Just Sewn: Sapporo Coat by PaperCut Patterns

Thistles in Blue

It’s a hot July now but back in rainy January, at the Pendleton Woolen Mills Outlet, I found 2 yards of a lovely blue sponge jacquard wool. The design is based on a Scottish thistle. At any price, I thought would make a smashing coat.

The cashier told me that Pendleton offered a coat made from similar fabric. I found the Flora Zelda on the website. The coat shown below was no longer available but it was described by Pendleton as:

A statement-making women’s coat, exquisitely crafted down to the last detail. It starts with the fabric: a blanket-weight wool jacquard, woven in our Northwest mills. The bold, intricate floral pattern is perfectly placed on each coat for a stunning look from all angles. In a cocoon silhouette that’s fresh and modern, with front and back darts for subtle shaping. Elbow-length raglan sleeves, one-button closure and side entry pockets. Lined.

Pendleton USA

Smitten, I decided to make my first coat with the Sapporo Coat pattern by Papercut Patterns.

Back and Back Sides

I didn’t have enough of the thistle fabric to make the coat entire, so I asked the kind people at Pendleton Woolen Mills for help. There was no more of this fabric so Mary at PWM helped identify some possibilities and sent me samples. I chose a black melton wool.

Where to put the expanse of black melton in the pattern was the next question. I planned to use the blue side of the jacquard on the outside rather than the black. And the melton was a heavier weight than the jacquard.

So I experimented mentally with putting the melton in the back, the triangular back sides, the sleeves, the front top and finally decided on the front bottom. From a weight perspective, I think the top front would have been best but I didn’t like that so much visually. Putting the black on the bottom front would make the graceful diagonal lines pop right out.

Next there was the little matter of interfacing. I now know that melton doesn’t want crisp edges but I wanted some additional structure. I didn’t want to use fusible interfacing because drycleaning solvent would dissolve the glue. After watching a Bernadette Banner YouTube video with Royal Black Couture on pad stitching I decided to try hair canvas. A post in a forum on PatternReview.com recommended sourcing from Fashion Sewing Supply.

And then there was the lining. Wool is itchy. The pattern called for the sleeves to be double layers of wool. That meant no sleeveless top underneath (for me). Also the jacquard at the shoulder seam might strain to hold up double wool layers for years. The thickness of melton plus jacquard would make rumpled seams in the armpit. Instead I chose a black Bemberg from Hart’s Fabric for the body lining and the inner layer of the sleeve. Hot fuschia would have been more fun but I only found a shell pink.

I got flummoxed by the collar. Sew Jessalli’s 2-Part YouTube video sew-along demonstration was quite helpful.

At the end I had enough scraps to make a matching clutch thanks to a Creative Bug video by Fancy Tiger Crafts.

All in all from fabric to finish, this took me about 6 months to complete. COVID-19 restrictions didn’t seem to slow down deliveries much on my slow motion time table and I had more time at home to work on it.

I am not at ease in front of the camera but here are a few photos to show the final product. It takes a village!

Feedback, comments, questions welcome.

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