Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sigrid - Muslin

Last month I posted two patterns from which I wanted to choose the coat for this sew along. The decision to make the Butterick pattern is based on the following:

  1. Its style will last longer than the Vogue coat
  2. The sew along is a great way for me to try to sew a good fitting coat with some advanced details (with help from the experts here)
  3. After this experience, I'm confident that I can sew the Vogue coat on my own.
So, I decided to make Butterick 4665, with the following alterations:
  • 2-piece sleeve
  • welt pocket (with or without flap, depending on a test later in the process)
  • bound buttonholes


This is my fabric, a silk tweed from EmmaOneSock. In real life even more beautiful than in the picture. DH told me it was one of the most beautiful fabrics he'd ever seen.
It needs an interlining for a bit of warmth and stability, as it is a bit thin (correct word?) partially and you can see the light shining through. Fabric for that I still have to find. Any suggestions on what to use with such a fabric?


For the sleeve I took the 2-piece sleeve pattern from a BWOF coat from the January 2003 issue (pattern no. 108). In the picture you can see that the length of the cap of the sleeve is almost the same height as the Butterick pattern, only the total width of the sleeve is a bit less.

After measuring the circumference the BWOF sleeve is 56 cm, while the armscyce of the coat is 51 cm. The Butterick original sleeve has a longer circumference. According to Sandra Betzina in her book Power Sewing, 4-5 cm should be enough ease. So I made my muslin without altering the BWOF sleeve for a start.


Observations on the muslin:

  • It feels too small, but that could also be because of the corduroy I used for the muslin. I used the right side on the inside because you don't see the markings on the right side very well. But the right side of the corduroy just doesn't go easy over my linen jacket.
  • I lowered the waist by 4 cm, it's too low
  • Upper back is too wide
  • The sleeve could be a bit wider (the Butterick original sleeve is wider), sleeve length is OK, but because of the back being too wide, I can not see whether the sleeve will be allright.
General observations
  • I don't like the style on me as much as I thought, in the front picture I think that it adds weight to me which is not there. I do have wide hips, but this suggests more, also to the upper part of my body.
  • The collar is not as good on me as I hoped, perhaps I should go for a more classic style

What do you all think, should I find myself another pattern?

Susan - 2nd revision V2884


Els has asked for pictures posed as holding a tray - her point being the coat may not be as full as the pattern envelope. So here it is - front and back pose holding a tray.

Here is another pose with arms crossed in front. Els, I see your point. If you look at the line drawing, it doesn't appear as full as the pattern cover. I do think with a lining it will more more freely but I am open to all suggestions. Opinions please?

The front and back are with both sleeves inserted. I believe that took care of the gaping on the right side of the neck. It is just pinned on the 2nd & 3rd button leaving open below. New comments/ suggestions please?

Here are some pictures - I don't have any idea how to place the pictures where I want them. The ones without sleeves are taken with a jacket on underneath. The pics with sleeves are with a heavy t-shirt. The fit feels the same.

The SA's aren't trimmed off the front, I only saw Marji's added notes after pictures were taken. However, since this is a loose fitting jacket - I don't think that is needed. But if somone sees something funny, I will be glad to take more pics with the SA's trimmed off. I will also put more pictures on my blog:

I took deeper darts in the front before sewing in the sleeves. I still have some fullness in the front at the end of the darts, I think. Do I want to take in more - or since it's a looser fit, leave it alone? Overall, I like the fit. It seems very comfortable and with a lining it will slide much better. The waist mark is about 1" above my navel - I think that is correct. I like the length and the sleeve length - I can't believe I didn't have to make it longer!

Digs had mentioned the collar not fitting as she would like on her version. This is in a great place for me so no adjustments there. I truly would appreciate any comments/suggestions.

This will be made with a black fuzzy mohair from V2884

Liana: Pattern & Fabric Decisions

Well, after all my pattern ideas, I have settled on one that I didn't even mention or show in my last post on Sew Intriguing. I should have realized right away that since this gorgeous Cashmere Print has such a lot of pattern, it needs a very staid, classic style to balance it. When this year's Marfy catalog came out, there was a coat pattern in it that is a style I'd been looking for, and although I had no plans to make another coat anytime soon, I bought it. I knew that if I didn't, with my luck when I wanted the style I wouldn't be able to get it or find another. This is Marfy #1746.

