Friday, January 14, 2022

New Pattern Reviews: Butterick 6862 blazer and VikiSews Lora Pants

This year I'm going to try and do more posts about the patterns that I sew, with sewing details and definitely some critiques. When I make things for myself it's usually for one of the following reasons.

  1. I need an item to wear to an event. (although events have been thin on the ground as we well know these past 18 months. Also my closet could probably yield anything required).
  2. A new-to-me pattern that I just feel like sewing. It could be a new release pattern, something that catches my eye, or a vintage pattern. But at the moment I notice it I can imagine how I might wear it, and then my "must make" urge sets in. 
  3. Fabric attraction. Very often I come across a fabric that appeals and I just want it in my wardrobe. 
I think most every who sews and reads this blog can relate to these feelings. Some people are wardrobe planners but I've never been that way, no plan for the year or pledge to sew up specific things. But I'm always on the lookout for novelty and yet I do repeat patterns a lot. For my Blazer Jacket class that I taught online last fall in addition to the Jasika blazer that I made for my friend I decided to try a jacket pattern that was a new release from Butterick. 
To sum up my response to this jacket pattern - I didn't like it! The fabric I used ended up being problematic (more on that below) but in general the pattern didn't work out for me and I will explain why. 
Although some of you might take one look at the color and blame it on that :) which is understandable. Also I didn't really need a matching pair of pants but wanted to further refine this VikiSews pants pattern and had the fabric to make them. 
pink suit2

To review:  I was looking to make a blazer during my class to show some construction techniques and also I wanted to make something different than a blazer pattern which I have made already 3 times, that being the Pauline Alice Saler blazer. Here's a look at one of my favorite versions. I've made a blazer with peak lapels as this Butterick blazer has, and I wanted to make a single breasted jacket as I have a double breasted version - which was also a success. But you know the desire to try something different always gets you when looking at patterns. Also this is a Palmer and Pletsch pattern and I've had such good success with those patterns. But this one - not so much.
Here's the pattern envelope image and the technical drawing.
B6862 Butterick jacket diagram
Once I start sewing things I get very particular on details such as the shape of the lapel or angle of the pocket. But for once I was determined to sew up a pattern as is so I could follow the instructions and discuss the steps in the class. As it turned out almost every one was making the Jasika or McCalls 6172 which is a good pattern I've recommended a lot. So in the end I didn't really need a second example to sew along with the class. But since I had started it I did continue. 
So what didn't I like about this pattern? I started with my usual size 12 in Vogue/Butterick/McCalls and yet I found this jacket very oversized in a way that it didn't appear on the pattern. The shoulders were a good inch wider than other jackets I have and I moved the sleeve cap in about 1/2". The slanted welt pockets didn't appeal to me, I preferred the flap pockets so I used the front hem shape from View B and the pockets from View A. Now looking at it I don't really care for that much of an angle on the front pockets, maybe just a look I have to get used to. The sleeves were really a problem, they were huge! in terms of width, like at the elbow way too wide. It's a two piece sleeve so I narrowed it using those seams but I still think they are a bit big. My biggest issue was with the lapel design. 

lapel change pink2 jacket
I think they are just an awkward shape and I've made other jackets with this lapel which seemed more elegant to me. I took these pictures showing the inside and outside of my lapel, before and after changing the shape so you can see that I sewed it very accurately and didn't have an issue with pressing and trimming. So I decided to do some redesign on the lapel shape and changed it into more of a standard notch lapel. It still looks a bit out of proportion to me but I think it looks better.

Pink jacket and blouse1

Now onto the fabric issues. I fully admit that this was a piece of fabric that was given to me so I had no investment in this project (other than time and interfacing). The color was pretty albeit a bit on the vibrant side, even for me. It seemed like a nice woven wool. But it was evil! There was something about this fabric that didn't press correctly and I've never run into this issue before. Sometimes sections would press perfectly well, and other areas would give a strange result, kind of a rippled bubble effect. 
Here's an example.  Look at that sleeve, I have pressed it normally and those wavy rippled lines appear. Sometimes I could press them out and other times pressing would make them appear. It was maddening. 

pink jacket fabric issue

Other areas pressed fairly well, both pockets came out OK which was good. By the way I bought that beautiful single button at Stone Mountain. So glad they are open for shopping again as their button wall is my go-to for perfect buttons, particularly for jackets and coats. 

pink jacket pocket and button

Here's another area that is a bit wavy, the lapel. Although I think I pressed this multiple times and got it to settle down. Using this fabric just reinforced my opinion that the plaid wool I used in the Jasika jacket was perfection. 

pink lapel

Pink jacket back

I think you can see how wide it is at the back of the armhole. I did make a muslin and moved the armhole in but it didn't seem quite so problematic. I figured it would hang differently (better) in wool than in a cotton muslin. Wrong!  In any case this whole project was just a disappointment and I don't have that happen very often. 
Shall we talk about something else?  I'm really impressed with VikiSews patterns. I bought this pants pattern to try them out, and they fit very well right from the start. 

pink pants2

The VikiSews patterns are single size patterns and I prefer that. I think for pants it's a lot easier to just start with your hip measurement, choose the size and then adjust other sections, like waist or length, as needed. I chose the size closest to my hip measurement and the website tells you how much ease is in a particular style. For this pattern the hip ease is 4 cm. so about 1.5 inches.  That's the total difference between your body and the finished garment, which seems about right for close fitting pants. 
Things I like about these patterns:
  1. The crease lines are indicated and you use those in the pressing to shape the pants.
  2. The pattern markings are excellent.
  3. The shape of the hips and crotch curve are more like ready-to-wear pants or at least pants that I own.
  4. The instructions are very detailed and specific on how to shape the pants front and back using pressing/steam before you ever sew a stitch. This is how I learned to make wool trousers and it really builds in fit and shaping before you even sew. 
  5. The instructions are photographs and are extremely detailed so you can't really go wrong. 
Vikisews pants image

pink pants front

Once again I will blame this annoying fabric for my less than stellar pressing. Also if I were planning to wear these pants I would have added a lining as this is a bit too itchy to wear without. But for working out this pattern it was fine. 

