Butterick 6900: A leather blocked, drop shoulder coat

I’d like to share with you a pretty typical conversation that ensues each time I break out something new that I’ve made for myself.

Me: What do you think of my new coat? (pre-empting some inevitable design confusion) It’s a drop shoulder design. It’s supposed to be unfitted. 

Husband: It’s interesting. I like it. (moving closer to inspect my stitching and style lines better) It’s really good. But it’s a bit big for you. Look at the shoulders.

Me: It’s the design. That’s why they’re called drop shoulders.

Husband: It’s a bit big at the back too. It looks a bit masculine.

Me: Yeeeeeesss (my speech slows and perhaps my eyes begin to roll a little). It’s the design. It’s a boxy, oversize, drop shoulder style of coat.

Husband: You know, it would look great if you cinched in the waist with a really wide belt.

Me: Yes. It. Would.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen the original coat that caught my eye and that ended up becoming my design inspiration. I also shared a few sketches of my own coat in the early planning stages. I’m pretty useless at drawing, but Fashionary is a great way for me to get my ideas down on paper, so that I can solidify a design in my head, and then have something to refer back to when I’m playing around with the actual pattern pieces. 

For this coat, I started with Butterick 6900, but I made a lot of modifications:

  • Lengthened the shoulder seams and dropped the armscye to achieve the oversized, drop shoulder look, rather than a coat that just looks too big (Husband you know nothing!)
  • Sharpened the collar to a point
  • drafted a lining to include the existing facing pieces
  • shortened View B by 4″
  • changed the position of the welt pockets and slimmed them down
  • lengthened the sleeves
  • added a front and back yoke to accommodate and suit the size of leather I had to work with
  • added shaped panels to the sleeves in contrast wool and lambskin
  • top-stitched some contrast lambskin and cowhide to the bottom of the coat 


The cowhide I used, as you know, was upcycled from my leather skirt. The grey fabric is a beautiful, medium/heavyweight, double faced wool. One side is grey and the other is a pretty plaid. Both sides are invisibly stitched together very securely. The edge of the swatch in my photo is separated because I actively removed the stitches to pull both fabrics apart.

Even though I didn’t make the most of both sides of this great fabric, I still found it useful in reducing the bulk in my coat. I only used one layer of the wool fabric for the collar underside since the leather was so bulky. I also carefully separated and cut away the grey seam allowance when preparing the facing to attach to the bulky leather at the front of the coat.

I preferred the plain grey for the outer of this particular coat and I only used the plaid for the front facing, but if I had a limitless budget, I would definitely buy more of this great double faced wool and make it up quite simply and unmodified in and unlined coat like Vogue 8930.

In terms of construction, I underlined both the front and back leather yokes with hair canvas.
The lining I used for my coat was a sleek Ralph Lauren polka dot silk CDC. I also used a bit of blue lambskin for the contrast panels and pocket welts.

I am so pleased with how this coat turned out. It isn’t perfect. I had a lot of trouble top-stitching through the thickness of the cowhide in many places. However, with a little handstitching and compromise, I don’t think that this is too noticeable. I also haven’t decided on front closures. I quite like the clean, no-closure look. I could have used magnets, but the coat keeps closed well enough on it’s own because of it’s roomy nature. I’m also considering buttonholes, via an embroidery house or by hand. I love my Pfaff, but I think coat buttonholes need a bit of extra special treatment to look professional. I’ve also thought about leather buckle/toggles, but I’m quite happy with the coat as it is right now.

31 thoughts on “Butterick 6900: A leather blocked, drop shoulder coat

  1. Ann

    Your coat is nothing short of sensational! By the way, I have those same conversations with my husband. We want to please them, but it is important not to let them stifle our creativity. At least, you have us, your adoring followers!


  2. SewJillian

    I am so in love with the chevron side view. The front and back? Meh? Totally joking! I love it all, but especially that blue chevron side view. Just in case you missed it.


  3. allspiceabounds

    Debbie, this coat is absolutely gorgeous! I love your design sense and use of color, not to mention how creative you are with altering patterns to suit your vision. This is truly a one-of-a-kind coat that vibrantly expresses your personality. Congrats on a stunning project!


  4. sallie oleta barbee

    Wow!! How fantastic!! It's so unique! I just love your style sensibility and your fearlessness with working with different textiles and silhouettes and embellishing to suit your vision. This coat is a stunner! Leave it as is – I love the clean, unobstructed front!


  5. Gail

    I really like it – the color combo is fantastic. My favorite detail is the blue welt pockets – so pretty!

    I think men in general really only “get” one silhouette: bandage-dress fitted! I know my husband always prefers me in something that shows every single curve 🙂 But I really love this oversized look, and I think it works especially well on a tall, slim frame like yours.


  6. Debbie Iles

    Thanks Gail! What you say is so true. When I was a lot younger, I definitely used to dress for men, in “that” silhouette they seem to not be able to see past. I love being older though and being confident now to play with different looks and dress for me (and to confuse my husband along the way!). And perhaps to expand his idea of what looks good 😉


  7. Pingback: Tie back boots by Big Little // pattern tested |

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