Introducing Spearmint


Remember back in October when I was doing a bunch of secret sewing?  Well my dears, I got my golden ticket to get on the pattern testing circuit and was knocking out this coat.  (I pattern tested this before the Brasilia dress so it's technically my first project, just not the one I blogged about first.) But enough about that, let's talk about new patterns...PATTERNS!

If you looking for a dramatic coat then look no further than Lolita Pattern's new Spearmint. With form fitting princess line seams and a large flouncy collar it's sure get noticed.

And if that's not enough you can make it fire engine red......and wear other red things with it. Let's just say I spiced up some neighbor's daily dog walk.
Did I mention the giant in seam pockets to keep your hands warm? I know you guys are in the pro pocket camp and this coat delivers.
Here's the back view. The coat has armhole princess line seams that whittle in at your waist and then flare out for a pretty full skirt.
Close up on the collar. It would be a crime not to show you one.

Spearmint from Lolita patterns.  Amity is pre-saling the pattern at a 15% discount until Monday so if you love the pattern then you might want to jump on it right away.

Sizing Tip - Spearmint was drafted to be more of a fair weather topper. If you want to make it as a woolen winter coat, then go up a size from the suggested one.  If your size straddles the regular and plus size blocks,  like mine, then you might want get the plus sized block.
Format Suggestion - You have the option of buying Spearmint as hard paper copy or as a digital file. If you purchase the digital format I highly recommend using the copy shop file to print this coat.  You know that I LOVE putting together PDF files, but after hour one of gluing the tiled version I was no longer having fun.  It took me 2 toddler free hours to put the tiled version together and my back did not thank me.

Fabrics used
Felted wool blend boucle knit from Marcy Tilton.  She seems to have sold out of this lovely red color but still has gray and black in stock.  However I feel like this fabric was not the best choice for this pattern and will elaborate more on that the confessions section.

Rayon lining white with black polka dots is from Gorgeous fabrics and still is in stock.

Since my fabric was quite thick I did not put horsehair canvas in the collar. Instead I used pro weft fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.

Pattern changes/alterations
Normal pattern adjustments
1. Forward shoulder adjustment on both the shoulder seam and the sleeve cap of 1/2". How to do that on a two piece sleeve here.
2. Wide upper back adjustment of 3/4" with shoulder seam dart added.
3. Sway back adjustment of 1".  This seemed to hike the hem up in the back so I added an extra 1" of length to the hem at center back and blended it out to the side seam.
4. Moved the bust apex of the princess line seam down 1 1/2". Alas god did not give me perky knockers.
5. Dropped the armholes 1/2".
6. Took in the upper back princess line seam about 3/4", blending that alteration out before reaching the armhole where I do need extra width.

Other Alterations.
1. I very aggressively FBA'ed the side front piece by 1 1/2". In retrospect I was a bit vein to think I'd fit into the size 14, no matter what the back of the envelope might indicate. This was my first time sewing a Lolita pattern so I had the whole "How does this block match my body" question.  But Colette patterns should have taught me never to use a size 14.  Like it or not I'm a size 16. However using a size 16 would mean I had to put together another PDF pattern, so I just made the size 14 work.

2. I raised the bottom of the neckline 1/2" for personal preferences, blending it out before getting to the shoulder seam. To make the collar match I took off 1/2 at the CB seam. This will keep the notches from matching, but I had no problem inserting the collar without them.

3. I raised the button hole placement 1/2" because of my neckline change. I also moved the button hole over from the edge about 3/8" because it seemed a little close to the SA with all the bound buttonhole bulk.  The finalized pattern also made this change, so no need to worry.

Now let's talk about the pros and cons of my fabric choice. I was very intrigued by the thought of a winter coat weight knit when I saw this fabric on the Marcy Tilton website. The fabric was described as being stable but with great drape. It also came in the perfect red color for me and I could not resist.

The fabric it's self is very thick with about 10-15% stretch in the cross grain and no raveling when you cut it.   On the pro side - the princess line seams sewed up beautifully, easing the sleeves was a snap and I got a perfect looking bound buttonhole on the first try.
On the con side - The knit construction created some problems that a woven wouldn't. The weight of the skirt pulls the back princess line seams out making the coat look less fitted than it is. I got drag lines from the pockets because the knit collapsing in on it's self.  Also the fabric thickness worked against me on the ruffled collar, making it want to stand upright rather than drape in nice folds. Some aggressive pressing helped but I'm not 100% happy with how it folds.
One last thing that should have been obvious to me but I overlooked at the time. Sewing a non stretch lining to a knit, even one that hardly stretches, is going to be a PITA.  Silly Heather should have brought a stretch woven lining. But hey, it looks great.

