Butterick 5145: The Original Version

Up front, I’m going to make sure the first thing that I say is that I didn’t make this coat. I wish I had. I planned to make it originally. I just didn’t end up making it, and since I wear it often during the winter and it’s fairly distinctive, I find myself regularly explaining to friends and strangers alike that I can’t take credit for making this coat. I think I started planning and acquired the materials about the time Guinevere was born. The fabric is a 100% silk tweed. It feels divine and the colors are lush. The pattern is the same Butterick 5145 that my furry houndstooth jacket is made from. 

I had bought the pattern and fabric, basically planned out my whole project, when the realities of working full-time, commuting to and from that job, and parenting two very small children made me never start in on making up the coat. It sat for many months in my basement, waiting for the day when the vision in my head would become reality (meanwhile, I was kind of freezing because what would be the point of going out and buying a coat when I had all the stuff to make one up sitting there in my house?)

Enter my Mom. She’s an incredibly talented seamstress. She’s the one who taught me how to sew when I was younger, so obviously she also has an incredible amount of patience. After at least a year or two of not having my coat even started (and sometime, I think, shortly after Ace was born) I finally gave in and asked her if she would take my precious materials and make up my coat for me. Of course she agreed because that’s the kind of Mom she is.

I think she had some fun with this project, even though the really fun planning parts were basically done before she got involved. There was plenty of work on fitting the pattern to me (nursing moms such as I was at the time don’t have proportions anything like what patterns are drafted from). There was research on how to make a nice warm coat out of the silk via underlinings/interlinings (she ended up using black cotton flannel, just like I recently did with Guinevere’s coat). There was some incredibly important information accessed by one or both of us about how to keep the silk from “growing” over time, that led to the decision to take fusible interfacing and bond to each tweed pattern piece so that the fabric would be stabilized. There was all kinds of drama about getting the pattern pieces to fit onto the fabric since yardage recommendations and pattern layouts all went out the window with FBA’s and such and I think she started off slightly short of fabric since I had bought the very last of the bolt. She made it work.

I said before that I was initially drawn to the pattern for the retro feel I thought it had, even though it wasn’t marketed as such. I was justified in my feelings when my Grandma (who incidentally is the one who taught my Mom to sew) went to my Mom’s house while she was working on the coat and during the course of the visit asked if she’d been sewing anything lately. When my Mom pulled out pattern and fabric to show her the grand coat project, my Grandma thought it looked an awful lot like the coat she made herself in the late ’60’s or early ’70’s. I later did find a picture of her wearing her coat (light green with a daisy chain motif across that empire waist seam, just like I think I need to make myself as a spring-time jacket/coat someday. Seriously, if I could figure out a summer-time version, I could have a Butterick 5145 for each season) and I can definitely say, the pattern might as well have been a re-issue for as much as it resembled my Grandma’s coat.

I usually only button two buttons as in the very top picture, but that third one does button if it gets really cold out.There’s enough wearing ease to put a bulky sweater or even a blazer underneath if I must. 
She put in some nice details, like adding a small button on the back of the buttons to support them.
The craziest nice detail though, is that she managed to do bound buttonholes. If you’ve ever worked with tweed, you know that it can fray like nobody’s business. This one was no exception, but she somehow made it work.
I tried and tried to get those buttonholes to photograph. Let’s face it, she just did such a good job that they blend into the tweed pattern, even when you try to look closely. They are there though, and they are fabulous. 
I’ve had the coat now in a put-together wearable state for several years. I’ve even dry-cleaned it. It hasn’t lost it’s shape one bit, so the fused interfacing seems to be working. 
Now you know where my sewing technique comes from (or at least how I should be doing it when I’m not being sloppy). Just to keep things even, the next posting I’m planning to do will be about my Dad’s creative side.


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