Work in Progress: The Gertie Coat

I really should stop calling Butterick 5824 the Gertie coat, but this late in the game I can’t help it.  I think you all know exactly what I’m talking about when I say the “Gertie Coat”.

Anyhow… after finishing up 4 of my sewing WIP’s (all skirts) I was debating starting something completely new to change things up and to reward to myself for finishing up so many languishing projects.

Here’s a quick rundown of my outstanding projects list.

Sewing Projects:

Knitting Projects:

Instead I had an desire to keep working down the list of projects that are uncompleted and decided to start up my Butterick 5824 coat once again.  I started it primarily so I could at least wear it once before the winter is at an end… but we’ll see.

Where I left things:

  • The skirt was stitched up, but felt way too wide and dumpy on my short, pear-shaped frame
  • The bodice was completed, with the exception of the outer collar
  • All linings needed to be drafted from my bodice pattern, cut, stitched and attached


These are the main components that need attention before I can move on so I dug in late last week.

I first got to work on the skirt which did take me more than 1 day for sure.

I had the same issue on the skirt of this coat, that I did on my recent completed purple Dubarry skirt.  The width at the hem was too full for my short stature and created an out-of-proportion look that was not attractive.

I started little by little, taking out an 1″ at the hem (ie 2″ for both seam allowances) grading to nothing at the waist.  It wasn’t enough.  I kept reducing the hem by 1″ at a time until I got to 4″.

Again, this skirt has 6 seams, which I reduced each seam by 4″.  This all means that I took out a total width of 48 inches at the hem!  Even so, I feel like I could have gone a smidge narrower at the hem.

So while the hem started looking better, what this meant was that I had to unpick my side seam pocket and pocket facing that I had stitched (and graded the seam allowances already) and restitch it.  What was frustrating was that I had to unpick and stitch this pocket on 3 times, mainly due to my own error.  But still…. it’s really frustrating to have to redo your own work so many times to get it right.

After the skirt was completed, I basted it onto the bodice to see what it was looking like all stitched up.

The only issues I’m seeing after stitching the top to the bottom is:

1.) My bound buttonhole placement seems a bit too close to the seam.  Only time will tell if this is a make-or-break- on my bodice.

2.) The length at the center bodice back seems too short.

Instead of looking like a flat (or parallel to the floor) seam, it looks as if it’s curving upwards.

I stitched the seam with a 5/8″ seam allowance so I’m hoping that I can stitch it with 1/4″ and it will look much better.

But my backup plan, that makes me feel like all is not lost, is that I have always been planning on making a tie belt for this coat.  So if the seam does end up too high, the belt would cover it up in any event.

It’s not ideal, but it does make the coat wearable.  And like I said, I had been planning on making a belt anyhow.

What’s up next is the outer collar.  (Followed by all-things-lining and then all of the final construction.)  So really it’s not too much before I can have a completed coat.  But it’s always those little things that are unforeseen that end up taking the bulk of the sewing time…. I’m talking about you shoulder pads!

In: Sewing

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

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