I haven’t seen a ton of Merchant and Mills Landgate jackets around, but the ones I have seen on Instagram or blogs are splendid – both the male and female versions. This is the sort of jacket I need in rainy Seattle (although not as rainy as you’d think) and I am really glad I went ahead and made it. Plus it’s coat number 4 of 7 – woo! First thing to say – this pattern is much simpler than I thought it would be! I don’t know if it’s the Merchant and Mills grim-up-north aesthetic, but I thought it would be a complex pattern. It’s really not, actually.
The Landgate is a unisex design, which looks superb on everyone and is only differentiated by recipient by adding a bit of length to the base pattern, which is defaulted as the female pattern. It has raglan sleeves, a hood with zipper cover and deep pockets for stowing away all your trusty outdoor apparatus. You know: your phone, your keys, your packets of sweeties…
Sizing and Pattern
The shape is rectangular, so the given chest size is the same as the hips and waist. Therefore, you just need to make sure the size you pick is comfy in all three places! You also want a decent amount of ease – it is a jacket after all. So I went for the L, which is a 53″ chest measurement. My measurements are 44-35-46 or thereabouts, and I reasoned about 8-9 inches of ease at the chest might be about right? Maybe? Well, I have to cut in here and say that although it turned out ok, it wasn’t quite as straightforward as that.
The first thing was that the sizing on the paper pattern packet and the online website page didn’t match. This may well have been an error on my paper pattern as I’ve had it a while – i.e. perhaps the pattern has been updated in the meantime, so the online measurements are the new ones – I don’t know. But basically, I switched over to my laptop at some point early on (I try to not print paper if I don’t need to, so am more used to working off the screen) and started using those measurements to trace the pattern and cut the fabric – thankfully I had decided on an L as the M was slightly smaller. There is also a large discrepancy in length: online says my size would be 72.2cm and my paper pattern 78 cm. Weird. In the end it worked out because I actually cut something bigger than I’d intended and so you’d think that, if anything, that would have meant I was swimming a little in my jacket, but… well, I’m not.
I would say there’s a nice level of jacket ease, but no way is there 11 inches! I will admit I’ve been eating all the Halloween sweeties in the world the last few weeks, but, come on, still no way. I’ve also read a couple of other reviews where someone had to hack the pattern for more width in the hips, and a men’s review where it was pretty snug, so I’m not sure which sizing is correct, if any. All this being said, I do really like the fit – I can fit a sweater under there but it’s not crazy large – but I would definitely urge you to err on the side of large if you’re trying to decide what to cut and double-check the size you choose. You can always make it smaller!
One other small pattern note: I had the paper pattern for the Landgate and apparently some of the earlier paper versions come with the front raglan piece missing. Mine didn’t, but you can download it from the website if you’re one of the unlucky owners.
I had a think about which fabric to use, but in the end decided that my preference would be to use Merchant and Mills oilskin if I could find it without having to take out a second mortgage. I considered the different shades and realised some are harder to find than others! But I managed to find this majolica blue version at Finch Sewing and Knitting Studio in Virginia, although it seems to be sold out now. It’s such a beautiful colour isn’t it? Definitely a dark blue, but lighter than navy. I have to caution you that if you’re looking for something similar, prices vary wildly and it’s definitely worth shopping around. I paid not far off half (with a discount code as well admittedly) what some other stores were charging!!
I started making this jacket at a sewing class and the higher end machines handled the oilskin really nicely. Once I got home, things got a little trickier as it slid around a bit more in my cheapo Brother, but I’ve sewn with worse fabrics. I increased the stitch length to 3mm and used a bit more manual manipulation than usual and it wasn’t too bad. Of course, stitch marks in oilskin are permanent, so if you make mistakes, it’s hard to cover them up. I made a few, but I can live with it.
A couple of other little idiosyncrasies apart from the pattern sizing: The pattern instructions say don’t use fusible interfacing and use the word “interlining”, but then the pattern requirements on both the website and paper pattern mention that you need fusible interfacing, so that’s kind of weird. For the record, I used interfacing on my pockets as it gets sewn over anyway. It also sort of leaves out things – you’re instructed to make buttonholes for the outer pockets, but there’s no mention of buttons or snaps in the requirements list. As you can see, I didn’t make either and I’m still debating whether to add snaps – but I quite like the clean look.
And while I’m talking about pockets, you ought to know there are both outer and inner pockets, but the instructions direct you as if you’re making one or the other. You can make both (I did), but you won’t be able to topstitch in the way they are describing. You should make the outer pockets first and then the inner, for reference; the instructions for the latter are tacked on at the back of the paper sheet, so check them out before you start sewing. The side seam instructions differ for both versions and you want to use the version for the inner pockets if you make both pockets. I did feel a few times during construction that I was missing an intro page to this pattern and even checked a few times if I’d mislaid it. I just had a few huh? moments, even though it’s a mostly well-explained and drafted pattern.
The hood is nicely finished with French seams and the zip guard is a great feature, although I did stitch a bit closely to the zip, so it got caught a little at first. I do really like the shape of the hood. They’re funny things, hoods – so often they can make you look like a garden gnome or slide off the front of your head annoyingly as soon as you start walking – but this one’s good. It contains my hair well and the ties work pleasingly. I might make them a little longer, but that’s all I had left of my 3 yards of cording after making the waist tie.
The sleeves and raglan front come together nicely and the topstitching gives it all a professional look – I really like the shaping here. The only other part I had a little trouble with was the waistband casing. You attach it as a separate piece right at the end on the inside of the finished body, and I found a little tricky to sew on without puckers. I’m not sure if there’s a better way to do it, but the lack of waist seam or lining does make it tricky to think of a good alternative.
Otherwise, it’s actually quite a fast sew – maybe 6-8hrs or so. And the most important thing – I really like it! The shaping is fantastic and it will be very useful – I can see it being worn a lot over the coming months. And despite my little niggles, I would definitely make it again – perhaps for my husband next time. My sewing wasn’t 100% on this – I made a few dumb mistakes, but nothing major. This Landgate will be seeing a lot of winter I think!