Butterick 6331: DIY Short Length Trench Coat

Butterick 6331 Short Trench

Hey Friends,

I firmly believe we all learn so much from our mistakes. Everything we make, whether good or bad, is a valuable learning experience. That’s why I like to document my “failures” as well as my hits. I am not saying this trench is a complete failure…I think it will get worn, and I think I will probably try and make the pattern up again as intended, but it’s definitely not a perfect make by any means. Read on to find out why…

Butterick 6331 Short Trench

Butterick 6331 is one of the Lisette patterns, designed by Liesl Gibson, and honestly, I think it’s a great little pattern (spoiler: I have already made the pants from the pattern – see here on Instagram, and love them). The problems I encountered arose from my decision to fully line this jacket. First some detail shots.

Butterick 6331 Short Trench

I added the sleeve tabs and shoulder epaulettes myself: these features are not included as part of the pattern. I substituted traditional buttons for snaps and omitted any fastenings from the front of the jacket as I wanted a clean look. I have worn the jacket a couple of times actually and it seems ok without fastenings.

Butterick 6331 Short Trench – shoulder epaulette detail
Butterick 6331 Short Trench – sleeve tab detail

So, as designed, the trench is intended to be unlined. Initially I was all set to do a bias bound finish on all the seams, but I started off sewing the pockets (which use 0.25 inch seam allowance I think?) and therein the problems arose. I mean, maybe I could have french seamed them or something but gosh, they looked awful. I think I am correct in saying that the Sewaholic Robson trench (which is also unlined) uses 5/8ths inch, so maybe that facilitates getting a neater finish using bias binding, and possibly the same applies to the new Deer and Doe Luzerne trench (?) but nope, wasn’t happening for this sewist. So I then made the decision to fully line the trench using a checked viscose lining I had in my stash (BTW, the outer fabric was also from my stash – a supposedly ex-Burberry shower resistant fabric I purchased some years back from eBay).

Butterick 6331 Short Trench – inside lining

Two problems I encountered with lining this jacket:

  1. Initially I didn’t use the included facing pieces and cut a full lining using the outer jacket pattern pieces. This resulted in a show of the lining at the lapels when turned back. See here for a picture of that. So, then, I had to do a patch job with the remaining fabric I had and as a result, my lapels have a join in them, which you can just see when the jacket is being worn.
Butterick 6331 Short Trench
Butterick 6331 Short Trench – front facings

2. I just couldn’t get my head around what alterations to make to the sleeve lining to get them to join smoothly to the facing. Even now, I just don’t know what alterations to make to the pattern pieces. I mean, I did it, but it’s not perfect and, as a result, I think the sleeves are not hanging perfectly straight.

In short, a catalogue of disasters: none of which, I hasten to add, are the patterns fault. As I said above, I would like to make this jacket up again, maybe in a sturdy twill or even a linen but not add the lining!

Butterick 6331 Short Trench
Butterick 6331 Short Trench

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Loose-fitting, unlined, double-breasted jacket has notched collar, side-front seams and pockets, belt loops, back button shield, elasticized back casing, tie ends, stitched hems, two-piece, rolled raglan sleeves (wrong side shows). A: Below elbow sleeves and button tabs. Semi-fitted, tapered pants (slightly below waist) have waistband, belt loops, side-front pockets, yoke back, and mock-fly zipper. C: Cropped.

I made view B.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, although I added a full lining.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pattern itself is a good pattern (including the pants which I have also made up – review to come), and the issues I encountered were to do with my decision to add a full lining, also not helped by the fact that I had to patch my front facings which has resulted in a join which is slightly visible when the jacket is being worn. I like the overall shape and length. I would like to make this jacket up again as intended. I wanted to do a bias bound finish on the interior seams but the pockets are sewn with a 0.25 inch seam allowance (I think this is correct) and my binding just looked awful. I would love to know how the designer intended to finish the interior seams.
Fabric Used:
The outer fabric was purchased a few years ago from eBay and is supposedly an ex-Burberry shower resistant poplin (?)

