Tuesday 11 October 2011

Jacket fitting delights

I'm steaming through my autumn to-sew list (which admittedly only had three items on it) and am now fully engulfed in the delights of jacket fitting...

As this is my first time making a jacket, I thought I'd better break my bad, dirty habit of winging it with patterns and make a practice muslin first.  I'm using a pattern from the Built By Wendy Coats and Jackets book.  Even though there are 23 different variants of coats and jackets to choose from, in typical annoying fashion the one I have in my head isn't there, so I'll be mixing the jacket and collar of two different patterns.  There might not be a pattern for my imaginary jacket in the book, but I did find a drawing:

Very plain and uncluttered, with princess seams and a classic collar.  Nice.

So, going by the size chart, I cut out a medium jacket and sewed it together.  One word of warning for anybody interested in trying out this book: the patterns run small.  I'm a UK size 12 top, sometimes even a 10 depending on the style, and I'm short (5' 2").  So any tall or busty sewists (or even tall AND busty sewists for that matter) beware of the chest width and length of these patterns.  Admittedly there are no seam allowances on the hem, but the shortness of this first effort does make me look like some hideous mother of the bride

WAY too short, and not in a cool, Sammy Davis Jnr kind of short…

No, more like this pair….

As well as being too short, it also didn't fit across the bust.  There will be a button extension added but it was still too tight.  And as for the back.....

Imagine stretching for something on a shelf in a shop?  Not a pretty sight.

Much as it killed me to do so, I decided a redraft was called for. and heart breakingly, a second muslin.  I made the following changes:

- Added five inches to the length.

- Measured the distance it gaped apart at the bust, divided it by four and added it to the side seams as advised in the book.

- The second attempt was much better but the shoulders seemed large, so I made a small vertical tuck right down the back and that seemed to do the trick.

These muslins are shockingly unflattering, but I've managed to see past the cream calico and imagine it in a lovely grey wool with a teal satin lining.  So far so good.  The next steps for me now are to cut out the final pattern pieces, draft the facings and put scissors to cloth (gulp).   I'm liking the look of it so far though.  x


  1. I am impressed, can't wait to see the finished coat. Also enjoying the Mel and Kim flashback.

  2. as I was reading I thought wow, how amazing you are doing so well with the autumn list. Then realising not everything has gone to plan! At least you didn't make it in some amazing expensive fabric firt!! Good luck with the alterations.

  3. The two muslin/toiles will be so worth it. Teal lining - yum, yum.

  4. I'm admiring you patience - I have a tendency to rush and I too want to make a jacket.I think I will need to make a muslin!

  5. i hate making muslins but i always feel secretly delighted with myself when i discover that i have dodged a giant bullet concerning fit. it makes cutting the *real* fabric much less terrifying!

  6. Well done for persevering onto a second Muslin, it will be worth it, that jacket looks like it's going to be very lovely and stylish.

  7. The second muslin is fabulous..I can already picture it in the fashion fabric! You'll look smashing!!

  8. Good for you, for persevering. I made a very similar jacket two years ago, and I love it on the hanger, but on me it just looks WRONG. The shoulders are too wide and it just looks old or dowdy or something. If I knew what to do, maybe I'd take it apart, but I don't. :(

  9. Your alterations were great and thumbs up for not giving up. I'm sure it will look fantastic in the fashion fabric. Muslins always look uninspiring.

  10. Definitely worth muslin #2 for such an expensive " big ticket" item. I shall take on board. Can't believe Kate beat me to the mel and Kim appreciation, although sammy davis looks quite uncomfortable!! Good progress Jane! Xx

  11. Thanks for the heads up on the sizing on these patterns. I have this book and am a tall size 14, so will proceed cautiously.

  12. I made several jackets last spring based on this pattern, after yes, two muslins. The pattern as drafted has basically NO ease. I'm not sure why. Fortunately (?) I'm short-waisted so the length (other than the sleeves) was good.

    Good luck! Now that you've got the fit wrangled you'll be sailing!

  13. Good luck lovely lady with your new jacket! I'm sure it'll be a stunner, well done on mustering the patience to do some toiles: it'll totally be worth it.

    I'm so pleased you bought that book, you won't regret it! Yeah that has to be the same dude who wrote the article you read as he mentions that ballet-shoe incident in the book. I've emailed to say thanks for writing that book. I hope I don't come across all stalkery!

    Love and hugs
    Zoe xxx

  14. Definitely worth the effort of redrafting. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

  15. It'll be worth all the effort as I'm sure it's going to look great. I always make a toile but that's because I'm still secretly scared of my old tutor and wouldn't dare not, I'd hear her shrill voice in my head giving me a dressing down.

    I look forward to seeing the progress (as always). Bethx

  16. Thank you for this informative (and also amusing) post. I actually have a failed project that i have to toss, that looks similar to this jacket, so I know it's not an easy sew.

    Can't wait to see you final version.



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