Hey! It's Shams from Communing with Fabric with another project made from a fabulous Britex fabric!
For this project, my assignment was to choose one of Britex's beautiful wools. I visited the store just a couple days before I left for Europe to make my choice. After much deliberation, I selected Mock Patchwork Plaid Wool.
This fabric is gorgeous! The photos don't really do it justice. It is a large scale, varied plaid. The wool is very soft—similar to cashmere—and it has a beautiful drape. It reminds me of a substantial, cozy flannel.
I brought the fabric home and went off to Europe. I needed time to mull over how I might use it. While in Paris, I spent time seeking out plaid coats—maybe you noticed that I included several plaid coats in my photo summaries.
In the end, I decided to make a long, unlined jacket trimmed with faux leather featuring welt pockets, three-quarter-length sleeves, and closed with a double-ended separating zipper.
I started with Butterick 6328, view C.
Pattern Alterations and Modifications
I made a number of changes to the pattern, some for fit and some for style. Fit changes:
- Added a 1.5" FBA - introducing a high side dart (more on that later). (Typical)
- Narrowed the shoulder by 3/4". (Typical)
- Added a 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment. (Typical)
- Added a 3/4" broad back adjustment - introducing a back shoulder dart. (Somewhat typical)
- Shortened the sleeves by 1". (Typical)
- Omitted the collar.
- Replaced the side seam pockets with angled welt pockets.
- Lengthened the body of the coat by several inches.
- Added a double-ended separating zipper closure.
- Omitted all facings, replacing them with faux leather trim that encases the raw edges.
- Clean finished the inside using several different techniques.
- Cut the sleeves on the bias.
- Increased the 1-1/4" hem to 2".
- Used the leftover fabric to sew a coordinating scarf. I've made this Koos-inspired Moebius infinity scarf many times before. The dimensions of this one was 48" by 19".
Working With a Large Plaid
When I returned from Europe and started playing with the fabric, I noticed that the plaid contained a 4-1/2" black-and-white checkerboard that "popped" when I studied it in the mirror. This put me in mind of how Burberry uses a large scale plaid in their shirts. In fact, I made a Burberry inspired plaid shirt several years ago.
I decided to use this plaid in a similar way, but this time in a longer, unlined jacket version. I fussy cut the pattern pieces very intentionally, replicating the layout of the Burberry shirt, and using the large plaid asymmetrically with the checkerboard as the focal point.
Red wool hat purchased in Paris!
I've been matching plaids for years but, if you are new to this, there are many tutorials available to walk you through the process. Here are some considerations unique to my project:
- My pattern has only a few seams, so there aren't many places that might require matching: side seam, shoulder seam, armhole seam, and center front.
- I added a bust dart to the side seam, horizontal to the bust point, so the darts are high up. I match the plaid from the hem to the bust dart. Because the bust dart is high, there are only a few inches above the dart that don't match and that's hidden except when my arms are raised.
- For wearing ease, I added a shoulder dart to the back shoulder. Because of the shoulder dart in back and the bust dart in front, it's impossible to match the side seams and the shoulder seams. I hid the shoulder seam under a faux leather strip, which minimizes the fact that the plaid does not match.
- I cut the sleeves on the bias, placing a checkerboard at the top-front of the right sleeve and the bottom-front of the left sleeve. This avoids having to match the plaid at the armholes, and also balances the checkerboard above the right bust, creating a pleasing diagonal line through the 3 checkerboards. Additionally, the faux leather strips around the armhole minimize the break in the plaid.
- A patch pocket would have required plaid matching, but I used a welt pocket with a contrasting faux leather welt. I prefer a welt pocket over a patch pocket, and the contrast eliminates the need for matching.
Because I think of this garment as an unlined jacket, I finished all of the raw edges. I handled this using a variety of techniques:
- I sewed the shoulder seams wrong sides together. Pressed the seams open, trimmed, and covered raw edges with 1-1/4" strips of faux leather. Both edges of the faux leather were turned under 1/4", and hand stitched to the jacket.
- The side seams are sewn to the inside, pressed open, and each raw edge covered with bias tape.
- I used the pattern to create front and back armhole facings 1-1/2" wide, cut from faux leather. I stitched the front and back facings together to form a circle, laid the wrong side of the facing to the right side of the jacket (after the shoulder and side seams were sewn), and machine stitched 1/4" from the raw edge. I then turned the remaining raw edge under 1/4" and hand stitched to the jacket. After inserting the sleeves, I covered the armhole seams on the inside of the jacket with bias binding.
- I used the pattern to create front and back neck facings 1-1/2" wide, cut from faux leather. I stitched the facings together to form a single unit. I had sewn the separating zipper to the wrong side of the garment, so that the raw edge folded to the front. I sewed the finished facing with the wrong side to the back of the garment, trimmed to 1/8", and folded the leather to the front. Finally, I turned the raw edge under 1/4" and hand stitched in place.
- After finishing the front raw edges, the 2" hem was covered with bias tape and hemmed normally. Note that the pattern calls for a 1-1/4" hem, which I increased to 2".
- I used the sleeve pattern (at the 3/4-length marking) to create a 1-1/4" hem facing, cut from faux leather. I sewed the right side of a 1-1/4" strip of faux leather to the wrong side of the sleeve hem. Pressed the seam open, trimmed to 1/8", and turned the strip to the right side of the sleeve. I turned the raw edge of the faux leather under 1/4" and stitched by hand to create a visible binding.