Finished! Butterick B4463 Jacket

I've completed the first pass at this jacket (previous post here) I had a rough time with the sleeves and have decided that there is just too much ease built into the pattern piece. I'm planning on removing some of the ease on the next version.

Since I was having so much trouble, I went to to see if there were an reviews of this pattern available and found only this one. Very helpful indeed, especially related to the collar and facings. I just wish I'd remembered to look before I started sewing - duh! It didn't address my sleeve issue, though.

After much fudging and fussing I finally ended up with sleeves that were satisfactory -- not as bad as some I've seen, but not quite professional looking -- and decided to move on. I also decided to go ahead and put in the shoulder pads suggested by the pattern, and they seemed to improve the shoulder appearance just a bit.

My machine starting acting up when it came to topstitching the collar and front edges. It looked like the needle tension was too loose, because I had lots of loops poking through while the bobbin thread just sat flat along the bottom. This is what happened last fall when it needed to go in for repair . . .

I made up a sample swatch to duplicate the layers of collar I was trying to stitch through. I tried larger needles - size 90 and 100, jeans needles, universals, sharps. The only topstitch needles I have are 80 and didn't help. I even put the dual feed foot on to see if that would improve the situation. I adjusted the tension on the needle. I tried turning the machine off for a few minutes. Finally, I switched out threads and it seemed to work better. The only problem is that the new threads were the wrong color and by this time it was too late to go out to buy more. So I had to put it away for the night.

The next day I bought 3 new spools of thread and size 110 universal needles. Success at last!

The only steps left were buttonholes and buttons. With the sensor-buttonhole foot, these were a breeze. And the buttons (which were all orphans in my stash) went on by machine, too, using a button foot.

Overall, the jacket is acceptable; it doesn't fit any worse than some of the ready-to-wear jackets in the closet. This is definitely wearable for running around town on errands and the like. The fit is a bit snug through the middle when it is all buttoned up, so I've decided to buy the larger pattern size and try to morph the size 14 shoulders up to a size 16/18 at the hips and lower edge. Hopefully that will take care of the back issues I'm seeing . . . and now I see a crooked left shoulder?

Finished: Butterick B4463

(I've lightened these photos so that the details will show up --
they can also be viewed in my Flickr photostream

The fabric I'm planning for the next version of this jacket is a slate blue lightweight twill. I'm hoping it will be easier to work with than the navy twill, which I still think is a bottom weight fabric. I have all the thread and interfacing to go with the next jacket, but I still need some suitable buttons.


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