Butterick 6385: Cafe au Coat

I’m soooo glad that I decided to plough ahead and do a wool coat in spring because it’s snowing today and I have had more than one opportunity to wear it already.  For some reason I figured Butterick 6385 was the easier of the two coats on the one I  should work on first. In reality I think that it was just the least expensive of the two ( less and lower cost fabric) so If I messed it up I wouldn’t feel as bad. The pattern itself was harder.


The fabric I used was a 100% wool coating from Fabric.com in the color Cafe au Lait. I bought it during one of their 70% off sales so I scored 3 yards for just $36. Turns out I only needed 2 yards….and suggestions on how to use the last yard? Once it arrived it seemed a bit thin (again, hindsight it was probably fine). After reading an article on threads called Understanding Underlining I decided some flannel would make a cozy addition to the interior. Boy was it time intensive! First you cut out the flannel out of the same pieces as the coat.   Then stack them and baste down the middle. Trim the flannel to account for turn of cloth. The hand baste the flannel to the wool and treat as a single piece.  I think the extra effort was worth it because it made the coat super warm and toasty but I don’t think I will be using it on my blue coat because everything got very bulky.

Once I stitched the panels together I trimmed the flannel pressed the seams open and then catch-stitched all the seams by hand hoping to alleviate some of that aforementioned bulk.



So much hand work, my fingers were hating me! At this point I took a break to make my easter dress.

Having never done a coat before I found some interesting details in the pattern. I’m not sure it this is standard or not but I think it makes my coat seem more special. The lining has its own separate pattern pieces and the center back includes a little pleat to allow extra mobility across the back in between the shoulder blades.


The pocket (per the pattern) has wool on the side touching you and lining on the other side. So if the pocket peaks open you only see wool but the bulk is reduced by using lining for the other half


The lining is attached around the wrists and neck but is allowed to hand free across the bottom. I took a quick look at my Calvin Klein coat and i’ts made the same way.  I liked this because the lining doesn’t pull in any weird way. I did some thread chains to attach the lining at the various seams.  I also catch stitch the coat hem so there are no visible topstitching.


Enough construction notes…you want to see this puppy on right! You’ll notice it’s missing buttons. I bought some nice big wooden ones but when it came time for buttonholes I could not get my machine to do them. It made them just fine when I did a test on double thickness of wool but for some reason  it’s just too thick to work on the coat.  I could sew the holes by hand with a blanket stitch but I’m worried that it would look to messy and I would hate to mess up all the work I did with messy button holes. For the time being it’s to be a closureless coat. Lesson learned, do bound buttonholes on the next coat ( that one only has two so it shouldn’t be too bad).

me-thinks I may have over pressed it

I can’t help but feel like a girl-boss when I wear this coat. It turned out almost exactly like I envisioned.





Butterick 5814 – Betty Bombshell

I apologize for my lapse in posting. I have been trying to get a youtube channel up and the weathers been so grey and gloomy that it has been difficult to take photographs. Also I have now managed to stuff my stash full of fall/winter fabric just in time for spring so i’m sort of at a quandary of “what to make next”. I am sort of wanting to make a wool coat but fear that being out of sync with the seasonings will make for a bad blog post….Im coming into that dangerous time were the the blog is starting to dictate the sewing  and not the other way around which is not were I want to be!

For todays dress I used the bodice of Butterick 5814 and a self drafted skirt.


I spent weeks working on the bodice and ran into a slew of fitting issues. I wanted to lengthen the front but of course the pattern didn’t provide any lines . I also tried  to raise the neckline a tad for modesty ( though I think its still a little bare and I may add some lace in later). I also futzed around with the sleeves since they kept falling off. I eventually got it to an OK place but i’m not 100% pleased with it. The pleats in the bodice create some fullness that Im not loving. I tried to take my time and tried some new (to me) techniques. I used some twill tape to stabilize the bias cu v-neck and back line. I also added in so stay tape before sewing in the zipper.


The bodice also has spiral steel boning added to the lining. I made casing for the boning out of rayon seam binding from my stash. It’s all inclosed inside the lining so you won’t see the green when it is done.



