Firstly, let me extend my good thoughts to people dealing with hurricane conditions – I hope you (and your sewing rooms and skating rinks) all make it through the storm mostly unscathed. I will be thinking and hoping for things to turn out ok.
Ok, now for the real post:
Since I finally decided to push back my efforts for creating the perfect button-down shirt, I felt totally free to go ahead and work on other things. Other things like coats and jackets. Yes, we all know I love me a good coat pattern, and after what feels like perpetual failings at making a wearable shirt, I am happy to announce that my most recent project – Butterick 5685 – is a total success!
I had really liked this pattern ever since it came out last year, and after seeing several successful versions on Pattern Review I knew I had to make it. I even had stash fabric that I had bought specifically for this pattern! I had only enough fabric to make the shortest version of this pattern, but I think that is ok – the shorter length is probably a bit more versatile, especially in the land of no winter, though I do think the longer length coats would probably be a bit more elegant. Actually, I really like all the possible length variations in this pattern.
Even better this pattern was super easy to put together (well, once I ignored this instructions completely), and the fit was pretty good right out of the pattern. I did have to alter the back a tiny bit (taking in the seams to accomodate swaybackedness), but other than that it was a good fit out of the envelope. I was very careful in all of my seam matching, and I am very pleased with my craftsmanship in the final product. The only thing I am not sure about – the button placement. I moved them due to my large-ish button size, but I think I may have placed them too close together on the front of the jacket. Oh well. It is still useable and I am happy with it overall, so that is only a minor complaint.
And this is another project that is going to count for my Sewing Challenge! At the beginning of the year I decided to add a wool coat to my project list, just because I have so many coatings in my stash and I knew it would be silly to not include one in my project list, at least for stash-busting purposes. Additionally, this is my first new Butterick pattern this year, so it also counts towards my sub-challenge of using as many different pattern brands as possible! Currently the only two pattern companies I haven’t used are McCall’s (though I think my effort with the button-down shirt counts on that front) and Knipmode (and end-of-the-year-craziness leaves me less than excited about trying to decipher foreign sewing terms), so I don’t know if I will be reaching the pattern usage goal. But, I got really really close. And I think I can live with that. Either way, this is still another challenge item done! Which means I am technically *on track* to get 12 items done by the end of the year. Huh. I guess I hadn’t figured on finishing this jacket so quickly. Though, I must admit, I did do some crazy 5am sewing on this one. Insomnia kicked in and I figured if I was lying in bed thinking about hemming the jacket, I might as well go ahead and actually do it.
Although the construction of the coat was quite straightforward (once you ignore the actual instructions), it wasn’t without a few hiccups. Firstly, I *almost* sewed the back side pieces onto the center front pieces. This should give you an indication of how crazy my swayback is. Yes, I almost mistook the back for my boobs! Luckily I was frustrated with the bottom panels not lining up properly before I actually sewed these together and averted my mistake. Hooray for my extra curvy booty?
Also, in the middle of sewing the collar together I broke the foot pedal for my sewing machine! I was sewing along when something went *pop* then I couldn’t get the machine to stop sewing. So I quickly turned off the power to make it stop. When I turned it back on pressing on the foot pedal did nothing. So I picked it up to inspect and I heard a lot of rattling noises. Not good. However, since I recently got a new sewing machine I actually had a brand new spare foot pedal within arms reach. I had just been using the old one all this time (since it was the exact same model for both machines). Plugged the new one in and back to sewing with only a minimal hiccup.
And, for your enjoyment, I present a hilarious conversation with my mother in the middle of the construction process:
MOM: Wait, this is a jacket?
MOM: I thought you were talking about that new Burda trench coat the other day?
MOM: So, wait, after this you are making another jacket?
MOM: How many jackets do you need?
ME: Oh, I dunno. A few more. Well, maybe more than a few. Maybe my next 5 or 6 projects? Hmmm… Maybe more than that. I don’t know, I have a lot planned. And, well, they are just so good for using up fabrics in the stash, you know?
MOM: *Blink* *Blink* You know it is going to be like 95 today, right?
ME: I know! It’s like I am finally planning ahead or something.
So, umm, yeah. Anywhere else and I could be seriously needing to wear this jacket on a daily basis. Here… not so much. Rather than blaming my poor weather prediction skills, I am just going to pretend like I am actually planning ahead so I can wear this when the weather finally turns cool. And then, when it does, maybe I can make some nice lightweight jackets to, you know, plan ahead for spring and summer. Or something. Yeah, ok, ok, in reality I just lack the ability to make a seasonally appropriate wardrobe. Such is life.
Anyway, here is my official pattern review:
Pattern Description: Coat with draped collar, side seam pockets, and three length options.
