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Butterick 6385 Wool Coat

I am very excited to share with you my recently completed wool coat using Butterick 6385. This is my most challenging project of 2019. I don’t take making a coat lightly and I have poured my blood, sweat and tears into this project. Keep reading to learn some tricks for working with this Wool Fabric, a bit on hand tailoring, linings and interlinings.

This is not the first wool coat I have made. Back in college (some 12 years ago) I made a beautiful black, full length pea coat in sewing class. I put 50 hours of work into that coat. I learned so much about tailoring and grading, buttonholes, where to source big buttons, and how to put secret pockets into the lining. That coat has been well loved! But since it is not warm enough for winters in upstate New York, USA, I challenged myself to complete one this summer.

Wool coats on the rack can be pricey. Wool is a premium fabric, and is so so warm! The lining can also be expensive. It is so worth it to make your own coat especially if you want a custom fit or if you are trying to save some cash. 

Butterick 6385:

I chose the longer coat option with the pointed collar. I love all three of the collars so it was a tough decision! The pattern also features a two piece sleeve (I think all tailored coats should have them) and hidden pockets. 

I knew I needed 100% wool coating (blends with polyester aren’t as warm) and so I chose this grey coating and paired it with a silk charmeuse lining purchased in the garment district of NYC. I also chose to interline the coat to provide even more warmth. Interlining was seriously a whole project in itself. You can read more about that on my blog.

Sizing:

Since Big 4 patterns tend to be 1 size too big on me (and other folks, too) I sized down and cut out an 8. The coat fits, but I did have to let out the side seams ¼” to allow for the bulk of my interlining. Also, I couldn’t interline the sleeves because that would have left too much bulk under my arms. So if you plan to interline your coat with something substantial, makes sure to size up. (In my case it would mean going with the Butterick size chart.)

The only adjustments I made to this pattern are as follows: narrow shoulder adjustment and petite height adjustment. 

Interfacing:

I used hair canvas on certain parts of the coat, including the upper front, and the collar.  I am a BIG fan of hand tailoring for jackets and structured coats, especially with wool. Wool was made to be molded and formed! It was also made to be beaten into submission...yes, hammers were used in the making of this coat. 

The book Singer: Tailoring was an invaluable resource.

I also used a soft fusible-weft insertion interfacing for pattern pieces specifically labeled ‘interfacing’.

Challenges:

This fabric has a tendency to stretch out. I didn’t realize this until I was inserting the sleeve to the armscye and noticed that the armscye had stretched to a bigger circumference. It also presented a challenge when I was sewing a pattern piece that was interfaced to a pattern piece that wasn’t. Even just having the presser foot over the fabric tended to make it shift. (Honestly, this can happen with any bulky seam.) My recommendation to you for this fabric is to stay-stitch your pattern pieces, especially those that will not be interfaced, like the upper collar. You could also use a walking foot and that will help a little.

I used my two sewing machines for this project, including my vintage Elna machine. Ellie (as I call her) has sturdy metal parts and was very forgiving of bulky seams most of the time. I used my Brother CS6000i for the lining and buttonholes because it does better detail work.

Buttons/Buttonholes:

My automatic buttonholer foot had no interest in stitching over two layers of wool coating. So, I put the universal foot back on and I used a combination of zig zags and straight stitches to create each of my five buttonholes. It was tedious and they’re not perfect but I’m pleased with the result.

Thick layers in a coat can cause problems with buttons. Check out this resource for sewing buttons on a coat. This essentially shows you how to make a thread shank between your button and coat fabric.

Hand Stitching:

If you want to make a beautifully tailored coat, be prepared to spend time with your hand needle. I spent 6-8 hours just on hand tailoring, sewing buttons and sewing the lining edge to the hem of the coat. Take your time and try to enjoy it! This is something you will wear for years to come.

Conclusion:

I made a time card of my hours spent on this project as a way to motivate me. I also wanted to keep track of my time and see if I could make my coat in fewer hours than the last one. My total time on this project was 35 ½ hours, about 15 hours less than my first coat.

And there you have it! I’m delighted with the finished project! I must admit finishing this coat has not been easy as I sewed it in May and June without air conditioning in my sewing room. Nobody wants to try on a wool coat when it’s 83 degrees outside!

I hope you’ve grown an appreciation for the work that goes into making a coat. If you have a desire to make one yourself, Minerva has many good coating options. There are so many different kinds of coat patterns on the market, you are sure to find something just your style!

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie @ The Petite Sewist

Comment (1)

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Barbara Johnson said:

The coat is a beauty - time very well spent. Thanks for the details. I'm about to start on this very same pattern and your tips are helpful. · 27th Jan 2020 02:16pm