Today and tomorrow I am going to introduce you to my two newest Lisette styles. These are included in Butterick’s Spring 2016 collection, and both are available now everywhere that Butterick patterns are sold–as well as on our website. The Butterick style numbers are B6321 and B6331. I hope you enjoy them!
In thinking about how to introduce you to Lisette for Butterick B6331, a story came to mind. Although my mom is a very accomplished sewist who made most of my clothes when I was growing up, it wasn’t until I was a sophomore or junior in college that I started sewing for myself. Until then, I just watched. Mom used to do all her fabric cutting out on the living room floor because it was the largest space in our small house, and I would sit and talk with her while she worked. I had time to ask all sorts of questions and learn a lot about sewing before I ever started it on my own. When she sewed for me I went to the fabric store with her and we chose patterns and fabric together, so I had a lot of experience with learning which silhouettes and fabrics worked well together. (By the way, the more you practice these skills, the easier they get.)
Then one summer when my family was away on vacation and I stayed home for a summer job, I stopped at the fabric store and chose fabric and a pattern for a simple jumper. I went home, cut it out, and sewed it up with almost no trouble at all, aside from a little difficultly learning how to make button holes on the sewing machine. I knew exactly what fabric I wanted for the jumper and how I wanted it to look when it was finished, and it turned out almost exactly as I had envisioned, all because I had been watching and learning from my mom all those years.
But it wasn’t until I finished college and was living in New York that I finally had enough time to really commit to sewing. Back then I’d rush from work to B&J Fabrics in order to shop before they closed for the day. I loved the tear sheets they posted on the walls with swatches of similar fabrics you might use to sew the same styles cut from magazines. In many cases the fabrics swatches were identical to the fabrics in the magazine pages because the designers of those styles actually shopped at B&J, so it was a great education in high-end fabrics and how they were used. I felt like I was sneaking into a secret society. It was all so thrilling! I longed to be a legitimate, fully accepted member of that society. (It wasn’t until recently that I realized I was a member all along. If you walk into a fabric store you’re a member; it’s really not all that complicated. You just keep learning more the longer you stick around.)
One of the very first pieces I sewed for myself in New York was a short safari-inspired jacket in a deep forest green cotton twill with lots of topstitching and details like belt loops and pockets. I was so proud of how it turned out. It wasn’t a difficult pattern, but it looked impressive, and I felt good about it when it was finished.
I was thinking about that jacket this morning because the little trench coat included in Butterick B6331 is a similar cut and style to that jacket. It would have been a perfect pattern for me to sew back then. The princess seams make it easy to adjust the fit to your preference (if you need extra room through the bust, princess seams are the way to go!), and the raglan sleeves are so much easier to sew than set-in sleeves. This pattern also includes those details that look impressive but are actually very easy to sew: collar, front pockets, back shield, elasticized back waist with front ties, and cute little button tabs for rolling your sleeves up.
Trench coats are one of those pieces that show up on everyone’s “must have” list of wardrobe basics. To be honest with you, I put no faith in those lists. Everyone is different, and one person’s basics will be completely different from another person’s. It took a long time for me to find a trench coat that worked for me without feeling like Inspector Gadget. But one thing I did discover was that it’s a lot easier to wear a trench coat that’s short rather than hemmed just above the knee, which can sometimes come off feeling a bit stiff and costume-y.
For me now, so many years later, the difficult part will be deciding which fabric to use because there are so many good options! On the pattern we’ve suggested twill, poplin, chambray, and linen. And all of those fabrics would be perfect for the pattern. They’re sort of what you would expect when you think about a trench coat, right? I have a beautiful piece of linen chambray from Robert Kaufman I’d love to use for this jacket.
Or why not a coated fabric to make the trench coat really rain-worthy? If I hadn’t already made S a Secret Agent Trench Coat in my Woodland Clearing laminate I’d be all over this idea for myself.
I also love this polka dotted trench coat from Max Mara.
But let’s take it further, shall we? Who says you have to sew a trench coat in traditional, expected fabrics? And who says you have to wear it as a rain coat, for that matter?
Did you catch the caption in the image above? Silk organza. What a lot of fun to wear! It’s completely impractical as a trench coat, but I love the idea of a jacket that’s dressy and can be worn as an alternative to a blazer. You could wear it just as easily with ripped jeans as you could over a fancy dress or skirt for a night out. I’m contemplating black silk–maybe dupioni or shantung–or silk twill if I can find it.
Here are a few more images to get you feeling inspired for this style, both in terms of fabric and styling:
We also included a simple pair of narrow trousers in Butterick B6331 because so many of you have asked for them. This is a very easy style to sew, flattering and classic. Probably a wardrobe basic for many of us.
The details on this style are totally denim-inspired, but feel free to sew them in fabrics besides denim and chambray as well. Basic black stretch twill would make a really versatile pair you could wear almost every day. But here, too, think outside the box. What would you love to wear? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
I love the printed trousers with piping in the bottom left corner. So much fun to wear! It will be fun to see how you sew these styles. You can find more inspiration on my Lisette: Sew Your Style Pinterest board, and I hope you’ll post your own sewing to Flickr or tag them #sewlisette on Instagram. Full details on the pattern are available on our pattern page for Butterick B6331. Have fun!
