Sew Bad Saturday #5

This Saturday we have the amazing Amanda from

She has completed the Andy Coat pattern from and had less than wonderful results despite her alterations and planning. Please read though her experiences and leave comments and suggestions for her:


Β I just want to preface this by saying, the reason this is “sew bad” is due to poor choice of style on my part – the pattern itself is fine – just not for my body!! lol
Being blessed/cursed with a full bust means I have Sew Bad makes from time to time, as I learn what styles work and don’t work for my figure. I had a lot more when I first started sewing but I’m still learning so I still get one like this from time to time πŸ™‚

Why did you pick this pattern?
This is one of those makes that I envisioned very differently. In the modeled pattern pics (those trick me every time! lol) the silhouette looks slimmer; more tailored. In reality, a full bust (and adjustments made to fit said asset) makes the silhouette much more…. well, BIG lol, and looks more tent-like than tailored. In addition, I thought the collar-less style would be convenient, as I wear a lot of scarves, but what it does is it creates a high neckline that is again, not flattering on my full bust. I should have known this; I know what necklines work for me in clothing; obviously the same principles apply in outerwear.


What size did you think you were according to their envelope numbers?
Sz 40 (European sizing)

What size did you cut and did you alter before cutting?
Sz 40 (European sizing) with 2″ FBA and 2″ added to sleeve length

Did you encounter difficulties others would like to avoid?
No issues with the pattern itself (unless you hate PDF patterns; there’s a lot of taping and tracing needed LOL) – just a really poor style choice on my part, and probably not a good choice for the other full busted ladies among us πŸ™‚

Is there anything in the photos we cannot see that you wanted us to know about?
To try & fix the shape, at first I was wearing it belted but the excess fabric was slipping up above the belt line, creating a “poof” that is decidedly unflattering on my figure. Unbelted the jacket looks too big on me but at least it’s in an “I’m wearing my boyfriend’s overcoat” kind of way, which (while not flattering), is somewhat more acceptable.

Is this garment wearable with tweaking or not?
As the jacket is lined, any alterations would be major, not really tweaking. It’s definitely a style fail, and I don’t love it, but I don’t completely hate it either & fills an immediate need in my closet, until I can make a suitable replacement.

Its saving graces: The fabric is a tropical wool suiting and the lining is Bemberg; this makes for a lightweight combo which is both insulating and water resistant – a perfect fit for our chilly wet West Coast weather. That and unlike RTW coats, this actually fits my bust & arm length, due to my custom adjustments.


Thumbs up or thumbs down on buying this? Worth the effort?
Thumbs up if you can suit the style. Named makes really well-drafted patterns (I recently made the Vanamo cocktail dress with great success) and it’s a shame I can’t give this one a good review, myself, but others have made it work for them – I think it is a thumbs up as long as you aren’t too big in the chest.

Do you want suggestions on how to β€œmake it work” or is it beyond that?
No suggestions needed – I’ve accepted it’s beyond help unless I want to make major alterations to either myself or the jacket LOL (and no, I don’t LOL). All in all, I knew this style was a gamble going in & I probably won’t make it again but it is (temporarily) wearable for all that, and more importantly, I am that much better armed for my next coat project, which will definitely be in a style that’s more decidedly my own πŸ™‚

Many thanks to Amanda for being brave and sharing with us!

And many thanks to all of you for such an overwhelming response to the last post. Your true confessions and candid stories were a delight to read and they allowed others to come forward and chime in with similar strong feeling on so-called freebies.

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39 Responses to Sew Bad Saturday #5

  1. prttynpnk says:

    I am starting to be really cynical about envelopes. I know Ive thought ‘it looks better if I stand like this’ but I need brutal truths from the envelope! A closed coat pic, an open pic and a hands in pockets- if possible!! Too much to hope for?
    To me, this works as a coat dress- with a statement scarf- but I know its not what you wanted…..

  2. Hmmmm…..I think in a fabric with more structure it would look much different in a good way.

  3. Shari says:

    Wouldn’t belt loops keep the “poof” from happening? And a self-fabric tie belt. And mayhap flashier buttons. And, of course, that bright scarf. Hard to tell about the fit with your hands in the pockets (ahem), but it looke fine.

    • symondezyn says:

      Haha yes sorry about the hands in pockets thing – belt loops might help, but in general I find, being busty, belted loose-fitting garments don’t really flatter me regardless πŸ™‚ Thanks for the tips! πŸ™‚

  4. Tia Dia says:

    Gosh, I get sucked in by those models shots every time. I haven’t quite learned yet how to translate the technical drawing into a realistic visual for myself (croquis? muslin? D’oh!) I do like Shari’s suggestions for styling it for now, until you get a new coat.

