It is true winter is winding down in the Midwest. It is hard to tell that though as we are in the midst of a deep freeze and frankly I couldn’t be happier about our cold. The reason is Butterick 5685, a sweet coat pattern that Butterick bills as “easy”. More on that later. The Girl has needed a coat since the fall of last year but due to massive amounts of fear in the area of coatmaking I have been putting it off and honestly here in southern Indiana, winter could very well be over by the middle of February. But not this year, Yay!!! She will get to wear her new coat!
Last fall I gave my girl’s coat away. It was a mistake. I thought she had outgrown it and was purging old winter wear to make room for some new. Then some cold weather hit and girl had no coat. What to do but make her one! It took me a good long while to figure out what pattern to use and also to get the fabric and then there was my fear mentioned above.
I had planned on using stash fabric but decided 100% wool was not practical. Since the Girl is going off to college in the fall and she won’t be able to get a coat to the dry cleaners and one has to pay for that stuff anyway, I purchased a gray washable wool from fabric.com (https://www.fabric.com/buy/0394084/washable-wool-solid-medium-grey) along with black crepe backed satin for the lining (https://www.fabric.com/buy/0390220/poly-crepeback-satin-black). Right out of the box I hated the satin. It had a really cheap look and feel to it.
A few days before starting the coat I still had not “found” the lining. The Girl wanted to keep everything neutral in order to be able to accessorize better and with more, so I was kind of stuck. Till while walking through Walmart I spotted a bright yellow (no, not neutral but she agreed) poly satin on the clearance rack for $1 per yard. I snatched it up and am super glad I did. The yellow added much needed pop to the coat. Personally, the coat is a bit too drab for my taste but Girl loves black and grey and loves the coat!
This was my first time making a coat. Actually, it was my first time making anything this complicated and although the pattern is dubbed easy, I did not think it was particularly so. I made a muslin first to practice some of the techniques. I made up a size 8 but it was a bit snug through the shoulders so went up to size 10. Size 10 is okay with a fair amount of wearing ease. I also shortened the sleeves but shouldn’t have. I think it is better to have a bit of length on a coat sleeve.
The sewing directions are definitely for someone with a bit of experience and some steps are a bit thin in the details. Also, the pattern calls for a fair amount of hand sewing which I happen to enjoy. All the hems are hand sewn, as well as the lining bodice and bottom at the waist seam. The sleeve linings are also hand sewn to the sleeve cap. The recommended stitch was a slip stitch but I used a fell stitch everywhere except for the hem on the lining and coat bottom, where I used a catch stitch. I never really understood how they wanted the front facing bottom sewn together. It just made sense for me to do it a certain way so that is what I did and it turned out quite nice. I didn’t struggle with lining up any of the princess seams but it is very important that all pattern pieces are cut accurately and pattern markings are transferred correctly.
I am extremely disappointed in my sleeve caps and struggled with them. Usually I do not have a problem with set in sleeves. But these have too many puckers and look awful . Actually, I hate them so much, I will probably remake the coat for my daughter before she leaves in the fall. There is sooooo much ease in the sleeve cap. Way too much. I did find this great tutorial (http://www.emmakespatterns.com/increasing-and-decreasing-sleeve-cap-ease-1/ ) for altering sleeve caps and will use it next time I make this coat. I would have ripped seams and made the alteration this time but already had trimmed my seams back and did not have enough fabric to cut another sleeve on the lengthwise grain as I had already had to recut the undercollar on the bias.
I wanted the buttons to be nice and secure so I followed this technique for sewing them on, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkDQQmgeJtc. I realized when it came to the buttons that I did not really know how to sew one on. I know this sounds strange but I have always just kind of frankensteined them. Now I am at a stage in my sewing where I would rather have it be beautiful and last than be quick to sew. It took me well into a hour to align and sew the buttons on.
Overall I like the pattern and the way things are put together. This is a good coat pattern to start you off in your outerwear endeavors if you have some sewing experience.
The Girl is happy and will easily get through the rest of winter nice and warm and have a good sturdy coat for next fall. While everything is fresh and wool is on sale I might get some black for the next one. It also would look great in pure white or a nice twill for spring.