|Pattern Description: |
Semi-fitted, lined, slightly flared coat, above ankle, has collar variations, slightly extended shoulders, shoulder pads, princess seams, back vent and long, two-piece sleeves. I made view E, which is single-breasted with front welt pockets.
Available in sizes 6-24; I bought a 12-16 and cut a 16, although I ended up using a 12 for the sleeves.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, on the whole. There were a few things I didn't understand at first, mainly to do with attaching the lining, but when handling the actual thing it became clear what was meant.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the finished look, and I liked working with the pattern; given that I haven't made something this structured before, I felt quite confident all the way through that it was going to work. When it said 'match notches', the notches matched, you know? I also liked the princess seams and their great potential for adjustments over curves.
Coat-weight, 80% wool 20% poly, in what looks like dark brown but is actually brown and black fine diagonal stripes. (The pattern says it's unsuitable for obvious diagonals but I got away with this.) The lining is a heavy twilled viscose in a sort of dark gold or tawny colour. I attempted pre-shrinking, with the London shrink method for the interfacing and tumble-drying with damp towels for the main fabric, but we'll see how well that worked.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made a lot of alterations, but then I'm very tall and large-chested so I was expecting to. The process of doing this was a little daunting, especially making sure any modifications were carried through to linings and facings, but it all seems to have worked.
- Starting from a 16 I added an inch to the length at the top adjustment line and another four inches at the lower one - this has made the vent a bit low, but the resulting length overall is right. I also added about an inch and a half in total to the length of the sleeves, split between the two lines.
- I did a 1.5" FBA using the method for large FBA adjustments in Fit For Real People. Subsequent pattern fitting revealed a gaping front, so I took a big tuck out (about 1/2") which seems to have worked. The muslin version revealed some other problems - I think the FBA had caused an excessively curved front armscye, so I added a chunk back into there to straighten out the lines.
- The extra 3" total added by the FBA had made the waist and hips too big so I drafted that back out below the chest; I think the end result is simply a size 16 on the waist and hips, without the extra.
- The muslin's sleeves were enormous and baggy on me, so I recut those as a size 12, with no further modifications.
- I actually didn't do a square shoulder modification, even though I have them; perhaps this will turn out to be a mistake, but the hang of the fabric didn't seem to be affected. I considered trying to make no-bulk, hair-canvas shoulder pads, but there was an excess of room in the lower part of the armscye that I didn't feel qualified to draft out, so I put standard coat shoulder pads in anyway to take up the space. The end result on me, though, is totally enormous power shoulders. Still, at least I'll always have room on busy public transport.
- Apart from the size alterations, I also fully interfaced the front, rather than using the small interfacing pieces provided in the pattern. I also added the flaps from view A to the pockets, as a winter coat with open welt pockets didn't seem to make sense.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would sew it again - I'm already thinking of making another version, shortened to knee-length for cycling compatibility, possibly with a wider collar and a bit more flare in the skirt. I'd recommend it, too, though I don't know how true to size it comes up without modifications.
I've learnt a lot in the process of making this coat, and I'm glad I had a clear and trust-worthy pattern to do it with. The resulting coat feels great to wear and I'm looking forward to many winters in its company.