Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hot Patterns Bo-Ho Deluxe Flower Power Coat

1/26/06 2:31 AM
Last Updated:1/26/06 2:35 AM
Pattern Size:Regular
Project Photo:photo
Pattern Rating:Would NOT recommend

I thought this would be a quick little project.... a fun coat to throw over the Patchouli dress as shown under it on the pattern cover. Boy, was I wrong!!!

Pattern Description: From the pattern cover: "Super-luxe but easy to make statement coat. Coat has raglan bracelet length sleeves, bust darts, center back seam and slit. Coat has center front and neckline facings and features optional lining and floral appliques." I guess if you don't do the lining this could be considered easy to make. There is not much to it. However since the instructions are a bit vague and important notches are missing it might not be that easy for a beginner. If you choose to do the lining as I did, major problems follow. There is no further reference any where in the pattern to the floral appliques. I thought there might be a design included from the way it is described on the cover.

Pattern Sizing: I used the slinky girl size 12. I started to cut size 10 which is my usual and corresponds more closely to my measurements but a muslin showed a bit of tightness across the upper back. I went up to the 12 and dropped the bust dart as usual. This sizing worked out fine.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? As you can see in my photo I made many changes. These were all done after completion in an attempt to make it wearable. I thought my interesting fabric would be enough to carry the simple design but it looked really drab and shapeless when done. I had not put in the optional darts as I feared it would be too snug over the dress. However it really needed the shaping in the waist so I added tucks on the outside. I also added the sash to pull it in more and to add some oomph. Also note that the picture on the pattern cover shows set in sleeves for some reason. The line drawing is accurate with the raglan sleeves. Here is the back.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were unacceptable for the lining construction. I have put in many linings on coats, jackets, what have you. I've never seen one like this. I consulted 15 - 20 sewing books, including couture books, and found nothing similar to help me. The main problem area is dealing with the facing and lining at the top of the back slit. I could not figure it out. There is no reference to this spot in the instructions. I emailed Trudy for help. She responded by calling me a few days later saying that she started to write me an email explaining how to do it but decided to send me a mini-mockup of paper, sort of an origami thing. She said she knew I would understand the procedure just by looking at this mock up. My question: if something cannot be explained with words and no pictures are included, why is it in the pattern? Next question: why did this mini-mock up that she said she was sending never arrive. I waited 9 days and decided to try to finish it whatever way I could. I called Trudy to say her explanation never arrived. She was puzzled by this but also told me that she had looked at the pattern after I had drawn her attention to it and discovered that she had decided against this detail, removed the instructions, but had accidentally left it in the pattern. Thus I had cut the pattern but had no clue how to do it. There is no mention in the instructions of anything relating to handling the top of the back slit. I improvised, using some creative hand stitching to make it work. I have no idea if my solution is anything like the original plan.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I have to say, in 50 years of sewing, I can't remember ever being as angry with a pattern as I have been with this one. I spent so long on it, and much of that time could have been eliminated with a few lines in the instructions. For example, the back lining piece appeared to be much wider at the lower edge than it should be. It turns out that it, and the lower edge of the sleeve lining, need to be gathered (not just eased) onto the facing. A simple sentence in the instructions stating this - gather the lower edge of the lining pieces - would have saved me several hours of thinking, sewing, ripping, etc.

Notches are mentioned in the instructions but do not exist on the pattern. These would have really helped especially in that back slit area. Also some of the pattern pieces are similar in shape but with no notches or markings of any kind it is easy to confuse the pieces or put them on upside down. I did that several times. The upper back lining has a nice, generous pleat.
The skills list says you need to be able to 1) understitch and staystitch a seam, 2) prepare and apply hem and cuff facings, and 3) prepare and insert lining (optional).
I would add that you need to have experience bagging a lining or very good instructions for doing so. This was quite tricky, even beyond the other issues I already mentioned. Also you need to know how to prepare a corner for slashing and pivoting. This technique is used several times.

Fabric Used: I used a crinkly silky, probably polyester, from EOS. Because it is lighter than the fabrics suggested for the pattern, I thought it a good idea to line it. I choose a heavier crepe back satin for the lining.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: When I was done I realized that the coat was too short to cover the top of the ruffle on the dress. This was because my dress had stretched from the weight of the knit. I decided to add the ruffle at the bottom to help this situation. I liked it so much that I added it to the sleeves also which had the added advantage of helping keep the facing from creeping out.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will not sew it again nor would I recommend it to others. I think if you want a simple coat there are better patterns out there. On the plus side I had no trouble with the fit or shaping at the shoulders which sometimes is a problem with raglan sleeves. Trudy told me that the problem with the back facing will be corrected on the next printing of the pattern.

Conclusion This was one of those crazy projects that took untold hours and resulted in a strange garment that I may never find the right occasion to wear. I wanted it to go over the Patchouli dress but I don't think I like it together. Perhaps over pants is better. I hope that Hot Patterns will continue with their creative, to-the-minute designs but add notches and other markings. And carefully edit the instructions to be sure they are accurate. I will be buying more even though this one was so trying.

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