  5. Jen says:

    I really don’t think this is a fail–just needs a few adjustments or style changes. So, I hope you don’t mind my ideas, but feel free to ignore them too!
    1) I need a fairly substantial FBA myself, and so I understand how high necklines can be unflattering. However, I don’t think that’s a big issue here. This can be somewhat solved, for example, by wearing a drapey scarf that visually breaks up the expanse of that bustline to neckline area. Also, if wearing the coat open, I find that it works to wear a contrasting color underneath. That also visually breaks up the bust/above bust area.
    2) Consider small shoulder pads. Adding a little more angularity and a small amount of volume to the shoulders can help to balance the bust. It doesn’t have to look like the 80s, but should aim for more shaping.
    3) If it feels tent like (doesn’t look like a tent to me), then consider trying a different type of FBA that minimizes below the bust fullness. Those model photos are really deceptive when you need an FBA!
    4) Although it can’t be done on this coat, on another one, consider different button placement, with a button in closer alignment with the bust point.
    5) The hem looks like it need more weight. If you haven’t done so, consider interfacing it. I haven’t done this on a coat, just skirts, but I like to use a fusible tricot. The interfacing should start a couple of inches above the hem and fold over with the hem. Hem as usual.

    • symondezyn says:

      Thank you so much for your excellent points – especially button placement – that’s a fab tip!!! I’ll definitely use that for future πŸ™‚ I do wear it with a scarf which helps a lot ^_^

    • Morgan says:

      Ditto what Jen said – excellent points, especially the one about raising the shoulder line to balance the silhouette and breaking up the area above the bust which is a must for larger busted women who prefer to avoid a chunky look.
      Scoop and V necklines are the most flattering and for a high neck an assymetrical collar detail can do the job of providing detail.
      On the style line choices, play to your strengths – curvy women = clothes with shape and curvy lines, women without curves = angular lines.
      Might a styling rescue for this one include adding an assymetrical collar and shorten the length perhaps to below hips but above mid thigh.
      Alternatively, cut the neck down to a couple of cm above the clevage (into a scoop or an assymetrical scoop) and also consider chopping it to the waist level and attaching a waist band with a fastening detail.

  6. Vancouver Barbara says:

    This is my preferred kind of coat style so I like it and like it on you too.
    I agree with Jen’s points. Also runningcuzican. A different fabric, somewhat heavier, might work better next time.
    The line drawings and the pattern photo show a much squarer shoulder line. Pads would help I think.
    It’s hard to read your photos because your hands in the pockets distort the coat but given that, the only fault I see is that the hem at the back looks like it’s caught up somehow and needs to be released. A trip to the dry cleaners for a really professional pressing would make a big difference.

    • symondezyn says:

      Thank you – you make good points! πŸ™‚ Sorry about the hands in pockets – I actually wasn’t planning on posting it for review initially – and I’m embarrassed to say my hem is wrinkly from a 2-hour bus commute – whoops! lol ^_^

      • Elle says:

        Hah! I thought you were doing a tongue-firmly-in-cheek mimic of the model!

      • Vancouver Barbara says:

        I just saw a really beautiful coat in a very similar style to yours – ocelot or leopard, but a very classy version of same by Topshop in Canadian Living November issue page 34. I think animal print would suit you very well if you have the desire to make another version of this coat. Of course, there are always stencils or applique!

      • Vancouver Barbara says:

        If you’re interested in the animal print inspiration, you can see pix of the coat at
        Go to Women’s, Coats, Topshop and you’ll find it.

    • symondezyn says:

      Thanks for the ideas – I confess I have NEVER owned/worn anything animal print before! Maybe I’ll dip my toe in with a scarf first or something haha ^_^

  7. Danielle says:

    I would make it shorter, cut it off somewhere between the 4/5 button.
    And small shoulderpads

  8. Denise says:

    Maybe shorten to a car-coat length? Black braid or piping around the neck and down front panel seams? Darker, black buttons?

    • symondezyn says:

      Alas – that’s just too much work for me haha – I’m not feeling it enough for that but I love the creativity of your ideas! If only I wasn’t too lazy for refashioning ^_^

  9. Ines says:

    I think you did a good job sewing it but I can’t say I like it. I find it way to severe. It looks more like a lab coat than actual clothes. This seems like something that can only be made in a pastel or bright color ( to add femininity) , heavy , textured coat material ( to keep it from looking like a lab coat) with decorative buttons ( also to keep it from looking like a lab coat) or one is doomed!

