Sunday, March 31, 2013

Butterick 5891 Katherine Tilton Top and Jacket

Just a warning--this post has quite a few pictures.

Butterick Patterns recently released a couple of patterns designed by Katherine Tilton, sister of Marcy Tilton.  (I'm still a bit curious about why she moved from Vogue to Butterick--anyone have any ideas?)  One pattern that really hit my "need to make it now" button was B5891, a very interesting pattern for a top/vest and a jacket.  I purchased it right away (well, as soon as the Butterick website put them on sale).

I decided to try the vest first.  The pattern actually describes this views A/B as a "top," but I call it a vest because I would only wear it over another garment with sleeves.  My upper arms do not make public appearances any more.

 I chose an odd fabric I had sitting on the shelves that I got from Vogue Fabrics about three years ago.  It was labeled as a poly/rayon blend striped jacquard.  I thought it was kind of weird and wasn't sure what to do with it, so it sat around for awhile.  I figured it would be good to use for testing this pattern, since I wouldn't mind if it became a wadder.

This is a very interesting pattern.  It is rather cumbersome to cut out because there are 15 pattern pieces and they are almost all cut with the fabric single layer.  I think it is essential to keep the pattern pieces attached to the cut fabric until the last possible moment and to transfer all the markings to the fabric.  It is very easy to get the pieces mixed up or get them turned around.  It would be a nightmare if your fabric looked the same on both front and back.  Luckily, my fabric had some sort of interfacing pre-fused to it, so it was quite clear which was the wrong side.  This did become an issue at one point, however, because the inside of the double collar shows the wrong side of the inner collar when you wear the neck unbuttoned.  As a result, I chose to self-line the inner collar so it would look nicer when open.

Here's a view with the collar buttoned up

And the back.  I tried to play with the texture of the fabric in the peplum pieces.

The front peplum pieces have tucks sewn in, which adds an interesting contrast to the otherwise fairly straight structure of the garment.

Overall, I'm basically happy with the resulting vest.  My fabric is probably a little to stiff for this pattern, so it may not be the most flattering look on me.  The vest is narrow through the shoulders, but increases greatly in width at the hipline--my stiffer fabric kind of accentuates that.  Also, if I ever make it again, I will cut the armscyes a little lower.  They are cut high under the armpit, which is a good feature if you are going to wear it alone as a top (no bra flashing when you raise your arms), but makes it a little tight with a shirt on underneath.  

While this is not a difficult garment to stitch together, I must say that the pattern directions were a little vague in some areas and also could have included a little more info on finishing details for a better resulting garment.  A beginning level sewist might have some difficulties figuring out what the instructions mean for you to do in certain places, but a little playing with the pieces reveals how it all comes together.

Shortly after finishing the vest, I just had to make the jacket as well.  For this I chose a raw silk tweed in natural, black and white.  I previously had washed the fabric, so it was a little more drapey than perhaps this view needs.  The collar is a really neat feature and I'm not sure it comes across as nice as it could with another fabric with more body to it.  However, I must say, I LOVE this jacket.  The collar is really fun to play with, and can be draped in different ways.  There is a small button hidden inside the left right collar that will hold the right left side of the collar inside, like here:

Or, you can leave that unbuttoned for a completely different look:

As I was rather convinced that this wasn't going to turn out well, I didn't bother to change the serger thread to a color that would blend into the fabric, so you can see the serging on the collar edges as it drapes.  When I decided I really like this jacket, I was kind of pissed at myself for being lazy.  But, actually, the more I look at it, the more I kind of like the contrast of the black serging.  The nature of the tweed is such that it hides some of the design features, such as the front shoulder princess seams, so the bit of contrast seems to add something to me.

Here's the back.  Rather simple, but it really hangs nicely.

It also has side seam pockets.

I am really very happy with this jacket.  It's a fun look, adaptable to lots of different fabrics for different looks.  Furthermore, this is much simpler and definitely quicker to put together than the top/vest view of the pattern.  I see at least one (maybe two) more of these in my future!


  1. Love, love, love both pieces. So different yet so chic.

  2. Absolutely love both pieces! I've seen (and tried on) the vest, which convinced me to get the pattern, and every version I see makes me want it more. Beautiful work :)

  3. Those are terrific and both avante garde.

  4. Both are so gorgeous! Did you lengthen the pattern at all? The proportion looks longer than in the envelope photos. I like yours much better!

  5. Finally starting my muslin for the sleeveless piece. I'm ever more intrigued and it's fun to look back at your creations.

  6. I'm making the sleeveless top out of a soft linen. I'll have it finished tomorrow. I did a slapdash muslin of the four bodice pieces just to make sure what size to cut. I completely agree with you about a lack of construction information in the instructions. A beginning sewist might just throw the half-finished garment in the trash! Louisa - I'm 5'8" and I knew I wanted it longer, but wasn't sure how long to make it. I added 2" to ever piece that had the "shorten/lengthen here" lines and am so glad I did. I don't have the peplum pieces attached yet, but can't even imagine wearing it without that extra length.

    Both of yours are beautiful, Marcy. Congratulations!

  7. I really love your fabric choices. You say the fabric you chose for the vest was a bit stiff for it, but from the photos it looks perfect and beautiful to me. The raw silk you chose for the jacket is gorgeous. They both look more beautiful than the pattern envelope photos, in fact. I was previously passing on this pattern, but now that I have seen your garments, I think I will give it a try, noting the type of fabric you used! Thanks for the post!