Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Sapporo Coat by Papercut Patterns, Review.

EDIT, Nov 21st 2019: Since posting this review yesterday, Papercut Patterns has pulled the Sapporo Coat for review. Hopefully they will come to the same conclusions as me and fix the pattern. They have left a comment on my Instagram post HERE and said, if they end up updating the pattern, they will replace the patterns to those who already purchased it. 
So far, so good! 
------------------------------------
There's a first time for everything, and today is one of those occasions. I'm posting a review about a pattern I haven't sewn. I did intend to though! But I have limits to how many mistakes I'm going to fix and this pattern way overtakes that number. But the number one reason for deciding not to sew it and still write a review about it, is two sides of the same thing. The thing is, the design of the Sapporo Coat is fabulous. People look fantastic in it, there is no denying that. I most likely would too if I made it. But I don't want to help 'promote'* a pattern that not only has quite a few technical mistakes but also includes a ton of bad sewing practice. 
*here in the sense of putting another good looking Sapporo Coat out in the already brimming pool of mostly good looking Sapporos. I paid for this pattern myself!




The main reason why I'm writing this review, is because it eats me up knowing that one of the most popular patterns out there, not only has several technical mistakes in the pattern itself, but also has these questionable steps in the tutorial. And I know some know better and can make their own decisions while making this, but if you are a beginner or have not made a coat before, how the heck are you suppose to know?! So trust me when I say, I don't get a kick out of writing these honest reviews, but I feel a certain self-put obligation to do so, even though I have tried to put it off for over a year, ha. 


My biggest fear with this post is that I come off as arrogant or that I sound like I'm making fun of you for not noticing these mistakes when you sewed this. That is REALLY not my intention. 
To check a pattern and know about different sewing techniques, and why some are better than others, just happens to be my education. You can come up with a million subjects and I would just do what I'm told because I wouldn't know better. There is honestly nothing wrong with that, especially since most people sew as their hobby. 

Which leads me to the people that are not doing this as a hobby. The company that has charged money for this product, and they are not in the cheap end either. As soon as you charge actual money for your product, we are out of the hobby field and into the professional field, where we are allowed to have expectations to their products. 

Now that doesn't mean they are not allowed to make mistakes. Of course they are and we all do that. Maybe there are mistakes in this post, time will show! But there's a certain point where the amount of mistakes takes it from honest mistakes to either incompetence or carelessness. Where we are with this pattern and company, I don't know?

 Another thing is how we solve the mistakes we all accidentally make. Are we willing to listen and are we willing to look into it, when people point it out. I have contacted Papercut to ask about any updates to this pattern and received no answer, which again for sure could be an honest mistake. Emails disappear all the time. 

But I have also seen a screen shot of a person being brushed off with the answer "...thousands have sewed this pattern with no problems. There are no errors in this pattern." when contacting them and asking about an issue with the lining (that I had mentioned for her). Now I'm NOT looking for any public outrage here, PLEASE! I'm just informing you, so you can make your own decisions. If you still love their designs (and they are fabulous!) then you'll hear nothing from me....as long as I know that you have read this post first, ha.


And a pattern like that IS an opportunity for a lot of people to learn something. I know there are various opinions about mistakes. Should we point them out or do we already point them out too much? I'm of the opinion that we should point them out because we learn from them. I also know that some just want to be left alone in their sewing hobby and sew however they want, and by all means do! And enjoy that, I really mean it! We do not all have to have the same approach to sewing and we can all still be friends. But I know there's a big group of people that are always actively looking to improve their sewing and pattern skills, and this post is for you.


This pattern has really really baffled me. Normally I'm pretty confident in my knowledge and skills, but I must admit to have had several cases of serious self-doubt of my findings here. Especially when looking through the hashtag for the pattern and seeing gorgeous coat after gorgeous coat. But here and there I see the problems I would expect with the issues I've found. Plus with some help from friends, I realized that one of the pattern mistakes is being (unintentionally) hidden by what I would call bad sewing advice. Is that ironic or what!


Before we get started I also want to say, that when it comes to sewing techniques and tutorials, opinions are of course subjective. There are many ways of doing things, so I will try to give my arguments for why I'm criticizing a step, and I'll definitely give suggestions to what to do instead. In other words: Constructive criticism! 


Before we get started I need to introduce you to Melanie from the Instagram account @thesewmelier . She was the one that got me to check this pattern. She knew I had it printed and taped and was planning to sew it in the near future. She was going on a sewing course weekend soon (a year ago) and she was thinking of making the Sapporo Coat. But she wanted to be sure it was a good quality pattern, and she realized that she didn't quite have the skills yet to check it herself, so she asked me to check it. She always says that she wants to know that the patterns she's using are drafted correctly, so that she knows when mistakes happen, it's her own fault. I can understand that way of thinking.
 I don't think any of us expected that I would find so many issues, that it made us both abandon our Sapporo Coat making plans, yikes.

Here are the headlines for what I'll be talking about in this post:

- Front bodice top and bottom seam not matching up.

- Lining too short in two ways.

- Instructions to wait to press bottom hem after lining has been sewn shut.

- Front lining not wide enough either and impossible to actually check length because of front bodice top and bottom seam not matching up.

