Erma Bombeck is famous for saying, "the grass is always greener over the septic tank." Well, the snow always melts over the septic tank up here. Behind me is a still remaining, very icy foot and a half of snow. I couldn't stand on it for pics or I would sink in. The walks and drive are out as they are glare ice. And as it was, right up until hubby started clicking I had on my Yak Trax so I wouldn't fall and break a hip! So over the septic tank it was!
I like this coat and know I will get years of wear out of it. It is very comfortable and has room to go over a suit jacket or big sweater comfortably and nicely. I really like the retro sleeves with their expanding length and deep cuffs. This coat is very warm.
Here are the deets:
Pattern: It is Butterick 5960, a Katherine Tilton design. What is it about those Tilton women that seduces me with their designs? I love them but have not always had good luck with them. This pattern had it's issues as well but in the end I am happy. The biggest issue is it's "bathrobe" nature. That's fine. It's a classic, no closure, shawl collared wrap coat, just like a bathrobe. But trust me, this pattern really needs more structure. I added what I could with tried and true tailoring techniques that you can see in the preceding posts, techniques like stays, lots of basting to control while pressing, padded hem, etc. But the collar just does not know where it wants to go. It does not have a specific roll line. In the pattern photo it wraps back all the way down to the hem but there is really no structure to hold that look. I find the collar lays best for me with the back up and the shawl part going just to the waist. I basted it in to do this with silk thread and used a lot of steam. But if you can work out a taped roll line on this I think you would be very happy.
I do absolutely love these retro looking sleeves. They are the kind you often see on swing coats from the fifties and have deep cuffs and lots of room to accommodate a sweater or jacket. One fussy little thing to be aware of with this wide open cuff is that it does show the lining, of which mine is off white. If I did it again I would make the bottom 3-4 inches of the sleeve lining out of a fabric that matches the color of the fashion fabric of the coat, FWIW.
On Step 16, be aware that you are instructed to close the top and bottom of the pocket with a "tight zigzag,...stitching through all thicknesses." This will put that stitching on in a way that will not let you sink your hands in the pockets. You only want to stitch through the top center pocket seam. In other words, if you put your hand in your pocket, what is on top of your hand is what gets the "tight zigzag".
The lining pattern includes an interior pocket between the facing and lining. I chose to not bother as I really didn't think I would use it and it would add more bulk.
Does it look like the pattern? Yes. It has the same roominess but I think mine is better controlled and the extra tailoring gives it a bit more polish.
Fabric: The fashion fabric is a 70% cashmere/30% wool blend from Fabric Place Basement in Natick, Mass. Go there if you ever have the chance. It is one of the few remaining mega fabric stores in the country. You won't regret it.
This fabric is gorgeous and literally glows. I hope you can pick up on a bit of that in the photos. It feels and looks really luxe up close.
The lining is an acetate/poly called Kasha that I purchased online from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago. They always have a great selection of colors on this often hard to find fabric and the price is reasonable. Kasha is the lining you see in fur coats. It is a shiny, heavy satin on one side and a flannel on the "wrong" side, therefore providing a lot of warmth to the garment and still having a bit of finesse.
There is a strip of colorful binding between the dour black cashmere and the Kasha lining that is simple poly print charmeuse from Joanns.
I made a sash out of the fashion fabric on one side and faux black leather on the other side. That came from Walmart. Their faux leather is the only thing I ever buy in that fabric department and it really is quite nice.
The garment uses traditional hair canvas for interfacing and well washed 100% heavy cotton flannel for the interior stays. That provides a bit of extra warmth.
Construction: The garment construction on here is really pretty straightforward if you choose to just follow the pattern. Just watch out for that pocket issue. If you think the shawl collar "lay" looks not to your liking I would get a good sewing book, like Vogue or Reader's Digest and follow their instructions for a tailored shawl collar. Build in the roll with some stay tape and pad stitching if you can.
Another issue with the instructions is that the lining is never secured to the fashion fabric other than being stitched together at the facing edge. It will billow out and drive you nuts. I secured the lining to the FF (fashion fabric) in between the two at the lower armscye and along the collar neckline. I secured the upper and under collar, after matching their seams, with catch stitching and a bit of slack. I didn't want anything pulling oddly. I also secured the seam where the lining meets the facing TO the princess seam line, which matches, all the way from the shoulder to the hem. The coat fell much better once this was done. I used a catch stitch between the lining and FF. That billowing lining would have driven me to distraction.
Also, I ended up taking out my catchstitched lining hem and adding a facing so that the lining length was 3/4 inches longer. I faced the lining with some ivory Ambiance I had, cut on the bias. That was then catchstitched to the lining fabric. The reason why? The lining hem edge barely covered the top edge of the coat hem and I wanted it to cover it nicely, not some places yes and others no, just barely. I followed the exact measurements on the pattern for folding and cutting the FF and lining hems. I suggest you cut your lining hem 3/4 inches longer than the pattern specifies.
I added 1/2 inch shoulder pads which the pattern does not specify. This also helps remove the bath robe effect.
Here are some links to some of the construction posts:
Lining with Kasha
Interfacing with Hair Canvas
Marking and pressing
Conclusion: This is a classic design that is not complicated. There are no notched collars, bound buttonholes, welt pockets, etc but you still end up with a really nice classic coat. Again, I love the sleeves. Make this if you can go the effort to add in the additional tailoring to give it some more structure and keep it from looking bathrobe-y. I think it also looks a lot better with a belt of some sort. It is not a difficult to construct coat. I'm happy with the results.
And what is that little tidbit of sparkle that you've never seen on my finger before, the one in the leather stitching photo? It's my new wedding/engagement ring. Same hubby, new ring! Many years ago he proposed to me with a really pretty Tiffany set diamond that his entire family chipped in for him to buy for me. I will never forget their kindness to him. I loved the Tiffany setting but as they can do from being set so high, the stone popped out and needed to be reset three times over the years. The last time was twenty years ago. I decided to put the diamond in a safe deposit until I could get a completely different setting. College bills set in with the kids, etc, and it just stayed tucked in its box for years.
Flash forward many years and not long before her death my Mom gifted me a piece of estate jewelry my father bought for her. He always loved estate jewelry and bought her numerous pieces over the years. This piece was a bit "different" and she seldom wore it but it had at least a lot of sentimental value. She wore it with my Dad when he was alive and then passed it on to me. It had one diamond slightly smaller than my ring and six smaller diamonds as well. When hubby asked me what I wanted for my birthday last year, I blurted right out " to get my diamond reset".
We worked with a really fine craftsmen in New Hampshire, James Cook, and I am really pleased with the result. He is a true artist and you can see his gallery here. I now have my original diamond back and on the side are the small diamonds from my father's gift to my late Mom. To say this ring means a lot to me is an understatement......Bunny