I started working on it pre-robbery, and had a number of construction notes and pics in the computer, but they were in the (rather large...sigh....) pile of photos that never got backed up (yes, I DO have an external hard drive now, and yes, I AM using it regularly!)
So we'll just have to jump straight to the finished product, while I dig through my brain & try to remember the adjustments I made.
I must have nearly a dozen Betzina patterns, but for some reason, I've simply never managed to move one to the top of the queue until now, so this is my first. I must say, I'm impressed! She includes a lot of construction details and helpful hints (even though I don't agree with some of them), and her fit is designed for a more mature, "real" woman's body - narrower shoulders and wider hips, for instance. And she's managed to get Vogue to do it her way! She writes her own instructions (apparently most Vogue patterns do NOT use the designer's construction methods, which is likely where a lot of confusion comes from by the time it reaches the home sewer). Go Sandra!
- The coat is described as "very loose fitting", usually a warning that screams "BAGGY" when it comes to Vogue, but with the cut and the darts (fish eye darts in the back, plus bust darts), it actually skims the body.
- The sleeves are two-piece and cut on the bias - a very nice shape! But I found them to be VERY skinny, surprising coming from Ms. B., since she's usually very conscious of designing sleeves for *ahem* 'mature' arms. The sleeves are also VERY long! I shortened mine by several inches (maybe 3"?)
- The pockets are simple, but unique. There are two pockets on each side of the front, one nested inside the other. I didn't use her pockets - no particular reason other than the fact that I tested my silk screen on a bit of fabric and decided to use that as a pocket, so I stitched it down to another piece of contrast fabric and called it done. :-) (NOTE: I usually silk screen my finished piece, but I test the screening on the fabric I'm using, then lay the test pieces on my finished piece before I start the actual painting on the garment. Yes, it has caused issues, but I've always managed to turn them into a "Design Element" lol!)
- The facing pieces are very large - this I liked, especially since the coat is unlined. The facing construction instructions, however, were odd to me. They call for sewing the interfacing to the RIGHT side of the facing pieces, then turning them right side out before sewing it all in to the coat (thus ending up with finished edges where the facing & interfacing are sewn together. It sounded awkward to me. I think I ended up doing essentially the same thing shams did, and fused interfacing to the wrong side of the facings, sewed them in to the coat, then finished the edges (fray-prone linen!) with folded over bias strips.
Finished Back with bias strip edged facings, and Hong Kong finishes on the sleeve seams.
(And paint bits showing post silk-screening)
- Another oddity is that the placket used for the front closure is supposed to be cut on the bias. This makes NO sense to me, unless you're using a fabric that has stripes, or some other design element that you want to showcase with a bias cut, but even then wouldn't you have to interface the stuffing out of the thing to get it to hold its shape? I just cut mine on grain.
- I cut a Size B at the very top, and narrowed the shoulders by about 1"
- I expanded to a size C at the waist
- I changed the armscye shaping to suit me a bit better
- Did a full upper arm adjustment (easy to do with the two-piece sleeve)
- Shortened the sleeves by about 3", still leaving a very deep hem so that I have the option of turning the cuffs up
- Shortened the coat by 4"
- Lengthened the side slits by....something or other.
Oh, I also added a contrast yoke at the back. This was one of those "Design Elements" required by having a shortage of fabric. For some reason this ended up causing me a fair amount of angst, I think because the bottom of the yoke ended up right where the lower armscye meets the side seam - not good planning! But, as I say, I was working with what I had, fabric-wise, so it goes into the category of "it is what it is".
I ended up using plastic "invisible" snaps for closure at the placket - I intended to use snaps and buttons, but I didn't plan out my silk screen placement all that well, so I eliminated the visible button or snap option and used the invisibles. I'm not sure if I used too much thread, adding some depth to the snaps, but I find that they need a bit more pressure to snap shut than I thought they might - anyone else have experience with these?
Back View, Inside Out:
Front View, Inside Out:
The Wearing of the Duster:
The tough Cowgirl look (yeah, right....)
The Bottom Line:
Thumbs up on this pattern! It's perfect for a three-season Bay Area evening in linen, and would work well in a cotton, a light wool, or any number of blends. I can definitely see making this one again, although it may be awhile, since I think I'm on another coat & jacket binge, and have a slew of patterns I want to check out :)