- Sleeve cuff double layered with outer/main fabric and both layers sewn to armscye creating bulky seams.

- Unnecessary hand sewing of lining to both armscyes. The whole lining sewing process shows a lack of understanding how to sew a lining in a coat.

- Missing seam allowance (SA from now on) on mitered corner.

- Strange sleeve cap/cuff shape.

---------


Soooo, as you can see above there's quite a list of things to talk about, so let's get started.

Front bodice top and bottom seam not matching up.
How lucky I just wrote THIS post about measuring and trueing seams because that will come in handy with the first issue. A seam that doesn't match up. This is one of the tricky ones to check, which is probably why most people haven't noticed it. And when sewing that seam, which includes the built-in pockets, it's very easy to assume something went awry during the cutting or sewing process. 

So here's the first advice. Whenever your fabric seams doesn't seem to match up while sewing, stop what you are doing and go check those seams on the PAPER pattern. Always the paper pattern and never the fabric. The fabric seams can give you indications that something might be off, but it's only the paper that can tell you for real. Fabric can stretch and do all kinds of things along the way. Paper stays the same.


1) This shows what seam I'm talking about.


2) I have drawn in the sewing lines (1 cm in because the SA is 1 cm). As you can see the difference is quite significant. 11.2cm - 9.5cm = 1.7cm. Yikes, it should be 0cm.


3) And when overlapping the seams (by 2 cm because the SA is 1 cm), it becomes much more visible. Look at where my pencil is pointing. Those two vertical lines (I've added black dots to help with visibility) are suppose to meet up and will become the coat's front edge. And of course this affect the built-in front facing too, which now doesn't match up either.


Note the red circle. I placed a pin there to make sure the two red dots to the left in photo 2) are connected. That way I now the starting place is right and that the seam is correctly overlapped.


4) This photo is just to show you the notch where the outer coat ends and the built-in facing, that is later folded, begins. This is the top front coat piece, which is shown with the back side up in all these photos.

This pattern prints in a way so the top front coat pattern piece needs to be turned with the back side up to be matched with the bottom front coat pattern piece. That's totally normal and I think we all appreciate the pattern layout taking up as little room as possible. But it just makes it a bit harder when taking photos and explaining what's going on, when one of the pattern has the back side up. (again, not a complaint, just an explanation).


Now whether it's the top one that's too long or the bottom one that's too short, in other words which one to fix, that I don't know unfortunately. I thought the front lining pattern piece would help me understand it, but unfurtunately it seems to be somewhat off to both top and bottom front outer layer pattern piece. More about that in a different chapter.

To check that seam yourself, and you definitely should, you need to draw in your sewing lines. The pattern has 1 cm SA, and then measure the sewing lines on each seam. Write down the lengths for the two seams and compare. They should be the same length!

Me and two friends (Melanie and Maria) has each checked this seam on our patterns. Melanie and I both checked size XXS-XS (both pdf version) and Maria from MyCozyCo, checked the next size (S-M), also PDF version. (I had her check after she made her coat, so when she wrote that blog post, she did not realize what was going on.) 
Maria also got a discrepancy in the seams, but not as much as Melanie and I. Maybe the biggest size has an even smaller discrepancy, or none at all?!



We have all checked our print square. Just to be clear about that.



These two photos are just to show you that the left side of the top and bottom front coat IS matching up. These you need to measure by turning your measuring tape on the side. And again, I have a pin to make sure I connect the point where the pocket begins, so I know it's overlapped correctly (in the left photo).

Lining too short in two ways.
Now there are quite a few problems with the lining. Let's talk length first, since there is double trouble with that.



They have you trace your back pattern to make the lining pattern. They have drawn a red line on the back pattern piece to mark how the lining pattern piece is different than the outer fabric pattern piece/where to trace it. In theory it's okay-ish to use the same pattern piece for both outer fabric and lining with the length modifications*. 
*Normally a lining also have a back pleat, to give room for movement of shoulder blades and back bending, but this is a roomy style, so I'll accept the possibility of a conscious choice of skipping it.

The red line for lining (which will become the outer edge of the lining, not the sewing line and the notch that I circled in red are from the original pattern. The rest are lines made by me in pencil to explain why I conclude this is not correctly drafted.


So although the pattern says:

it actually never says anywhere (that I have found) what the hem SA is. Now this doesn't bother me actually, because that notch (in the red circle) is just as good an indication for me. Plus with the cocoon shape, you definitely require some seam trueing for seams like here that are folded back up. So it's pretty clear to see where the fold line for the hem is.



So let's fold the hem and see what happens? Besides that the trueing is slightly off (see red circle above), but it's so little that I'll let it slide here. BUT since I just made that trueing seam post, I though I would take the opportunity to mention it. Moving on....

When the red line is the outer edge of the lining, then the sewing line will appear 1 cm above that red line (when the SA is 1 cm of course). But when I fold the hem line, the sewing lines does not meet. As you can see above, they are 1 cm from each other.




Here you can see the sewing line for the hem/outer fabric meeting the outer edge of the lining, not the lining's sewing line like it should. In the next chapter I'm talking about what happens if you force the two sewing lines to meet, even though the pattern isn't drafted for it. 


