Sunday, 15 January 2017

Simplicity 4896, progress and anti-progress

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted about this - nine months!

I have made some progress since then. Having luckily realized that the fabric had a directional weave before I started cutting out, I ignored the cutting layout and cut everything from a single layer. I was so successful in fitting all the pieces together with minimal waste that I actually ended up with 30cm / 12" fabric left over! Very make-do-and-mend.

I had assumed that the neckline would be very similar to the later Butterick 5716 (now out of print), but in fact it's got three little darts on each side of the undercollar, to give it some shape. It's a really interesting, and unseen, detail - exactly what I love about using vintage patterns.

Shaping the collar

What I don't love so much is the instructions. I think that I may have made welt pockets before, but if so it was over 20 years ago - and I don't remember anything about how to do it. The relevant section of the instruction sheet measures 7½ cm by 9½ cm / 3" by 3¾", and even when I could I see it (I needed a magnifying glass), it made very little sense.

The poor printing didn't help

Eventually I decided just to follow the steps, mystifying though they were. After all, until I reached the point where I had to cut the actual coat front, I could always unpick it.

Basting on the welt

Amazingly the pockets turned out fine, with only minor wrinkles.

The pocket bag on the inside

The finished pocket on the outside

So that was the progress, what about the 'anti-progress'?

I didn't want to use the type of modern lining fabric I use to line skirts, so instead chose a mocha-coloured satin - it's what I also used for the pocket bag above. I wasn't really happy with it though, as it didn't have enough structure.

Then when we went to Shrewsbury for the Story of Wool study day (last May!), it seemed only right to take my sewing friends to visit Watson and Thornton fabric shop. Among other things they stock a good selection of proper, old-fashioned, self-patterned coat lining. So I bought some and abandoned the satin lining, which was made up but not sewn into the coat - and then ground to a halt.

Time to get started again.


  1. The pocket looks great! I haven't done a welt pocket in years either. It always terrifies me to thinking about cutting into the main fabric. I struggle with buttonholes as it is! xx

    1. Thanks Cate! It took a while before I could bring myself to do it, and it wasn't the confident "SLASH" of the instructions - more like, "very nervously snip"! xx