The Coat Project 5



We’re almost there with the camel polo coat. Since I covered it last we’ve had a second basted fitting, where it was ripped apart again and re-cut. Then it went away to be made-up and today I had the final fitting – all complete save buttons and cuffs.

A coat is not usually cut to fit snugly over just a shirt, so at every stage we have taken in the waist a little. At this stage we took in an inch more, but I think that is enough – any more and it would look too shaped, rather effeminate. In the picture you see here I am wearing just a shirt underneath, and it fits quite snugly on the waist now (with the pleat in the back at its smallest setting). Obviously that means the shoulders are a tiny bit big, but nothing you can do about that – you can’t alter the shoulders every time you take your jacket off.

The pleat that we planned all the way up the back has been altered slightly (search this site for Coat Project to see all the history). Rather than starting at the neck, it now starts three inches above the waist. We decided that a full-length pleat sacrificed too much control over the fit of the back. This way there is still a lot of room to alter the lower back, waist and hips but the top of the coat will retain a consistent shape.

At the initial design stage I was afraid the raised seam, double breast and patch pockets would look too busy. But the raised seam is very subtle, neat, possibly even smart. (I asked that the raised seam be added to the welt of the patch pocket on the final coat as well.)

I am also particularly pleased with how the split sleeve worked out – lining up the shoulder seam with this is not easy, but looks very sharp (see below).


And I lowered the button stance slightly – the three buttons can be seen marked on here in chalk. This was to balance with the length of the coat. You can also see a chalk mark where I have requested the sleeves to be shortened slightly. Coat sleeves should completely cover jacket sleeves and shirtsleeves, but then I like my jacket sleeves short anyway.

In the picture you can also see that the overlap of the coat partly covers one of the patch pockets. This is because we extended the overlap as part of the extra waisting; that pocket will be moved further round.

Finally, you will notice from the below pic that the patch pocket is sloped outwards towards the bottom. I assumed this was a sporting detail to accommodate gun shells etc, but apparently it is so that the two edges of the pocket are parallel to the front edge of the coat and the side seam. As the coat is gently flared, so too are the pockets… Apparently all flaps on suit jackets should be sloped in a similar manner, they are just too short to notice.

Hopefully final coat next Tuesday!



Simon Crompton is a journalist and a style enthusiast living in London, who blogs at He has too many suits.


  1. Beautiful coat!

  2. Coat looks great. How did you decide on the length? It appears to be below the knee. Does it impede normal walking?

  3. Simon Crompton says:

    Hi Patrick,

    No it doesn’t. All overcoats should finish below the knee. Anything above the knee is a topcoat and not that suited to real winter.


  4. Ah. Thanks for the clarification. Overcoats are a bit rare over here in California :).

  5. To my eye, the sleeves look slightly too long, especially your right arm in the first photo. Nice coat though!

    Dare I ask how much Graham Brown charges for a coat? I’m looking to get something similar to a “Crombie”.

  6. way too long for my taste.
    The rest seems perfect.

  7. Simon,

    I see you have explained the issues that are troubling some here. This is a work in progress therefore; judgment should be withheld until the final post. I must thank you, as what you are doing has inspired me to pursue a project of my own. Therefore, I might add that I am now having an overcoat made as well, but I will take this traditional item back in time a bit in styling as explained below.
    I have many overcoats of traditional length and fabrication yet I do not have an overcoat that is longer than what you present here. However, that stated mine do come just below the knee, (as I have very long legs and shins) they go just to the bottom of my knee. As correctly stated they should not be above the knee, as that is a Top coat. Mine do visually appear shorter in length than what you are showing, and although me being tall and keeping to a low shoe heel that proportion difference may be due to our difference in height, (proportion is a major part of the battle I think for all men.)
    For my new item, I am going to do something far different from what you are doing. I am going to take my custom overcoat to the floor as shown here:
    Dolce and Gabbana did a navy one very much like the one in the link about ten years ago, that I now regret not purchasing it at the time. It’s all good. I missed that one but as stated what you are doing has inspired me to have one put together myself. I do not plan to show the results, but one never knows.
    Keep up the interesting work. The final product will be the proof of the pudding, so to say.