Here is my rendition of the popular McCall’s 5525 trench. I love it! It’s such a bright, happy colour and I absolutely adore it!
This is the first outerwear garment I’ve made and I enjoyed taking each step at a time and watching it slowing develop into a lovely jacket. I made a muslin (toile) for this, well, two in fact and I made a LOT of alterations to the pattern. I’m beginning to get used to the alterations I have to make for the Big 4 patterns and I’m pleased with the fit of this jacket.
Pattern and Sizing McCall’s 5525 – I made View C without the back yoke, right front yoke and shoulder tabs. I made a size 10 shoulders and bust and then out to a 14 for the waist and hips. My measurements correspond more with a 12 bust and 14/16 waist and hip but when I made up the size 12 muslin it was far too big in the shoulders and a 14/16 body would have been very roomy.
Fabric I used 2.3m (2 1/2 yards) of teal green stretch cotton twill and a couple of metres of grey rayon lining. The twill was a lovely fabric to work with but I nearly gave up before I’d even started as I just could get it to stay on grain for me to cut it accuately – it kept springing back off grain! I managed it though and I’ve got no problems with twisting seams so that’s good! I had less fabric than the recommended amount on the pattern envelope but it was fine. The only thing that I had to do was piece the belt so there are a couple more seams than would normally be there but I doubt that anyone will notice! (except sewists of course!)
Here’s a list of my classic alterations and the methods I used:
- Short upper chest – I took out 1/2″ between shoulder and bust on front, back and sleeve pieces.
- Short waist – I took another 3/4″ off between the bust and waist. I’m short-waisted so these are pretty standard adjustments for me.
- Total length – I’m not sure whether this qualifies as an adjustment as I didn’t actually do anything but I purposely didn’t compensate for the above adjustments by lengthening the pattern below the waist as I wanted the trench to finish just above my hip. The muslin finished right on my hip which wasn’t very flattering.
- Broad Back Adjustment – Lately I’ve been using Sandra Betzina’s method from Fast Fit (Threads article here) which involves cutting a larger size on the back armhole only (and therefore on the back sleeve) and I like how it worked out here. I cut a 14 back armhole and it gave me just the right amount to room to avoid that annoying pulling feeling I get constantly from RTW. I have also tried Palmer and Alto’s Fit For Real People’s (FFRP) technique which is good but here I would have found it difficult to ease in the extra on the back shoulder and I certainly didn’t want to put in a dart.
- Rounded Back Adjustment – 3/8″ using FFRP technique.
I’ve played around a lot with the forward shoulder adjustment in the past but didn’t use it here as I wanted to see if the high round back solved the problem. Still not sure but it’s certainly better than without any alteration.
In terms of construction, I used a weft-insertion interfacing from Gill Arnold instead of the sew-in stated on the pattern. It worked fine because it’s a good quality one and it supports the fashion fabric without affecting the drape or feel of the fabric. I accidentally interfaced both sides of the collar and stand and I’m glad I did because it needs the extra support I think. I also interfaced the lapel and collar area of the facing as well as the front piece because that also needs support. I did this after I’d attached the collar so it was a bit of a tricky job but next time I will definitely interface that area beforehand, it’s worth it.
Overall, I’m very happy with my trench and I love this pattern. It’s so versatile yet so classic and I can see myself coming back to it again and again. One day I’ll make a longer version in a deep purple wool with bound button holes and I’ll try my hand at a bit of tailoring. I really did love the process of making this jacket though – I’m a perfectionist and I enjoyed focusing on each little step and getting it right before moving on instead of rushing through and not being happy with the result.
By the way, if you’re into crochet or thinking of taking it up, take a look at The Crimson Owl’s Convertible Cowl pattern – it’s great for beginners (like me!) and it’s both stylish and practical. I’ve already made 3 including the purple one in these photos!