Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Pink Coat: Pattern Review, Commentary, and What I Learned

Today is the day for more photos and commentary.

Front View: Simplicity 2057
Let's start with the thing I love the most: the FIT!  I did a lot of work fitting the back and shoulders.  I went from here (Muslin #1):

To Here:

The wrinkle across my upper back in the above photo is from the piping between the lining and back facing.  That's something to consider next time: piping will create a bump!

My fit alterations:
  • 1" FBA
  • Raised the waistline up 1" to fall at my waist (lengthened the bottom pieces 1" to compensate)
  • Raised the pockets up to a comfortable level (my arms are short and my hands barely reached into the pockets at their designed location)
  • Made shoulders 1/2" narrower
  • I made the sleeve wider by 3" so that I could wear a sweater underneath the coat.  My tailoring books suggested 2-3" of ease at the bicep for an overcoat!!  The width of the size 16 sleeve gave me barely any ease, so make sure to check before cutting.  
I did a lot of work on the sleeves.  The tailoring books I consulted suggested 2-3" of ease across the bicep for an overcoat.  The size 16 sleeve gave me barely any, so I added 3" across the bicep!!  Once I had cut out my fabric the width of the cuff seemed huge, so I trimmed it down.  Unfortunately I trimmed and serged the lining before I adjusted the exterior fabric and I made the lining too small!  I only had small bits of lining fabric leftover and could not cut new sleeves, so I had to make do.  I picked out the serged seam and opened up the seams as much as I could.  It's a little narrower than I would have liked.  Note to self: don't trim any seams before you know it's perfect!!

My tailoring process:
  • Interfaced the entire front and back of the coat with sew-in hair canvas, keeping the hair canvas out of the seam allowances everywhere except at the armhole.  
  • Catch-stitched the seam allowances down...everywhere!
  • Pad-stitched the collar

  • Used sew-in hair canvas at sleeve hems

  • Added piping along the waistline, edge of collar, and between lining and facing

  • Added an interior welt pocket to the lining


The instructions suggested making the buttonholes vertical.  Every coat and jacket I own has horizontal buttonholes and I didn't understand why the pattern said to make them vertical.  So I went with convention and made mine horizontal. 
Oh Hindsight, you are Cruel!  

I considered (and tried) making hand worked buttonholes, but they came out really really ugly and I decided to make them on the machine instead.  I hand basted the layers of the facing together so that the fabric wouldn't shift while sewing the buttonholes.  Note how close the edge of the buttonhole is to the edge of the coat.  (This should have been a red flag!!)

Here is my 20/20 hindsight:
This coat is different from all of my other coats in that it has a defined button placket.  This means that there is only so much room for the buttons and holes.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I drew a little picture:

In order to keep the button centered and the plackets on the left and right fronts perfectly overlapped (and the lower one hidden), the shank of the button should rest near the edge of the button hole when worn, and the button hole should be shifted away from the edge of the coat (top right drawing).  However, the defined placket means that there's no room to shift the buttonhole away from the edge of the coat (bottom right drawing).  When worn, the button will slide toward the edge of the coat and toward the side of the buttonhole.  Then the placket below (on the left side of the coat) will be visible.  Like this:

Sigh.  So yes, I do wish I had made the buttonholes vertical.  
So here's the pattern review:

Pattern Description:  Misses Coat/Jacket with collar and sleeve variations.  Project Runway Pattern

Pattern Sizing: 4-20  I made a 16 at the shoulder, graded to an 18 at the waist and graded to a 20 at the hip

Did it look like the pattern envelope/drawing?  Yes it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I used a combination of the pattern instructions and several tailoring books.  I used custom tailoring techniques to make this coat including a huge amount of hand sewing, so I needed additional instructional aides rather than just the included instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the princess seaming and the defined waistline.  I also liked the set in sleeves.