The separate front lining piece is 1 cm too short too. (More about that in the chapter about the front lining). The two lining pieces (front and back) match up in their side seams, but they don't match up to the outer jacket layer. It should be 1 cm further down, for the lining and outer fabric to become the same length. BUT...


....even if the red line was drawn correct, making the outer fabric and lining the same length, I would still say the lining is wrong. Because a lining that is sewn shut at the garment's hem should ALWAYS be longer than the outer layer, or you risk pulling of the outer fabric. A coat lining that is sewn shut is always spilling over the hem in sort of a folded pleat. 



Here is an example of that overspilling pleat lining. I know the Sapporo can't be finished exactly like that at the mitered corner. Here the end of the pleat is sewn into the seam between the front facing and the lining and hem (here separate pattern piece). At the Sapporo's mitered corner you could have the pleat hanging loose or remove the extra 4 cm you added to the lining (I know I said to add 5 cm, but 1 of those cm was to make it correct length) and gradually add them from the corner. I'm sorry, this is super hard to explain without photos.


Instructions to wait to press bottom hem after lining has been sewn shut.
Now why do most of the Sapporos not pull then if the lining is too short? That was the biggest head scratcher for me and it really made me question my findings, even though I checked and double checked so many times and I kept getting the same result.
Well, a third friend, plus eventually the instructions, actually gave me the answer. 
This friend doesn't have the pattern, but she's a skilled pattern drafter, so I reached out to her about this mystery. 
And she said, well maybe people sew the lining to the hem first and press the coat hem afterwards. 

Now this makes me laugh, because it shows what a sewing bubble I live in. Never in a million years did I imagine this was even an option, haha. 

I was taught to always pre-press and interface* my coat hems.

So after that theory I went to check the instructions of the Sapporo, and although the instructions are quite sparse, so I'm not going to claim that I know exactly what they mean, but I definitely do not blame anyone for not pre-pressing the hem, if this is the first time sewing a coat.
* Often with a special double sticking, sewn together interface band. You can easily make them yourself. I'll show you one day!


As you can see above they say fold the hem facing up, with right sides facing. Nothing about pressing the hem first with wrong sides facing.


So what I think happens when people follow the Sapporo's instruction is this: They sew the (unknowingly to them) too short lining to the bottom fabric hem, and then they take the whole jacket to their pressing board and simply press the hem, where the lining allows them to. That way you end up with a 0.5 cm wider hem/0.5 cm shorter coat than the pattern is drafted for. Some might think 'so what's the big deal' but as with all sewing patterns, it causes a ripple effect of wonkiness through the whole hem and front area. 
Plus a correctly drafted sewing pattern is suppose to 100% match up though all the seams and all the steps. There's no discussing that. And again remember, I'm talking about a product sold for money here. Of course it's possible to sew a slightly wonky pattern into a functioning garment but personally I'm not accepting that premise.


Here you can see a photo of me having moved the two sewing lines (of the lining and the outer fabric hem) to meet. The visible hem (when the lining has been sewn shut) is now 4.5 cm wide. Plus we get wonkiness in the fold line and with the trued line (see red circle above).

If you have made the Sapporo Coat and followed their instructions and sewed the lining to the hem before pressing, you can check my theory by measuring your visible hem. It should be 4 cm according to the pattern but my theory is, that it will be 4.5 cm or maybe even more if your outer fabric has grown a bit during the sewing process. Lots of coat fabrics will, but lining won't.

Part of the tragicomical aspect is this: The more experienced a coat maker you are, the more problems you would have with this coat. That makes me sad on everyone's behalf.


Another part of the tragicomic is this: Bad sewing practice/advice (don't pre-press the hem) is covering (unintentional of course) for a technical error (too short lining). 



Front Lining.

If we move on the the front lining, things are getting very muddled. I'm afraid I don't have any real answers for you here, except things are not quite right. In fact it was at this point I decided that I was not going to even try to fix this pattern or sew it. The thing is a lot of things are a little bit off there. We've already talked about the length above. Of course a lot of that is caused by the seam with the pocket on the outer layer that is not matching up, which I also talked about earlier. 




1) Here is a look at the front lining piece placed on top of the top and bottom front coat pattern piece. Things are matching up at the shoulder and armscye.

2) This is simply a closer look at the bottom, where the problems are. I'm sorry for that black marker blob. I often reuse paper and print on the other side and as I was taking these photos, I noticed another pattern company's logo was right on display there, haha. Better erase before things got really confusing, ha.

3) Now I fold up the bottom hem and I fold in the built-in front facing. If this was correctly drafted (to at least be the same size as the outer layer. Let's forget the spill over lining in the length for a second), the built-in facing and hem would overlap the lining with 2 cm, because the SA is 1 cm, and they need to overlap double the SA for the sewing lines to meet.
P.S. forks are great for keeping facings in place while photographing, ha.

4) I'm marking the outer edges, so I can see how much they overlap.