The skirt was a headache as well. I used an online tutorial for how to flat draft the skirt and the first muslin had these wacky wide fins on my hips. It took 3 more tries before I got something I was happy with and even still I had to pull the dress on and off a half dozen times shaving millimeters off to get the perfect fit.  I also contemplated for a while on what to do with the lining. The fashion fabric has a slight stretch to it which makes sitting down in a form fitting pencil skirt a little more comfortable. However I knew I wanted to wear this dress with heels which means stockings are needed and that means slippery lining. I ended up putting in a full lining out of matching bemburg. I left the skirt lining bigger then the fashion fabric in order to accommodate thigh spread when sitting. I am happy I did because I think it adds a luxurious feel to the finished dress.


You’ll also notice from the above picture that I added a kick pleat to the lined skirt. I am very happy with how this turned out though I don’t think I would self-draft this again. I want to try and find a pattern that already has it included so that I can get the precise angles.

At least for now I feel like all the effort was worth it because I feel like Marilyn when I put it on even if the bodice is  bit wonky!

Unfortunately the fabric doesn’t photography well. The  sheen of the sateen brings out every little wrinkle. If you want to see the dress in motion Click Here

Simplicity 1544 Men’s Shirt and Butterick 6339 Men’s Vest

I made this shirt months ago but it took me until now to get pictures with my reluctant model.


It’s not a color I would have expected him to pick but its not my place to judge. He had originally wanted snaps on this but I felt like the shirt looked too  formal for that and he wanted it to wear with his suit so I convinced him to change to grey buttons instead.


The fabric was really light weight broadcloth so the cuffs turned out well.


Next up we have the vest that I made him for Christmas. I was a little disappointed in the fit, despite measuring his chest ahead of time the size I made for him was just a tad too small. He could button it but I thought it was too tight to be comfortable for any extended period. I did some triage since I wasn’t in the mood to unpick the whole thing apart and just moved the buttons over an inch. Now the buttons aren’t centered as they should be but he assures me no one will notice.


I am very happy with how the notched collar turned out. I already have the wool cut out for a waistcoat for myself!





Santa’s Workshop

My sewing room has turned into Santa’s Workshop the last week. I am officially done with all my Christmas sewing but I can’t really share the results until after Christmas except for Tony’s present (since he doesn’t read my blog). For him I finally got around to making the vest he’s been wanting using Butterick 6339 from there “Making History” collection.


For the main part I used this mystery grey fabric I got from the Denver Sewing Guild sale. No clue what it is. It looks felted but its woven and it does frey. It shrunk by at least a 1/4 with just washing ( no dryer).   Now my dress form just isn’t shaped for this garment but you get the idea. I will try to get some pictures of Tony modeling it once I give it to him.


The vest if fully lined in a grey bemberg lining after the sucess of using it in my blazer.


This was my first time doing welted pockets and I am super pleased with how they turned out. The bottom two are actually pockets and the top are just for decoration.


I was probing Tony while watching The Crown to get an idea of what one to make he seemed to gravitate to ones with a notched collar. So thats what I did.


Now that Im done with all those presents its back to some selfish sewing for me!

Fall time fun

The weather is starting to cool down hear in colorado and my fabric stash is looking quite autumnal these days.  That only means one thing. Time to make some season appropriate clothes! I was inspired by evergreens for this dress. Though yesterday we took a drive down Guanella Pass and now all the aspen groves are making me think bright yellow would be more apropos.

Its beautiful but I do still miss the multicolored fall colors from back east.


I used Butterick 5813, I stayed a little more true to pattern then the last time. I love the “new look” silhouette  this dress has and all the little details.

These 3/4 sleeves have 3 elbow darts that give it a very vintage feel.


The top is self lined so I was able to do away with the facings on the collar. The cotton I used seems fairly heavy so I think it will help to keep warmer in the cooler months. I did use some black batiste in the arms since they were a little tight and I didn’t want bulk at the joints.


bah, I know it needs a good steam iron and a lint roller

I hand picked the zipper this time for a more vintage feel. It turned out OK, I don’t think I would do it for a center back zipper but I like it just fine for side seam.  From trying on the bodice mid sew I was worried the dress would be a little tight and I just didn’t want to fight with an invisible zip if it was. Turns out the dress isn’t tight at all but I am glad that I got to try a new-to-me technique none the less.



Perhaps my favorite detail of all is one that I added out of shear laziness. I didn’t feel like making the trek down to my local sewing store to pick up thread so I just used what I had in my stash. It wasn’t the best match but all the seams are hidden and was close enough for a blind hem. Then I came to the collar and  I realized that I would have to top stitch it and then the thread would stand out. So since I knew the thread didn’t match I decided to use a decorative stitch from my Bernina so that the visible thread looked intentional rather then a mistake. I am chuffed to bits with the result.