Photo Link

I actually looked at this pattern originally when I was going through coat patterns I have, but I was so fixated on a swing-type coat that I just dismissed it, and as I said, a swing coat style with this fabric just never came together in my mind, no matter how hard I tried to make it do so. For some reason, I came back around to this pattern and looked at it again, and suddenly I could see it in this fabric, and it seemed to be just perfect.

The pattern has a Front and Side piece that are cut in one with a vertical dart from the pocket level to the armscye in lieu of a princess seam, and also a short horizontal dart off of the vertical dart. There is no side seam. The Side piece joins the Back as an armscye princess seam, so there's a lot of unbroken area for a patterned fabric. There is a CB seam. It has a 2-piece sleeve of course, and the under- and upper-collar and front facing are drafted to include the turn-of-cloth. I've found all Marfy patterns to include this, and it's awfully nice. There are no lining pieces, but that's easily remedied.

I've ordered a swatch and also asked for a swatch of a plain cashmere or similar fabric in the darker color if they have it. I think it would be fun to do the facings, under collar, and bottom side of the pocket flaps in the plain color. They said they'd look, and if I can't get it, doing everything in one fabric will work very nicely too.

I checked the hem circumference of this pattern against several other patterns I have, and also against several coats I have, and although at 60" it's narrower than the other patterns I checked (the Patrones is 74") it's the same as 3 coats I have that I like very much, and which are perfectly comfortable in width. So, I'm not worried about that.

Marji suggested that I do Roberta Carr's off-grain addition to the CF on this coat since it is fairly narrow, and I'm glad she brought it up as I'm not sure I would have thought of it. It's an easy change to make, and I'm now ready to cut out the muslin and stitch it up to try on. I'm glad to do this muslin for reasons other than the obvious fitting, because I'm figuring my own yardage needs, and I came up with 3 yards by measuring the pattern pieces. The catalog recommends 2.8 meters for a smaller size than mine, so I'm hoping to be pretty close. I cut my muslin piece at 3 yards, so I'll see if it will work. If not, I've got more muslin and either way I'll know how much to order. I may order a little extra anyway, just in case, and for print placement.

My sister had a wonderful idea about using any scraps. She suggested glove cuffs, and wouldn't that be pretty luxurious? I've decided that any gloves I make should themselves be a knit or at least non-ravel fabric that's somewhat stretchy. Even leather has some stretch. Anyway, that's all pie in the sky until the coat is done.

I know I'll need underlining for this, and I'm anxious to get the swatch and see what I think might work, and I need to find a really nice lining. I'm thinking silk, and I'll see if I have something I like or if I need to order something.

As Marji noted, The Vogue Sewing Book says:

"Don't skimp on the inner fabrics: interfacings, underlinings, and lining fabrics should match your fashion fabric's quality."
I want to do this well, and if I'm going to use a wonderful fabric, I want to at least try to end up with a wonderful coat. I'm certainly going to have all the help I could ask for to get it right.
One thing I've realized while planning and thinking about this is that although I've always said Yes when asked if I have more than one project going at once, I actually don't do it very often, or at least if I do, it's not more than one "major" project, so this will be an interesting experience from that angle as well. I'm not sure I'm really comfortable putting down the jacket I'm working on, for example, and beginning pattern work on this coat. I think I need a list with steps to do on it more than ever before.

Friday, June 20, 2008

LindaF - My fitting muslin

Well here it is. I am calling this my lab coat experiment. I pressed this like it was a finished item, so I called it my lab coat. I have been up since 4:30 a.m. and on a caffeine high. I am prone to weird jokes like this when I am fighting exhaustion.

And I am ticked at myself. I forgot to do my pet peeve adjustment - the shoulder slope. I didn't remember until I was sitting at the sewing machine AFTER I cut the muslin. AND I didn't do 2" shoulder seam allowances either. I don't know if you can see it, but it sits up off my shoulders at the neck edge. I did a quick measurement and the slope on this coat is 2.25" and I need 1.5" with the shoulder pad. I really, really want to see how this area fits before I cut into good fabric. I know this means I will want to do another muslin, bah! Instead I am going to work with this one and make it work by adding more fabric to the shoulder seam and then making the adjustment.

