|It snowed just in time for my coat debut!|
I am so glad to be back here on the blog writing about one of my latest makes (and because I am so busy with teaching middle-schoolers, one of my only makes of late)! I was asked back in September what I wanted to make for my November make and I declared... a coat ... in wool-cashmere ... and then ... whomp whomp, my sewing machine tanked and I had to get it fixed. Fortunately, I could use my serger, so I was able to write up a post on these dresses I made, and pushed back my coat post to January, giving me time to finish all of the coat up.
I spied a luscious wool/cashmere blend in a very lovely army green color*, and made a plan to make it up in any coat that would suit this somewhat heavy felted wool best. In the end, I chose a Butterick Lisette pattern (Butterick 6423), since it really makes quite a statement in a solid color, what with its huge shawl collar, unique pockets, and slightly flared opening below the button closure. It looked to be equally at home with jeans as well as pretty dresses, so I liked its versatility.
*Though my fabric is sold out, this army green suiting would suit this pattern, though I would definitely use an interfacing on the collar with that fabric. This wool/cashmere is so thick, I felt it didn't require the extra interfacing on the collar/facing. (Though when I made my red coat way back when, I did absolutely add a ton of interfacing, some by hand, and I recognize that interfacing has its place, especially when trying to do something more couture, which was not my intention with the Lisette coat!)
The process of turning this fabric into this coat was not without some difficulty. Liesl doesn't dumb down her patterns, so the details take time, including the very special pockets (much like on her Portfolio dress, which I made here). To create those, you must take special care to very precisely mark out the big and little circles (I used a white chalk pencil with this fabric) and line them up with the fabric's marking from its seam partner. They are princess seamed pockets, so there is also some staystitching and clipping into the curve to make them match up work, too. But the extra effort is very worth it, as it proves to be an easy enough sew (if marked precisely), as well as satisfying, as these pockets are deep and placed exactly where they should be for maximum comfort for use.
I also ran into some issues with the neckline directions at the back where the back collar meets the back shoulder and the upper back neck seam. There is a square-shaped corner, and when attempting the original sew on the wool/cashmere, I found that my marking was off, and after ripping the seam out two or three times, I found I had worn down the seam to the point where I had to add a ribbon stay on the outside of the seam (in a contrasting lime green grosgrain ribbon) to strengthen the seam after my mistakes. It works, and it helps provide a bit of extra weightlifting on this heavier coat. Please do remember to carefully mark these seams, too. Once I moved to the lining version of this portion of the coat, I did much better, and it didn't require any extra stay tape to keep the seam solid.
The lining is almost as delightful as the outer fabric. It is from a couple of years ago, when Fabric Mart was selling a high end designer's fabrics, including a beautiful silky rayon acetate blend lining in the same exact olive green color. It was meant to be. :-) It slides well over my clothing, and feels so luxurious next to the wool/cashmere. The two fabrics together feel very expensive, and had I not made my coat, I would have had to spend a lot more to get this in a store.
(BTW, though my lining is long gone, this silk satin in a gorgeous green color would be the ultimate in luxury for a lining for a wool coat. I don't know that I would pair this green with the olive green suiting I mentioned above, but it would very nicely with this black/green plaid wool...just saying!)
Some items of note for those of you looking for more on sizing and changing the pattern:
I have fairly large hips for my frame. I wear a size 10 pants but only a 6 top, so I know that with all patterns, and especially Lisette patterns (she seems to pattern for a flat-butted/small hipped lady, lol), I have to adjust the pattern to work with my frame. The top half would be fine in a size small, but I knew even grading out to size medium wouldn't be enough to fit me properly, so I did a cut/slash method to expand the size medium closer to a large.
Crazy thing, though, even with that change, I STILL have the effect of the triangle slit below the button closure in excess. True, the model (and most reviews I have seen of the pattern) also has the triangle slit thing going on, but it is most obvious on my version.
I *don't* mind it on me, I actually think the style looks cute, but I suspect Liesl didn't make the pattern with the thought the triangle below the button closure would be that extreme (her aqua version definitely closes properly, but if I sized for my hips the top would be comically large on me and I also didn't want this coat to be too a-line, it loses the effect of being mod that way). (Hey, Liesl, throw me a bone--make something adorable like this, with THOSE pockets, but incorporate some kind of lower half that suits us with --junk in the trunk-- better!)
I also did not care for the pleat thing in the back, so I just nixed that and cut the entire back on the fold. I actually really like the back, it is simple but elegant.
The collar and facing give fits to some who make it, and I completely get it, after my dealing with it, too. The under fabric wants to roll to the upper/outer bit, like it's playing some form of seamstress peek-a-boo, so the only way I could find to ameliorate that was to press the fabric as carefully and purposefully I could. I also slightly rolled the underside to the underside a bit more, and then where the princess seam is, I stitched in the ditch, which keeps the underside peeking out (at least where the stitching in the ditch is). I'm happy with the outcome, but barring some kind of complicated understitching, this was the only thing I could think to solve the problem. (Though Liesl mentions a pickstitching element in her blog, too.)
One other thing I did was to use a snap closure (with a button front) instead of a button and buttonhole. This fabric is thick and though I could have tried a buttonhole on the machine, I preferred to just stitch on the button and then create the snap closure underneath. It's perfect and doesn't fly open...and it is easier to open with gloves on!
Well, I hope you all are staying warm. I know I am. :-) I have a new coat to prove it.
Have any of you tried this pattern? Have any of you ever made anything with wool/cashmere? I would love to read about it!!! So definitely comment!
Have a lovely weekend...be back in March!
Dina, My Superfluities.