Sewcation Days 5-6: Updated muslin and thank you!

Sewcation Days 5-6 - pattern alteration zone

Wow, thank you all so much for your thoughtful fitting suggestions!!  This is where being part of the online sewing community is unbelievably helpful and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  🙂  Your comments were very thought-provoking, and they helped me to zone in on what issues were bothering me the most, and what (perhaps) I could live with.

First, I decided to stick with the Robson pattern, for now at least.  I haven’t cut into my real fabric yet, so I reserve the right to change my mind!  I suspect most of this has to do with the fact that I’m very stubborn and have sunk so much time and effort into this thing.  It would be satisfying to tame this pattern once and for all.

Second, the biggest change I decided to make was to completely replace the sleeves.  The previous sleeve was a size 12 at the shoulder (too big) graded to a 6 below the elbow (too small), and I replaced it with a size 8 sleeve all around.  This helped to reduce the “poofiness” in the upper back that had been bothering me.  Because the size 8 sleeve had a smaller circumference at the armscye, this also helped to raise the base of the armscye and reduce some of the uncomfortable pulling that was present in the previous version.  This excellent sleeve post on ikatbag talks about making the armscye as small as possible to maintain freedom of motion, and I’ve found this to be great advice.  In order to fit a size 8 sleeve into a size 12 armscye, I had to add an extra fabric “patch” to the underarm to raise it up a bit.  You can see the patch below.

Sewcation Days 5-6 - armscye patch interior

The smaller sleeve circumference also gave me some added width across the upper chest, which was another great improvement in retaining freedom of movement in the arms.  Hopefully in the photo below you can see the original seam line about 3/4 inch to the left of the new one:

Sewcation Days 5-6 - armscye patch exterior

I made a few other minor tweaks here and there, and there are still some minor things that could be done.  The shoulder seams are still a bit too far out, and replacing the sleeves created some new drag lines from the bust to the underarm.  However, I’m going to pause here and share another round of photos because (a) I’m getting tired of playing around with this thing, and (b) I think it’s actually getting close at this point.  The photos below include me moving my arms around a bit, so you can see the degree of movement that the coat allows at this stage, and how the remaining areas of fullness in the upper chest and upper back nicely facilitate that movement.  Also, I took your advice and tried on the muslin over regular clothes this time – two layers of cotton tops and a pair of relatively smooth wool pants.

I’m not striving for perfection (despite my natural tendencies), but I’d say this is an improvement!  🙂

Sewcation Days 5-6 - Muslin front Sewcation Days 5-6 - Muslin front with arms back Sewcation Days 5-6 - Muslin back Sewcation Days 5-6 - Muslin back with arms forward Sewcation Days 5-6 - Muslin side Sewcation Days 5-6 - Muslin side with arms back

Part of me is proud of how far I’ve taken this pattern, and the other part wants to throw this god forsaken muslin out my 3rd floor sewing room window and let the icy breeze carry it far, far away!

In other news:

Sewcation Days 5-6 - coat fabricsAll my fabrics finally arrived, as of this evening’s mail delivery.  🙂  You’ve already seen the main floral cotton sateen, but now I also have the white flannel interlining, purple rayon lining (the color is much more purple than this photo shows), and some plain black cotton for binding various pieces of the coat (lapels and flaps, sleeve tabs, belt, etc.).  Here’s an inspiration image that I found online – I love that binding!

Inspiration trench coat front

Two final updates:

1) Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Ebi of Making the Flame, a fellow Bostonian sewist and all-around awesome lady.  We chatted about sewing, stopped at Gather Here for some fabric shopping, and generally had a great time.  What a fun addition to my sewcation!

2) After this marathon of sewing and pattern alteration over the last few days, I totally went overboard and now have a sore lower back.  Womp womp.  Do you ever get sewing-related battle wounds?  This has happened to me before, so I’ll have to take it easy over the rest of my vacation.

At this point, I’m still mulling over the Robson and tossing around the idea of trying out another trench coat pattern before cutting into my precious fabric.  It couldn’t hurt, right?  Ah, decisions!