The only horizontal line that is off the pattern is at the waist. The rest are my estimates, you should ignore them.

Front - If you can see the slight drag lines pointing to my left side, congratulations! Putting all the anatomy jokes aside that are floating in my head right now, I'll just that I think it is because of the sweater I am wearing. More on that below. What looks like folds of fabric in the front is actually the breeze pushing the muslin against me.

Back - Pay no attention to what looks like a very flat butt and extra folds in the fabric. It is the wind pushing my fabric. I get the best lighting outside.

Side. The drag line you see at the shoulder is because my shoulder slope is off. As mentioned before, it is too steep and I need to fix it. Arghhh! Can you tell I bummed about this.

I know Marji said to wear winter clothing underneath and it doesn't look like I do. The sweater knit top I am wearing under this muslin is actually as thick as what I wear in the winter. I tell people I am female and 50, so I am my own heater. And I actually do wear short sleeves in the winter. My long sleeve tops are thinner than this sweater. But I should have changed into one of my smoother tops to simulate having a lining in this muslin. The cotton sweater is fighting with the cotton muslin and I feel it causing some wrinkles that shouldn't be there. And I think I pinned the muslin to the sweater too. If I get time over the weekend, I'll take some shots wearing a slippery top to simulate a lining fabric.

My alterations before cutting were to lengthen the waist by 1", and add 6" all around the coat. I also added 1.375" length to the front for a FBA, adding a wedge in the side front also. This pattern is Burda 7855 and the listed measurements on the pattern for a size 18 are incorrect. The bust width is off by 1" and the hip width is off by 1.5". I feel that is important to point out for those of you making this pattern also. For me that much off made a world of difference. I know it looks like it is tight in the chest area, but it isn't. It is the cotton on cotton thing going on.

The sleeve fitting and fixing the shoulder seam will have to wait until after the 28th at this point. My DD is graduating next week. We are having a party here which means I have clean, shop and cook. Or in other words, have some general all around panic attacks. Sewing will not be on the radar until after the party.

Marji: Patterns Just for Fun

If you're still looking for a pattern, don't forget to look at ebay and the vintage pattern sites. Especially if you're looking for design elements that aren't prevalent in the patterns in the current books. Here is just a smattering that I found in 15 minutes of pattern searching.

Analyzing and Altering The Fitting Muslin, part 2, LisaC

Edit to add: I just talked with Lisa about the fit.
Upon looking more closely at the top of the coat, I figured out that the grain lines were lifting on the sideview picture because the whole coat was sliding back on her.
So, I looked again at the pics, and realized that I'm looking at seam allowances on the neckline (see picture above).
The princess seams are set too far apart, the neckline is a good 1" to 1.25" off her neck, and the shoulders are too wide.
IOW, it's too big.
I referred Lisa to Nancy Zieman's fitting guide from Fitting Finesse
and talked to her about how to proceed from here.
We concluded that Lisa probably cut a size that is too large for her.

When choosing your size, it's always easier to adjust the fitting elements below the neckline, shoulders and bust - so choose your pattern to fit your top.

Lisa was, I believe, the first to put up a fitting muslin for analysis.

She made the changes I suggested intially, then took the set of pictures you see on the bottom row of the collage.
This is a copy of the email I just sent her:
Hi Lisa,
I've been a bit baffled over what is going on with your muslin, and just had a bit of a lightbulb moment.

The weight of the coating wool will serve to hold down the fullness in that skirt (and I think you're going to want to add weights anyway) - however, your muslin has no weight to it.
Humor me, and stitch closed a little pocket in the bottom of each of your princess and side seams in your muslin at the hemline, and insert a penny into each pocket. Now the seams should be pulled by gravity to be straight vertically.
If there is something going on that you are going to need to adjust, you'll get big fat diagonal drag lines now. If not - you'll just have nice full swooshes of skirt.
I think what's happening on the side seam and the side fronts and backs might just be that the muslin wants to stick out without benefit of weight to hold it down.
At least if it's weighted we'll be able to see where the changes need to happen.

