Wednesday, 2 March 2016

A quick bag and early coat progress (of a sort)

Zippered carryall
I started this little, easy zippered carryall at the end of February. It was meant as a gym bag, but then I decided not to buy a gym membership until later in the year. However, since I had already cut out and started sewing the bag I decided I might as well finish it.

Butterick 5137 Bag F
I have a lot of bag patterns but only two of them are Big 4 envelope style, mainly because most Big 4 bag patterns tend to be a series of Very Tedious Variations On A Theme Of Tote. However, back when I was buying a lot of bag patterns there were very PDF few patterns available for larger carryall/overnight bag type bags. There are lot now, but I am too lazy/cheap to buy another at this point. At any rate, at the time this envelope set -- Butterick 5137 (also known as Butterick 153), OOP and probably from the 80s (the giveaway is the cassette walkman carefully posed in the envelope image!) -- was a good alternative. This is bag F, which is the smallest of the four larger bag patterns in the set.  The pattern as written is unlined but I added a lining as I dislike taping seams. I used a heavyweight upholstery fabric for the body of the bag and a glazed cotton sateen for the lining in a rather unfortunate shade of salmon.

It took very little time at all to make this bag, even with the extra step of lining it. Hopefully when I do get back to the gym it will come in handy!

Meanwhile, I decided to crack on with the big March coat project and expended a lot of time, effort, masking tape and printers ink last night and print-glued-taped my chosen coat pattern.

Coat pattern: Lekala 4182 "Short Raincoat"
As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been playing about (at the level of throwaway muslins) with some basic Lekala patterns, just to get an impression of the patterns and how well the customized measurements approach works. My aim really was to try to short-cut some of the painful FBA/bust point lowering process I have to go through all the time by finding good basic patterns with various bust shaping features (different princess seams etc) and then using them to pick sizes and alter other patterns I want to use.

In the interim, however, I was tempted into buying this coat pattern, Lekala 4182, which I thought would look great in my red showerproof cotton (the fact that the example is in red didn't hurt my decision making process!). I really liked the collar and also the interesting sleeves. However, I've gone from quite optimistic to slightly dubious as a result of the pattern printy-sticky-tape process. The fit looks like it's going to be fine, based on comparing the pattern pieces to my bodice slopers. I've read various things where people have said there isn't enough ease in Lekala but this seems pretty consistent with coats I've looked at in Burda etc.


A) the welt pockets aren't marked on the pattern. You get all the pieces and instructions for welt pockets, but there's no marking on the bodice piece that I can see at all. Obviously I can try to figure out where to put the pockets, but yikes, that's a pretty big omission, and it raises doubts in my mind about how well the rest of it is going to go together.

B) those sleeves, eyeballing them from the pattern images above, look like they are maybe bracelet length sleeves, right? I mean, I went into this thinking those sleeves look kind of short but I was thinking they'd just need lengthening a few cm and it would be fine. But nope, the actual pattern pieces put the sleeve length somewhere around my elbow, which is hopeless for a raincoat. Nobody thinks: I want all of me to stay dry, except for my lower arm! The cute little pleated thingymabob detail has therefore suddenly becomes a problem. I'm going to have to either figure out how to alter it so it fits together with the longer sleeve (at a narrower point) or else give up on it -- and it's one of the reasons I liked this coat to begin with! -- so that I can get a full length sleeve on this coat.

So, ugh, now I don't know what to do. I spent ages printing and sticking 50 pages of pattern, and I do still really like the idea of it, but I'm wondering if this is really the best idea.


  1. You know, I've had success with the couple of Lekala patterns I've tried. But I've seen a lot (well a lot to me) of comments about tech drawings/photos not aligning with the actual pattern. I have no time for that.

    And the lack of placement lines for the welts is pretty unforgivable.

    What about a nice Burda or Ottobre?! ;-)

    1. Yeah, the more I looked at it, the more I felt dubious about this pattern. Of course I CAN completely redo the sleeve etc... but do I really want to? :| So I've gone to Plan B, which was, in fact, a nice Burda pattern! I started tracing tonight and I'll finish off tomorrow. :D