5) And when I fold back the built-in facing and hem, you can see that they do not overlap by 2 cm. At the bottom it's an even 1 cm missing, but if you notice up along where the built-in facing is sewn to the lining, the line is becoming wider....which means it start to fit further up. But then you have that diagonal seam (with the pocket) through the front coat that also connect the top and bottom facing, which doesn't match up. And we are back to head scratching.

 I'm so sorry, that I don't have any real solution for you here, other than pretty much draft a new lining piece. After you fix the not matching up seam in the front outer piece of course. I know a truly helpful blogger would show you how to do that, but since I have no intentions of sewing this pattern now, for reasons stated in the very beginning of this post, I think that's going over my limit of how much time I'm going to spend on this. I hope you understand.

I do have a suggestion to the lining length though, so you fix both length issues. The rule of thumb to add correct length to a coat lining, is to make the lining pattern piece as long as the finished coat's length. Which in this case means: add 1 cm to get it down to the hem's sewing line and another 4 cm to get the lining to the hem's fold line. In total add 5 cm to both front and back the lining pattern pieces. 



Sleeve cuffs.

To even call them sleeve cuffs is a bit of s stretch. They are about 29 cm in height (finished length) and absolutely works as sleeves. But hey, let's not get hung up on semantics. What we can get hung up on though, is the instructions to cut a double pair in the outer fabric, sew them together in the hem and then in the double layer, sew them to the armscye.


That is a really bad idea when one of the fabric recommendations is heavy wool. That makes for an incredible bulky seam, with some deep looking ditches. It's not going to look good. In lighter fabrics I would say the problems are less likely, but when you have a fully lined garment anyway, why not just instruct people to sew the outer layer sleeve to the outer layer armscye/bodice and the lining sleeve to the lining armscye/bodice?! And since there's a possibly of wool, they really have to draft a sleeve hem facing (cut in the outer layer fabric) and then lining fabric for the rest of the sleeve/cuff. You can't have sewing instructions that doesn't work for all your fabric recommendations. 

Which takes me to the next point on the agenda.
 Unnecessary hand sewing of lining to both armscyes.
The whole way the lining is attached to the outer fabric layer made me a bit tired. Both lining armscyes are hand sewn to the (bulky) triple layer outer fabric plus they leave a hole in the lining to....well, I don't even know why they do that, since they hand sew the lining to the sleeves, which can easily be done from the outside as the very last steps. But like I said earlier, they shouldn't do it that way at all. So just like with the length of the lining, this is kind of double wrong.

I think we can all agree that this is a pattern drafted for industrial sewing. There are no tailoring/haute couture techniques involved. Which means the lining should be bag sewed on a sewing machine. Whatever hand sewing you are adding in the instructions for industrial sewing patterns, is almost always a matter of lack of knowledge. (Again, it is OKAY to have a lack of knowledge if you are a private hobby sewing person, but not so much if you are a professional company that charges big bucks for your patterns). 

Bag sewing, which in short means, outer fabric part and lining part, is assembled separately (including my suggestion further up with the separate lining sleeves with a facing) and then all connected on a sewing machine. First the lining is attached to the front opening and neckline (here built-in facing). A correctly drafted lining will be too long in a mathematical correct way for the front facing, to create the overspill, and there are several different and all correct ways to sew that. 

If the facing had been separate, that would have been sewn to the lining part, not the outer fabric layer. Your access is from the hem that is still open. Then you connect the two layers of sleeve hems on both sleeves. Again your access is from the bottom hem. And now you just need to connect your outer fabric hem and lining....and NOW you need at hole in the lining (normally done inside one of the lining sleeves where it's least invisible) and from that hole you reach in, grab your fabric and lining hem (hem is already pressed and prepared with interfacing, pull out and sews them shut. Last step is to sew shut that hole in the lining....okay, you can hand sew that if you insist. ;-) 

Missing SA from mitered corner.

For the longest time I thought the mitered corner was going to be hand sewn (which I was also going to have some opinions about, ha. But when starting this post I obviously had another look at the instructions, and I see now that they do indeed want you to sew it on your machine. Which is great, except that corner does not have any seam allowance to do so. 


Strange sleeve cap/cuff shape.


Lastly I want to mention the shape of the sleeve cuff, although in light of all the other things, this is absolutely minor. But that line/seam should be a smooth curve. If they meant to make that point pointy, then we should be told to pivot in the instructions. I could say some more about it, but instead I'm going to send you to THIS blog post. Because I have blogged about another Papercut Pattern before and guess what I found problematic? Yes, the sleeve cap shape. 

----------
So that's it, I rest my case, ha.
I don't know what feeling you are sitting back with but hopefully it's an enlightened one. And maybe also slightly in disbelief? If you have this pattern you should definitely go check your seams or if you have made it, go measure that visible hem. Who knows...maybe there has been updates to the patterns and things have been fixed? Or maybe the paper pattern is different? But no matter what, checking a sewing pattern can be tedious, but it's also incredible enlightening and it can save you from many troubles...even though this pattern maybe didn't give you any when you made it, ha.

Phew, this post has been hanging over my head for a whole year. I equally both wanted to do it and not wanted to do it.
It has taken as long time as I expected to actually write it, but now it's done.

Thank you for reading.