I don’t like the yardage charts for the Project Runway patterns, (I have already mentioned this in this post).  For this coat, the yardage for the sleeves was separated out.  Seriously, all coats have sleeves!!  For some unknown reason, they suggest 1/8 yard more fabric for the pleated sleeves than for the plain sleeves.  Any difference in those two versions would alter the width of fabric used…not the length.   As for the yardages for the coat itself, they are generous.  I made the short jacket (and I am short too) and I used about 2-1/4 yards of 60” fabric.
Fabric Used:  A 50/50 Wool/Poly coating blend.  The lining was Ambience Bemberg Rayon and I interlined the coat for warmth using sateen backed flannel.  (I thought I had ordered satin backed flannel to use for both lining and warmth, but I didn't read carefully and it was actually sateen backed flannel, which wouldn't be slippery enough to use as the lining.  Whoops!  Well, at least I learned how to interline a coat!)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I made 2 muslins before cutting into my fabric.  Here are my changes:

  • 1" FBA (on princess seams!)
  • Made the shoulders narrower by 1/2"
  • Raised the waistline by 1" (lengthened the bottom pieces 1" to compensate)
  • Raised the pockets (I have short arms)
  • Widened the sleeve by 3" (needed ease at the bicep)
  • Redrafted the collar to be narrower
  • Fully interfaced the front and back of the coat using sew-in hair canvas
  • Interfaced the sleeve hem using sew-in hair canvas
  • Pad-stitched the collar and steamed it into place
  • Interlined the entire coat with sateen backed flannel.  I used the lining pieces for patterns.
  • Added piping along the waistband, along the collar and along the facing/lining edge
  • Added an interior welt pocket to the lining
  • Made horizontal buttonholes instead of vertical (and wish I hadn't)
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  Yes, I would sew this again, and I would recommend the pattern.  I’d definitely suggest making a muslin to get the best fit possible.

This was a long learning process for me.  I had wanted to tailor a coat for a while now and I am glad I didn't take any shortcuts while making this.  I am very happy with the fit and I can attribute it to forcing (truly forcing) myself to take the time and do multiple muslins.   Buttonholes aside, I am very happy with my coat and can't wait for the weather to cool off so I can wear it out!


  1. Wow, this is a great coat and you've done some great to get it looking so good. Enjoy wearing it (and telling people you made it, of course)!

    1. Thank you. I am looking forward to wearing it out in colder weather, and I will not be shy about saying that I made it :)

  2. I love your coat! You did such a wonderful job on it.

  3. This pattern has been a UFO in my closet for at least three years. I made it before I knew how to fit my wide back. The fit of yours is incredible! You really did an amazing amount of work on this and it shows.

    1. Thanks! It's really a nice pattern that can look very different depending on the fabric you choose. I already have a 2nd (and very different) version in progress. :)

  4. Lot of work but it worth it!! the fitting is great, it looks like if you buy it in a store! congrats!

    1. That is a lovely compliment, Thank you!

  5. What a winner of a coat!! Looks like a lot of work went into this, and I agree, the fit is PERFECT!

    1. Thank you, and it feels so nice to wear too. :)

  6. Again have to say, what a beautiful coat! I enjoyed your commentary and conclusions a lot. Thanks for the back story on this. You look so beautiful in it.

    1. Oh, Thank you ! I try to make an effort to be helpful when I write pattern reviews. Maybe I can prevent other people (like me) from making the buttonholes horizontal :)

  7. Wow, all your hard work has really paid off. This coat looks fabulous...the fit is perfect. Thanks for sharing your coat sewing journey. Wear it with pride.

  8. This is a really lovely coat--your work to get a great fit especially paid off.

    1. Thank you. I think all of the work paid off too :)

  9. Your coat is so gorgeous and well made! I just found your blog from your review on PR. After reading about the buttonhole issue, I wonder if some strategically placed snaps might help prevent the bottom placket from showing. I need this pattern!

    1. Thanks! I have been thinking of ways to address the buttonholes but hadn't considered snaps! Interesting.... :)

  10. You have put such a lot of work into that coat and it is beautiful, and looks gorgeous on you. I'm sad about your buttonhole issue - the idea of a snap might work - or a discreet hook and eye inside.

    1. Thank you! I have been thinking of ways to address my buttonhole issue, but I do like your hook and eye idea :)

  11. I love it! Your hard work has really paid off on this! You know, the design looks quite a bit like Deer & Doe's Veste Pavot, which I've been wanting for a while (but not wanting to shell out the dough for it.)

    1. Thank you. I just checked out the Deer & Doe pattern and you are right, they do look very similar. :)

  12. This reminds me of building a house. This is such a beautiful jacket is so well constructed!

  13. Fabulous coat! I love all the detail shots of the process - so much fun from a sewing nerd point of view. The end result is flattering and unique. I just finished a coat with tons of pad stitching too!

  14. What a fabulous coat! You did an amazing job, the fit is perfect and your coat is really a work of art!!!!!

  15. Oh thank you! I smile every time I put it on :)


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