Monday, October 21, 2013

The highs and lows of coat making.

So, Burda 7347 is a bust. If I have learned one lesson from this experience, it's this: MAKE A MUSLIN. Some people possess an innate sewing ability to nail their size from a new pattern with little or no pattern adjustments. I do not possess this talent. Had I made a muslin, I would have known how to deal with certain issues (listed below) before cutting into my fabric and top-stitching (per instructions).

My issues:

1. The finished measurements for the bust and the waist are the same. This means this coat is a glorified rectangle. I am already broad-shouldered and rectangular in shape. I used tan twill, so while trying this on in the mirror I actually thought I looked like a cardboard box. I did break out the french curve to add some shaping to the side seams to no avail.

2. Top-stitching. It's my own fault. I should whipped up a muslin which would have been easy to adjust but I top-stitched all the seams so I couldn't go back and unpick it all. Not going to happen.

3. I was overwhelmed by the thought of tailoring. I kept reading all these blogs and coat-sewalongs...I felt that in order for my coat to look decent, I would have to dedicate hours of tailoring time. I had no desire to do this, but I felt that it was almost a requirement (why? I have no idea).

In light of those issues, I should be deterred from coat-making for a little while, right? Nope. It only strengthened my resolve. I will make a coat this year, damn it. So, here goes attempt #2.

Instead of making a coat that pretty much required some degree of tailoring (the Trench Coat), I decided something a little more relaxed and less detailed would be a better choice for a first coat. Also, whatever I decided on would have to have a hood. After all, I do live in Seattle.

Enter McCall's 6442, a lined, wrap coat with hood. Perfect. I researched Pattern Review and most of the reviews were quite positive. I liked just about every one of the finished coats. I figured I may as well give it a shot.

It's impossible for me not to slouch when taking photos.

For my muslin fabric, I used some red stretch poplin purchased from Fabric Mart two years ago. It's thin and wrinkles if you look at it. Oh, and it grows. This wasn't an ideal choice for muslin-making, but I tend to use whatever I have at hand. The sleeves are made from red broadcloth (I ran out of poplin).

With the fabric being so wrinkly, it's hard to tell where I need to make adjustments.  The sleeves are a good length, I would just need to use a smaller hem. The coat isn't really tight anywhere. I'm wearing a t-shirt and cardigan under it. I doubt I would be able to wear a thick sweater under it but that's not too big a deal. I only own one thick sweater.

As far as adjustments go, I already shortened the waist (3/8") and I want to add 1" to the hem. I may iron my muslin (for the 3rd time) and then take pictures again to see if some of the wrinkles around my arm/shoulder area disappear or not. I would like to convert the sleeves to two pieces but I haven't the patience for that undertaking.

Overall, I really like how this muslin turned out. It gives me hope that the finished coat might actually turn out all right. Now my next problem is fabric choice. I'm leaning towards gabardine or a medium weight wool. I want something colorful but not obnoxious. This coat will be worn daily.

Funny side note: I put on the hood and asked my husband what he thought. He said I looked like a "sexy Jedi." I immediately crossed off tan, khaki and brown as coat colors. Red too, for obvious reasons. Also hunter green as it would look a bit elfish. No black or navy (too boring and I have a fuzzy white dog). That doesn't leave me with too many color choices. We'll see how this goes.


  1. This is a nice coat with a very flattering shape and silhouette. It looks to me (and I am no expert) like the shoulders may be a little wide across the back and the front of the bodice may need to be longer to keep the waistline horizontal.

    As for colors, you could do pink, gray, teal, mustard, or some sort of houndstooth or small pattern. I'm sure you'll find something great. Sexy Jedi--too funny! :)

  2. I like the coat! like Meigan, I was going to suggest a pattern/print. Nothing too overwhelming, but a small check or plaid or houndstooth would be great or something jewel toned. Jewel tones look good on almost ALL of us and go beautifully with neutrals.

    In my (NOT AN EXPERT) opinion, the waist length and width look perfect. I agree that you need to balance front/back so figure out that length difference and increase the waistline. Also, go ahead and lengthen the sleeves instead of taking a smaller hem, it's a super quick and easy adjustment to make.

    Can't wait to see it done up!!!

  3. Love, love your sense of colour! Beautiful. :)


Thanks for commenting with thoughtfulness and maturity.

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