Monday, January 31, 2011

Au Bonheur des Petites Mains Coat

I've been eager to try the French pattern company Au Bonheur des Petites Mains after seeing some reviews here on PR especially those of Sfshaza. Here is her recent coat review that spurred me on to buy some of the patterns. I chose this coat which they title "Manteau a Decoupes" which translates literally to "cut coat". This would refer to the unfinished seams sewn to the outside I guess. The coat is fitted through the bodice and flares out at the skirt. There are multiple seams that are stitched wrong sides together leaving the raw edges to show and create an interesting effect. As the edges are unfinished it is important to use a fabric that doesn't ravel. I was very amused at the translation of the suggested fabric. They call for "polaire" which Google translates as artic. I'm guessing this means fleece.

This pattern comes in French sizes 36 to 44 in one envelope. I chose size 40 based on my waist and hip measurement planning to do a 3 inch FBA. When I did a muslin fitting I discovered that the pattern is very snug through the hips. Really there is no ease at all with the garment measuring the same as the given hip measurement for the size. But the shoulders were big on me. I did quite a bit of altering, both at the muslin stage and as I put the actual garment together. I was so focused on fitting in the upper body area that I didn't pay any attention to the length. It turns out the coat is very long and, though I shortened the torso and the sleeve length, it still seems long through the upper body to me. Of course I am 5'3" and it is probably designed for someone 5'7".

There are minimal instructions in French. I enjoyed the exercise of translating them with the help of Google Translate and glossary I used a fulled wool blend from Fabric Mart. I steamed the wool to further felt it. Lovely fabric to sew on. I'm happy to have another piece waiting in my stash.

I added at the bust and side seams, took away at the shoulders, back neck and armholes. Also I took away some that I had added at the side seams and shortened the sleeves and the overall length. I also omitted the zipper that is applied on the diagonal front. I didn't think I would ever really zip it up but I may add it if I feel the coat shifts around too much when I wear it.

Once you get passed the fitting issues, this is very easy to construct. If you add just 1/4" seam allowances you can save time from trimming all those seams down. There are no facings or hems and the collar is a single layer. I think it is a fun coat.


Gail said...

Wow that is an interesting design. Love the layered effect over the skirt.

Little Hunting Creek said...

Very nice coat - so chic! I love the seaming

BrusselsSprout_Katharine said...

What a striking and fashionable coat Goodness, you're right, 'polaire' is polar fleece. I always think of 'polar fleece' as having two parts to its name so 'polaire' was just a nickname. It must be nice to live somewhere where fleece doesn't have to be thick.

Thanks a million for your archived May 08 review of a Butterick maternity top, it's on my mental cutting board! I'll increase tummy room.