72 comments:

  1. Thank you for the detailed review! I love that I can trust your reviews to be unbiased and thorough, and I appreciate your exacting standards. Doubly grateful because I had just been considering forking over what seems a rather excessive amount of money for this particular pattern...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and I'm glad you caught this in time. :-)

      Delete
    2. Yes, I think I will save my $ as well!! Thank you!!

      Delete
  2. Thank you for this thorough post! This coat isn't my style, but I sometimes encounter this type of thing in sewing patterns and always wonder if it's them or me...

    Looking at your photos, I was struck by an idea: it could be that what is wrong with the hem isn't the length of the lining, but actually the fold line! This would explain the truing being wrong: actually, in your pictures, you can see that the length of the seam lines matches up, so when they drafted the fold line in the wrong place, the angle of the side seams got screwed up! This means that when people press after sewing, they are actually pressing the intended hem fold...
    This could even partially explain the missing seam allowance on the mitered corner - if you fold the hem further up, you now get an overlap at the corner (though you would also have to modify the fold of the grown on facing to get everything to match up - so you still get cascading errors).

    Does that make any sense? I don't own the pattern, so can't verify myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand what you are saying, and at this point I'm certainly open to that possibility too. Although the fold hem line notch is very clearly placed....UNLESS they drafted everything and then accidentally folded it wrong and then trued that seam. It could very well be. I would say your guess is as good as mine and I very much appreciate it! Thank you for reading. :-)

      Delete
  3. Thanks so much for taking the time (and I know it was a lot!!) to research these issues and post your analysis. I am rather sad because I did PURCHASE this pattern, but I began seeing and reading about issues like these, so I've put off making it. Like you, I expect to get what I pay for. If I've paid for a pattern, I expect it to work or come with solutions to discovered problems. Oh, well - I don't know what I'll end up doing. I've paid for fabric, too!!! I certainly don't want to waste both! HA! Bottom line, forewarned is forearmed and I appreciate your efforts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha yes, it did take a LOT of time, so I appreciate you noticing that. And yes, hopefully this post will help you avoid some of the issues and get a beautiful coat out of it.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for such a detailed review! I had issues with the sleeves (why, why, WHY machine sew the sleeve to the body the way they suggest??) and the too boxy shape of the arm scye making this coat, and now you mention it, I think I had issues with the lining which I assumed were my own cutting errors. Luckily my fabric was a very forgiving wool cashmere, but when people ask about the pattern I always warn them about the crazy sleeves. I'll now point them to this review :). At this point, even though I really love their designs and own several of their patterns, I don't want to make their patterns any more. I had real problems with the crotch curve / crotch length of a pair of their pants, their sleeves are always identical front and back, and a lot of their pattern pieces look like rectangles. I don't have any pattern drafting knowledge but rectangular everything just seems like a big NO to me. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and I'm sorry you had problems too...and also experienced it with some other of their patterns. Ugh.

      Delete
  5. I love this review! I am still a bit of a noob. I HAVE sewn this coat in the largest size (which is huge; I should have sized down). I did not find anything that didn’t line up, but then again, I really have very little idea what I’m doing. ����‍♀️ But what DID bother me, and which I am going to redo, were the sleeves. I made my coat with relatively thin fabric (compared to what is suggested), and they are STILL too bulky and weird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the way they do it, is really not a very good idea.... but I don't have to tell you that, because you have experienced that yourself in your finished coat unfurtunately. :-(

      Delete
  6. Hi, Mie! Thank you for posting this. I own this pattern, but have not sewn it yet, as while I love the style lines and shape, there is only one version (!) that I’ve seen on Instagram, other than the pattern model, that I like the fit of. I am shocked that none of the issues you mentioned were identified and fixed during the pattern’s testing stage (isn’t walking the seams the first thing you are supposed to do when testing a pattern???), but that until now, no one else has mentioned in their review of this pattern any of these drafting errors. I wonder if it’s because people don’t know better or because the sewing Instagram culture discourages pointing out mistakes in others’ sewing and patterns. This post is a good reminder to me to treat even the “commercial” patterns as test and to not just assume that the drafting is correct. Thank you for always providing the honest, informative, and helpful content that you do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, definitely always check the pattern. Especially when it's a company new to you. If you have sewn several and they have all turned out great, you can start relaxing a bit. ;-) And I'm not totally sure they do testing? Which in my world is okay, as long as you know what you are doing. No one test patterns on big groups and all sizes) before they are sewn into RTW clothes and that usually turns out okay...with exceptions of course. But with me being used to being part of that world, I guess that shapes my perspective of testing. But I think testing would have helped with the Sapporo. Especially with sizing, etc.

      Delete
  7. Grateful for your IG leadership in honesty/integrity/responsibility. I now am listening to a little voice inside me that was nearly ignored regarding the next duster coat I was going to cut today. Haven't seen a really good finished one. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your nice words! And yes, always listen to that little voice. ;-)

      Delete
  8. These are my feelings exactly— and I’m laughing about “forking over the money” since there are actual forks used in this blog post. But really, Mie, thank you for this incredibly detailed post. I was planning to buy this pattern (hoping maybe for a Black Friday sale) and now I’m going to look for something different. I know that having to deal with all of these issues would frustrate me tremendously. If I wanted something with so many errors I’d draft it myself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha, I have been laughing at your last sentence since yesterday. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you for making my night and for reading this post!

