So .................another coat - I got it about 2 months ago (yes, possibly an coat addiction here) , and still amazed these coats are so cheap, this coat was was 3euro, 50%wool 25%lambswool, and 25% cashmere and a good neutral colour, whats not to like (nobody wanted to buy it for 20 so they reduced it to 10 and then to 3) Strangely enough the more 'fashionable' coats with lesser quality fabric sell quicker, and for more......the mind can only wonder.
I decided to try this butterick pattern as I could go with the cut of the raglan sleeve, but as the coat was a size 10 UK I may have just enough fabric (not nearly enough it turned out) . I had no instruction for the pattern, but at the last minute, and as a just-in-case, I put a post on the we-sew-retro FB page, and the very kind Samantha photographed a set of instructions and posted them which was a very lucky break as this coat got the better of me. I seemed to have constant love or loathe moments all through the making-up.
I usually work with a few givens, ie centre front and centre back are usually on grain (but will deviate for back vent and collar etc) so I usually lay out and mark, and then find a piece I can do a double check on (ie rip) and square out from that and double check. I wasn't happy with one of the backs after doing some pulls on the centre back line as it seemed to have a bit of give, so after marking I did a grain check near hemline..... and the grain was off..... one back was fine and the other went slightly off but over the course of the length of the coat this meant it was off by about an inch at hem. This threw me as I didn't know who was wrong, and if it was really off and that it shouldn't be.... I went with my grain test but was a lot perplexed (I was even imagining all the scenarios of what could have happened years ago to put the cut out....)
So when I went to cut the sleeves - there was no way I could get the cut and the grain........ so I didn't. I went with the grain of the previous sleeves and hoped for the best. I could have gone with 3/4 sleeves but that would have given an odd balance to the coat and as it was it looked like a small cuff would happen (its a half size pattern and if I was 5'3" the sleeve would have just about fitted). I was so determined to make up the pattern, I steamed ahead and lowered expectations.
The fabric is gorgeous, really, and as usual, wool is relatively easy to sew. I put in the buttonholes first and thought I would try Ann Ladbuy method of piped buttonholes - I have been watching Clothes that Count on bbc archive , as she starts in the middle of the welt, and I liked how they turned out. As I had no buttons picked, and the original coat buttons were a bit ordinary, I thought I would cover some (and as luck would have it, the button tin had a pack of them I must have picked up in a bargain bin), I covered them and did a quick chain stitch to 'lift' them.
The facings gave the worst problems as I had not enough fabric and they were patched together and caused the front of it to kick out, I then remembered there was fabric in the belt, so made the facings in two parts, and they seem to work better. The lining was reused but its not great, as there were some tear marks in it, and its a compromised cut, however, for the moment I will not buy any.
The Sleeves -When the coat is on the mannequin, the off grain is pretty or not-so-pretty obvious
The patch pocket marks are barely noticable - but do show in the photo so just as well they are balanced!
I would highly recommend making this pattern, seriously, its lovely. If I had the chance or could realistically justify, I would make it again, it would be a lovely coat for a summer wedding or a formal/semi-formal event (the curtain in my workroom is an old length of cream wool coating and I was eyeing it up towards the end of the sew!) The hang of the coat is gorgeous, its so simple and I think slimming and I even feel taller when I put it on. The coat having only two buttons adds to the elegant look,, but makes it less practical as a day-to-day coat.
So will I wear it......
Not too sure. For the moment the hem is tacked and the lining sewn in place only at the neckline - and I can alway size it down to a smaller item. I started on another coat remake for the end of the month and lessons learned from making this coat are already paying off! I am also due to remake a red coat (2euro - unreal) in a few months time and this red coat will be my new winter coat. I adore the cut of this butterick pattern, so I may take elements of this coat for the red coat. I am thinking the red coat will be restyled, as opposed to remade, as I will keep the buttoning detail in the red as well as the pocket location (but not pocket style), and the raglan sleeve, but for now, only April sewing beckons!
Update 15/03 - when I look at the coat photographs now, the sleeves are too long and the balance is off - I think 3/4 sleeves could have worked better with the shortened hem? or the coat taken right up to be a jacket? already considering options on remaking................ However, the short coat I am working on now is looking pretty good....