Ombre Freemantle

It’s been quite a long time since I tackled a coat project (and got outside for a photo shoot!). My Yona coat has happily seen me through two winters and it’s actually still good for this year, but I also fancied a new option. Once I clocked this awesome fabric and realised what an amazing Marilla Walker Freemantle coat it’d make there was no going back.

I actually first attempted this pattern back in 2014, soon after it was first released. Shall we say my skills did not match up to my ambition back then and the WIP wound up skulking on my mannequin for a long time before getting ditched. It’s a fairly advanced pattern to construct, especially as written with the insides underlined and bias-bound rather than a bagged/enclosed lining, and the cut-on square underarm gussets to wrap your head around. Marilla has actually discontinued the pattern from her shop as she felt the construction was too challenging to be saleable, but I’m sure she’d sort you out if you asked. Also word is she’s releasing some new patterns soon… :) EDIT TO ADD: Marilla is reworking this pattern to include a standard sort of lining, so keep your eyes peeled for the re-released pattern this side of Christmas! Great news, and would have saved me some head-scratching!

I did actually alter the pattern to have a standard lining, which is not that straightforward to do – it was one of the things that tripped me up on my first attempt in fact. The difficulty comes because the main body has raglan construction whereas the facing just has shoulder seams, so you can’t simply deduct the facings from the main body pieces to end up with the lining, if that makes sense. Marilla does have a tutorial on it, but it still didn’t click for me! Instead I made the lining as an exact dupe of the outer, then topstitched the facings on top (binding the raw facing edge with bias before doing so) and finally trimmed back the lining from underneath the facing parts. I then cut the inners down by two inches to form the jump hem and used a mix of the Yona coat instructions and this Grainline tutorial for a refresher when it came to machining it all together. Sounds complicated but still easier than making a neat job of all that binding in the underlined version, ha ha.

The star-of-the-show fabric is a very dreamy grey ombre wool and mohair coating from Fabworks that I totally bought with the Freemantle in mind. I knew that placing the stripes nicely would be key so bought 3m and mocked up some options in Photoshop before deciding on my cutting layout. The fabric was as wonderful to work with as wool always is, taking a steamy press beautifully, and I love the fuzzy halo that the mohair gives it. It’s quite lightweight and drapey yet incredibly warm and cosy. I’ve been wearing it as a coatigan indoors as well as out as it’s so soft and unstructured. I did apply interfacing strategically but may go back and add some twill tape along key seamlines as I’m a bit nervous of it stretching out with wear.

I’m especially proud of the welt pockets. It’s always terrifying making that big slice into your garment front, but these turned out so nicely and they feel really roomy and practical – plus the inner facing is in self-fabric so they’re all snuggly on my paws. I had the giant copper snaps in my stash, I think they’re from Macculloch and Wallis in Soho. I only had two but three would really be better, though I don’t think I will wear this closed very often anyway.

Little details of the collar and that underarm gusset, which is rather fun to sew, especially seeing the gradient fabric wrap around it. I wound up sewing the collar twice as the first time I got it backwards, and then I realised I didn’t like the placement I’d done so re-cut it in a darker area. I also interfaced it the second time, which made it easier to get nice crisp edges.

The motivation to complete this project came just in time really as it’s suddenly got a bit chilly here in London. I wore it out for dinner literally as soon as I did the last handstitch on the snaps as well as out the next day, so I reckon it will be on regular rotation this winter. Is anyone else planning a new winter coat? Word is Grainline is releasing her personal pattern for this dreamboat, so this might not be my only coat project of the season!

37 thoughts on “Ombre Freemantle

  1. Avatarpoppykettle

    Oh this is fabulous, Katie! What amazing fabric to get to use too, I just love your placement of the ombre, especially the dark edge at the sleeve cuff! Those big copper snaps are so fun, too. It looks super cosy!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Thank you! I was pleased with those cuffs, it was a happy accident that the sleeve length let me do that and also match the body colour at the top. And the snaps were just used because I had them but I do like the copper with the grey.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Thanks Manju! Funnily enough I saw someone wearing quite a similar one on the street yesterday, presumably RTW. But not as nice of course ;)

  2. AvatarDani

    I absolutely love this! It looks fabulous. Totally inspiring as I’m going to try my first coat this autumn but thinking about something like the Oslo by Tessuti.

  3. AvatarChloe

    Fantastic work, and gorgeous finished coat! I really like the gussets, they are such a neat detail, I had no idea they were in this pattern (which I have been curious about, I may have to see if I can snag a copy).

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Yeah they are a really cool feature and do help with range of motion I think. Marilla is actually updating the pattern to have a full lining, so be sure to look out for that!

  4. AvatarSew Sarah Smith

    I’m even more impressed with this cost now I’ve read what it took to sew it together! Absolutely brilliant.

  5. AvatarPsychicSewerKathleen

    I love your coat too! SO cozy and luscious. I could definitely go for one of these right now :) I’m in Victoria BC Canada which has similar weather to the UK and the mornings especially can be really chilly. Beautiful work.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Thanks! I don’t really feel the cold too much and it’s still around 15-18 degrees C here, so not too cold yet. I want it to get a bit colder now so I really feel the benefit of this coat!

  6. AvatarLesley

    Hang on, aren’t you that chic that takes all her photos in the lounge room? I honestly didn’t recognise you Katie. Luvverly job on the excellent coat. I too have been known to just topstitch a facing onto a lining piece – it works and the sewing police haven’t found me yet! It’s 1.50am here in Sydney and I’m hot and can’t sleep. Have a very snuggly winter Katie.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Ha ha yes, proof I do leave the house sometimes! I do prefer being inside and having more control over the setting and lighting etc, ha ha. Glad it’s not just me who’s made that sneaky technique work. Please send some of that warmth over here!

  7. AvatarTasha

    Wow!! This is beautiful to look at and I can tell it’s awesome to wear!
    Great job powering through the lining confusion. The insides look REALLY good!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Thanks! I did have a lining FAIL first off where I tried to trim it back in-situ and it didn’t work at all, so glad it went easier the second time, and I do really like the feel of it all enclosed inside.

  8. AvatarClaire

    Gaah this is so great! The fabric is Perfect (with a capital P) for the pattern. I bet Marilla is jumping for joy. It’s slso helping me get my coat-sewing mojo on. I desperately need a new coat this winter. Looks like I’ll probably be using my old coat as a pattern.

  9. AvatarRoo

    fabulous coat! Love the ombre fabric and the pocket detail is great. I am planning on making the shawl collar coat by the maker’s atelier, fabric ready – just need a few free hours.

  10. AvatarFiona

    Katie this is soooo beautiful! Amazing use of an amazing fabric and it all looks so well made. Those welt pockets and underarm gussets are a sight to behold!

  11. AvatarAnita

    It’s all your fault! I saw your coat, fell in love and now I have to pay all the shipping costs to have this wonderful fabric delivered to Switzerland :). Thanks a lot, I’ve been looking for something similar for quite a while now ( I think the fabric is gonna end up as Frau Ava- Coat- hopefully I’ll manage the lining somehow…). Great job!!!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Oh cool, I like the idea that my coat will have a fraternal twin out there! Send me a pic when it’s done if you can, I’d love to see.

      1. AvatarAnita

        Right, a fraternal twin :):. I would have asked for you permission if my plan had been an identical one. I’m very much looking forward to getting the fabric, I’m still in mailcontact with Fabworks, but they seem to be very nice people and I think all will work out just fine. Of course I’ll try and send you a picture! ( looking again at your pictures above, I realized I have the very same IKEA “sewing station” in turquoise – identical twins this time :). )

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