The Winter Coat - Part 2
Well once I bought fabric, I had to test out the pattern.
I will admit, I usually don’t make muslins (test garments) for my clothing. I’ve been sewing so long that I am very familiar with the changes I usually have to go through with a pattern to make clothing fit my body well. I know where I usually add space or take some out, when I want to shorten something (also known as always) and also on occasion — make something longer (a rarity). That being said, before cutting into the single most expensive piece of fabric I’ve ever purchased I thought it would be wise to test out the pattern. Not a full wearable test in wool, but a muslin fabric sample test. I also happen to fall across three sizes, so I thought it was better safe than sorry to test if it was worth heavily grading between sizes.
I felt confident enough to test the pattern in a fabric that wasn’t similar to the final one used for a couple reasons. One is again that I know my body and my usual fit adjustments. Secondly though I knew that the changes that I would need to make would be large proportional changes that would be based on where my bust, waist and hips would sit along the princess seams of the coat. Had I not already worked pretty extensively with wool I probably wouldn’t have felt so comfortable making this call, but I’ve done enough to know how the fabric will respond and not be worried about making a catastrophic mistake when transferring my alterations to a final garment.
WELL, above you can see my test coat! Simple tight weave muslin fabric, makes it super easy to whip together and rip apart as needed. Helped me adjust to these alterations…
Waistline raised up about 1.5”
FBA (full bust adjustment)
Widened inner sleeve piece at the bicep (to account for my less than streamlined upper arms)
Shortened the sleeves a good inch (because again, I’m short and so are my limbs)
And surprisingly I ended up leaving the hemline as it was. I decided that if I ended up needing to make changes later I would be happier having a deep hem, instead of shortening the coat.
When I was finished and satisfied with the fit of my test, I marked all my seams with colored pencils to show the final seam lines and pulled out the stitching. Then I laid all the marked pieces over my paper pattern and adjusted the paper pattern pieces to the new shapes, and included a full 0.5” seam allowance on all pieces.
It took ages, but well worth it. I was able to take the individual pieces and lay them out to create a new cutting guide to get the most out of my fabric. To make the guide I went to my living room floor which had the most space to work with and marked the floor with tape at the width and length of my fabric and organized all the pieces within those boarders . Then I snapped a pic of it to use as my cutting guide when I got my fabric laid out.
Last I’ll just share that I got all my pattern pieces laid out on the fabric on my dining table, and followed it up by tracing all the pieces in chalk to make sure they would fit as I imagined, and then carefully cut them out. I used my good shears for cutting, even though I know it would have been much faster to use a rotary cutter. Sadly I’m still trucking along with just one self healing mat and the pieces were far too big to make use of it (hoping for a seasonal gift of another mat soon).
All in all, despite my accidentally buying 0.3yds less fabric than the recommended, I managed to get all my pieces cut out — and included a scant 1/8” extra alongside all my seams! I even had a decent sized square piece left over that I thought would probably come in handy if I made mistakes on any of the small pieces (pockets, collar, etc) and if not could whip together a small zip pouch should the fancy take me.
Below look at all my cutting glory!
I have at least 2 more posts that I’ll write to talk about this coat (maybe 3 tbh) because there is so much that went into it! Give me a break; even novels have chapters to break up all the action!