Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Butterick B6339 Waistcoat

Pattern: Butterick 6339
Size Made: XXL (for a 49" chest)
Fabric: Herringbone Tweed (main) Brown Taffeta (lining and back)
Alterations made: quite a few!

This was one request that took me by surprise. I suggested a couple of shirts, he came back with 'waistcoat'! Once I worked out that he was deadly serious (and by this time, the pattern had been ordered and the fabric was on its way), I panicked! That sounds a bit like tailoring!

But my good man had faith in me and so I took on the challenge.

I did a couple of muslin trials before cutting into the good stuff. The original design (and for reference we chose view B) had 2 front darts and that caused the front of the waistcoat to swing away from the center when I was fitting it to him. I took out the dart nearest to the center front and it made a dramatic difference. I am glad I didn't have to take out the second dart because I wanted to keep some shaping at the sides.

I took out the upper welt pockets as per Jays' request and placed an internal patch pocket on the inner left hand side that was measured to accommodate his glasses.

Jay wanted an additional strap on the back. There was much debate over this detail. I didn't see it in my mind but he was adamant that it was a feature that he wanted. (Thank you to Nicole for being my sounding board on this matter! Double-back-strap-gate!)

He also wanted the straps to be in wool not lining fabric. I understood this to being because he dislikes the way that a buckle can weigh the flimsy strap down on the back of a waistcoat and it is something that has always bothered him. 

I added 1" of length to the front and back pattern pieces and while fitting the shoulders I decided to reduce the seam allowance from 5/8" to 1/2" to get a better fit. Jay has wide shoulders and a broad chest so any tweaks needed to be made in those areas. I think I got the fit right in the end. One thing I have noticed on the finished garment is that he needs a small pinch taking out either side of the neckline, the back neck gapes just a little bit so I have noted that down for next time.

I did mess up one of the welt pockets the first time around. It would have bothered me too much on the finished garment so I re-cut and started again. We had ordered more fabric than we needed so luckily, this wasn't an issue. 

I must also note (more for myself than anything) that the upper and under collar pieces are hard to distinguish between when they are both in the same fabric. I really should have marked the under collar better when sewing them together as on the left hand side, I can see the bottom peeking out. I obviously got them mixed up. 

Overall, I am happy with it. I could cast a critical eye over it all day long, but for a first attempt with an unknown pattern, I am satisfied. Jay is very happy and it feels great to have made something that he has had a say in and that fits him. I just hope it gets worn! 

I think he looks very smart!

To summarize, my alterations were as follows:
  • Front and Back pieces lengthened by 1"
  • Internal patch pocket to fit glasses put on the inner left hand side
  • Dart nearest center front eliminated
  • Additional strap added to the back
  • Shoulder seam allowance changed to 1/2"
  • Upper welt pockets removed

I would recommend this pattern if you are looking for a waistcoat, it was straightforward and as long as you mark all the pieces properly as you go along, there shouldn't be any issues. There are plenty of options with the pattern too as there are 6 different views to make. Good value for money!

Thanks for reading!


  1. It looks great! The double strap detail is something I would have had trouble envisioning too, but I like how it looks and I really like that the straps are in the tweed as well. Great work!

    1. Sometimes you have just got to trust somebody else's vision and go with it! I have stretched my sewing legs with this one and it worked out just as he had wanted. Thanks Masha!

  2. I like this a lot, I was not sure about the double back strap but it works!
    Absolutely beautiful sewing.

    1. Thank you so much! The test will be how much it gets worn over the cooler months.

  3. This is FANTASTIC. So good. He looks very pleased with his new waistcoat, and rightly so! Beautifully done.

    1. Thanks Inder! He rarely asks for anything so specific, but he had a good part in the choosing and making up of this one. He is a happy boy indeed!


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