Thanks, Marji

Lisa also mentions seeing drag lines on her back in the second set of pictures, but I'm not seeing them. I do however think that the princess seams on the back at the waistline might benefit from letting out just a bit more.

EJVC options presented by Marji

Just a couple of quick options off the top of my head.
The Marfy F1005 has the waist in the right place,
The Butterick has the back pleat and several neckline options, but you would want to drop that waistline significantly. That really high waist is going to serve to emphasize the bustline.
The pockets and the back pleat are easy design elements to add. The double breasted is going to be more challenging because it involves redesigning the collar
I added line drawings of a current McCalls, and the ever present favorite in my collection, Vogue 7978. If you were to use one of those, and chop the pattern apart at the waistline - the skirt part of the coat you're looking at would be fairly easy to emulate.

To get a raglan sleeve I believe you're going to need to look at Patrones or Burda - there aren't many raglan patterns out there right now, and what there are are generally the totally not fitted oversize jackets.

If you were willing to go with a set in sleeve, I think that there are several options above that would work well.

Elizabeth: Has anybody seen this in a pattern?


I'm off today to buy muslin to begin to meet Marji's deadline. I have been late because I haven't found the exact pattern I wanted. I think I have settled on Burda 10/2007-111, although I'll need to make it smaller

However, surfing on net-a-porter I came upon this gem from Pringle of Scotland. It's a double-breasted coat with raglan sleeves. If you go to you can see all the lovely details - taping on the waist and sleeve seams and on the pocket edges, huge pockets, and what I take to be the backs of snaps on the invisible 4 buttons of the eight. It also has a beautiful pleat at the back (see second picture).

What I want to ask is, does anyone know a pattern with these basic bones? Otherwise perhaps (!) I could add some of these features to my coat. Have I mentioned I love this coat?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summerset: Fitting #1 for Vogue 2873

I will be making Vogue 2873 in a size 10 so, I cut out and sewed this muslin up exactly as the pattern is, resisting the urge to make my usual petite adjustments at the waist and on the sleeves. I am wearing the muslin over a red sweater, which is typical of the sweaters I'd be wearing the coat over in the winter. I did trim the seam allowance off the of the front edge, lapel and collar. I didn't stitch and turn under the seam allowance at the armscye (sorry Marji!). First, the line drawing, if you're not familiar with this pattern (it's the Michael Kors one, with the model's version done in purple wool):

Here's my version, without sleeves; front, back, side:

I also tried one of the shoulder pads in the armhole to see if it would fit:

I then made up a sleeve, inserted it and the shoulder pad and ended up with these results:

Overall, it isn't too, too bad. I know I will need to make the following adjustments, at the very least:

  • Shorten the length between shoulder and waist by about 2" to get the waist in the right place. I like the original length, so I will add the length back at the hem to keep the hem where it is.
  • Shorten the sleeves by about 1", maybe a little more. I intend to take some of this amount out of the sleeves and some out of the cuff. The reason for this is that the cuffs seam a bit deep and out of proportion for my overall size. I'm a petite, and I have to watch the proportions.
  • Make the collar and lapel a bit smaller, again due to my size and overall proportions.
  • Possible back armhole/shoulder slope adjustment. There is a wrinkle back there that was worse after I put in the sleeve. I've seen the same wrinkle on other muslins that I've made.
Design-wise, you'll notice that I left off the flaps for the faux welt pockets. I am going to be using inseam pockets on the side seams instead. There are three reasons for this: I must have usable pockets, I'm short waisted so having those two flaps on the front is overkill for me, and I'm using a wool plaid fabric, which speaks for itself without any need of extra design detail.

I'll be working on this a little bit over the next week and by the end of next week, should have all the pattern adjustments made. I'll also try to get my fabric pretreated, and buy and treat the underlining and lining, too.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Analyzing and Altering The Fitting Muslin

Today I want to pick apart and analyze the fit on the first few muslins that have been presented for fitting analysis.