      Delete
  9. Thank you so much for this detailed review! I wrote a long response and it has disappeared into the cyber ether so I'll keep it short this time until I know the post will go through.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really appreciate the time you have taken to post this detailed review. I have enough pattern making skills to identify there are errors but not enough to be suffientely confident of my assessment to call out a pattern company. I love the variety that the Indi pattern companies bring the the sewing world but find it frustrating that many do not appear to have the requisite skills to create a well drafted pattern.

    I have made the Sapporo and had issues with all the items you identified. As I was working with a plaid fabric there was no hiding errors like the too short lining (yes, I had pre-pressed and basted the hem), misaligned front seam and missing seam allowance on the mitered corners. I changed the sleeve construction straight up as the potential for a bulky ugly seem was obvious and I ignored the lining insertion instructions! I also graded the pattern down as it was way oversized even for the style.

    I have made two other Papercut patterns (the Saiph Tunic and the Anima Pant) and found similar pattern making issues. I contacted Papercut regarding the Anima waistband draft but like you received no reply.

    If you ever feel up to another challenge I'd love to hear your assessment of another popular pattern, the Closet Case Carolyn Pajama. I made only the pants but was shocked at the clumsy (and downright weird) drafting on this pattern. I did make a comment on social media regarding this pattern but was over shadowed by the many devotees of this pattern.

    JenC (insta: insanelypresent)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yikes, I'm sorry. It sounds like making this coat in plaid is a true nightmare. Plaid is a really good way to check any pattern, isn't it! And I actually try to stay away from bad drafted patterns because they totally ruin my day. Plus when I then get my hands on one, I feel this obligation to post about it honestly, because how else can you trust my good reviews. So no, I'm not looking for a challenge, ha.I have become more and more careful with what companies I sew from, and I was mad at myself for being blinded by the good looking sample photos of the Sapporo two years ago. But hey, I made up for it now I guess. :-) Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comment.

      Delete
  11. This was so interesting to read. I know nothing of pattern making, but have sewn for myself for 60 (yes, 60) years, always from Big 4 patterns until recently. I have found errors in a lot of patterns in recent years, and decided to get modern and buy and download from the Independents. I tried the Papercut Pinnacle top, and found similar issues with it, seams not lining up properly. As I sew from instinct rather than knowledge, I adjusted it all to make it work, but doubt I would go with Papercut again. I have admired the Sapporo coat but definitely won't go near it now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, instinct is also a type of (valuable) knowledge, and I'm glad you were able to make it work, but yes, it shouldn't be necessary. Thank you for your comment!

      Delete
  12. I really appreciate objective criticism of patterns I'm considering making (particularly ones that call for a bigger investment, yardage for a wool coat isn't cheap!). I've noticed many reviews focus on the good, but either don't mention write off the bad to being their own fault somehow. I have no professional experience so I liked learning more about your take- had no idea about pre-pressing coat hems, for instance. Would love to read more like this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! One day I'll get around to it. Hopefully you don't have to wait another year! :-)

      Delete
  13. Mie, thank you for you're honest review. Even I (with minimal coat sewing experience - check my IG-feed @lily28923 if you want to take a look at the coat I made my daughter from an Ottobre Design Pattern ;-)) know that the lining needs to be longer than the hem seam. I never sewed with a papercut pattern and I am not sure I will now. I had my fair share of sewing trouble with poorly drafted patterns (mostly also arm-scye shapes) that I now mostly sew patterns from Designers that have a formal education in that field (Grainline Studio, Deer&Doe, Marilla Walker are some of my favourites) or as German designers often do the drafting is outsourced to a professional pattern drafter. And please keep up the honest reviews - it is so helpful for the fast hobby sewist masses that have no formal education in this field and rely on good patterns and instructions :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment, and I promise to keep it up. Although, I'll prefer to just come by greatly drafted patterns, ha.

      Delete
  14. Uh oh, I obviously meant the "vast" and not "fast" masses of hobby sewist ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you. I appreciate your honesty and I think I’m not the only one you have saved money by swerving this pattern purchase NOW!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment and for reading it. I'm glad I would be at help. :-)

      Delete
  16. Oooh this must have taken so much time!!!! Thank you! This pattern is not my style. But I really appreciate your insights into what to look out for in a coat pattern.

    I really think there is a lot of lack of knowlegde amongst indie pattern designers. It always amazes me that totally untrained sewists start to endeavor into pattern making solely based on the enthousiasm of others for their creativity and style. Creativity and style and even craftsmanship are not the same as technical knowledge of pattern drafting, grading and trueing. To make things worse is that they decide to ask their 'fan base' to test their patterns. But fans are not necessarily good sewists nor do they have the technical knowledge to know if something in the pattern is off, nor will they feel confident enough to tell the designer they admire that something is wrong... As long as patterns are fairly simply they can get away with it. Though I do hate it when seams do not match up... also on simple patterns...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh, it has taken so long...plus all the pondering I've been doing about this, while I procrastinated actually making the post, haha. I love your thoughts and the fan base comment is really interesting. That's not an angle I have thought about before. Thank you!