Pattern Sizing: Butterick sizes (8-10-12-14-16) and (16-18-20-22). This pattern also comes with A/B, C, D cup sizing. I made a size 12 grading out to a 14 at the hip (on the back panels only) with the C cup sizing.
Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions are terrible – do not use them. First of all, the instructions for finding your cup size are ONLY in French and ONLY in centimeters. Basically the way to find it is by measuring your upper and full busts, then finding the difference. 1″ = A cup, 2″ = B cup, 3″ = C cup, 4″ = D cup. Their construction order is non-sensical and painfully time-consuming. I glanced through them to pick up useful tidbits (like the pocket seams are supposed to be 1/4″), but largely ignored them. My construction order went something like this: (1) Sew all bodice pieces to corresponding bottom piece. (2) Attach pocket bags. (3) Sew coat sections together to former outer shell and inner lining. (4) Set in sleeves for lining and shell, attach shoulder pads to the shell. (5) Sew collar to under collar and attach to outer shell. (6) Attach lining to shell. (7) Make buttonholes, attach buttons, and hem everything by hand. The pattern says you should make the top seperate from the bottom, then attach them – I tried this in the muslin and I could not get the seams to line up at all. If you sew the top and bottom sections first it is much easier to get the seams to match (I was so happy with the seam matching in my final version I thought I might cry). I think this is actually a very easy coat to put together (due to minimal details and easy collar shape), so I think it would be good for first-time coat project, but only if one was going to use supplemental instructions if they were unfamiliar with coat construction.
Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it? Yes, it looks very much like the photo and the drawing! My fit might even be better than the model – at least my sleeves are long enough (I know, I know, they were also trying to sell you the gloves, but that is beside the point).
What did you particularly like/dislike about this pattern? Likes: I love the style of this coat, I love all of the length options, and I love that it was actually very easy to put together. The fit was actually quite good out of the envelope (especially with the cup sizing on the patterns) so that was nice as well. Dislikes: The instructions are terrible, they make an easy coat pattern into a difficult project. I also had a problem with the pocket bags being too long for view A – I had to fold them up and they make the front of the jacket a bit more bulky than it needs to be. This wouldn’t be a problem in the view B or C lengths, just the short view A length. Also, I am not such a fan of side seam pockets – I like them located a little more to the front so I can shove my hands in them more comfortably. But, well, better pockets than no pockets, so I suppose I can’t complain too much.
Fabric used: Shetland wool from Fabric Mart for the outer shell, poly charmeuse from Joann fabrics for the lining, cotton flannel for interlining, and various weights of fusible interfacing and muslin for structural purposes. (On a not so random tangent – here are my thoughts on the Shetland wool fabric: I bought this because I loved all the color options, and I was excited when Fabric Mart had a sale. The wool is a nice light to medium weight, and it drapes well. I found tailoring it to be exquisitely easy, and it really was nice to sew on. However, I don’t think it is the most comfortable wool fabric to wear. It can feel a bit itchy and it does tend to leave a lot of fibers after being cut. It isn’t too ravelly, but more like it leaves a dust of wool fibers behind because of the loose-ish weave. So, basically, I have to say that the pros are many color options and easy to sew with, but cons are that is is a bit itchy and sort of leaves a mess. I wouldn’t recommend it for children’s clothing or anything without a lining, because of the itch factor.)
Pattern alterations or design changes you made: No real design changes, other than moving the buttons a bit. My buttons were a bit large, and I overcompensated moving them, so they are a little closer to each other than I wanted, but they are still ok. Also, I put all of the buttons on the left side, and all the buttonholes on the right side (this was suggested by an earlier review) as it makes the jacket much easier to open/close as opposed to having inside buttons. As far as fit alterations, I did a full upper arm adjustment on the sleeve, and I took in the back seams about 5/8″ on each seam to help with swayback issues. No need for FBA due to cup sizing.
Would you sew this again? Would you recommend this to others? Well, this is a very distinctive coat, so I don’t think I need a lot of them in my wardrobe. However, I am really pleased with the fit of this pattern (especially the back!), so I would consider using this pattern again, especially in the longer lengths. I would highly recommend this pattern to others – if you are experienced then this is an easy coat pattern! If not, this would be a good first coat patter, as it is easy to construct, but you will want to make sure you have supplementary instructions.
Conclusion: Great pattern! This is a super stylish coat pattern that comes in three flattering lengths. I think the construction is very easy (especially if you totally ignore the instructions), and the results will look good on a lot of people, as the seaming does a good job of creating a waistline. Also, the cup sizing on this pattern is nice as well. Overall this is a very good pattern and I couldn’t be more pleased with my results!