Making a yellow coat for Esme (Made Up, part two)

posted in: WIP (work in progress) | 15

I approached this project with trepidation. I have already written about the hazards of sewing for those you love.

This project started a year or two ago when I bought Esme a nice yellow summer coat from Zara. It got worn so much it is currently quite disgusting. I agreed to make a copy. I then, recklessly perhaps, offered to make it for Karen’s Made Up pledge (which gives me until Saturday, ahem) to finish it.

Fabric choices

I looked and looked for suitable cloth. The original is a drapey, but not overly lightweight, viscose twill in a relatively subdued shade of yellow – a pastel, muted yellow. I couldn’t find anything close. I did buy  a nice soft cashmere remnant in lemon, but Esme turned that down. So  I made myself a jacket. Which I love.

Eventually I was lucky enough to find some amazing yellow lightweight wool twill. Here was a textile with an amazing history and providence. It came from the closing down sale of W Bill, a longstanding British suiting fabric supplier. I have a post about them coming up. There was enough to make a coat (although not as much as the pattern required). It was good value. It had some ruination on the bottom of the piece and a thick blue line woven into it. It also had a tab showing how much had been sold, and how much was left. Just my little piece, all on its own. Even if Esme hated it I had to buy it.

Yellow W Bill wool remnant in yellow
Yellow W Bill wool remnant


The next job was to convince Esme that this was the right colour for her new coat. She didn’t like it much. I gave her grey instead. We also tried a piece of Roland Mouret double crepe wool in a strong, bluish pink. And a piece of deep cobalt blue, again from Roland Mouret. She liked the grey, which is a nice piece of ex-Jaeger cloth, with a touch of stretch. She twirled in all the colours, and Ellie (her friend) and I gave our opinions. In the end I pushed her into yellow because I just thought it looked the best. For Esme however the yellow was different from her original coat and she felt it was a bit full on.  I promised to do something in the grey, and maybe some trousers in the pink. And I said if she hated the coat I would keep it for myself (I am a size or two bigger, but it is an unstructured coat). In the end she caved in.


I knew Burda would have a suitable pattern, but I couldn’t find it! Then I remembered. For some reason Burda Style UK does not cover the full range. I had to go to the US site to get this pattern for a “collarless open coat”. This was exactly the simple style I wanted, although the pockets are in the side front seams.  Also it looks a bit stiff, doesn’t it? I worried about how Esme might react, as her coat is somewhat cardigan-y. However as she had, at one point, asked for the coat to be tapered in at the hem I figured  the princess seams might allow this to be achieved in a subtle way.


I like Burda downloads – instant gratification. I don’t mind the sellotaping as it gives me some thinking time. Often the patterns are used for more than one style, so you do have to go carefully through it. Sometimes the instructions don’t make much sense, and may even be incorrect. But it is basically a straightforward job. Based on Esme’s measurements I used the smallest size for the shoulders and bust, the next for the waist, and the next for the hips. One of the great advantages of making your own clothes.

For the first fitting I machine basted the coat together and asked Esme to try it on for fit (but also to try to convince her this was the colour she really wanted).

Girl in yellow coat, being fitted
First fitting

The fit was good, and as you can see Esme is beginning to like the colour, which looks a bit less “in your face” worn outside.

Now I will make up the coat, ready for the second fitting, where I will baste in the sleeves and pin up the hems. See you soon!


15 Responses

  1. Geo

    I have some raw silk in a similar shade, I want to make a colarless spring/summer jacket.
    I hope your daughter will like the jacket, it’s a lovely color and it looks nice on her.

  2. ceci

    Interesting how vibrant the first photo with the grey looks vs the yellow (wonders of photoshop or just emotional reaction to the colors) but she does look happier by the second yellow picture! Will there be lining? Things happen so fast in your world!


  3. Susie

    Yellow is one of those colors I rarely choose to sew with, but maybe it’s because there aren’t a lot of choices. I like this yellow and don’t think it is too bright at all (say I from a window thousands of miles away, viewed through an iPad). Can’t wait to see it finished.

  4. Jaclyn

    I love following Esme’s yellow coat journey! The colour is perfect for her (after having my colours done by you, you can see I feel I’m now something of an expert! Ha!)… ATM I’m o/s, blog on hold…. Potential time issue predicted alongside full time work..? Sadly I think I need to park the idea until I can work out what my hours will be like at work , no point starting up then grinding to a halt three months later when my videos run out :-/

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