      Delete
  17. Thanks for your honest review and detailed explanations! I have actually made this coat. It was while ago now so I don’t remember specifics, but I definitely remember having some head scratching moments that I put down to being an inexperienced coat maker. It’s good to know that maybe it wasn’t me! I love the coat I made and wear it regularly in cold weather but I’m in no hurry to make another!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for that pat. I did buy the pattern and I was really struggling with the lining. Otherwise all matched (the largest size). I found the lining instructions atrocious really and went for the help of YouTube and my mum's old trusty tailoring book.
    Yep, you are right if you charge money your instructions should be in full and there should be support in place. I did some named clothing patterns and the ladies responded promptly to my enquiry. Keep on with a good work and thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and for your comment. :-)

      Delete
  19. I have made this coat twice and assumed that I had cut out wrongly. The mitred corners I had to fudge and hand sew. Now your fantastic calling out of the problems has made me feel so much less of a dork, so thank you for that. I can also appreciate that there are so many issues that you don't want to spend any more time on this, much as I'd love somebody to tell me how to fix everything. But that's Papercut's prerogative, after all. Thank you so much for showing us that it's not always our mistakes which make a project less than spiffy, and that we should always check the pattern and at least walk the seams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm SO happy that my post helped you exactly the way I hoped. Thank you for letting me know! :-)

      Delete
  20. This is a wonderful post--I appreciate you taking the time and effort to write and photograph all of this in the name of education and helping others avoid frustration and heartache. This pattern isn't one I would ever make, but this was all still fascinating to read and learn about. Thank you for your honesty, and for sharing your expertise so willingly!

    -Abbey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for appreciating it. I agree, I think this post is useful to many more than just the ones who have this pattern. :-)

      Delete
  21. Wow! Just wow! I can't believe how bad this is! I really liked the design but never bought it because I made the Bellatrix blazer last year and I was very disappointed with the quality of the pattern. Like with the Sapporo, the lining has absolutely no ease and there are a few other issues that I noticed. Who knows what I missed, there might be more?! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, who knows...I'm definitely not buying it to check, haha. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Delete
  22. Can I just say that I love you? You're the most thorough sewist, a generous member of our community, and I totally trust and enjoy your insights. I'm sorry to Papercut Patterns - but this is a great lesson to us all! We're all learning. Thanks, Mie. - Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, sure you can. :-) And I love your comment, I'm blushing! Thank you!

      Delete
  23. I bought the pattern, printed it, pieced it together, pre-washed my fabrics. Glad I put off cutting it out. I will wait to see if they will be doing anything to fix these mistakes. I would have likely improvised and blamed most of the problems on myself for cutting or sewing something incorrectly. Good to know others make mistakes too! Thank you for the time spent to inform makers based on your knowledge of patterns and sewing.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Would really appreciate more reviews like this although it was obviously a hell of a lot of work. I love the Papercut aesthetic and have made a couple of their patterns without issue. I have bought the Sapporo pattern but was holding off as I've never made a coat and was very intimidated. Will have to shelve it now as I am not experienced enough to understand a lot of what you have pointed out let alone be able to correct issues. You've gone to a lot of trouble to preface your review with justifications but once we hand over the money it is a contract with expectations so well done for having the proverbials to post this and its invaluable for people like me without great skill who would have blamed myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, so much work! And I greatly respect you for admitting this might be out of your dept for now. IF the pattern were correct and the instructions sensible, then this absolutely could be a great project for the not yet so experienced sewist. Hopefully they will fix it. It's a beautiful design.

      Delete
  25. Gulp, I have the paper pattern in my “to do” stash. This makes me feel shaky. I do not want patterns that I cannot trust. I do not have the time, or experience, to deal with a pattern with so many problems. Thank you for taking the time for this review. You have thoroughly supported your case. I appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand and thank you for appreciating my post. I DID feel a bit like I was preparing for a court case when making that post, haha.

      Delete
  26. Interesting to read this. I haven't made the Sapporo Coat but I have made the Waver jacket by Papercut and I encountered some issues with it. I hadn't really made a coat like that before so I assumed it was perhaps user error, however I was quite meticulous about pattern cutting etc.

    I found that notches did not meet up, that the lining was actually too long and the whole mitred corner thing didn't seem to work as it should have. I cobbled it together but it certainly didn't come together with ease. The instructions were pretty sparse for a novice.

    So perhaps there are some pattern issues with that one as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that could very well be. On my IG post, there has been mentions of other of their patterns as well with similar problems. Yikes.

      Delete
  27. Thank you for taking the time and energy to both check this pattern AND let us all know what you found. I have been sewing for a long time but still tend to assume that the pattern drafters did it right and problems are my fault. I'm getting better about checking patterns before cutting but you have elevated this step to MUST DO status for me. I have the Sapporo pattern and may yet make it someday. But thanks to your hard work I will be checking everything and fixing before cutting. Awesome work and thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One after thought: As someone mentioned above, many people like the Papercut aesthetic and creativity. But their execution makes me think of how most of us made doll clothes when we were very young: cut 2 dress shaped pieces and sew them together. This method works surprisingly well when you're only fitting a skinny, model shaped person (you know, those people who can make a paper sack look stylish). But when the rubber hits the road all bets are off.