    • symondezyn says:

      You hit it spot on – it does feel lab coat – ish! ^_^ I agree, a textured fabric or bright colour would probably make a huge difference! πŸ™‚ Maybe I’ll give ‘re another shot in the future after all ^_^

  10. I agree with much of what is being said. The fabric may be a nice suiting fabric, but it is not substantial enough to translate into a coat. The color also reads as a drab solid color that is not compatible with your coloring.
    I would underline any coat with a cotton, even an old sheet and interface the hemline; the hem in the back is doing all kinds of strange things. This coat design would look much better in a brighter or different fabric, such as a houndstooth, medium to large plaid, heavy boucle’ tweed, a nice linen or coating. A plain pattern design needs fabric capable of carrying the garment and this fabric does not do that.
    You can also add darts such as fish eye darts if you want and taper the sides also. Most coats and jackets need shoulder pads to help support the weight of the garment. If you are checking the fit, never pose with your hands in your pockets. The garment design is not presented as a slouchy garment and needs underlining and interfacing, The length is could be a bit shorter to make it more casual..
    You are brave to try making a coat and perhaps given suggestions you can turn it into a serviceable casual coat, or think of it as a test garment. I, personally would baste in fish eye darts in front and back just above your natural waistline, about 8″ length total to start to see what happens. Notice that the model is tall, and holding onto the center front of the garment and pulling in the sides, which does not exactly tell you the true shape of the garment when it is being worn.
    This is quite interesting. let us know what you do with the coat.

    • symondezyn says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions – I was actually going to underline it but decided against as the pattern calls for a light weight fabric – in hindsight that may have helped a bit πŸ™‚ I apologize for my poor posture/hands in pockets pose – I actually wasn’t planning on posting it at the time of photos but you’re right – one would certainly never check fit that way! ^_^

  11. Elle says:

    Thanks for being brave enough to share your experience. I agree that it’s a serviceable light coat and is a weight and style that makes it handy for in-between weather. With a bright scarf–as you probably do–a little attention to the hem, and small shoulder pads, I think you might actually be happy with it. So hard to translate garments that are presented on those willowy models….

  12. Luigina Maniscalco says:

    I applaud your bravery….the coat is NOT bad, added shoulder pads, interfacing in the hem, ? fish-eye darts at the waist. I say bravery because others who sew (I
    have found) can be ruthless. I think you did a lovely job: be proud!

  13. Mary says:

    You have a wonderful start on a cool coat which flatters you! Really, I like its shape and style lines. 1) fabric with more weight OR a wool blend and underline it, then line. I used flannel lining last year in a coat and regular lining for the sleeves. The coat fabric was a recycled hemp and needed to be thicker. The flannel helped!
    2) shoulder pads
    3) add interfacing to hem and maybe some hem weights
    4) piping on style lines and around neckline?
    5) reinforce the buttonholes and sew each buttonhole tighter-they are contributing to a loose look to the coat. Use brighter buttons.

    I like this coat and if I were sewing it, I’d consider this a muslin. Keep going πŸ™‚

  14. symondezyn says:

    Hi all, and thanks so much for all your thoughtful comments πŸ™‚ I have another coat planned which is more my style & a proper winter weight, but if I ever decide to come back & try my hand at salvaging this one I will definitely take all your suggestions to heart πŸ™‚

  15. Sharon N. says:

    I don’t think it’s as bad as you say but I do know what you mean about high neckline and full busts. It looks like the facings are fairly deep. Here is a crazy idea. Create asymmetrical lapels. Fold your right front out, take the buttons off the left front, sew onto the outside of the right front and button down the lapel. Fold the left front in a similar way using maybe one button, depending on how deep the facing is, and corresponding button hole. Ta-da! Instant, minimal tweek! And be sure to tell everyone it is a one-of-a-kind design feature. 😁

  16. fabrickated says:

    I have quite a curvy shape too and would not have tried such a “boyfriend” look, but when I did (a Burda coat pattern) it was actually a nice look. While I think waisted styles and more shaping are best for dresses, skirts etc, for a coat a more boxy shape can work. I also think the colour is fine on you (if a little severe) and the length is just right.

    Your relatively large bust is accommodated by the FBA, but if you had chosen a design with a rever and a deeper V it would have looked much better than the high, round neck. But of course you can leave it open, or wear a brighter colour underneath, or the scarf/jewellery option.

    The problem area in my opinion is the hem. Is the hem lining attached to the fashion fabric? If so you could de-couple it, press it properly – add some crin (horsehair braid, or bias interfacing), and it would look much more professional. Thank you for being willing to be “critiqued” here.

    • symondezyn says:

      Yes, I always feel good in V-necks; I think that & a small collar is needed for me πŸ™‚ For now, yeah I’m using scarves & keeping the top button open definitely! ^_^ Agreed, the hem could use some horsehair, but the main problem there is it’s wrinkled from being sat on haha ^_^ Thanks for your encouragement!! πŸ™‚

  17. lozzen says:

    Your coat review was so so helpful for me. I too have a large bust and a more angular shape these years. The comments were also very helpful. Thanks everyone.

  18. lozzen says:

    I actually really like the drab minimalist styling of your coat esp. with dress underneath. Very urban chic to me. I have sloping shoulders also and have had people in fitting classes urge me to use shoulder pads more so that my clothing can drape off me in a more flattering style.

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