McCalls Pattern 7513 is a fitted, lined jacket with back princess seams, a French dart to the front and a peplum skirt in various lengths. To my eye, this style is akin to a traditional ‘Hacking Jacket’; y’know the kind you imagine a gentrified version of yourself wearing whilst horse-riding (rather the reality of muddy wellies and three layers of tatty woollies!) I’ve wanted a jacket like this since my early teens and figured the only way I was actually going to get one was by making one!
And when I saw this lovely truffle-brown Pure Wool Plaid Suiting Fabric with its raspberry accent I knew it would be perfect, especially paired with the plum colourway of the paisley Jacquard Lining Fabric I’d used in my Minoru raincoat.
Now, let me say from the off, it’s been a looooong time since I’ve sewn a McCalls pattern and I made the mistake of ignoring a major lesson I thought I’d learned from making them up previously. I sewed according to my waist and bust measurement, which both fit into the same column in the sizing chart. I’m a D / E cup and historically, I have always sized down with McCalls patterns, allowing for the fact that they draft for a  much smaller cup size. I’d then do a Full Bust Adjustment to give myself the extra width/length just where I need it. I don’t know what compelled me not to do so this time. I think I was thinking I wanted the jacket to be somewhat less fitted through the body generally to allow for wearing a thicker turtleneck sweaters and such underneath. This was, literally, a BIG mistake.
I did my other usual adjustments – pinching out excess ease through the shoulder and reducing the sleeve length (I initially took out 0.5” from the width of the shoulder and 0.75” from the sleeve, later removing an additional 0.5” from the shoulder and a further 1” from the sleeve when I realised just how big it was sewing up!)  I also lowered the bust dart an inch. (Remember, whatever adjustments you do at the paper stage, you also need to transfer to your lining pieces, including Piece 7 - the front bodice lining piece). I decided to retrace the centre back bodice piece as a whole rather than two joining pieces; the joining edge is straight and offers no shaping and I figured it would save me having to worry about pattern matching that particular seam at least!
I have to say I’m pretty peeved just how big the finished jacket is; the sleeves are too wide, the sleeve cap is sagging and it’s absolutely baggy at the underarms and upper side back. Most of these issues would have been eradicated had I sized down a couple of sizes and done that FBA. 
Most, but not all.
I’d also not sufficiently taken into account the design of the waist seam. It curves upwards at the front,  down at the sides and levels out across the back. I totally underestimated how dramatic the curved waist seam is. I’m just so schooled now to look for lines that run parallel to the floor when it comes to waist seams to check that they’re fitting correctly, so this design feature isn’t one that appeals to me; it just tricks my eye into thinking it’s pulling up at the front rather than it being an intentional design feature!
So, mostly my fault. I really, really should have sized down. And straightened out that front waist seam.
Because, at the root of all this frustration, is the knowledge that this jacket could have been amazing. The fabric was really easy to work with and I love how the lining matches nicely with the plain thread in the main fabric. (This wool is relatively lightweight and has some drape; it’d be great for wide leg pants!) To my eye, it has the classic look I was after and I’m pretty pleased with my sewing overall. The instructions of the pattern, together with its diagrams, are clear and helpful and I had no issues whatsoever in sewing it together.
I realised after I’d sewn the lining in (machining the cuffs rather than slipstitching them in place) that it was going to be too big overall and perhaps that made me slapdash in the finishing of it. I sewed the buttons on according to the pattern piece which isn’t something I’d do normally! I should have sewn that top button higher - in alignment with the top of the bust dart - as it is, it’s causing the fabric to sag there. 
Talking of Buttons, Minerva kindly sent me six of these bronze beauties – horse heads, of course, to match with my theme of trying to create a Hacking style jacket - but when it came to sewing them on I could only lay my hands on five of them. I checked every place number six could possibly have escaped to but to no avail. So I’m currently awaiting a replacement No. 6 to arrive to I can sew it to the bottom skirt piece!
Overall, the jacket actually feels better on that it looks and it looks better in ‘real life’ than it photographs, especially when I do wear a thicker top underneath it rather than the sleeveless tank I’m wearing here. The  jacket is soooo close to what I was aiming for that I feel almost compelled to have a go again! And my mother says she wants this version, so I may gift it to her and give myself some breathing space to have a crack at creating another for myself!
All in all, gripes about that raised waist seam aside, I really like this pattern – and I love the fabric and notions I used and can recommend them all. Just be aware that sewing according to your measurements on the size chart is not always the correct way to go if you bust cup size is greater than a B!
See you soon!
Sarah x