One Million Muslins (aka The Great Coat Conundrum of 2015)

Hello again!

I have already failed at updating weekly while I’m taking my workshop–oops! But it’s because I’ve been beyond busy and am struggling to keep up: I still work 2 nights a week plus weekends at the shop, the workshop takes one other night each week, and we’ve had some house-related emergencies in the last week that required dedicated attention and time off of work (sump pump drain line frozen + lots of snow + thaw = Mads stays up ALL NIGHT and ALL DAY bailing water out of the sump pit BY HAND until a janky-ass workaround can be set up), so unfortunately my blog has been neglected. Hell, I’m lucky I found time to do my homework for tonight’s class!! Hopefully things will settle down soon and I can feel less rushed.

The title of this post is in reference to my homework for class each week; I feel like all I do anymore is make muslins/toiles of this coat and that it’s all I’m ever going to be allowed to sew forever. But my coat has enough fit issues (gee, maybe that’s because it’s for a 12 year old and my body is decidedly NOT that of a preteen…) that I have to keep making a fresh version each week so we can see if we’re getting close, so it is what it is. I think we’re pretty much there now, though, after my last practice version–it’s looking awesome and like a grownup coat for grownups! 😀 (Disclaimer: please ignore the cardboard box pile! Tom got lots of stuff for his studio and I am going to use the cardboard for pattern supports once I have a free evening to cut them all up.)

According to Tom, it looks like "a dirty lab coat." So helpful.

According to Tom, it looks like “a dirty lab coat.” So helpful.

Look at that straight side seam action!

Look at that straight side seam action!

My big girl shoulders are now accommodated by the coat

My big girl shoulders are now accommodated by the coat

Wingspan!!

Wingspan!!

So much better, isn’t it?? I’m very excited about how it’s coming together. The side seam issue (they were tipping toward the back the last time I showed this to you) was resolved by taking a slice of bulk from the front pieces and transferring it to the back piece at each side seam. Now they’re falling straight down as they should! We’ve done so many revisions on the shoulders of this coat, but I think we’re finally there (or close). I needed about an inch at each shoulder vs. the original width, which we added last week and which can be seen in action above. (Interestingly, I assumed my shoulders were likely wider than the average, but learned last week that they are EXACTLY average at 5″ each–I was very surprised!) Nina raised the neckline all the way around, but not by too much. She also added height to the sleeve cap, because we NEEDED it. When making my muslin for last week’s class, I noticed that I had a larger armscye than sleeve, which is not okay! Making this week’s muslin, they were pretty much the same size (which makes sense for the era of the pattern, since they weren’t into gathered or puffed sleeves/shoulders), with just the tiniest bit more ease in the sleeve itself, as it should be. I took it upon myself to lengthen the sleeve this week, since I know I’ll need it. There is a cuff and a cuff facing to consider, but I’d rather have too much length (and have to shorten) than to make my coat and end up with a 12-year-old’s sleeves on a 29-year-old’s coat, if you follow me. We scooped out the armhole some more as well, just for ease of movement and what have you. What do you guys think: does it look pretty good?? I am wondering if my upper back will require any extra work; I know I am broader at the upper back than at the upper front, but I’m not sure that I need any extra wiggle room back there.

Here are some photos of my previous muslin after last week’s class, and my adjusted flat pattern before I used it to sew up what you see above:

Nina split the sleeve open to show how much height we needed; the marker is to show me where a raglan would go if I wanted one.

Nina split the sleeve open to show how much height we needed; the marker is to show me where a raglan would go if I wanted one.

Previous muslin

Previous muslin from the front

Flat pattern with changes made at last week's class--doesn't that armhole look nice?!?

Flat pattern with changes made at last week’s class–doesn’t that armhole look nice?!?

Shoulder soulmates

Shoulder soulmates

Original sleeve tracing on the left, present sleeve iteration on the right

Original sleeve tracing on the left, present sleeve iteration on the right

Tycho demanded that I stop working and feed him immediately.

