So, about a week ago the results from the Pattern Review Sewing Bee Round 1 were announced… And I made it! There was definitely some freaking out going on over here. I may or may not have burst into song.
Anyway, my shorts qualified me to round 2, the bias challenge!
When the contest was announced there was a lot of internal debate and more than a few hours of stash diving to settle on the perfect pattern and fabrics. I decided to go with an A-line coat from the November 2014 BurdaStyle Magazine:
I originally wanted to do something a bit more colorful than the Burda inspiration, but my stash yielded some great black and silver fabrics, so I decided to run with it. Here is my finished coat:
You can read my contest report on Pattern Review.
Here is what I would have written for a normal Pattern Review:
Pattern Description: A-line swing coat with lining and contrast square band detail.
Pattern Sizing: Burda sizes 36-44. I traced a size 42. I graded the sleeves out to a 44 and then added additional amounts to each seam, because my biceps are about 4 Burda sizes larger than the rest of my torso.
Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were surprisingly great. This is a “Masterpiece” pattern, so Burda doesn’t include extra helpful tidbits on things it assumes you can do (for example: “Set in sleeves” is one full bullet point. This is fine, but I would have been lost on some of the markings if I hadn’t sewn Burda coats previously). The instructions on how to sew lovely sharp square corners were amazing though – very clear, concise, and gave good results. The rest of the construction is very straightforward, though a pit tricky when attaching the lining because the lining and facing also meet at right angles.
Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it? Yes, funnily enough. I had wanted to do something in color to distinguish it from the original black and white Burda version, but, as this was a week long challenge, I also needed to do some serious harvesting from my stash to find appropriate fabrics. Turns out everything that had some feature I needed or wanted (aka (1) to be woven (2) to have a pattern or stripe to make the bias more obvious (3) to look good with other fabrics and (4) to look cool) was black, white, and silver. So my coat actually looks a bit more like the Burda version than I intended. But that’s ok. Burda made a great looking coat.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Likes: The contrast bands are a lovely detail. And the shaping hidden in the contrast band detail is a word of drafting genius. Seriously, Burda is properly right calling this a “Masterpiece” pattern. Also have to say that once the front and back pieces are sewn together, construction on the rest of the coat is great. No zips, no buttons, loose fit… fantastic. Dislikes: None, really. I mean, maybe the fact that the lining and the facings have this interesting right-angled seam, which made my genius plan to do bias piping (since, you know, its for the bias challenge) not quite so genius, but other than that, no dislikes.
Fabric used: So much fabric. The main fabric is a black poly jacquard from Fabric Mart, the plaid trim is a black/white/silver loose weave boucle from Fabric Mart, the silver trim is a silver-coated boucle from fabric mart, the pipping is a poly “shirting” fabric from Fabric Mart, and the lining is a black poly slub from Jo-Ann that I bought because I had nothing suitable in my stash for the inside. I also backed the plaid boucle with muslin because it was not stable at all, and I used fusible interfacing on the facing and on the hems. Everything was cut on the bias, and it was all woven, as per the challenge rules.
Pattern alterations or design changes you made: I added 3/8″ to all the sleeve seems because I I’ve got voluminous arms. I also added bias piping as a detail between the facing and the lining. I do not recommend this because the seam is not a smooth curve, and it gets a bit bulky with the piping at the shoulders. Or, alternatively, don’t try to get this done in a week and buy the giant cording from Jo-Ann because it’s all you can find. Small piping would probably be ok.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Ummm, maybe? I think I would like to do one with a stripe on a straight grain, but, on the other hand, this is such an artistic, unique sort of pattern I don’t know that I need a lot of them. I’m glad the challenge pushed me to make this, because this pattern wasn’t on my wishlist at all – it’s not the sort of silhouette I normally go for. But I was able to use nearly 6 yards of stash material (plus another 3 that I bought for the lining) and make a fun and beautifully drafted coat pattern for the second Sewing Bee challenge, so I am happy about that. If you like this pattern I would highly recommend it. The drafting is lovely, it’s easy to fit, and the instructions aren’t bad if you’ve ever sewn a Burda coat before. Might be a bit sparse for a new sewer, but the construction actually isn’t that difficult, so if you are an ambitious beginner I’d say go for it. Highly recommend this pattern – it’s beautiful.
Conclusion: Once again, I’m surprisingly pleased with my contest project! This one cause way more stress than the first – I was short on time so there were a good 4-5 days of getting 3-4 hours of sleep – but in the end I’m really happy with what I made for the contest. I think using the bias pushed my skills and created a very unique piece. It is a lovely pattern and I highly recommend it.