Leopard Brocade Coat


Hey! It’s Shams from Communing with Fabric with a project made from a stunning Britex fabric. For this project I selected a fabric from the Novelty category, Smoke Striped Leopard Smooth Brocade:


This reversible brocade leopard print from Italy is truly a stunning fabric. I wanted to make a coat and quickly settled on Butterick 6385, a Lisette pattern. I made this coat once before for my Paris wardrobe and I have loved wearing that coat.

Besides the beautiful brocade, the coat is lined with black stretch silk charmeuse, and the edges are bound with black stretch silk twill. It closes with covered snaps, though the outer coat features decorative Britex buttons.


In late October, I was headed off to a creative sewing retreat organized by Diane Ericson, Design Outside the Lines. The fall retreat that I attended, held in Ashland, featured coats as a theme. The guest co-teacher was Kathryn Brenne, who designs patterns for Vogue and has her own couture sewing school.

Kathryn encouraged me to use a variety of couture techniques, some that I hadn’t used since taking tailoring back in the 80s, and some that were new to me. For example, I made shoulder pads and sleeve heads using wool fleece, used Kathryn’s no-bulk side seam pockets, and made covered snaps (the snaps on the coat are covered with the brocade, and the snaps on the facing are covered with silk twill). I set the lining by hand, and finished the bias trim by hand.

Kathryn demonstrating her no-bulk side seam pocket using my coat.
Britex button on the left and a covered snap on the right.
Kathryn setting my sleeve or, as she calls it, “introducing the sleeve to the coat” on the mannequin…
…and on me

In my size, this coat calls for 3-1/8 yards of fabric and that doesn’t inlude extra for pattern matching. I had 3 yards and wanted to use the print symmetrically. I was able to squeeze it out by cutting each pattern piece singly—no cutting while doubled. I used both sides of the gorgeous fabric—most of the coat uses the darker side of the fabric, while the inner and outer collars, the front facings, and the back yoke use the more silvery side.



Thanks to Britex for the beautiful brocade. I purchased all other supplies.


I just returned from Japan earlier today. One of my more notable souvenirs from the trip, two shattered finger tips with a deep cut to the bone through one fingernail, makes typing a challenge. After hours in a Tokyo ER, an orthopedic surgeon stitched up my fingernail and the nail bed (where the nail is missing) using a mallet and lots of local anesthesia. Nevertheless, I made many posts to Instagram and Facebook. I probably won’t repost them here, though I may create a list of links to the relevant posts on Instagram.

Despite my mishap within one hour of landing in Japan, it was the trip of a lifetime—a complete dream. But I don’t know how soon I will be able to sew again or, indeed, type normally. (I use my right hand as normal, but I have to hunt and peck with the ring finger of my left hand.)

I am left handed, so this is particularly challenging.

I return to work tomorrow. Have a great week!

Join me on Not Dead Yet’s Visible Monday!

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