Sewcation Day 7: Alteration exasperation

Sewcation Day 7 - exasperation

This is the face of exasperation.  Do you recognize it?  It’s when you take a week off from work, spend the bulk of 7 full days working on a pattern, and don’t even get to the part where you get to play with nice fabric.  I am tired of working on this muslin.  I am DONE.

Noteworthy happenings from today:

  • I firmly decided to stick with the Robson, after getting *this close* to pulling the trigger on this Burda trench.  Morgan, you crafty temptress!  You almost had me.  If I’m making a mistake, I only have myself to blame!
  • I pre-washed all my fabric.  Everything went through 2 wash cycles on warm and into the dryer.  No disasters to report, thankfully.
  • I transferred all my muslin alterations back to the paper patterns.  I hate that part.
  • I re-drafted the front and back trench coat flaps, which proved to be rather unpleasant.  Details below.
  • I didn’t draft the lining pieces yet, but I’m brainstorming strategies.  Will have to take into account the fact that the interlining and lining don’t stretch, but the fashion fabric does.  What’s the solution – pleats?

Ok, flaps.  FLAPS!!  The back flap wasn’t too bad, but the front flap drove me insane.  I need a cocktail.  I need a cabin boy to bring me a cocktail.  I need a cabin boy who will draft my flaps for me AND bring me a cocktail.

My basic strategy was to overlap the main coat pieces on the seam lines and extend the front flap as needed, all while maintaining the original proportion and shape of the flap as much as possible.  Remember, I extended the shoulder seam and did a broad back adjustment (even on the front), which means the flap needs to cover that extra real estate.  I wound up not only extending the flap, but also changing the angle of the bottom to accommodate the higher underarm seam.  Since my upper chest width is about a size 16 and the underarm height is now a size 6, this threw the angle completely out of whack.  The flap should slope gently downward from center front to the armscye.  My altered flap is about horizontal.  I wanted to avoid completely changing the slope to upward, so in that sense I succeeded.

There was much cursing involved here, but I think I ended up with something passable.  Photo documentation of the alteration process:

Sewcation Day 7 - re-drafting front flap 1

Front coat piece on left, side piece on right, front flap in the middle.

Sewcation Day 7 - re-drafting front flap 2 Sewcation Day 7 - re-drafting front flap 3

The final flap is extended in the shoulder and armscye, and I cut off some of the bottom.

Now for the back flap.  Same strategy of overlapping the relevant coat pieces and extending the flap to match:

Sewcation Day 7 - re-drafting back flap 1

Side coat piece on left, back piece on right, back flap on top right.

Sewcation Day 7 - re-drafting back flap 2Thankfully I didn’t have to change the angle of the bottom, since by some miracle it roughly ended up in the right place.  Thank the sewing gods!!  All I did was extend it in the shoulder and armscye.

One perplexing issue: For both the front and back flaps, the flaps wind up covering parts of curved (convex) seams.  How do you adjust a flat piece to accommodate this curve?  I simply chose not to.  In other words, the bit of fabric that gets taken away in the curved seam of the coat will remain present in the flap, thus causing the flap to protrude from the coat a bit.  Finished Robsons seem to have this in various photos I’ve seen, and I noticed that the original coat is designed this way anyway (based on measuring the original pattern pieces).  Plus, I figure the extra bit of wiggle room across the broadest part of my back isn’t a bad thing.  Still, this just about broke my brain.

Sewcation Day 7 - maze of pattern alteration linesI’ll leave you with this photo of a particularly hacked area of the coat.  So many lines!  So much tape!  So many hours sunk into this absolutely ridiculous project.  All I can say is that if this coat doesn’t turn out to be the most fabulous thing I’ve ever made, the lovely floral fabric will be stained with my tears.  Tears of agony.

Alteration exasperation.  The struggle is real.  I’m off to find that cabin boy now…

17 thoughts on “Sewcation Day 7: Alteration exasperation

  1. I have been following your journey/torture session/sewcation. I am hoping and praying it all works out for you, it would seriously suck if this coat didn’t turn out gloriously gorgeous. ♥


  2. Oh NO! Poor your. I have been there. Spend the whole staycation doing the grunt work. I hope you enjoy the recreational beverage. As my daughter says, “Isn’t sewing supposed to be fun Mommy?” 😉


  3. Crikey a whole week has gone by already! Feels for you not been able to start on the real thing, but judging by the amount of time and thought you’ve put into it, it’s gonna be really special when it’s made. ‘Keep yer chin up!’ (Said with Yorkshire accent!) 😀


  4. oh! I feel for you… another Damn Learning Experience! (ugh!)
    Been there, done that… many times, actually.
    Are you going to make this coat?
    Or try another pattern?


  5. Just remember, once its all finished – if there are any little bits that you don’t think are perfect… one else is going to notice. To everyone else it’ll be a fantastic coat – a “I can’t believe you made that” coat. It’s going to be great!


  6. Clearly the perseverance you needed for finishing the PhD is shining through this project!

    More power to you, hoping this becomes a TNT coat pattern that you will make up many times, in all the colours.

    (Too soon? Sorry)


  7. *hugs* You really do need a patternmaking cabin boy! On the plus side, you’ve done a lot of very challenging work — that’s already cause for celebration. So save those agony tears for another day. 🙂


  8. What a bummer that it’s taken so much fitting work! But, it’s better to have taken the time, especially for fabric you love. I’m sure it’ll be great in the end!


  9. Oh, I can totally see why you’d be done with this pattern/muslin/fitting process for a while. You have poured so much energy into it! I am sure that your finished coat is going to be awesome, even if it goes into time out for a bit until you feel like working on it again.


  10. Sorry you’re going through all this. I have sewed Sewaholic pants and a jacket and the patterns have a definite pear shaped body type in mind. It is perfect for me, but if you’re a different shape, I think frustration is inevitable.


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