The lining is a checked viscose.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut a size 18 through the shoulders, bust and arms and ended up grading out 2 sizes at the hips as well as adding a further 1 inch at the side seams.
  • Removed 3 inches from the sleeve length.
  • Lowered bust fullness by 1 inch.
  • Added 1 inch at lengthen/ shorten lines to get waist in to the right position and a further 1.5 inches below the pockets (to ensure the pockets didn’t move down too low).
  • Raised the position of the back elastic by 1.5 inches and lowered the carrier positions at the front by 6/8ths inch.
  • Added sleeve tabs and shoulder epaulettes with snaps.
  • Omitted front fastenings.
  • Added additional topstitching to the belt and belt carriers.
  • Added a full lining – I still cannot fathom what alterations I should have done to the sleeve lining to get a smooth join to the front facing. I just did it and as a result I suspect the sleeves are not hanging entirely straight.
  • Sewed through the lining on the back piece to create a “casing” through which I fed the elastic and sewed the ends closed through all layers of the jacket plus elastic.
  • Note: my front facings have a join which is just visible on one side when the lapels are turned back because I ended up having to patch my facings when I cut my lining pieces.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes, I do think this is a good shape for me and I would like to sew it again – but unlined! I have already made the pants from this pattern – review to follow – and they are good. Yes, I recommend.
A bit of a catalogue of errors on my part – not the fault of the pattern – but I have worn it a couple of times and I think I would like to make this one up again.

Until soon, have a great week (next week is my first week back at work, eek!). I have lots of unblogged things to come.

Butterick 6331 Short Trench

Outfit details: red Jalie Elenore pull on jeans and striped McCalls 6886 (modified) breton top.


Posted by

By day I work in the exciting world of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, registering medicines (!), but by night I turn in to a sewing diva, making all manner of clothes in my beautiful sewing space (which you can tour using the link at the top of this blog). I love how sewing and sewing clothes that fit my curvy body continually challenges me. I enjoy working with all different types of fabric, and whilst I don't like to put restrictions on myself and say I won't buy RTW, the truth is that I probably rarely do buy it, preferring the fit of my own me-made clothes. I love to use natural fibres where ever possible and colourful coats are an obsession of mine! Sewing is both my addiction and my therapy. You can contact me at sewmanju@yahoo.co.uk

24 thoughts on “Butterick 6331: DIY Short Length Trench Coat

  1. On the sleeves: most front facing are partial front pieces. So there’s usually lining-to-lining at the sleeve vs lining to fashion fabric. So that may be why it feels a little off to you.

    I’ve wanted this one for awhile so I’m happy to see it sewn up. I really like it! That fabric looks perfect for the pattern.

  2. I know that you had troubles adding the lining but it’s a great little trench! It’s on my to sew list also. Since I want to make mine in denim, I will be using hong kong finishing to make it work so thanks for the guidance! Can’t wait to see the next version.

  3. I love the details you added. I am sorry you are not completely happy with it but I am glad you have been able to wear it anyway.

  4. Your jacket looks nice in the pictures but I feel your pain. I appreciate you taking the time to document a not-so-stellar project (in your opinion). I’m hoping with time you will forget your struggles and enjoy your jacket.

  5. Really nice jacket Manju! I have been looking for a trench pattern and now this one is on the list. Love your addition of the lining!

  6. I love your added details of sleeve tabs and epaulettes. The additional top stitching really does make a difference. I see what you mean about the sleeve joining the front facing. It’s tricky to get the raglan shoulder seam joining what looks like a set in sleeve facing. Would the lining have shown if you redrafted the front facing for a raglan line? Maybe change the front sleeve to a set-in style for the lining. All changes if you make this design again. This version looks wonderful.

      1. Thank you again for your post, Manju! Just put up a “problem” make of me own. Completion sure feels good.
        High 5 & knuckle bump m’friend!

  7. Looks great. I’ve made the robson and it looks good though the pockets flap about. Also it took ages to find the binding! I like a lining really.

  8. I’m just about to make this and was definitely planning a lining. So I came searching for this great blog post! Thanks.
    I’m going to go with the cheats way; being lining the jacket pieces before sewing the facing. The facing is then unattached over the lining (I’ll probably bind the raw edge of the facing) and so should be exactly as per unlined pattern in terms of what’s visible. Anyway, that’s my theory, you are free to laugh when I cock it up.
    Mostly wanted to say thanks for the sleeve tabs prompt. They are essential!

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