Meet Burda 7072. Soft and shapely in a stylishly understated way, and in my version, tenacious and determined.
I’ve had this pattern on my to-sew-list for a good few months now, having snapped it up in a half-price sale online somewhere. I love that it’s outward simplicity hides some more intricate details such as dropped shoulders with paneled sleeves and sides with in-seam pockets. The pattern includes options for patch pockets, different hem lengths, shorter sleeves and a collar.
I chose a mash-up of both ‘views’ as seen on the envelope. I wanted the shorter length but full length sleeves, in-seam pockets, no collar and hidden fastenings rather than buttons.
For some reason, though, I began this project in a rather half-hearted way. I’m not really sure why. Perhaps it was because I’ve sewn a lot of lovely indie patterns recently due to past bad experiences with the more commercial patterns not really turning out how I want them to. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t particularly excited about the wool I planned to use – bought because it was discounted rather than because it was a great fabric. At every step of the way I had the inexplicable feeling that I was doomed to fail!
The first sign of my lack-lustre approach was skipping the pattern tracing process. These days I usually trace the pattern onto sturdy tracing paper so that I can make alterations if I need to, and keep the original pattern intact so that it can be used again for different versions or sizes.
Burda 7072 got no such respect from me, and I just got stuck in cutting a size 10. My memory is hazy, but I expect something like children’s needs interrupted at some point. The following day I cut out my fabric. I did my usual trick of placing and cutting as I go – I only refer to pattern layouts if I’m worried about how much fabric I have. I even began sewing, whizzing up the back seam and shoulder seams. Then, the inevitable disaster was realised, brought on no doubt by my own bad sewing vibes.
I noticed that I had, in my haste, neglected to cut out the side panels and front interfacing pieces. I duly unfolded the pattern tissue and hunted for these pieces, and to my dismay it soon became apparent that they were missing. I’m sure you all know that feeling when you lose something – you keep hunting in the same places over and over again, sure that it must be there. You can even visualise it sitting where you left it. Except it is not there, and it is not in the wastepaper bin, or the recycling bin, or the wheelie bin (which you rummage through out on the street just before the bin-lorry comes – yep, that was me).
At this point I felt more doomed than ever and nearly ditched this project. But some kind of determination set in and I traced the front interfacing from the main front pattern piece. The side panel was a little more arduous but not too tricky. Fortunately I had the sleeve panel piece which sews to the side panel at the underarm. I traced the armscye shape and extended down to hem length, mimicking the style from the tiny pattern lay-out image.
Fortunately my drafting skills did not fail me and after sewing the in-seam pockets, the side panel matched up and sewed on smoothly to the front section. There are some slightly tricky angles to the underarm of this pattern, but if you transfer the markings and follow the instructions there is nothing too challenging. At this point I wasn’t sure whether I would bother lining, thinking perhaps it would be more of a casual cover up than a coat. The pattern doesn’t mention seam finishing, presumably because the lining would eventually hide all seams, but I wanted to overlock everything for a neat finish.
The construction is such that you sew the side seams separately to the sleeve seams, even though at first look I had assumed I could just stitch all the way from hem to cuff with a careful pivot at the armscye. In fact, I sewed the seams on my sewing machine, and then finished the entire side-sleeve combo on my overlocker, fudging my way across the pivot point. Some-how, I did not ruin the seam, and the result (on the outside at least!) is neat and pucker-free.
A new error revealed itself when I sewed the sleeve panels to the main sleeve sections. Somehow I had managed to cut the shorted length of the sleeve panel, and the full-length version of the main sleeve. Simply resolved by hacking the bottom off the sleeves, and ultimately a good thing as I like the cropped sleeve.
I did feel several times like I was working with an unwieldy octopus, trying to match up seams. If you’re not concentrating you could really make a mess of this!
With the outer coat all stitched together, complete with neat pressed seams and perfect in-seam pockets, I started to think that this was going to turn out well!
I’m hesitating to call this a coat, as it is far from thick and wintery. I can see why somebody coined the word ‘coatigan’ because this is it, I think. I wanted something which looked like a coat but felt less cumbersome and more comfortable, like a cardigan. I didn’t want to use a traditional satin type coat lining, so I chose a simple grey marl jersey from my fabric stash.
The lining involved a little more fudge-along sewing. By this I mean, cross your fingers, close one eye and stitch. I whizzed things up on the overlocker, and totally bulldozed my way across the delicate pivots. This all worked ‘ok’ by which I mean there are a few inevitable tucks but that’s just between me and my armpits!
However, due to the nature of this project and it’s bountiful mishaps, there was of course a hiccup. This pattern, if you don’t lose an entire sheet of it, has separate pieces for the lining. These are shorter than the outer pieces because the hem turns up to meet them. Fortunately I did use the front and back lining pieces. Unfortunately I didn’t have the side panel lining piece and without considering the issue of length, I used my self-drafted side piece for the lining.
When it came to sewing these together I knew something was wrong, but assumed it was my own drafting error (even though it worked fine on the outer!), or that the fabric had stretched a little (I mean, a lot!). The side panels were longer, but I eased them together with the shorter front and back sections. Kudos for my awesome easing prowess that they actually went together with no inadvertent tucks! However, the result is a rather odd saggy effect. I actually realised the error as soon as I had sewn the first seam, but by then there was no going back (not without serious effort and use of extra fabric) so I ploughed on with the other four seams, safe in the knowledge that the oddness would be hidden inside.
With the lining complete, I heaved a huge sigh of relief, feeling that I was on the home straight. The lining sews to the facing right-sides-together and simply flips over to the inside. After that it’s hand sewing all the way, and I love hand sewing. I stitched the hem and sleeve hem, before tucking under the lining hems and sewing them with a little ‘bag’ to them.
But unwittingly, I was still trying to sabotage Burda 7072. When I tried it on complete with lining, the back was hanging very badly indeed. A quick check revealed that the lining was sufficiently ‘bagging’ so it wasn’t a case of the lining being too short and pulling the outer up.
The issue was that my choice of a jersey lining was not ideal. A silky lining would hang well, slipping down the wool outer and settling happily with an easy swing. Jersey, however, catches and snags in a friction-happy way causing all kinds of havoc with the hem. When you think about it, it’s obvious, but as evidenced above, thinking was in short supply for the duration of this project.
I started hatching a plan to remedy this. My solution would be to unpick the lining from the hem of the coat. The design is such that several centimetres of hem hang freely from the sides, so I could simply hem the lining separately. I even have some grey stretch binding that would look pretty good. However, I have given Burda 7072 a road test around the house and garden as I bustle about my morning. It seems that as long as I smooth things out a little when I put it on, things hang ok. So for now I’m going to leave as is, with my simple solution tucked away to implement if necessary.
The only other vague niggle is that I think the hem could do with a stabilizer of some kind. While it is a casual coat(igan!), the wool fabric is very lightweight and has quite a lot of stretch to it and to my over critical eye, the hem looks a little bit flimsy.
So that’s it! I stitched in some giant ‘poppers’ and marveled that a project I had begun with such negativity in tow, had actually turned out to be pretty successful. Now I know that it works, I will definitely make this pattern again. I will either make copious notes and amend errors on my pattern pieces, or simply buy the pattern again!