Sometimes after a Deer&Doe photoshoot I can bring home some of the samples that we are not going to use again and add them to my wardrobe. Alas, that wasn’t the case with Opium! The coat was so popular at work that everybody wanted one. Brigitte, our wonderful model and coworking colleague got the cream-colored one, and Eléonore the one with the belt. Poor me, who ended up coatless! So since we needed to take pictures for tutorials on the blog, I used this as an excuse to sew a new version 😉
I really wanted to make one in a print (it’s actually in progress right now), but I thought it might be better to start with something a little more subdued. Especially since I didn’t really have a winter coat, just a puffy down coat that helped me survive the bostonian winter, but nothing that could be dressed up a bit. It turns out I had in my stash a 3-meter cut of dark grey wool and cashmere coating, that I had bought maybe three or four years ago to sew a coat for Phil. I had tried back then to make the Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat, but the first muslin didn’t fit him at all, it was way too big and there were so many adjustments to make that I got discouraged. I have a bit of a curse in that every time I try to sew something for my husband it is a complete disaster! So I gave up, and since the fabric was still in my stash last month and that I needed something exactly like this for Opium I figured I might as well use it.
Cashmere is such a wonderful material, so incredibly soft and warm. I didn’t sew the snaps to the coat because I pictured it more as a transitional piece that I would wear open (and because, let’s be real, I was lazy and wanted to wear it right away), but it is so warm that I’m probably going to sew them on so I can wear it closed in the winter. I actually really like how open it is at the neck, as it will allow me to take advantage of my collection of shawls my mom knitted for me, that I don’t wear as often as I’d like to.
For the lining fabric, I wanted to use Bemberg rayon as I usually do, but it was out of stock in every colorway on fabric.com… So I picked up some rayon twill, thinking it would work, but it turned out that “broken twill” is definitely not slippery enough! Do as I say, not as I do… That makes the coat a little tricky to put on and especially to take off, but not to the point that I’d want to unpick the lining and sew a new one.
As for the construction, I think the best thing would be for me to give you the links of the tutorials on the Deer&Doe blog: interfacing, pockets, collar, and lining (there’s also a series of videos in French on the Couture et Paillettes channel). I have to say that it can be a bit frustrating for me to only sew patterns from my company, because then I don’t have much to say about them when I post on my personal blog! If I have criticism, it would have been taken into account and problems would have been fixed during the pattern development, and if I have praise… Well you can imagine I do, we’ve worked hard on every single pattern and each of them has many little construction details I am proud of, but I won’t talk your ear off about them! I am looking forward to sewing patterns from other brands again, so I can go into more details in my reviews.
I was curious to see how this coat would work with my existing wardrobe, and I was pleasantly surprised! In the summer I wear a lot of knee-length fit-and-flare dresses, but in the winter I tend to wear my Safran jeans, short skirts like Rosari, or fitted dresses like this Givre dress in black jersey knit (I’ll talk more about this dress in an upcoming post). I think the swing shape of Opium works great with these three silhouettes, and brings these outfits a retro touch that is dear to my heart. It also pairs really well with my new wool beret which I love, and yes, I know we’re leaning dangerously into costume territory here but I don’t care 😀
I had never sewn a fully lined coat before Opium and I did months of research on coat making and tailoring while we were working on this pattern, which really gave me a taste for outerwear! I am currently working on a second version inspired by this 1950s Jacques Fath coat, in a plaid wool with solid facings and pockets, I hope it’ll look good. I also still have to finish my B5824 coat (Gertie’s coat for Butterick), which has been at the bottom of my UFO pile for more than six years (!!!). And I’d also like to sew a straight coat eventually, maybe the Named Patterns’ Yona or Colette’s duffle coat, both of which I have in my library. But that won’t be for another year, 3 coats in one season is already way too much!