B6244 – a wool waterfall coat

I’m a little bit in love with this coat.

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For years now, my wardrobe has been lacking a smart coat that I can wear to winter weddings, funerals (boo) or just any time I don’t plan to end up covered in mud/dog slobber/half-chewed breadsticks.

I’ve been putting off making one because I wasn’t confident I could navigate all the stabilising, interlining, bound buttonholes and tailoring flourishes that go into a fitted coat.

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The pattern

Enter B6244, another Lisette for Butterick pattern to follow my dress from earlier in the year. This pattern has been wildly popular around the blogosphere, and there are tons of great versions – some of my favourites are by Idle Fancy, Sewrendipity and Tres Bien Ensemble – and I also like Liesl Gibson’s own version.

What’s great about this coat pattern is that it’s basically a waterfall cardigan. So no horse hair canvas, no sleeve heads, no lining. There are two trickier parts, attaching the collar to the neckline, and doing all the flatfelling and narrow hemming. Otherwise, it’s beginner-friendly.

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Fabric

I splashed out on this one! To get the waterfall front to drape without stretching out you really need a light-midweight but relatively stable wool. You also need the wrong side to look as lovely as the right side because you’re going to see plenty of both at the front edge.

I went for 2.5m of a heavyweight 100% wool suiting fabric in mid-grey from Truro fabrics. At £36/m, this cost me an arm and a leg, but it’s turned out perfectly and I hope I’ll have this coat for years and years, so I’m viewing it as a good investment. A lightweight wool coating would also work, especially in a double-faced wool.

Fit

I added my usual inch in length above the waist, and another inch to the sleeves and the hem to get the full length. I know lots of bloggers have chopped off quite a lot from the hem but I’m 5’10”, and I wanted it to cover a knee-length skirt to retain a smarter feel. Size- wise, you should definitely choose the size that will give you the best fit at the shoulders, as this is the only place the coat is fitted. You can then adjust your armsyce and arm circumference as needed. I cut the size 14, going by my high bust measurement, and then graded out to the 16 at the waist.

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Construction

With only three pattern pieces, there isn’t too much to worry about here. I made one daft mistake, which was cutting the front with some of the seam allowance positioned over the printed selvedge. and I then had to shave a tiny bit off the front edge to avoid having white lettering down my front!

If your wool stretches out irreparably on the bias (test this on a scrap), then stabilising the shoulders and neckline with twill tape (or possibly your selvedge offcuts) would be a good move rather than just staystitching. This is demonstrated in the sewalong, but not in the instructions.

The collar seam is a slight headache, but it’s just tricky to get your head around rather than out-and-out difficult, and my tips would be:

  • Transfer all the pattern markings carefully
  • Read the sewalong as well as the instructions
  • Yes, you really aren’t going to have any seam allowance at all for one side of the corner sections of the seam – that’s OK because it ends up as an inner corner, so you’ll still have enough fabric to flatfell the seam
  • Baste it before you stitch to double-check you’ve got it spot on
  • Think about whether you want to add in a hanging loop before you finish the seam.

All the flat-felling and narrow hemming is a bit fiddly, but completely do-able if your fabric isn’t too thick.

The only part I’m not 100% convinced on is the armhole – while a wool sleeve sets in pretty easily, at least compared to cotton – overlocking the two seam allowances together means they do sometimes show through on the outside. So you might be better off grading them and then finishing them separately, or trying something else altogether. I couldn’t face flat-felling a circle!

Verdict

I’m fast becoming a Liesl fangirl. I blooming love this coat and I’m going to wear it all the time once the temperature’s over about 10 degrees. It’s perfect for autumn and spring weather, although not the freezing cold weather we’re having here at the moment.

Now I just need to work out what do for a super-warm casual coat. Any pattern suggestions – or shopping recommendations?!

 

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