Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pattern Review for Finished Houndstooth Jacket

Pattern Description:
Fitted, lined straight coat, hip-length, above or below mid-knee has collar variations, princess seams, shoulder pads and long two-piece sleeves. A,B,C: double breasted. B,C,D,E: side pockets, B: cuffs

Pattern Sizing:
14-16-18, I sewed the 14

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes - click on links to see more photographs:

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were reasonably easy to follow. I attached the collar using the Vogue instructions - I sewed the outer piece to the bodice and the inner pieces to the facings, then sewed that whole thing together.Another way to do it would be to sew the collar together and steam press it to shape it. Then, sew that to the bodice, then sew the facings on. Next time, I will try it that way. I think it is important to steam press this garment at every stage of construction and it might be better to have the collar shaped before you attach it to the coat.I did a fair amount of juggling to steam press the necklin area after it was constructed and hanging on my dressform. It worked out ok.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
A simple design that lets the fabric take the starring role. Shoulder princess seams work well for me when making fitting adjustments.
Next time, I would sew the collar with a center back seam so I could ensure a more pleasing matching of plaids in the front where the collar pieces stand.

Fabric Used:
"Theory Houndstooth" from EmmaOneSock. A nice spongy wool with dark espresso, slate blue and tan houndstooth pattern.
The fabric was easy to sew in that the weave was a little loose, which made it very easy to set in the sleeves. But that loose-ish weave also made it a bear to line up the houndstooth. I ended up hand-basting every single seam to keep the patterns aligned. It simply would not stay in place when I sewed by machine without the basting first.
I loved how well the fabric took steam pressing. It molded nicely to the shape I wanted.
I waited til it went on sale and even then, I waited almost too long to buy it. I really wanted a knee lenght coat but I got the last piece and it was only enough for the hip-length coat. Oh Well! This length is easier for getting in and out of the car, so it's all good.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
No design changes. I sewed a size 14 with a slight FBA and slight increase to girth around my tummy /hips. The shoulder seams and neckline had to be brought in closer to my neck. This pattern was fitted to me in a private session with Sarah Veblen. I love the fit and I have to give her credit for it! Sessions with her at her studio in Md. are not cheap (you can read about it on her website) but the results are top notch.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yup. I bet I will eventually sew every view of this pattern, to get my money's worth from the cost of fitting the muslin!! That's why I chose such a basic style.
I added an an extra clear buttonon the inside like most double-breated coats have. This keeps the front pieces hanging level.

This was my first attempt (in recent years) at tailoring techniques. In addition to the fusible interfacing recommended in the instructions, I also fused along the hem, the sleeve hem, the neckline where the collar would be attached and shoulder seams. I pad stitched stiffer woven interfacing to the front area between bustline and shoulder. I inserted a sleeve roll in the sleeve and I made my own shoulder pads using layers of Armo fleece and foam shoulder pads (both available from Atlantic thread- not affiliated yada yada).To make the pattern for the shoulder pad, I laid out the bodice pieces and used a Sharpie pen to mark the shape. I traced it onto pattern paper and cut the pieces of Armo Fleece in that shape. I sandwiched the foam shoulder pads between layers of Armo Fleece. It is very inexpensive to make your own shoulder pads, plus they fit perfectly.
Shoulder Pad Pattern
Just about all of these techniques came from the discussion boards, classes I've taken on pattern review, tutorials from LauraLo's blog. and lessons with Sarah.
It took longer than I expected because of the basting required to match the plaids. And, whenever I felt hesitant about my ability to machine stitch anything, I just hand-sewed it. I am starting to feel that hand-sewing is the way to go when I need maximum control. If the seam needs to be really strong, I apply beeswax to the thread, and I keep a couple spools of heavy duty thread on hand (again, I ordered those supplies from Atlantic Thread when I was taking the hand-sewing class taught by Susan Khalje here on patternreview).
Still, I feel like I want to try more tailoring projects now that I have proven to myself that I can do it. I already wore this coat today and love it!
This is the center piece of my "Casual Wardrobe" entry for the Sewing With A Plan contest at The rest of the pieces are fast & easy!


  1. Love your fabric. That version of houndstooth is so classy and subtle. Your jacket fits you really well.

  2. What a great jacket! Love the fabric!

  3. I love your jacket. I am going to try making my own shoulder pads now! I am impressed by your plaid matching.

  4. Beautifully done! Because it fits so well, I'm sure it will be a well-worn favorite in no time.

  5. Great jacket! The houndstooth is beautiful!

  6. Love the jacket, love the fit, love how it looks on you! Gorgeous. And thank you so much for the shoulder pad pattern!

  7. Thanks for allowing open comments, Robin! You have done a wonderful job on this. Is the pattern the same one Sarah used for your coat? I am doing a fitting workshop with her next month and want to do a jacket, but which one?

  8. Hey Martha, that is great that you'll have a workshop with Sarah! You'll walk out with use-able muslin(s). I've gotten so much use from the muslins she has fitted for me. Tell her I said hello. Pick out a versatile pattern that you can make design changes to- you'll get more use out of it!

  9. Robin,
    Fantastic jacket. Wonderful job of matching.

  10. Congrats, Robin on a beautiful coat! Your sewing is wonderful.


  11. Beautiful Robin. You have done a wonderful job on your matching. Look at those shoulders and chest matching- perfect!!

  12. Your jacket is fabulous and the pattern matching is excellent!


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