a paper copy rather than the Pdf while I was sewing which didn't help (I couldn't zoom in on the diagrams). I persevered and was mostly happy with the toile, I think there are some odd things going on with the inside of the collar, because of my lack of experience I had to make a best guess, but only you and I know about that :).
So then it was time to start sewing! I decided not to pre-wash my wool, I'd already decided that after putting in all the effort of sewing my coat, I will dry clean it. For a big item like this I would rather pay the extra cost than run the risk of shrinking my coat.
Perseverance! I think it took me about two months from making the toile to completing the jacket. I probably would have been quicker if I'd been more experienced and had a bit more free time, Christmas got in the way :).
While I was putting it together I realised that I needed to underline my jacket, as the wool and lining were incredibly thin. I used a double layer of cotton batiste. I was pretty pleased with it although it's still quite thin, so the jacket is good for spring and autumn wear. Because of these extra layers I had to make sure I graded my seams. Some of my seams were still quite bulky to sew, but my sewing machine managed it.
I'm so pleased with this jacket. It's not perfect, I misread the pattern instructions and didn't make the pockets as I should have, plus my collar issues. I think it would have been flattering on me if it was a bit longer, and some days I think it's a little too big. I went for a larger size because I thought I would be wearing jumpers underneath it, but it's too light for really cold weather. However bearing all that in mind, I still love this jacket. I can wear it with smart work dresses or jeans, and I love the wool and the vintage button. I would definitely make this again and I have a pile of other Republique du Chiffon paper patterns in my stash waiting to be made up.