Thursday, October 31, 2019

Sapporo Coat

Oh, my. This pattern. I've had my eye on it a while. I started following #sapporocoat over on IG, and it was just a matter of time before I would buy this one and make it up.

Local fabric store and sewing studio, Topstitch, advertised a class for making this popular jacket. I couldn't sign up for the class due to travel plans, but I contacted them and purchased the pattern. This pleased me because it's a New Zealand publication and I really wanted a paper pattern, rather than a PDF.

There are many things to love about this pattern:
  • the overall lantern shape
  • the cool slanted in-seam pockets
  • the way the neckline frames the face
  • bracelet length sleeves

Since I had waited a while to purchase it, I took my time making it. I read all the 4-star reviews on PatternReview. There are lots of 5-star reviews too, but I find that 4-star reviews often reveal issues more effectively than 5-star reviews.

One of the reviews included a link to a sew-along tutorial here. That was instructive because I could see what the intent was and make changes accordingly.

The instructions included in the Sapporo Coat pattern are cute but sparse. There are many curved seams that benefit from stay-stitching, not mentioned once. In fact, my outer fabric is a very firm wool and stay-stitching was required for smooth curves.

The cut-on in-seam pockets also need stay-stitching at the corners. I wish now that I had added a little interfacing to the pocket opening. Next time.

I also under-stitched at the neckline and the sleeve hems by hand. Because my lining is flush with the edge of the sleeve hem, I also used a Susan Khalje technique for steam pressing. It seems to be mostly working, though I may add some subtle sashiko stitching to make sure nothing rolls.

This fabric is a remnant purchased from local fabric store, Gail K, several years ago. It is similar to wool crepe. The base is brown wool and there is a thicker black thread woven in creating the look of a subtle pin-stripe. Because of this novelty weave, I thought it would be wise to cut with nap. A close examination of the instructions made clear that their layout was WITHOUT nap. Glad I caught that.

A significant and documented problem is the lining. Oy.

The pattern includes a separate front lining to be attached to cut-on front facings. The back piece is the same for both the outer fabric and the lining. But they are designed so that there is ZERO slack or ease in the lining. That is, you are to cut off all the extra vertical length in the back piece and the front lining piece is woefully short. At least one reviewer noted that her back hem was already starting to curl up.

I added inches to the front and back lining pieces to provide the needed slack for a conventional lining. I also added a center back pleat to the back lining piece.

The pattern calls for using outer fabric for the lining for the sleeves. The method for attaching the lining and outer sleeves together generates a lot of bulk, as can be seen in a number of reviews and pictures on line. I ignored those instructions and constructed my lining in a traditional fashion, mirroring the jacket.

I used many techniques for jacket making learned from Pam Howard. What fun to remember taking a very challenging tailored jacket class from her!

One technique was the slick handling of vertical slack along the lower front hem, as well as bagging the jacket lining, after hand-stitching the hems. I love that technique!

My lining was also from deep stash. I think it was in a mystery bag I purchased from Marcy Tilton during her last Design Outside the Lines workshop in 2013. I was sad to discover that it is polyester. I burn tested it more than once because I really wanted it to be rayon.

It is a polyester satin and so ravels like crazy. But it has wonderful drape and feels silky. And I like the way it looks with this rich brown wool. If it makes me uncomfortable, I'll just take it out and line with rayon or silk. But for now, I'm enjoying the look of the polka dots.


  1. A lovely coat, and it looks great too. I have had this pattern for at least two years and have not yet found my perfect fabric but I want to thank you for all the useful tips. I will keep them by me when I start mine.

  2. Thank you for your terrific reviews.

  3. Thanks for such an informative review, so helpful to know about pattern idiosyncrasies before you start cutting the fabric. Love the look of your coat especially with the Boo t-shirt! I have had the pattern forever and found the perfect fabric in the stash. Even had it all together and bought lining fabric but then winter ended. It hasn't seen the light of day since. But now you have me thinking about it wondering if it could be a more light-weight summer coat.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience! In the end, you have a wonderful coat in a beautiful fabric!

    I can't believe they've drafted a coat without an ease pleat! I'd somehow missed your post and then today, POW, there it was. There was another lengthy post about all of the drafting errors within this pattern. :/