Tag Archives: muslin

Dear Tyo, I foresee…

… a lifetime of narrow-shoulder, wide-hip alterations. You’d better learn to sew.

Girls' Coat muslin I

I may have mentioned before that my sweet little Tyo has the build of all the women in her Dad’s family (and diametrically opposed to the women in mine, I’ll add): she is an incipient pear. Narrow shoulders and BOOTY. This has been apparent since she was, oh, two, but it’s only getting worse as the years go by. Let’s just say I could picture rap videos in her future. And a lot of quality time with the shotgun in her Dad’s.

So, I have to say, the muslin for the coat went together like a dream. The pattern is (surprisingly?) sophisticated, with separate lining pieces for everything. The overall shape looks good, all the seams (that I tested) match up beautifully; the sleeve-cap is drafted with a beautifully small amount of ease, just enough to curve it nicely without giving it any tendency at all to pucker (admittedly, the wonderful old flannel sheet I was using for the muslin was a dream to sew, too, so that didn’t hurt)

Side view

And, as you can see, it’s just a wee bit too small. Everywhere except in the shoulders, which are perfect. (The sleeves are long enough only because I lengthened those pattern pieces BEFORE cutting it out, as I could see they were going to be too short. Unfortunately paper-printout doesn’t lend itself to tissue fitting.)

Now, I can’t be 100% sure this is a problem with the original sizing, as it’s entirely possible my crude efforts at tiling let to some re-sizing of the printout and there’s no handy-dandy scale square to allow me to be sure (actually, according to the tiling program my printout is .01 feet smaller… which I didn’t think could throw it off by this amount, but anyway). But the fact remains that there is definitely not enough ease in the pattern AS I PRINTED IT OUT. Well, there would be if it were a dress. For a coat… not so much.

If it were just the skirt pieces that were the problem, I would just spread them. In fact, before I got the sleeves on, when

Rear view... split to let the side-seams hang straight. >_<

she first tried on the body and it became obvious that the skirt of the jacket didn’t have enough ease for her lovely bottom, I was all set to slash and spread the skirt of the back pieces, just enough to give her a couple of extra inches in the derriere region. But with the sleeves in place, it became evident that some extra ease was required there, as well.

So I’m torn, folks. What’s the best way to proceed? Re-print in a larger size? Slash-and-spread to widen sleeves, armscye, and the lower part of the coat, preserving the fit in the shoulder?

There’s only one part of the pattern that has confused me a little. Along the front princess seam there are two

Front pattern piece: princess seam with ?vent

expansions (places where the seam allowance goes from about 1 cm to 4 cm. The top one is for the placement of the pocket, but below that the seam allowance returns to normal for about an inch, and then widens again I’m not sure what’s meant to go there, as it doesn’t appear to be any different from the rest of the seam on the illustration (or the limited instructions available on m-sewing.)

It does resemble nothing so much as a vent or pleat, though I’ve never seen one in this precise location on a coat. What do you think? Ignore? Make as a vent or pleat? I should add that the lining doesn’t have an opening here and the seam between the CF facing and the lining does not coincide with this princess seam, either. So maybe that eliminates the vent option but still allows the pleat? I dunno. Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions or revelations, I’d love to hear them. Or I can just ignore it ;).

Probably I should go up a size, right? Bigger is always better with kids. (D’oh!)


Filed under Sewing

Lady Grey Muslin

So last night I managed to get the sleeves on and make some preliminary adjustments to the fit. Namely, I took in the centre back about 2″  and each back princess seam about another 1″. I might let the CB out a tiny bit—it looks awesome as is, but it’s probably a little more snug than an overgarment should be. Though I’m not aiming for this to be my awesome-warm-all-winter garment. Just a nice spring/fall coat. I also lowered the armscye by just taking another seam 1/4″ below the existing one, which eased that area  a lot. I may experiment with taking it down a bit more. There’s still a bit of extra width in the upper back, but if I take that in I lose range of motion.

I think I really do have to fix that lapel. 😛 What do you think of the back? There is still some wrinkling around the sleeves, but everyone seems to have that.

What about the length?  I haven’t turned anything under yet (hopefully get to that tonight). It really looks pretty ok just how it is… does this mean I should be adding hem-allowances? 😉 But that’s probably getting ahead of ourselves. Anyhoo, further thoughts/comments would be very, very, very welcome.

In Self-Stitched September news, I’ve been kinda slack documenting the last couple of days. I’ve been wearing the ex-capri Jalie jeans, tuesday with the red JJ blouse, yesterday with one of the Lydia tops. You can see portions of those outfits in today and yesterday’s muslin pics, but I didn’t get proper outfit photos. Today, for the finale, I’m attempting to jazz it up a bit with my Kasia skirt.

Self-Stitched September Day 30

Trying to fix my hair while posing (windy!)

Top: black JJ, red Simplicity 2603 cardi-wrap
Bottom: Kasia skirt from burdastyle.com, lacey tights from Joe (AKA Superstore) and my cute-librarian heels. I’m nots ure the busy tights work with the outfit, but oh well.

Also, while running up the steps of the deck I ripped the back slit of the Kasia up about three inches. Have to decide what to do about that (shoulda done a vent! 😉 )

Self-Stitched September Day 30

This would've been a cut pose except that it looks like I'm doing the dandruff check :P. Again trying to fix my hair in the wind at the wrong moment.


Filed under Sewing

Lady Grey Muslin… on your mark, get set…

So, I have dryer-steamed my “muslin” fabric. I attempted a tissue-fit of the pattern, with limited success, but I did decide to shorten the waist slightly and do a small swayback adjustment before I begin. Probably I should’ve done an SBA to start, too, but we’ll see. May I just say that swayback adjustments do scary thing to pattern pieces?

Anyway, yesterday I managed to cut out the pieces for the muslin and get the bodice, at least, sewn together.

I won’t post them up to the group until I get the sleeves and collar sewn on, but I couldn’t resist a quick preview for you guys (and myself).

The biggest issue I see is need for further swayback work. There’s also a slight gaping/sagging of the lapels at the front, but the princess-seam curve works surprisingly well (the whole time I was cutting it out, I was thinking “this is a really intense princess curve. It’s totally not going to fit me.” Once I get done butchering the swayback, I think I will need to lengthen the back hem by a couple of inches.

Now, my bust and hip measurements correspond to a Colette size 0. My waist, by contrast, is a size 6. So I was really worried about this coat wrapping around enough to sit properly. Also, since my shoulders are fairly broad (or at least, since I definitely do not have a C cup), I decided to cut the size 2. I thought this *might* give me a better fit than the 0 which is presumably designed for someone with a larger bust hung on a smaller frame. Additionally, when I shortened the waist, I did my best to remove/widen the smallest part of the waist, although it didn’t amount to more than a few milimetres at any given seam, so I’m not sure if it’s noticeably affecting the fit. It seems like there might be a little too much width across the back now, but I don’t really want to mess with that until after I’ve got the sleeves attached.

Anyway, please share any thoughts you have. Hopefully I’ll have the sleeves attached, hems pressed up, etc. by the end of the day to post to the flickr group 🙂


Filed under Sewing

Coat “Muslin”

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.

Winter coat muslin

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.

Sleeve caps:

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)

Right sleeve---less pouffy

Left sleeve---pouffy

Sleeve length:

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…

Shoulder Pads:

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.

Other issues:

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.

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Filed under Sewing, Winter Coat Sewing