Here's a look at the diagram of this pattern so you can see the shaping. It definitely accounts for a hip curve which suits me well. I perhaps could have used one size smaller as I did have to shave off about a 1/4" at the widest part of the hip and also take out about 1" total at the center back waist but I tend to start with a larger pant as despite being relatively short I have a long rise. 
Lora pants diagram

Vikisews pants1
And here my expression says "what a lot of sewing time for something I am not going to wear." Although I am tempted since my suede shoes match so well with this outfit :) I neglected to take any pictures of the back of these pants so I will wait until I make another pair and get some better pictures then. 
So that's a start to my intention to blog more often and dive deep into sewing and pattern details. I have a few other items finished and then it may be time to contemplate spring sewing. What? Winter comes through fast here in N. California. Yesterday I saw plenty of out in shorts walking their dogs. Although we are hoping for more rain, still needed. 
I'm still teaching classes at Hello Stitch Studio in Berkeley, they are closing their doors as mentioned in my previous post but will be open through February. After that I have a some opportunities to teach at other venues so I will update soon.

Happy Winter Sewing,

Today's garden photo, something to remind us that summer is coming. I took this back in July and didn't even see the little extra visitor until later when I was looking at the image on my phone. I'm posting this today because due to that big rain we had last month, and then warm sunshine all the sunflower seeds that fell from these flowerheads are sprouting along my driveway, and some are almost 2 feet tall. Sunflowers in January! ok that is weird even for us. After some frosty nights they look a bit worse for wear but I think a few might make it and be full grown in a few months. Climate change in my front yard :)



  1. So pretty, love the color. Is there a book for beginners to start with?

  2. Opening my feed to find a post from SunnyGal makes my day! Thank you so much for your promise of a year (more? please?) of in-depth sewing details. I am READY!

  3. Looking at the layout and scratching my head over the fronts being cut off grain or maybe they were just displayed that way? Your free wool must have had some other fibers in there to pucker like that. When we get donated fabrics to our ASG Chapter, they first have to be washed and that sure shows up the reason why they were "donated". Love the color and your sewing is so perfect as usual.

  4. Hi Beth, Yep, we knew that pattern was not the usual Palmer Pletsch tried and true jacket. I do like the fit of your pants here. My fits for a bigger waist and straighter hips so I have had good luck with Burda pant patterns in the past. Now that the trouser style is back with us, I may dig out one I used back in the 90s. I was going to sign up for your shirt class again to get in gear for the spring but I was off on the start date so I missed out. I'm thinking of your one day class on patterns just to set me on the road to some sewing. Covid, like you mentioned has put a damper on events to sew special outfits. Hope to see you soon (via ZOOM of course!)

  5. I appreciate that you discuss all aspects of bringing a garment to life. Sorry the jacket did not work out. A bit of a surprise about the drafting and sizing issues, but it happens. At least you found out you don’t like this pattern using a fabric that was not special or expensive.

    Looking forward to more blogs and your spring sewing selections.

  6. Wow, kudos to you for your persistence. That fabric would have upset me, for sure. As far as the cut of the pattern, it truly reminds me of how jackets were being cut back in the eighties. It is possibly an old design dressed up in a new pattern envelope? Since the change in ownership of pattern companies, who knows? As usual, your work is wonderful, despite the challenges.

    I have seen these pants suits of one solid color a lot lately. They look great but I know I am not ready for them. Perhaps they are too much of a repeat for me and they really don't fit my current lifestyle but I love the idea of the tailoring.

  7. Well, I totally understand your feelings towards the difficult fabric. My burgundy 100% Pure Cashmere behaved the same way as I pressed it! I start noticing right from the beginning when I pre-pressed it. At first thought I was doing something wrong. I researched further and didn't find any particular pressing issue with Cashmere, other than pressing gently. It can/should also be steamed. My fabric was incredibly thin and soft, so in spite of buying it from a suiting fabric shop, I wondered if it would be the best choice for a structured blazer. I really wanted to use it so I ended up underlining it with a thin knit interfacing. It got more manageable but sometimes I can still see that "ripple"/"bubble" effect you talked about...

    Fabrics aside, I love the suit and believe you'll be able to wear it. If it seems too overwhelming as a whole, perhaps wearing it as separates will be more suitable. I've seen that color largely used on the latest Chanel shows so it might become a good bet! Just picture the pants with a grey wool cardigan or the blazer over a beige turtleneck tube dress, for example... There are so many ways to combine both items with neutrals!

  8. As usual you are right on point with your evaluation of a pattern. I really appreciate your detailed blog. Karen

  9. Thank you, Beth. This is a great review, and it helps a lot. I bought this pattern in the fall. Because I wanted to make a really nice, tailored jacket. Like you, I've had great success using Palmer/Pletsch patterns. I so thankful for your review. Your issue with the fabric has happened to me, and I thought it was me and not the fabric. I struggle with getting a good press.

    Thank goodness your pants turned out perfect after all the work you put into making the jacket. I will now consider other options for my jacket project.

    Thank you again,