Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Deer & Doe Pavot Jacket

I think once a year I'm going to take a relatively easy coat pattern and add a bunch of design features that are way above my ability level.  Last year it was the Albion duffel coat.  This year it's the Deer & Doe Pavot jacket.  A contestant on the first season of The Great British Sewing Bee is working his way through a challenge and he says, "God loves a trier."  I had never heard the phrase before but it entered my brain again as I was attempting triangular buttonholes and a lining.

I first saw triangular buttonholes on Pinterest, which referenced  The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction from 1959.  I couldn't work out the instructions in the book and so I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that the Craftsy course Couture Finishing Techniques with Alison Smith has a section on triangular buttonholes.  She also offers instruction on circular buttonholes.  I attempted to make up a flower buttonhole on my own with no success.  She remarks that you should stick with one or two triangular buttonholes on a jacket.  I thought to myself, "I wonder why she said that.  Oh well.  I think I'll do seven."

I tried and tried to get the little puckers out of the corners of the triangle but couldn't pull it off.  I think it had something to do with the fabric I used because on my practice run with muslin I had no issues.  At some point you have to stop fiddling and move towards acceptance.  I do like them though.

I used a gabardine from Mood Fabrics for the body and a wool flannel for the collar (which is unfortunately sticking up in the picture--you can't win them all).  The gabardine was easy to sew with but it's hard to iron out a wrinkle once it's in there.  The lining is a navy-ish acetate also from Mood.  My color inspiration was this coat that Lady Mary wears in Downton Abbey. 

I am pleased with the fit.  In the pictures it appears that it's tight across the chest but in reality there is a good amount of room.  I didn't make any adjustments to my muslin because I'm getting so much better at measuring beforehand.  There are things that could be better about it (neater buttonholes, better finishing, better handstitching along the hem) but it's a success form me.  I learned a lot and stretched my abilities.  That's always a win, right?

Now for the construction details:

I constructed the entire shell of the coat first, including the facing .  I put in the buttonholes on the front half of the facing and then cut triangles in the back half of the facing as instructed. 

This pattern doesn't include a lining so you have to make your own.  I have never done that before.  Some people say, "I added a lining" like it's no big deal but for me it was a big deal.  If you don't add one the inside of your jacket will look like this (unless you do a different seam finish, of course). 
I used Tilly's tutorial on the Sewaholic website for assistance.  If you look at that first the rest of this will make more sense. 

The front jacket pieces are curved and therefore difficult to tape together.  I marked it little by little as I swung it around from the bottom all the way to the top. 

The facing part was harder to figure out because it folds back on itself and becomes the button band.  I taped the facing on exactly like you would sew it.  You can then feel on top of the paper and trace around the neck facing.  For the front of the coat, I only added 5/8 inch (not 1 1/4 as instructed) and only to the top part of the pattern that is at the neckline.  The inside of the facing extends 5/8 inch past the seamline along the front of the coat, so that's why I didn't add any more to that.  This is what my piece looked like prior to cutting along the single line at the botton and along the middle line at the top:
It was confusing but the measurements worked. 

The back bodice piece is rounded and is also in two pieces.  You are supposed to add an inch to the back bodice to be able to form a pleat in the lining fabric.  After factoring in the 5/8 inch I needed to take out because I was going to put the lining piece on the fold, I added 3/8 inch right in the middle and drew a straight line up from there.  This meant that there was an extra 1/4 inch at the top and bottom but it worked out ok for me. 

For the skirt front, I took off 5/8 inch along the straight front edge because of the facing issue described above.  I did the same for the waistband.

I constructed my entire lining including sleeves prior to putting it in the coat.  I wish I wouldn't have done that.  I intended to follow the protocol used in the Colette Anise jacket I made last year, but then didn't read ahead before construction started.  In that pattern, you sew the body of the lining on first and then hand sew the sleeves along the armhole.  I didn't have that option here because I did French seams throughout my lining.  Instead, I anchored the lining at the top and bottom of the armhole.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that my friend's RTW coat was done exactly like that.  I hand sewed my cuffs as well as hand stitching the hem and the hem of the lining. 


  1. Such a great post! BTW, I've posted over on Instagram about your coat, especially your divine buttonholes! I'm so sorry, but I couldn't find you on there to tag you in. Love your blog!

    1. No problem! I should get an Instagram account. Good idea! I loved making the buttonholes. It was a fun skill to learn.

  2. Those buttonholes are so cool! Great job on the coat.

  3. Very nice coat! Your attention to the details are worth it. You look lovely in it.

  4. Very nice coat! Your attention to the details are worth it. You look lovely in it.

  5. I love those buttonholes! Totally awesome!

  6. What a great jacket. I lined my Pavot as well but I got so confused because of the way the bands folded back on themselves I just the lining the same as the jacket and then just tacked the facings over the lining. Not the best technique but it worked for me - that's the main thing right! I love the button holes - definitely going to try them.

    1. I agree that the facing was extremely hard to navigate regarding the facing. I had to check my math several times and then measure my pattern pieces against my coat. Do you have a link to your coat?

  7. I've been meaning to comment on this for ages--I love it! Those buttonholes are so lovely. Were the Deer & Doe instructions hard to follow? My mom just made one of their patterns and said that if she hadn't been as experienced a seamstress (she's been sewing since adolescence), that she would be so confused by the DD pattern instructions. Just wondering what your take on them is!

  8. I can see why your mom said that. I had good luck with the Pavot instructions. I remember sewing the Datura blouse and realizing that somehow I completed something without being instructed to on accident while following the directions as I read them. I'll have to go back and read that post.