      Delete
    2. Omgosh Ann your afterthought made me giggle...okay, laugh out loud. Hopefully they will update the pattern, so you can end up just checking and not having to fix everything. :-)

      Delete
  28. Thanks so much for writing this. I had a lot of problems with this pattern. The lining was too short and I ended up finishing it with bias binding and just leaving it unattached. The sleeves were too long and bulky, and as you've shown the pocket front seams don't match up - which I hadn't even noticed because it's worn without a closure. I thought this was just mistakes I'd made or about the coat not suiting me very well. I also had problems recently with their Pinnacle Top (they did reply to my email and assured me that it's meant to be longer at the back and higher at the front and kind of wavy in the hem...) and with the Ravine Dress too. Anyway, it's kind of a relief to know that all these problems aren't just my bad sewing even if they're partly my bad sewing! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. I'm glad my post was useful to you! :-)

      Delete
  29. I've been on a bit of a sewing "fail" journey lately, and I am glad I read your post. I don't think I can handle one more miss. Hopefully Papercut will address these issues. Can I say I want my money back...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess you can say you want your money back, but I doubt they'll give it. Hopefully they'll fix and replace the patterns, so you can have a good starting point for that project.

      Delete
  30. Thank you very much for taking your valuable time to post this lengthy and enlightening review. My experience with the small independent pattern companies has been less than stellar (though I have not purchased from Papercut). Whenever I’ve inquired about discrepancies I’ve never received a satisfactory response, and received flak from other sewers too. Your knowledge regarding pattern drafting far surpasses my own and I always think I’m doing something wrong when checking the pattern, which I always do now! I completely understand your ambivalence about writing this review. I applaud your courage, frankness, and in-depth analysis. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gail, thank you so much for saying that. Yes, it definitely caused some anxiety before pressing the 'publish' button, but I knew it had to be done. And if a person with an actual relevant education couldn't do it, then who could?! (Not that it should be like that, but I think you know what I mean!) So I was proud to take one for the team. And the response was overwhelming in an positive way, both from the company and the sewing community. Phew.

      Delete
  31. Kudos to you for making such a great post about this pattern! It was thorough, well explained and illustrated! As a trained pattern drafter and live sewing streamer I truly appreciate it! I always try to be honest with my viewers. And you’ve given me even more assurance it’s always the right tactic. Honesty saves so much heartache. I always think of that sewist sitting at their machine in the middle of the night crying in frustration and I feel for her/him so much. You just prevented a bunch of folks going through that! You deserve a treat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! Thank you! We talk so much about being kind, but withholding information that could save trouble for others, is really not being kind in my opinion. Thank you for the support.

      Delete
    2. Exactly! Honesty isn’t being mean but it certainly gets painted that way. I wish more folks could just own up to something and converse about it and move forward! No judgements -just progress. Thanks again.

      Delete
  32. Thank you so much for this! How timely since this was going to be my next project and first coat to sew. I am still a beginner and am glad to read this before starting the whole process. Hope they will have fixes soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you saw this in time. Thank you for reading it. :-)

      Delete
  33. Well I'm happy to say the Sapporo bandwagon is one I never jumped on. If one is not enlightened to good design and drafting then being unhip can be a saving grace!
    Nice post Mie. I've had a few drafting fails with some indie patterns and I'm ridiculously fussy now about what I'll sew. I may not always know what's wrong, and I may never know how to fix it, but I'll back my execution of the sewing part to the grave, so I figure I can sometimes call "your fault" to those bad patterns. Next time I get a dud I'd love for you to explain the "why"! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shelley I have always liked you, and once again you made me laugh with your commment of "...being unhip can be a saving grace." Hahahaha. Thank you so much for reading and for your support.

      Delete
  34. What a great post. I have toyed with making this but remember seeing poor Melanie’s stories making this coat. I think the tendency for people to avoid pointing out these mistakes constructively is so detrimental overall. My first garment was SOI ultimate shift which I had terrible issues with - not being able to move my arms. This put me off sewing for months as it was supposedly one of the most simple patterns on the market. Only after speaking to other people a couple of years later did I realise this is a common, if not universal problem. As a beginner it really made me think this hobby was out of my skill set!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really IS detrimental (yay, I just learned a new word!). I'm terribly sorry to hear that a badly drafted pattern had that affect on you, and after reading the hundreds of comments on here and on social media, I know you are not alone. Others have had similar experiences. I hope you have managed to find some patterns that support your sewing adventures instead of working against you. :-)

      Delete
  35. This was a fascinating read. Thank you for taking the time - I feel like I learn a lot more through thoughtful criticism, and the level of care and detail here is wonderful. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, that was exactly part of the idea for the post. Even if you didn't have this pattern, it should be useful to read anyway.

      Delete
  36. Thank you for such a comprehensive and fairly written review. I have made the coat three times and I'm fairly beginner so didn't notice all these things but some, like the front pieces not lining up - thank goodness it wasn't just me! I learnt a lot from your review too. Thanks

    ReplyDelete

I love your comments.
Thank you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...