Funny about being a member. Last August, I was in Mood. Mood gets lots of tourists because of Project Runway and sometimes, I think that the workers there are a bit overwhelmed with the tourists. I clearly looked the tourist part because I was there on a brief trip. A clearly experienced, frustrated, older gentleman was exasperated waiting on a woman ahead of me at the cutting table. She clearly wasn’t a sewist but wanted to own a piece of Mood. Barely concealed contempt for this person, but she was too excited to notice. I mean she was buying something from MOOD!!!
When it came to be my turn, I had some ribbon in my hands. You could tell he was like… oh no another one. As I handed him the ribbon, and started ordering my cuts (more than a souvenir amount), he looked at me differently, questioning… was I one of them? Or one of THEM???
He asked if that was all? I said no, and pointed to a pile of rolls of fabric and said that’s mine. I started rattling off how much I needed of what. Suddenly, it was clear. I was in the club. I looked at him and said, “yes I am a frumpy tired middle aged mom from outside NYC. But we don’t have this resource where I am from. JoAnns doens’t cut it for me.” He started to laugh. He asked me if it was that obvious, and I said, “to her, no. She was too excited. To me yes, because she took too long.”
PS. Love the trousers.
I enjoy hearing the stories behind the designs. I have deep unexplained desires for jackets and coats, especially classics with some special details or fabric. Also, I have wanted to make trousers for a long time but am choosy about the style. So I already bought this pattern on sale at Joann’s. I am thinking about which of the denims in the new Denim collection from Art Gallery Fabrics to choose: maybe one of the denim prints for the jacket and a colored or textured one for the trousers?http://www.hawthornethreads.com/fabric/designer/art_gallery_house_designer/the_denim_studio
Looks great! Is it in stores already? I can’t wait to not be pregnant because I think I’m finally getting brave enough to try to conquer a pair of pants for myself!
Wow! Liesl, I love his outfit I think I want to make the pants in denim and the jacket in something really soft and comfortable. I can really see this one as an outfit I could live in! I’m looking forward to seeing the projects that get posted on Flickr, that’s always a fun way to get inspired!
I really like the jacket, Liesl. Your story about the green one makes me like it even more. Do you think it would be too boxy without the belt?
I’ve never been to Mood, but I don’t think I’d like it with such snobby employees. I’m with you, Liesl. Everyone who is drawn to fabric and sewing is in the club, and I’m so happy that most of us welcome each other regardless of our knowledge or experience. 🙂
Sandi, without the belt it would be boxy, but that’s easy to change since it also has princess seams. You could shape it however you want as a result!
Right! Princess seams!
I love how many different looks you get from these pieces. And ‘back shield’ — so that’s what that’s called!
I guess I don’t really understand what’s wrong with being excited or wanting a souvenir? I buy small quantities from Mood LA all the time and they’ve only ever been thoughtful and helpful with their advice. If anybody feels intimidated please drop me a line when you come to LA and I’ll happily go shop with you. Lots of fantastic cafes nearby where we can grab a coffee and pastry and pet our fabric — not that I do that 🙂
That’s sweet of you, Sarvi. I think the salespeople probably get pretty weary from all the ogling, but I agree that the beauty of the “sewing club” is its democracy. It’s great that people want to be part of it! We can think of ourselves as its ambassadors, yes?
O&S ambassadors association
Lots of fantastic cafes nearby where we can grab a coffee and pastry and pet our fabric — not that I do that 🙂
Of course not. That would be weird. (I totally do that)
Oh. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it to get excited or want a souvenir. I just noticed how differently they treated tourists v sewists. i mean I was a sewist-tourist so I saw both perspectives.
Although it felt nice to be taken seriously at such a place. 🙂
YES! Raincoat here we come! I love the pants aswell!
Jenny’s comment: Hilariously funny but wow! Were they really like that? It is great to have a heads up on this kind of thing. Know your stuff ladies and be excited because we sew!
I don’t watch Project runway anyway.
It was just this one man. He had like 4 tourist souvenir cuts in a row. The last one before me was like how much do I need? He was all- what are you using it for? She said she didn’t know. She just wanted some ribbon from mood. He was getting exasperated.
There was also the woman who said to him that she could get the same stuff at JoAnns for cheaper. Trust me. No. Not the same stuff!! 🙂
Generally his exasperation was an outlier in my few visits there.
I was eyeing up the trousers last week, they are just the kind of shape/cut I like. I am really partial to a cropped trouser.
And thank you for sharing that story. I would absolutely be dashing around being really excited at the choice of fabric in the garment district…I’m pretty much drooling thinking about it.
Helena, the garment district is truly a dream place to shop. I miss it!
I am so excited about this pattern! I love the cut of the trousers and am looking forward to trying both pieces.
I ordered the pattern this morning so I had better get thinking about fabrics!