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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Technical notes Butterick 5533

Here are my thoughts on this pattern.

I like the jacket. 

I am glad I made it and will wear it a lot. It's corduroy as the pattern suggested, despite the bulk of the many top-stitched pleats at the back, it isn't too puffy as I had feared.

Of course the back detail will date a bit. It is sort of the last vestiges of the empire look but because it's in the back I am hoping not quite as distinctly that. For the couple of years I will probably wear this to death I think it is more interesting than a simple camp coat would be.

It felt odd to be working in corduroy. I can't remember the last time I sewed this fabric. To me it is sort of a fabric from my past. When we were kids my grandmother and mother used to make us spring and fall jackets out of this stuff, lined with flannel to go with the corduroy pants we wore for our entire childhoods. It's tough stuff and actually so easy to sew like all cottons.

I have written before, and won't rave again, on the dumbness of a pattern that is obviously a warm type jacket without included pattern pieces for lining. I made my own in the easiest way possible out of Kasha lining - you know satin stuff on one side and flannel on the other. It is Nova Scotia after all and the leaves are turning.

Here is my cheater lining technique:

1. Cut out one of everything but the collar in lining. I bagged and lined the pockets.

2. Because of the large back piece with all those pleats I didn't want to trap and pull that with a straight lining so I trimmed about 12" from the centre back and made what is still a large box pleat in the lining piece that attaches to the yoke. Here is a bright picture:

3. I turned under the long unnotched edge of the facing and top-stitched that to the front lining pieces to save myself the thinking time of calculating the seam allowances to connect the two. This added two layers of bulk to the facing area but I don't mind that - just beefed up the interfacing and actually gives the front nice support.

4. I have bagged linings a million times but don't do that much anymore. I find the lining shifts a bit and I have to sometimes pull the sleeves down or worse the sleeve linings seem too short and hike up the sleeves a bit. So here I stitched the sleeve lining by machine to the armhole seam allowances and slip stitched the bottom of the lining to the inside of the sleeve hem so I could control the ease of the lining. I made a box pleat of the sleeve lining at the top of the sleeve cap to deal with the ease.

5. I stitched the lining/facing body unit in after having machine hemmed it. Of course the lining takes the place of the back neck facing and it is neat.

6. I then turned under and slip stitched the seam allowances of the lining body around the sleeve top. I realize most instructions that have you sew the lining in around the sleeve top have you do this in a different way - machine stitch the body to the armhole and then slipstitch in the sleeve top but I don't like doing this. You have to ease in the sleeve cap with hand stitches etc. and that requires care and thinking - so much easier to deal with the straight body raw edges.

So that's the lining, and it works.

Only other caution I would note about this pattern is that the sleeves are surprisingly narrow at the wrists.  It was OK for me because I felt this would make the jacket warmer (and again where are the lining pieces?) but you might want to check this for individual fit. Also one view of this pattern shows the shaped sleeve bottoms rolled up like a cuff and they are too short to do this. I had to do what is shown in other views and have them down to make this sleeve long enough. 

If you want a cuff, add.

Finally there is a fair bit of weight at the back with those pleats so shoulder fit is important if you want to be comfortable. If you typically do a straight or sloped shoulder adjustment make sure you do it here.

That's it. A very practical, slightly stylish, probably date stamped garment that is perfect for the casual side of my life.


gwensews said...

I wouldn't have thought corduroy for this jacket becaue of the pleats, but it worked well. Thanks for the heads-up about the narrow wrists. I love this jacket, and hope to get it made in my lifetime. Maybe red.

Connie said...


The coat looks wonderful. Thanks for the technical notes.

I have a question, though. What kind of corduroy did you use --lightweight or midweight, baby wales or regular? I have this pattern and some burnt orange 12 wale/inch corduroy waiting, but I've wondered if it might be too bulky since the pattern calls for pinwale.

Barbara said...

Connie I couldn't find pinwale and used just regular, jeans type corduroy and it seemed fine and warm.

Texan said...

I just picked up some corduroy, its just the prettiest stuff. tye died looking in a sorta navy blue. Sounds awful but its quite nice. I like this jacket a lot! mmmm

Ann Brodsky said...

This jacket looks great on you! I like the fabric you chose, and I completely agree about unlined jacket patterns! I looked all over to try to find a lined cape pattern, and there wasn't one anywhere to be found. I am also finding that bagging a lining isn't all it is cracked up to be. Thanks for taking the time to tell us how you lined this.

sharon said...

love the jacket and your insightful comment on the previous post about our later years!

Anonymous said...

Nice jacket! Thanks for the cheater lining notes. I like the sound of that and am going to give that a try soon. Jumping to your next post, so sorry about the flooding. Glad you saved your goodies, but what a mess!