Thursday, December 27, 2012

Amy Butler's Rainy Days Hooded Raincoat

When it began raining in November here in CA, I knew I needed to move up my new raincoat project from Spring to NOW.  Normally February is a heavy rain month so I had this project slated for next year, but the rain seemed to get started early this year.  This laminated cotton has aged in my stash for only six months, not too long!  I've been excited to try working on this fabric and this Amy Butler coat has a nice feminine look to it- a perfect match.

What I like about Amy Butler's patterns is that with a few simple darts she can make a shirt or a jacket become a very flattering style. This pattern wasn't overly complicated in design so construction was pretty straight forward.  There has already been a lot said about this pattern on PatternReviewI found several helpful hints from these reviews.  Here is what I found to be most helpful

Helpful tools:
Rotary cutter, made a fast job of cutting out fabric.
Teflon foot for sewing machine, no sticking to the laminated fabric
Wonder Tape, wash away tape used to hold hems and patch pockets in place.

Size up! Good suggestion, I sized up one size (from S to M) and still the jacket is a close fit. If you want to be able to wear this jacket over a large bulky sweater - might want to size up two sizes.  I think one should also consider your fabric choice when picking your size. I used a laminated cotton, so there is no give. If I used a heavy twill or cotton, there would be more natural give in the garment, allowing a more relaxed fit and more comfortable for wearing ease.
Line the arms with a slick fabric, or traditional lining - priceless! Do it! The arms of this jacket are slim - and you will be much happier with the finished product when you can easily slip your arms in and out. 

picture of jacket lining:

Now about the arms, I measured the armhole before cutting and compared to another jacket that fits me comfortably - this jacket armhole was 3 inches smaller! So I added 1 1/2 inches on each side of the armhole. After I adjusted the armhole I measured the sleeve cap and found I only had to add maybe a 1/2 inch total (1/4 inch to each side) to the length of the cap in order to fit the larger armhole adjustment. I read in other reviews that several people had trouble fitting the sleeve into the armhole- and my adjustments would confirm that the sleeve cap is probably too generous and can be made smaller to fit into the original armhole of the pattern. 

See alterations here - pens point to lengthening 1 1/2 inch to armhole & 1/4 inch additions to sleeve width (I did not add paper for this alteration, I just eyeballed it when cutting - pardon the notes on my pattern pieces)

The last adjustment I made was to the back of the neckline.  The back neckline is very straight - almost a straight line.  When I put on the shell of the jacket the back neckline stood up too high on the back of my neck - I don't know it that was on purpose for some reason given that there would be a hood attached to the neckline.  But since I've made other jackets with hoods and I've never had a neckline stand up against the back of my neck, I decided to curve the neckline more so it would lay flat at the base of my neck.  I took about a 1/2 inch off the neckline - I cut along the XS cut line on the pattern.
Two rookie mistakes I made -
Button placement I forgot to start my button placement at the fullest part of my bust, so I have a little gaping at the bust. 
Attaching hood when I was attaching the hood I came up about a 1/2 inch short on each side - my right/left side front was a 1/2 inch longer than my hood + seam allowance needed for linng. I just cut off the extra on the front - but what I should have done was added more slashes along the curve of the hood so that it would stretch to fit the full length of the neckline. 

Overall I'm very happy with my finished jacket and I hope to one day make another version in a heavy twill with a fun colorful lining.  I've already worn it in the rain twice and proved that it's waterproof!  


  1. Really nice jacket. Just what I have been looking for. Everything commercially available seems to be made of non-breathable fabrics, or microfiber which I do not like. Your version is great. I wonder if you would consider adding the gadget to allow someont to follow via email subscription?

  2. I am about to make this jacket. Thank you for all your tips.