Copying a Zara coat for Esme

Esme has a much-loved yellow, summer coat. I bought for about £60 in Zara, a shop that usually stocks more a good range of yellow items. In fact if you like yellow it is the shop to shop in. I imagine in sunny Spain those dark-haired girls seek out true lemon to make their black clothes and denim jeans come to life.

Anyway a yellow summer coat is a wonderful thing, and I am always looking for nice yellow cloth for myself (more of that later). I love it that Esme wears a yellow coat like it is just an old thing – rather than reserved for “occasion wear”.

Esme has had this coat for two or three years and it has gone from pretty to pretty knackered. She has never washed or cleaned it and to my mind it is ready for throwing out. But she loves it dearly and will even wear it for parties (luckily in Peckham, in summer, grunge is still OK).

Yellow coat from Zara
Shabby Zara Coat

As I put the coat on Camilla you could see her lip curling. What are you putting on me? It’s disgusting! Well it won’t be long my dear Duchess, as Esme will want it to wear it later today. You can see the facings rolling out, the sagging pockets, the lack of any proper interfacing, the uneven hem. Please, fellow dressmakers and seamstresses, if any of these thing happen to your jackets and dresses realise it is the norm on RTW.

Anyway my task was to replicate said coat. In exactly the same shade of yellow, the same feel and texture, the exact viscose-linen twill fabric used by the manufacturer. Sorry, Esme, that is not going to happen. Despite searching committedly for fabric that might do I failed miserably. But Esme is a kind and reasonable girl. She agreed with me that a completely different colour, but more or less the right weight would do just fine.

So now we are on the hunt for something suitable.

Style 2951 (two piece fitted sleeve)

In the meantime I made up a pattern. It was really a simple task as the coat only has one dart – under bust to hem (the only difficulty was seeing how the grain was arranged around the dart). I made a decision and we will see how it hangs. The sleeve was quite interesting as I have noticed that Zara have narrow, curved two piece sleeves on their jackets (I once altered a black suit for Bianca). So took an existing two piece fitted coat pattern, and made the upper sleeve narrower and more curved. I can use the existing under sleeve. This is to produce a fairly quick wearable toile you understand – I only have around 1 hour before I leave for work. Once it is made up and tried on we can see if it needs some refinement.

Copying a RTW Zara coat
Yellow coat pattern

13 Responses

  1. Chris

    It’s a lovely coat -I can see why your daughter wants a second one. Did you consider tracing a pattern directly from the coat? It’s something I’ve often done using a lightweight cotton or medical tissue paper.

    • fabrickated

      I made the pattern with a mixture of measuring, tracing and outlining. It’s probably a bit crude. Would you consider showing how to do it on your blog? I think people have lots of different methods and it would be good to try other approaches.

      • Chris

        That sounds very much like how I do it, but I’ll try to take some good pictures the next time. It may be of help for someone! Ps…I just saw tthat you won the Swap 2015, well deserved, Congrats!

    • fabrickated

      Thanks Ruth, and I have to agree, but she and I clash in our views (and the colour of our outfits) all the time…

    • fabrickated

      OK! I want a particular colour and weight which is fairly difficult with the internet. I may have to buy a few swatches. Really appreciate your help DF.

  2. ceci

    chuckling at the concept of a summer coat here in the semi-tropics…..its an expression I first heard from a friend from a Scots friend. But will be fascinated with the process.


  3. Mary Funt

    Your post brought back memories of my first trip to Zara. I was shopping with my daughter-in-law in Lisbon when we passed by a huge Zara shop. We loved the styling but were less than impressed with fabrics and workmanship. Your daughter will get the best of both: pattern by Zara, fabric and sewing by you.
    I’ve had great success copying RTW using silk organza and Frixon pens. The organza is see through enough to copy the seam lines and the pen disappears with ironing. I use the same piece of organza over and over. Just trace each section onto pattern paper, iron the marks away and proceed to the next garment section. The organza holds it’s shape so the grain lines don’t get all wiggley.
    Good luck with your fabric search and please post the finished coat.

    • fabrickated

      This is just such a great tip Mary. I am so glad you passed it on. And you are absolutely right about Zara – on the models the clothes look high end, but they are not very well made and soon look tired and in need of replacement.

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