1. I put twill tape in the shoulder seams since a lot of weight hangs from those seams.  I also put stay tape along the body neckline edge before sewing on the collar.

2. The pattern does not call for shoulder pads but I put some in because that's the look I prefer.  I used 1/2" pads and did not have to adjust the shoulder seams in anyway.

Husband Comment
"Hey you're red and white like a Canadian flag and the collar is ripply like a flag in the wind. That's nice. And you can pop the collar, cool."

My Final Thoughts
Despite my problems with the fabric not working with the pattern as much as I'd like, this counts as a successful garment. I especially like pulling the collar up like this and doing my best Cruella  De Vil impression.  "Bring me those puppies! For some reason I want a dog hair coat. Don't question my ethics or my inability to hire competent henchmen."
If you feel like giving yourself a little Christmas present then check out the holiday pattern bundle Lolita patterns has put together. You can get Sugar Plum, Gunmetal, and Spearmint for over 15% off the purchase price.  Happy sewing in the new year indeed!


  1. Beautiful! Love the Curella DeVille thoughts too :)

  2. LOVE your red version of the coat! It looks great even if the fabric was a pain! Glad you were able to get a husband comment for the post - it's so random, hehe.

    I need to start drafting a post about mine so it's ready once I finally get some good photos. My fabric gave me trouble too but partly because I was half a yard short of what I really needed. But I managed to eke it out and didn't even have to lose any length! I think everyone had a lot of fun with the challenge of this pattern in it's pre-release draft. =)

  3. So glad you feel this was a successful garment because it looks fabulous on you. Looking at it, I never would have thought that you had issues with the fabric. That bound buttonhole is just perfect. Great review of the pattern too.

  4. That is so gorgeous! Be careful, this is way too yummy, everyone you know will want one!!!

  5. This color is perfect for you. This is such a fabulous coat. I am not really all that into ruffles, but I think if I used a light weight fabric it might lay down enough for me to handle. I am debating still, but I think I need this pattern...

  6. It's red, I Lobe it! That is one beautiful dramatic color as well.

  7. Oooh, the Canadian Flag salutes you in all your red and white goodness!! This coat is such a lovely and different pattern. I like the neckline on yours. I have seen several versions of this coat, so far, and, for me, the neckline/collar is just too open. I prefer a coat that you can do up all the way or have the option of keeping open. But, for some reason, your collar seems to be less open than the other versions I've seen. Maybe it's because you did the FBA and so it allows it to come together closer? I don't know, but it does look pretty snuggly.

  8. Absolutely beautiful. You did a great job and the color is fantastic.

  9. Her motives are suspect. I'm pretty sure no one wants a puppy dog hair coat. She probably has a history of mental health problems.

  10. I would have never guessed the husband comment on this one. Before he said that there were a lot of questions about the collar and what was making it ruffle. There was also the issue of closures and drafts discussed.

    I loved the lining on yours in the pic I saw on instagram.

  11. Thank you Laurie. Red, black, white and gray do seem to be my winter default colors. I think this style would style would suit you very nicely. Maybe you should put it on the sewing list.

  12. Thank you Jean. The bound buttonhole took me at least 2 hours but I can't complain too much since it turned out nice.

  13. Thanks Becki! I'm giggle now cause I'm imagining you stealing it out of my closet. Yonk!

  14. Thanks Laura. MOAR patterns! I suggested to Amity that this coat body would look great with a shawl collar. Maybe she'll come up with some variations.

  15. Thanks Em, now that I'm well on my way to middle aged red is my best bud.

  16. Thank you Catja. This certainly isn't a Canadian winter coat with the neckline. I probably won't be getting much use out of it until it warms up a bit. I did fill in the neck just a bit but I do think it's the bulk of the fabric that does most of the work.

  17. Thank you very much Melrosemiss. That red color does make up for some of the problems I had. :)

  18. Just found your blog via Cation Designs, who also made this up in a lovely red. It's beautiful, and I'm cracking myself up silly over your DH's comments, y'know, being Canadian and all.... :D

  19. Hello Tia Dia! I think Cation made the best red version of the coat, but you can't beat my husband's comment. :)


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