Someday it's gonna rain

A few years ago, we had a prolonged drought in California. By the time the skies finally filled with rain clouds again, my umbrella sat damaged in the closet, I didn't own a single raincoat, and my puppy had no idea what was falling from the sky. Each year since I remembered I didn't have the appropriate gear only as it started to rain. And then of course the skies usually dried before I did anything about it. This year, with some waterproof fabric in my stash and some time on my hands, I vowed I would FINALLY make a raincoat. 

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Eden Coat
Fabric: 2+ yds 4.7 Ounce Water Repellent Aviator Flight Outdoor Satin 
Cost: $50

This is my first time making a Tilly and the Buttons pattern. I know the company is beloved by beginners but also gets some complaints from more experienced sewists. The pattern is... basic. I think overall it meets the requirements of having all the pieces and putting you through the steps. It was certainly much easier than cobbling together something similar from the limited options I had in my stash. But it lacks a certain attention to detail that I find in the Big 4 Patterns or classically trained indie designers. 

For example, the pocket pleating, while a cute detail, is not properly drafted and looks wonky in the instructions, on the model, on versions I've seen online, and on my own coat. It just doesn't fold right or want to stay put. Typically a pocket pleat is also designed to let a pocket expand a bit when it's full. This one didn't seem to understand the task and goes for the aesthetic look of the pleat without any of the functionality. The pocket lining is also not quite right. It is the same size as the pocket when pleated, so not only does it not let the pocket expand but it doesn't properly turn out of sight. If you use a bright color you will most certainly see it peeking out from underneath your topstitching. 

Several seamstresses have also posted online that there are a few mistakes in the pattern that they've notified TATB about. Given that I downloaded the pattern a few years after its release I hoped that they would be fixed. But I spotted a few of the aforementioned ones anyway, such as telling you to cut out twice as much interfacing as necessary, etc. There's also some quirks like having you cut pieces with the pattern facing right side down, etc. Read PatternReview for the errors before making this up. I did end up sizing down for the jacket, though I think the generous sizing is helpful if you plan to wear the coat over many layers. 

My last gripe is that, while the instructions are oriented towards beginners with lots of encouragement, the instructions aren't always suited for the project. For example, one of the recommended fabrics is a waxed cotton and TATB even sold a kit for the coat with that fabric. Yet the instructions never mention working with it, cheerily telling you to interface and press the fabric and do all sorts of things unsuitable for a waxed fabric and many other types of raincoat material. For something that was widely marketed as a raincoat pattern for those looking to improve their skills, it would be nice to have some instructions or some considerations in the pattern for working with those types of materials. I also heard the lining sold with their kits was made from a knit. What?! Not only would it be weird to use a stretchy fabric to line a woven, it is also not ideal for slipping your arms into. I mean, I'm not saying I haven't done it, but if I were buying a fancy kit I'd hope they'd source all the right materials. 

In all, the pattern and styling are all very cute, but I'm not convinced they have the technical knowledge to lead sewers through it. Still, the pattern is fine, and if you're considering buying one from them I wouldn't let it turn you off entirely. The basics are there. 

As you can see, my treatment of the fabric was not perfect and there are some wrinkles. The fabric is what was called 4.7 Ounce Aviator Flight Outdoor Satin Water Repellent in "Replica Navy" on I actually bought it for a very experimental summer project but summer ended before I had a chance to use it. I ordered another yard along with this amazing Cotton + Steel Cloud Drops fabric for the lining and was all set to make my raincoat. 

The outdoor satin is relatively lightweight and indeed water repellent (I tested it in the sink). But it does have some of those satin qualities and didn't like being overworked with my topstitching and pockets. Surprisingly though, the wrinkles don't really bother me and I think it will be very functional. I like that it is lightweight as it doesn't get too cold here and I'd prefer to layer up for warmth and be able to use the jacket on warmer days, too. 

As I mentioned, the lining is this very cute raindrop print. It makes me happy to have something a little fun on the inside while keeping the outer more serious and appropriate for work or other serious things. But a bit of personality is good. The sleeves are drafted long allowing you to roll them up to show off some of that lining. Not great if it's actually raining but it's a fun touch otherwise. 

The one change I made to this pattern was to add a little visor. I find them tremendously helpful when it's actually raining out to keep the water out of your eyes. I had ordered a ten-pack of hat brims for $5 a while back and still had nine of them left, so it was perfect for this project. I trimmed it down, traced a covering for it, and sandwiched it in between the outer and lining of the hood. It seems to hold its shape pretty well so I'm hoping it does the trick. 

I seem to have missed the only rain we've had this year but you know I'll be checking the forecast for a chance to wear it! 


  1. This is soooo cute! I love the hat brim idea too.

  2. Great review of this pattern! And I love your idea for the brim on the hood. Clever.

  3. Despite problems with the pattern and fabric, your jacket looks good on you. Very wearable. Love the peak you've added to the hood. Well done. Brava!


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