So I made (finally) a hip-length muslin from that Value Village wool. Nice fabric (except for the colour). Really nice. I was hoping the muslin might turn out nice enough to make into a coat for my mom, but at this point I’m thinking not. At least, not without a crapload of re-sewing. Maybe.
I decided to cut a size 12 (the largest size in my pattern packet). According to the measurements on the pattern, I’m in between a size 10 and 12. (Technically speaking, I’m a 12 in the bust, a 14 at the waist, and a 10 in the hips, but anyway).
The 12 was huge. I mean, I know it’s a coat, it’s supposed to fit OVER clothes (I’m wearing my sweater under it in the pictures because that’s what I pretty much ALWAYS wear in the winter. I made it through the last 3 winters with a fall-weight jacket (Canadian winters, mind you… REAL winters) just by increasing the numbers of layers under the coat. At times I did look like a stuffed sausage, but you look like that in a parka, too ;). So I took the muslin in by a 1/2 inch at each side seam (so a total of 2 inches less around). This improved it a lot; it might be a trifle too snug at the waist (I tend to underestimate things like overlap, as we discovered from the “Anna top” disaster). Anyway, I think I will cut the 10, and go with that.
The other thing I did was shorten the sleeve cap (basically I blended the sleeve cap from the 12 width to the 6 cap height). I did that to both sleeves. However, when I went to sew them on, I was in a quandary, since by taking in the side-seam I had made the armscye a full inch smaller. (In hindsight, perhaps I should just have taken it in along the princess seam. Ah, hindsight.) So I had two alternatives—sew the sleeve narrower by the same amount, or sew it with a normal seam allowance and see how much extra puff that generated. Since I was planning to sew the 10 next time (but with the same 6 sleeve cap), I figured this would at least show me the range of puff I was going to be dealing with. So the left sleeve has the normal seam allowance (more puff) and the right sleeve has the increased seam allowance (less puff). I think I might actually want even less puff than either, but they’re both tolerable. (I shudder to think how pouffy the original ones are)
I had measured the sleeve pattern and was pleasantly surprised at how long it was. In the photos it’s very long, but I hadn’t folded them up to the hem length; even folded in an inch for the sleeve hem, they’re not bad. I could probably increase the length by half an inch, but not much more than that, and even at their current length I think they’d be better than any other coat I’ve ever owned… and with an inch of fold-over to play with, I could probably just lengthen them a bit out of the hem allowance (cuff allowance?) if I decided they really weren’t quite long enough. Decisions, decisions…
The pattern calls for 1/2 inch shoulder pads. Now, I have broad shoulders to begin with… 1/2 shoulder pads is getting me into 80s territory, which is not really where I want to go. In the muslin, I don’t have anything in. I looked at the shoulderpads in my current coat (which was a pretty awesome coat, as I may have mentioned, before I wore it to death) and the “pads” in there are really just a thin, thin layer of foam sandwiched between some iron-on interfacing… enough to smooth the lines but not really adding much bulk. I think a double-layer of thinsulate or something would be plenty (plus I am planning on doing a sleeve-header, if I can get the sleeve cap nice and smooth). I do want the coat to look like it has some structure, but I still think, for me, 1/2 inch pads would be overkill.
The skirt widens really abruptly below the waist, which I’m not sure I like, but hopefully with a full length to pull on it that pouffiness will be toned down, as well. I don’t think I’m going to try and mess with it at this point (though it would be really fun to draft a pattern that was fitted down to the hips and then flared from there… maybe some time in the future when I am better at this.
I have a small issue with the bust of the princess-seam as well; it seams really low. Like, droopy low. It doesn’t stand out to me as badly in the pictures as it did in real life, so maybe it would be fine to leave it, but… I think I’d like it if I lift it up a bid. I wouldn’t need to move the curve really, just cut off the lower portion of it, I think.
But, in general, I think it’s looking promising. I had cut the variation for the round standing collar, but I’m still thinking for the final I might go with the traditional fold-back lapels. Although that would look nicer with a black wool or something for the facing… I think lapels in my patterned grey might be too busy (or just fade in with the rest of the jacket). Have to think about that, too.
Still, progress, however halting. Next things to do: find lining and interlining. The lining won’t be too hard, though it will be pricy unless I can catch it on sale (If I end up paying more per metre for my lining than my coating, I might have to kill myself). There’s apparently an outdoor textiles store downtown that I want to check out for insulation options, although their website appears to be non-functional. I hope they’re still there… otherwise I’m stuck with what I can find at Fabricland :P.