My only regrets with this dress is that it pulls a little across the upper bust if I raise my hand at all. I will have to do some research to see how you fix that for future sews.


A slightly different palette

Sorry its been quiet the last few weeks. Not much going on in the sewing room. I did finish the lilac shirt for Tony but he’s being camera shy so no pictures. I decided to pull out some of my fabric from the guild sale.

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This fell in love with the soft hand and color palette of this fabric, I just don’t have anything like it in my wardrobe. I only had 3 yards so at first I was thinking a button up for my self, but after just finishing one I wasn’t looking forward to doing another so soon. The I got it stuck in my head that it would make a great Butterick 5209


I mean sure I was 7/8 of a yard short and the pattern matching would take extra but it definitely would work…right? Spoiler alert, it did!

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I did have to cut 2″ off the skirt to get everything to fit but with the extra length in the bodice I think its fine. I tossed and turned about how to cut this out with my limited fabric. First i folded it in half and tried to baste it together along the lines so that  wouldn’t shift. I gave up on that after about 30 minutes and just decided to cut it in a single thickness. My thought was if I cut everything out once and it took more then 1/2 of the fabric then I could just line the bodice in a different fabric instead  and then I would only have the skirt to cut fit in. Turns out everything fit so the bodice is still self lined. Another happy coincidence was that when I went to cut the second half it was already perfectly on the same repeat as the first so I was able to cut a mirror image out of everything that kept the same color pattern running all the way across. YAY!

Since I have made this dress before here i’m not going to  go into much construction detail. I did feel like the last one I made was too big so I sized down. That was a mistake, I ended up having to let out the side seems and it still feels a little tight around the waist. I guess I can’t eat too big of a meal while wearing this. I will say that my favorite part of this pattern is how the back and sleeves are constructed. I just think its so smart and interesting.

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The fabric had two imperfections, some black ink spots. I put one on the inside underneath my tag. The other is on left neck. Just couldn’t cut around it, but for a $6 dress I’m willing to over look it, perhaps a brooch could cover it up?

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All and all i’m pretty happy with how this dress turned out. Im planing on taking it with me to San Francisco in a few weeks when I kick off working with a new client. Today i’m going to dress it down with some flats and wear it to visit a new ice cream parlor in Denver…..they have ice cream flights, like a flight of wine but with icecream. Of course Tony and I should each get our own flight, we have to try 10 flavors or else the trip would just be a waste!

The fit game, level 2

This dress may seem very similar to all my other dresses but its special to me because I really stepped up my fitting. I started with Butterick 5813 ( the full skirt version, as if you even needed to ask) and some cheerful cotton.


I noticed on a few of my last dresses that the extra length I have been adding to the bodice seems to be fitting in the front but causing some pooling in the back. I asked around on the sewing forum and several people suggested a sway back adjustment.  I had a unique situation in that I still needed some length in the back just not as much as I needed in the front. I took some measurements and decided the front needed 1″ added and the back needed 3/8″. I added the length to the front bodice just like I normally would. When I got to the back I added 1″ on the side seam ( so that it would still match up to the front) and the then graded the extension down to 3/8″ on the center back seam. I sort of had the make this up as I went along because I couldn’t find any tutorials for sway back adjustments that also included a lengthening at the same time. The results are prefect.



In addition to the fit alterations I also used a different sleeve. I just thought this fabric looked to summery for a longer sleeve. I used the pattern piece for McCalls 6966 dress But it was a little big for the armhole so I made the executive decision to add a gathered detail on the top.

My favorite part about this pattern are the style lines in the bodice front. The midriff front has 6 pieces. Unfortunately the polka dots hide these details. Don’t worry I am already planning another rendition of this dress in a solid color and the original sleeves for fall/ winter that will hopefully show off the bodice details a little better.

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In an effort to save fabric and $$$ I only lined the bodice instead of the whole dress. It has some sewn in facing on the collar so that it gives the appearance the the inside is all fashion fabric when the collar turns out.

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On a whim I used some hem lace because I liked how it looked with the polka dots.



Now that I have gotten so much better at fitting myself. Its time to try my luck at fitting someone else. Thats right,  next week will be my own “made to measure” challenge.