Book Review: Built By Wendy Coats and Jackets

I am simultaneously the best and worst audience for Built by Wendy Coats and Jackets: best, because I have at least three coats cut out or fabric-bought-for, and worst, because I have exactly ZERO coats completed. (There's a plastic bin lurking somewhere around here with a really, really nice corduroy coat cut out in it, but I haven't seen it since my son was born … and he's been in double-digits for a year now.)

It's not because I don't like coats. I LOVE coats. I have lots and lots and lots of coats, but my usual coat M.O. is: buy vintage coat near the end of its life from eBay or Etsy, wear until dead. Repeat. (I also like to buy Lands' End coats in unloved colors on super-clearance, men's coats from Goodwill, and any creaky vintage leather coat in a weird color, like gray or forest green.)

It's always seemed like a stretch to me to SEW a coat, though. That combination of interfacing and lining and thick wool has always been a bit too daunting. 

However, after reading this new Built By Wendy book, I'm starting to have a change of heart. Maybe this is the year I'll sew a coat! (See how I conveniently state this in Spring …)

For one thing, the basic patterns are classic: a short fitted coat, a raglan sleeve coat, and a windbreakery hoodie type coat. And as in her other books, Wendy rings the changes on them in simple and complex ways, showing everything from a minimalist zip front coat that you could easily hide on the rack in Eileen Fisher to a hipster-friendly hooded poncho. (My fave was the "Puff the Magic Jacket" bolero-type jacket which would be magical for sure in black pique over summer sundresses.)

The patterns are included, and range from a 32" to a 41" bust. There are pages and pages of sewing instructions (very clear illustrations!) and lists of necessary notions, explanations of interfacings and linings, and much more. 

Until I make a coat with one of the patterns I won't be able to say for sure, but this book at least makes me WANT to make a coat, which is half the battle. (Have you made a coat with this book yet? If so, let us know in the comments!)

Link Tuesday

Some links, for Tuesday:

Wonderful article by Moya Stone about Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. (If you're local to the Bay you should add Moya to your RSS list …)

Orange Bunny Fabric. Thanks to Allison for the link. Wait, why are you still reading this? Didn't you read the words ORANGE BUNNY FABRIC?

Oh, so you don't like bunnies? (That's un-possible.) Maybe you like bicycles? Okay, here's some Michael Miller bicycle fabric.  

This cape. I like it. (Thanks to Michelle for the link!) I also love this category.

Cool new Kickstarter project for a program that turns drawings into dresses! We live IN THE FUTURE, people. (Pledge $25 and get your own Continuum pattern & instrux.) [Thanks to Paul S. for the link.]

Wear the Shift — makes the same dress style in multiple fabrics for women of all sizes. I think I'm in love — thanks to Luci for the link!

This is either the apotheosis of wackaloon, or brilliant comedy. Not sure which.

You Couldn't Handle Us, Little Boy


This is from Out of the Ashes, Sheila's store, and I don't think you can tell that this pattern is B40. Except, of course, from the Mrs. Robinson stare of Print Dress, and the downright predatory gaze of Gray Dress behind her.

I don't think all the "Women's" dress patterns from the 1960s are this … overt, but this one sure is.

Today's Pattern Story (and Wishlist): McCalls 3699


Blue-Green View is totally checking out the woman in black's butt, isn't she? She's cleverly distracted Pink View with flowers sent by a "secret admirer" so she can put the moves on Black View. Her next stratagem? To find a "smudge" on Black View's backside so she can casually brush it off.

Too bad Black View is looking out into the middle distance, thinking about cake.

I really, really want this pattern — anyone got one in this size (or one down) that is for sale? Birgit at Stitches and Loops had one, but darnit, I was Too Late. Although you should really check out this shirtdress she has now, and this pocketed beauty … 


Dictionary Dateline!

So the pattern I bought a couple weeks ago from Janet at Zimmer's Army came with a little bonus:


How excellent is this? Truly excellent. 

There's also a little "wow, times have changed" moment in the back: 


It's a bit hard to read, but it's the "in case of emergency, please notify" … Mrs. Phil and Mr. Phil. Mrs. Phil! Because if you're lying bleeding under a bus, heaven forbid someone should address your respectably married mother by her first name!


Laura Ashley?


I didn't realize Laura Ashley still made dresses (I was still thinking of them as your go-to for floral tissue-box covers) but hey, here's one, and it's lovely. Big pockets! Cap sleeves! Blue flowers!

I didn't check if they ship to the US, and it's on the expensive side in pounds anyway (I always want to write "pounds sterling" — I'm sure there's a difference, but I've never been enlightened as to what that difference is).

Someone very nice sent me this link. I can't find the email now. Take credit in the comments, please!