Butterick 6423 Coat – a muslin


No, I’m not losing my marbles, but I’ll admit this muslin has a bit of personality.

Despite its Easy rating, this lined Lisette coat is a fairly complex design. Tricky bits – the one-piece shawl collar, side/sleeve gusset, and pocket detail. Kick in a lining, and it’s definitely not a beginner project.


Note the slight narrowing of the silhouette – it’s real (hence the back pleat), and it does encourage the coat to open below the button, as seen on the model. Since I purchased the pattern to make a jacket, the latter doesn’t bother me.

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size Small – great fit.
  • My jacket is unlined, since I would seldom need the warmth of a lining.
  • I shortened the length by 7.5″, to finish at 29.5″ below the base of the neck.
  • Of course the back seam is too low for a jacket profile, so I raised it to finish about 3/4″ below the side/sleeve gusset seam. And I decided to gather the back skirt, rather than use a pleat (pleats that go awry make me nuts).

back bodice and skirt

  • Once I had the jacket constructed, I played with the collar. Without the ‘balance’ of the longer length, the collar is just too wide. I narrowed one side (the arrow side) so I could compare the two. I’m going with the narrowed version.

front collar view

back and collar view

side back and collar view

I know it’s hard to picture this jacket with all the fabric noise – squinting helps 🙂


And it’s time to think about a suitable fabric. The pattern suggests wool blends, boiled wool, mohair, wool flannel, and tweeds, and I agree a soft but stable fabric would work best.

Thinking of everyone impacted by severe weather this week, I hope you, your friends, and your loved ones are safe.


Knit fabric – playing with ponte

model 1

I love knit fabric! and feel very confident sewing jersey in all kinds of blends – rayon, cotton, polyester, and so on. But, ponte knits have stumped me at times. It’s an interlock double knit. A bit different, and I’ve had some magnificent failures, mostly due to my lack of practice with this fabric.

One thing I learned early on is that ponte di roma tends to come in two blends, poly/nylon/lycra and rayon (viscose)/nylon/lycra. I will never sew the poly blend again – did it once – it was awful, unpredictable, crazy stretchy, and not fun.  So I stick with the rayon blend. Having several nice pieces in my stash, I decided to get with the program. I.e., work with ponte, learn how to sew it, and understand the designs with which it works best. Time for a sacrifice with a couple yards of ponte from Fabric Mart.

I chose to use Burda Style 01/2018 #119. size 36 (it’s pretty boxy). It’s a hooded jacket, with a front zipper, and curved hems. I really like this pattern! and think it would be lovely in pink sweatshirt fabric. Check out that pleated dropped sleeve…

Screen Shot 2018-04-06 at 6.28.45 PM-side

I modified my pattern to move the side seams to the outside, but kept everything else. I’ll use it again, but my focus here was on the fabric, not the pattern.

Sewing notes:

  • Technicalities: I used a size 80 universal needle in my sewing machine, and size 90 in my serger. I released the presser foot pressure on my sewing machine, since ponte is a bit thick, and used longer stitch, 2.8, and 3.0 for topstitching.
  • Also,  I sewed all my seams on the SM, and serged the seam allowances to finish. Ponte wants to stretch at the serger.
  • The pleated sleeve on my jacket – so easy., what a great design detail. I stitched the pleats down a bit to avoid ‘ballooning’ at the seamline.

sleeve pleats

  • I decided to stabilize curves and critical straight edges with knit tricot interfacing. On curved edges, I cut the interfacing across the horizontal, the stretchy pitch of the interfacing (neckline and curved hems). On straight edges (front edges, shoulders, and the straight edges of the hem), I used interfacing cut on its grain which has almost no stretch. On the pic below, the shoulder interfacing is cut on the grainline, while the interfacing on the neckline is cut horizontally.

stabilize 1

  • I drafted front and back neckline facings, also stabilized with interfacing. The facings a look so nice – no exposed seam lines, tape, or serging where the hood is attached to the jacket.

front inside

back inside

  • Some results! The front edges are super nice, no waving, and I could easily have inserted a zipper.


  • The lined hood is lovely and not too heavy for the jacket.


  • This curved hemline is so pretty and reflects a lot of trial runs. In the end, I stabilized the edges, turned them up 3/8″, and topstitched them. Note: the pattern has bound hemline edges. I can’t imagine doing that with sweatshirt or any other fabric!

curved hem 1

stabilize 2

  • The sleeves – I ran out of fabric, so I just worked with the cuff and shortened sleeves.  The pattern has the sleeve gathered into a cuff, usual for a ‘sweatshirt’ style. And it worked out really well.

gathered cuff

  • Out of curiosity, I did two more tests: a cuff the same length as the sleeve edge, on the left, and a cuff with the sleeve edge stretched to fit. Interesting.

straight fit-side

  • On to buttonholes – a hoodie has them on the underside so that a cord can be inserted. I got the best results by using a piece of mid-weight non-woven fusible interfacing over the area on the inside, and stitching with the fusible facing the needle and the fabric against the feed dogs. Buttonholes in ponte are iffy anyway, because they tend to stretch out and take on an urban decay look.


Last shot – I always have the TV in the background in the loft, usually a movie I’ve watched a gazillion times.

model 2

I’m really glad I did this, all 4 days of it! But there’s a payoff 🙂 And I hope you find this useful,

For now, Coco

Hooded cardigan success

side 2

Finally! I’ve been working on a hoodie cardigan design for a couple months, ever since I saw a ‘maxi hoodie’ on Pinterest (below).


