Winter Coat Miniseries Part 3: Construction

Hello loyal miniseries readers! When last I wrote I had completed the first muslin of my Butterick 6385 and had some fitting adjustments to decide on. After much consideration and lots of suggestions from my Instagram followers, I chose to move forward with a broad back adjustment first. I headed over to the instructions on Helen’s blog and got to work. According to Helen, the maximum width that can be added with this method is 3/4 inch so I decided to go with that. Having compared my back measurement with the finished garment and seeing there was really only just over an inch of ease, closer to 2 inches sounded perfect.

 I was a bit worried I would somehow mess up the armscye, but comparing the two pieces put me at ease. The original side back piece is on the right, the BBA version on the left. Laying one on top of the other I could see that the curve remained unchanged.

I was a bit worried I would somehow mess up the armscye, but comparing the two pieces put me at ease. The original side back piece is on the right, the BBA version on the left. Laying one on top of the other I could see that the curve remained unchanged.

 The new muslin post BBA

The new muslin post BBA

IMG_6142.JPG

After the broad back adjustment, I felt I could still use some more room in the upper arm, and to test that idea I did a bit of unconventional fitting. I cut a slit in the area I felt needed attention, and took a photo to observe the gape. I have no idea if this is even technically correct, but I am lazy and did not want to make an adjustment that wouldn’t help. I took this gaping as a sign and headed back for more help from Helen, to complete a full bicep adjustment.

IMG_6141.JPG

Awkwardly pinning a scrap of fabric under that gaped opening I determined I needed to add 5/8 inch to the bicep. This pattern has a two part sleeve, but I took that number to the upper sleeve pattern piece only. Since I had already fudged a frankenversion of the adjustment, I didn’t bother making a new muslin piece for the sleeve. I figured I had planned and agonized long enough and it was now time to start on my actual coat!

IMG_6144.JPG
IMG_6140.JPG

The last thing to decide on was the interfacing I’d use. I settled on this 100% cotton stuff from JoAnn because I liked the idea of not gluing plastic to my wool and it seem to have a nice medium weight.

IMG_5623.JPG
IMG_5624.JPG

Up next after cutting and interfacing was underlining all of the wool pieces with my flannel fabric.  In my opinion the best method is a running hand stitch within the seam allowance.  I started off like this, but grew impatient with the slow progress and moved to the machine.  Please don’t follow my example.  It is so much harder to keep your pattern pieces perfectly aligned, and a machine baste is much more of a pain to remove later. 

After stitching each seam, the underlining was trimmed down to a scant 1/8” to reduce bulk. 

 Interfaced wool and flannel layers

Interfaced wool and flannel layers

IMG_6137.JPG

After all the planning and muslining I had done, the sewing itself went along swimmingly.  I made good use of so many sewing tools I’ve collected over the years, with the MVP being my “new” vintage tailor’s clapper.  I’m so glad I bought this before starting this project.  I can now 100% swear by a combination of one of these guys + a self fabric pressing cloth to achieve the most beautifully tailored garments.  When it comes to coatmaking, you really do get out of it exactly what you put in.  Want a hard-wearing, professional-looking coat? Don’t skimp!

$_32.jpg

At one point while I was still fitting a very saavy sewist recommended raising the armscye 1/2 inch to aid in mobility.  Excellent advice, but then I remembered I had forgotten to try on my muslin with the 1/2 inch shoulder pads the pattern calls for.  As soon as I did, the armscye raised itself into the perfect position.  I have no idea how to properly install shoulder pads, so I machine stitched the loose Velcro strip to the shoulder seam allowance, secured the pad with its own Velcro, then reinforced the two together with a few hand stitches.

To follow are several guts shots, none of which capture the color of my beautiful wool accurately.  I also failed to take any photos as I attached the lining, but I did so with the bag out method, mostly following the Closet Case sewalong.  The process does work like magic as promised but since this pattern is written for a different lining method, I was left a tiny bit confused when it came to the bit of hand stitching required at the end.  Suffice it to say, hand stitching is easily fudged, and I made it work.  The coat is now completely done buttons and all, so stay tuned for a final wrap up post with photos!!!

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_6132.JPG
IMG_6134.JPG
IMG_6029.JPG