Tycho demanded that I stop working and feed him immediately.

I apologize for the lack of photos of the muslin prior to this one; ultimately, this current iteration is a big improvement! We meet for the last time tonight ( 😦 😦 😦 ) so we’ll see what Nina thinks! I haven’t done anything with my facings, collars, cuffs, or cape yet, but having the main body pieces to work from will help me figure out what to do with the rest.

To counteract the very beige nature of this post, here are some photos of some new vintage pretties that I got myself recently:

1930's jacket and skirt!!

1930’s jacket and skirt!!

1920's blouse--this will be fun!!

1920’s blouse–this will be fun!!

BUTTONS!!!!!!!!!!!

BUTTONS!!!!!!!!!!!

These look like fingerwaved hair and are thus some of my favorites.

These look like fingerwaved hair and are thus some of my favorites.

MOAR BUTTONS!!!!!!

MOAR BUTTONS!!!!!!

Gorgeous patterns, including 2 with coats/jackets and one 1939 wrap dress!

Gorgeous patterns, including 2 with coats/jackets and one 1939 wrap dress!

Close-up of THAT JACKET THO.

Close-up of THAT JACKET THO.

I got very generous Etsy gift cards for xmas from Tom and my older sister, so I put them to good use at last! And there may or may not be more buttons on their way… 😀

I haven’t made much progress on my pants–tracing the pattern isn’t even done!–and I have been trying to help a friend make a shirt for his 1-year-old nephew, which is coming along nicely. Kids stuff is so mind-meltingly tiny, though! O_o My sewing mojo (“sewjo”) has been kind of missing lately, so hopefully I can find something to make that doesn’t require much effort and that results in something wearable and awesome. I am so tired of muslin!

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12 thoughts on “One Million Muslins (aka The Great Coat Conundrum of 2015)

    • The artwork is so special!! I’m really excited about the jackets specifically, but the wrap dress is also of great interest to me. And thank you for such a nice comment on my sort-of-coat–I feel like it’s THISCLOSE to being ready for the real fabric, finally! =)

    • Thank you very much! Nina has been invaluable, and having her help has made the struggle of finding time to sew well worth it. And there’s just something about vintage buttons, isn’t there?? They’re always so fabulous. =)

  1. Whoah that looks like a lot of work! I have no patience for muslins, so bless your heart for hanging in there!

    Thanks for the beautiful button pr0n… that made me drool!

    • BUTTON PR0N FOR THE PEOPLE!!!!!! And yes, this coat has been a very challenging undertaking, mostly because I just had to have something that was designed for a kid. I will probably take a break from it after getting all the fitting stuff worked out–I am tired of looking at it, especially with Spring right around the corner!

  2. Congratulations on your progress and TENACITY! It is thrilling to watch this project take shape. How exciting also to find a kindred spirit who loves vintage buttons and jacket patterns from the 1930s (like me) and who is bound and determined to unlock their secrets. Muslins can get to be a drag, but from my experience it is really worth the trouble to correct the fit. Nina (and I) will be so excited to see the garments you make from this pattern.

  3. Halllllllllooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    I have things to say:
    1) OMG your coat is going to be so amazing. I’m so impressed with how much you have learnt and how much effort you have put in to getting it spot on. I can’t wait to see it in ‘fashion fabric’ (I love that phrase!)
    2) Those patterns are amazing. I’m too big for most vintage patterns and can’t be bothered to grade them up 23 sizes so I am going to live vicariously through your makes! The patterns are in such gorgeous condition.
    3) WANT ALL THE BUTTONS

    • You are such a peach–thank you so much! And seriously, my two biggest issues with vintage patterns (and clothes) are their scarcity and the limited sizes that have survived. (And the limited size range available back then to begin with!) =( I don’t blame people who don’t want to bother grading them!

      And guuuuuuuuuuurl you should SEE the second set of buttons that just hit my mailbox. Oh. Em. Gee.

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