22 thoughts on “Sewcation Days 5-6: Updated muslin and thank you!

  1. Looks great! Glad you got the fit closer to what you wanted. I might add to beware the armscye patch on a muslin…sometimes it can function a little like a gusset and offer a greater range of motion than if that shape was cut solely from the bodice. I learnt that the hard way…..might be worth another muslin with your new armscye shape just to be sure.


    • Thanks for the tip, Siobhan. I was wondering about this myself. I don’t have it in me to make another muslin at this point, but I’m going to be cautious when tracing the new armhole curve – might let it out a bit from where I added in the patch.


  2. It is painful to sew, rip out & re-fit the muslin but now you really understand how
    to fit pattern to your body. The muslin looks good and the fabric you have selected will
    will make-up beautifully. I always feel the
    sewing is the easy part of process.


    • Yes, I completely agree! Once you get past the fitting stage, the sewing is the easiest part. I’m looking forward to getting there, hopefully soon! 🙂 Fitting this pattern was definitely a good learning experience for me, but I’d be very hesitant to attempt to fit another Sewaholic woven pattern to my upper body. It’s just too much work for one garment.


    • Thanks Shar! I don’t have much knowledge in the area of fitting, but I’m stubborn and just keep cutting, sewing, and pinning until I get things where they need to be. One day I hope to get some real training in this difficult but fascinating topic. 🙂


  3. Yes I do get really sore. Or my tennis elbow acts up and it is so frustrating when you want to dedicate time to sewing. I am finding these fit posts really interesting!


    • Thanks Janet. I’m finding this entire fitting process fascinating, albeit a bit frustrating too! And yes, I can definitely relate to having to back off on sewing to let your body rest. It’s frustrating, but I tell myself that I’d rather wait a few days than deal with back pain. Ugh!


  4. Yay!!! This muslin looks great! So glad you pushed on with the Robson. Really loving your inspiration coat — I can see how the black binding you’ve planned will really pop. Where did you get the flannel interlining? Does it stretch at all?

    It was great to see you, too! It’s been so long, really glad we finally got together again. 🙂


  5. I’ve only read the muslin posts today but it looks like you are really close now and it would seem a waste to me to start all over with another pattern. I think moving the shoulder line a bit more inwards shouldn’t be that difficult but would make a huge change.


    • Thanks Emmely, I agree and will probably just incorporate that change into the paper pattern instead of playing around with the muslin any more. As of this morning, I decided to move ahead with the Robson once and for all. Almost caved on a Burda trench but changed my mind in the end!


  6. Hi there Carolyn, it appears that sometime around November your blog was deleted from my roll! So now I’m following again and just had a look at the posts I’ve missed and my goodness! I’m so sorry that you’ve been under such stress, I’m glad you’re sewing again (of course you’d choose a pattern that would absolutely drive me to distraction, but then you have those supreme skills…), and I had to laugh at your lamentations of broad shoulders. So I can add to the chorus – hang in there, this coat is going to be fabulous!


    • Hahaha, thanks Jen! I’m a sucker for punishment, so of course I’ve taken on a more stressful job and a complex sewing/fitting project. Of course!! At least I can laugh at myself. Since I can’t change my shoulders, I’ve learned to accept them, but they definitely pose a challenge in fitting woven garments. Then again, who doesn’t have their fitting quirks, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love it! I’m definitely going to go read the post on freedom of arm movement. I hate feeling like a “big man in a little coat”, and that seems like it would really help!
    Here’s for Hulk-Shoulders and Perseverance!


    • Yeah!! That post is seriously amazing. I’ve spent many hours and many cups of coffee digesting it, making sketches, and trying to wrap my head around sleeve and armscye shapes. Here’s to coats that finally fit!


      • Heck, if I can use it to make long-sleeve button downs that fit, I’ll be dancing! Normally I add a 2″ pleat to back and then just hack the sleeve at my bicep. Not a flattering line, but it means I can move my arms. This looks far more elegant!


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