Note: I've gotten individual permission from each participant to use their pics and draw all over them and use them as examples. I will not be doing this for every fitting muslin presented. This is to be an example of what to look at and look for in your own fitting muslin, and how to look at subsequent muslins presented here in order to adjust for a great fit. It's what distinguishes custom clothes from those off the rack—the fit.

First up: Melissa's Muslin

click on pic to make it larger

Anatomically, your waist is that indent just below your rib cage and just above the hip bone.
Your anatomical waist (not where you wear your pants), may be about 1" or 2.5cm above your belly button.

Making changes one at a time, I would first suggest:
  1. You need to adjust your bodice length. The "waist" on this pattern is well below your waistline, as drawn on the photo above.
  2. To gain more ease since this is too close-fitting, let out some in the princess seams, evenly, from upper chest to hem, front and back. I would start stitching at the hem, moving out .6cm (1/4") from your current seam, all the way up, tapering to nothing just before the armscye in the back and to nothing at the upper chest in the front. Even in the picture where you're standing straight, before you try to lift your arm, you've got all sorts of pulling across the chest.
  3. Next, you don't have room for a shoulder pad, so you need to open up the stitching at the top of the sleeve cap for about 2.5cm (1") on either side of the shoulder seam, then…
  4. Change the angle of stitching across the shoulder seam, tapering from nothing at the neck edge to between 3/8" and 1/2" at armscye edge, which will give you from 3/4" to 1" allowance which is room for the shoulder pad.
  5. Now, you've made the armscye larger by the amount of your alteration at the shoulder. You need to make a corresponding change on the sleeve cap. Take your scissors and split the sleeve vertically shoulder to hem. This is muslin, you can split it and insert a piece underneath. You already know you're going to add girth to the sleeve. In the book you've looked at they have you split it vertically leaving a hinge at top and bottom and then pull it open, correct? Well, you'll be doing the same, except you won't be hinge-ing the top because you need to open it anyway. At the sleeve cap you only want to add the amount you'll need to match the amount you added at the shoulder. From there on down, you'll need to decide how much you want to add to the width of the sleeve, and if you want to make the split go all the way through the wrist or not. See Els' diagram below to get a better understanding of the sleeve cap alteration.
  6. Measure the depth of your sleeve cap, per Els' diagram. If your armscye is either too high OR too low you'll get pulling when you try to lift your arm.
Photo and directions courtesy of Els.

Next Up: Lisette M's Muslin
click on pic to make it larger

Same issue—if that bib is supposed to end at the waist, this pattern is drafted with one long, long torso person in mind.

White line indicates the actual front closure line as it is now. It needs to be brought to parallel with the blue line I've drawn.

I've looked and looked at Lisette's pics. At first I thought maybe she had a high hip, but then I downloaded the pics and drew on them—and it's pretty clear she doesn't. What she does have is a body type that is sometimes referred to as "flattened oval-shaped torso"—in other words, wider than thick. This is as opposed to a body type that is Cylindrical-shaped torso—which may be characterized by large prominent bust and/or belly and/or buttocks.

What you're seeing in the pictures, that is really evident when I draw the lines, are rising lines at the (low) waist and hip from the Center Front rising out toward the side seams, and this gets even more pronounced at the hem. (You'll have to click on the pictures to see them full size or else this isn't evident at all.)

My recommendations:
  1. Raise that waist line so that it's where it should be. I'm really thinking this is a pattern drafting error since both of you on the same pattern have the same issue and neither of you are short waisted.
  2. Let out the side front princess seams just a hair.
  3. Take a fisheye dart from the CF to the side seam. Since this is a double-breasted coat, you do not want to continue the angle of the fisheye past the CF—you want to straighten it out.
  4. Your back neck appears to be climbing up past the top of your spine, onto your neck. Do you know how to do this adjustment?
  5. Your vertical lines on the back are absolutely right on.
  6. I think NancyK may be right in that you may need a forward shoulder adjustment. It's so hard to tell, unless someone stands on a ladder above you, and truly it's easier for you to determine if the seamline originates at your neck edge just under the back of your ear, and ends at your shoulder bone. If you do need this - (good eye NancyK), then go look at the adjustments I made to my muslin. I needed to bring my shoulder forward too, before I opened it up for shoulder pad. You've got plenty of room for shoulder pad here - you dont need to do the second part of what I did. ... oh, and this is the adjustment you want to make 1st, right along with the length at the waist adjustment, before you start making your fisheye darts at the waist and hem.

