Falling In Love With The Sanda Coat By Merchant & Mills

Falling in love with the Sanda coat by Merchant & Mills.

Having arranged an unexpected trip to Valencia I urgently needed a winter coat to wear. After some research, I discovered the Sanda coat by Merchant & Mills on The Foldline website.  I purchased and downloaded it there and then! It seemed to offer just what I was looking for. The understated style and cut of the coat appealed to me, it is a timeless design, with a Japanese aesthetic. More importantly, it would be easy to wear over winter layers and sweaters.

The Pattern

The Sanda coat pattern by Merchant & Mills consists of an oversized coat or jacket that has a dropped shoulder. The sleeves have turned back cuffs, the round collar is set high. The coat has in-seam pockets and the jacket has patch pockets. You have the option to make them either lined or unlined.

The Fabric

Suggested fabrics are oilskin, linen, 7-12 oz. Fabric options include denim, wool, corduroy, cotton twill, or canvas. A heavier weight cloth will result in a more structured coat.

Lining: Barrier lining if using an oilskin, otherwise cotton voile, lightweight linen, cotton poplin, lightweight wool and slip linings.

I purchased a tweed effect wool from a favourite local fabric shop. Even though it has a woven backing, it is susceptible to movement, stretching, and fraying. I was not expecting this project to be as difficult as it turned out to be! Even so, I could not resist buying it, as I loved the colours and texture so much. 

When cutting out the pattern pieces, I had to immediately overlock all the raw edges as the fabric unraveled easily. Although the fabric is heavy to wear, it drapes well and is extremely warm. 

I chose a medium weight satin to line the coat, to add a touch of luxury. 

The Make

The instructions for the Sanda coat are easy to understand and follow. However, I decided to construct the coat in a completely different order and way than what was recommended in the instructions. 

On completion of overlocking all the raw edges, I joined the front sections together to form the top of the back panel. I then immediately joined the lower back panel, and then proceeded to add pocket sections to the front and back panels. 

The instructions recommend that you sew up the sides of the coat first and then make the sleeves (and sleeve linings). The sleeves are then inserted and attached. 

Sleeves are usually too long for me, so I decided not to do this. My preference is to try on the coat first before hemming the sleeves. Due to the bulkiness of my fabric, I chose not to have a turnback cuff. 

I chose instead not to construct the sleeves, but to attach the flat sleeve sections, as they have a straight heading, rather than insert them. I pinned the front and back sections together, and then stitched the sleeves, side seams, and pockets together in a single seam. 

Interfacing the collar and front facings is optional. However, I found that my fabric moved too much and needed stabilising. I could not purchase iron on  interfacing as suggested, and so I hand couched the interfacing in place. I opted to do this prior to hemming the sleeves. The effort was definitely worth it. 

I proceeded to construct the collar and front facings, and then attached them. After that, I finally hemmed the sleeve and coat hems.

I then constructed the lining sections, and simply bag lined the coat. I found this construction method to be much simpler and yielded the same result. 

Finally, I bought two lots of buttons because I couldn’t decide. In the end, I chose the brown buttons because they blended into the coat, rather than making a statement. I felt that the fabric was interesting in its own right, and I wanted the coat to be understated.

Tips and Alterations

1. The pattern for the Sanda coat calls for 3.50 metres of fabric that is 150 cm wide. I discovered that I only required 3 metres. In the same way, I required 60 cm less lining fabric. 

2. I increased the length of the coat by 20 cm because I like to wear a winter coat longer. 

3. I always find it difficult to fit collars, so I cut them a size larger. This worked well, and the collar fitted perfectly. 

4. Due to the bulkiness of my fabric, I decided not to turn back the cuffs but rather shorten the sleeves. 

5. I hand sewed interfacing to the base of the sleeves, the collar and front facings to stabilise the fabric, rather than give it body. 

6. I attached the sleeves to the coat, before joining the side seams, rather than inserting them after construction. 

7. I bag lined the coat and then hand stitched the hems into place. 

8. Due to the fabric being so bulky, I decided not to top stitch areas as suggested on this occasion. I would do so for lighter fabrics.

The cost of making the Sanda coat

Fabric: 150 DH

Lining: 75 DH

Interfacing : 10 DH

Buttons: 12 DH 

Cotton 2 DH 

Total 248 DH or £19.60 / $25


The Sanda Coat by Merchant & Mills was a simple coat to construct, and it came together relatively quickly. I preferred to fully line this coat, but would consider making an unlined mid-season or summer version with Hong Kong seams for a lighter weight fabric such as corduroy or linen. 

It is comfortable and loose to wear, and there is plenty of room for chunky sweaters and warm winter layers. It looks great worn with a dress or skirt, but equally well with jeans.

I am now planning to make the jacket for the spring, and I may choose to go down a size. 

The coat is great for beginners because it’s easy to construct, especially if you don’t line it. 

The fabric quantities are fairly generous, and so I was able to make a skirt to wear with the coat from the left over fabric. 

The coat was perfect for my trip away, and I am pleased with the outcome. In the future, I will definitely be tempted to make other versions. I have no doubt that this coat will gain popularity among many sewers. 

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