I simply cannot find a pattern to match it, but have worked with a several that have requisite elements. A couple of attempts later, my final design is based on the Vogue 9275 jacket, with the hood from McCalls 7634.

line v9275-side

Sewing notes:

  • I used a medium jacket (no lining) and size 12 hood. Incredibly, the necklines match perfectly, all the way down to the shoulder markings. So easy.
  • My fabric is a lovely Hacci sweater knit from Fabric Mart. Like many knits, it’s printed, and this one is solid cream on the inside. I’m super picky about having the wrong side of fabric exposed, because it can really detract from a garment. For a nicer finish to the hood, I faced it (just cut it out twice) in self-fabric.


  • And to avoid having the inside exposed on the front, I drafted facings for the front and back neckline. The back facing has the added benefit of stabilizing the jacket/hood seam, and the front facing will let me add a zipper in future versions.

facing 1

facing 2

  • As much as I like sweatshirts, I’m not always fond of their signature kangaroo pockets. I used a large patch pocket (7 1/2″ high and 7″ wide finished dimension). They don’t even show because of the print.


  • Last change, I added 2″ to the length of the jacket – mine is 36″ long at the center back, from the base of hood to the hem.




Whew. I’m so pleased with this. In anticipation of everything working, I ordered a great small polka dot sweatshirt fabric. I’m going for the whole works:  a zipper, bottom band, and corded hood.

Bye for now – Coco


McCalls 6531 Jacket favorite version


Well, this didn’t take me long! My second, and very favorite , utility jacket version of this great pattern from McCalls.


This is my third version – here’s a look at the previous two (cotton/lycra twill and ripstop). They’re both a little stiff, although the twill is more comfortable than the ripstop.


This latest is Brussels washer linen, which is a linen/rayon blend, more linen than rayon. It is lightweight, rumply after 4 wash/dry cycles, and has a nice slubbed finish.

Fabric from Fabric.com

It’s light enough that I was able to use a drawstring in the waistband casing. I really like the way this looks.


This is almost as long as the longest view, but I took the curve out of the back.


A little blurry 🙂

Some sewing notes:

  • I sewed the size small, instead of the medium.
  • The drawstring is 1/4″ synthetic cord. The pattern calls for 1/8″ cord, but that seems a bit narrow to me. And I only used it in the waist, not in the hem or collar.
  • I placed my casing about an inch below the marking on the pattern, because I’m long-waisted. Even so, it’s does ride a little above my natural waist – but it’s where I like it!
  • Once again, I made my own pocket, nice and big, and added a band at the bottom of the sleeve.


  • I used a vertical buttonhole that’s rounded at the top and bottom. And I practiced a lot to get the right size and thread tension.

buttonhole tests

Great lines and detail, I’m crazy about topstitching, so this was a lot of fun for me


Next up, I’m still working on a long knit hoodie. Wild things…


Ciao! Coco

McCalls 6531 as a utility jacket


My love affair with M6531 continues – I made this version with a utility jacket style in mind 🙂

line art

Going into this project, I had no idea that what I wanted to create is often called a utility jacket – or work jacket. I kept looking at jeans jackets and stumbled on this style. Hundreds of image reviews later, I was ready to go!


So, typical characteristics of a utility jacket: sturdy cotton fabric (twill, denim, drill), hip-length, roomy pockets, some kind of waist treatment (casing with elastic, cord, or belt), lots of buttons, simple collar, set-in long sleeves, and no cuff. A very basic, made-to-purpose jacket.

This pattern has options for all of the above, but also has great sleeves and a pretty banded front band.



This Seaweed cotton/lycra twill from Fabric Mart is perfect for the jacket. It has 30% stretch horizontally and 20% stretch vertically, but does not feel ‘rubbery’. It’s very heavy, similar to a hefty bull denim, and does not wrinkle at all, no matter how much I mistreat it. It does ravel, so I serged all the edges of the cut pieces before I started sewing – it just makes the construction process so much easier and pleasant.


A few sewing notes:

  • This is the size medium – it’s a bit oversized, and I think I’ll use the size small for future versions.
  • I used a 90/14 needle, long stitch, and low presser foot pressure. No problems at all.
  • The seams are faux flat-felled, because the fabric is just too heavy for a true flat fell.
  • I fashioned my own pocket, which finished at 7″ tall and 6 1/4″ wide.
  • The waistband casing fits perfectly to the jacket. I opted for 3/4″ wide knit elastic instead of any kind of belt – no fuss!
  • I love the added detail of the cording in the collar.
  • I tried many many times to get a good buttonhole (on scraps!), but the stretch worked against me no matter which style buttonhole I used. So instead, I used six #4 sew-on snaps, topped with simple work buttons on the outside.
  • Caution – the sleeves on the pattern are quite short. I added 1 3/4″ to the sleeve, and then, an additional 1″ wide band to finish.




This color is difficult to photograph, but the last 3 pics are correct – it’s a great color.

And if it looks familiar, this is the same pattern I used to make my ripstop jacket (here). They look so different!


I spent days on this project, and it was so much fun that I’m sorry to be done. Ha. I have some sage green Brussels washer linen next to me. I’ll be cutting it out this afternoon, and I think the linen will be another look entirely.

Happy weekend! Coco