I think that the combo of opening up that princess seam just a bit above the waist, then the two fisheye darts, will bring the closure on the double breasted part parallel to CF and straighten out the hem lines. Once you get all that done, then put in your sleeves and update your fitting post. Then send me an email that it's been updated. Thanks.

information from the comments that may be of general interest:
Marji writes:
KayY, Thank you for the clarification on exactly where that bib front ends in relation to the waistline marking. It's still long on both of these coats, but it does help to know that it's supposed to be 2.5cm (1") below natural waist, and it's bourne out in the drawing I did across the markings and bib on Melissa's coat.
Melissa, since we're going to be thread tracing seam lines and the hem line, you can go ahead and cut your muslin at your desired finished length, and we'll add hem allowance when laying out and cutting. In any case, for a straight coat like this, Lisette is right, you can add your length at the hemline.
Lisette, before you adjust the back neck, you need to try it on and actually check where that seamline is in relation to the join of your neck and your spine. The alteration, if you need to make one, is the opposite of the alteration for dowagers hump.
So you'll need help, because you need a precise measurement on how high up your neck the seamline is, and you can't get that yourself, while wearing it.
On curved seams where a corresponding piece will be added, in this case a collar, I like to use slash-and-spread or tuck methods to alter, so that you don't change the curve of the seamline (neck edge) at all.
See this at Threads for an explanation of altering for "dowagers hump" aka high round neck.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lindsay T: First Attempt at My Muslin

I'm making Vogue 7978, the view with the stand-up collar, out of bouclé.

My coat "vision": A lightweight, three-season coat that I can wear into the city and occasionally to work. Will be reminiscent of Chanel and will magically make me look 20 pounds thinner and 10 years younger. Or 10 pounds thinner and 20 years younger. I will probably wear it most often unbuttoned with jeans.

Here is my first draft muslin. It feels like the fit is where I want it to be, but I can't tell from these photos. The front looks a little baggy here but it doesn't feel baggy. You can see that I somehow cut the side panels a couple inches shorter than the other panels. I put on some shoulder pads (underneath the turtleneck) that aren't quite as thick as I'd like them to be, but that's all I had available. My DD gave me an unsolicited "looks good, Mom!" Experts, please weigh in with your opinions. Thanks!

Lisette M's Muslin Burda WOF 9/2005 102

I have completed my muslin with the standard alterations I make: I added to the back waist length and I traced size 38 at the neckline, shoulders and armhole, 40 at the chest and from the waist down a 42( I usually trace a 40 at the hip but because KayY had mentioned not enough ease in this area I decided to go up). I am wearing a sweater underneath, I rarely wear jackets under coats and therefore don't need the extra ease for that.

I measured the ease at the hip and thought I had plenty (46 in) but I forgot this was a double breasted coat and as you can tell from the pictures I have no ease in the hip area.

Without the shoulder pads I thought I would need a forward shoulder adjustment but with the pads I don't think so, what is your opinion?

These pictures are without shoulder pads(as are the two above):

These pictures have a 3/8 inch shoulder pad in:

I did not add walking ease. This alteration was discussed in KayY post but the discussion was not finished. Is it recommended for a double breasted coat?In Power Sewing by Sandra Betzina she does not make this distinction and if it is recommended in this coat pattern to include the wedge in CF up to the neckline would cut right through the "bib" and therefore alter its shape.

I marked the welt pockets which will be covered by tabs but somehow I missed since the two parts (the welt pocket cuts across the seam line) do not match. Burda has you mark the welt according to your size on the side panel and then to join the pattern pieces and extend it to the front. I did that but did not turn out :o

I don't see any other issues in the fit but that is why I joined this great sew-along ...for all the extra eyes to appraise the fit!

After I receive your comments I will add the sleeves and update my entry.