Bewildering wrinkles

Well I took the plunge. Armed with everyone’s good advice from my last post I put on some music and sewed my coat muslin up, a few seams at a time. Doing it over a few sessions wasn’t too bad. Thanks for all the encouragement and advice, it really helped!

It’s come out pretty well! The most important thing is that I can move my arms, despite having removed all the ease from the sleeve cap. I seem to have forgotten to take any pictures of that. In passing, isn’t it great not to have to keep getting undressed to try a garment on? I did wonder if I should be putting on more layers to simulate a really cold day! However I am wearing several thin layers and a very bulky belt under the coat in these photos, which is my normal winter work wear. I guess if the coat goes over all that then things will be OK.

Coat muslin full length

I had a hard time deciding what, if anything, needed adjusting. Every time I move the wrinkles seem to move as well, and most of them don’t match up to anything at all in my fitting books. The most obvious problem is a wrinkle on the front princess seam. That one doesn’t come and go. I think this is due to excess length above the bust point.

Front princess seam with wrinkle

I took out a tiny amount – about 5mm – above the seam and things are somewhat improved. I think I need to take out a little width from the seam as well, but on the other hand I don’t want to overfit things. I measured the pattern and this style is unusually close-fitting for a coat.

It looks like it needs a full bust adjustment in this picture (taken after taking out the length) because of the way the horizontal seam is rising up and there’s a wrinkle pointing from the waist to the bust point, but I can’t see the problem from the front or in the other pictures I took. Also if I take a pinch of the fabric over the bust there’s actually lots of room there. This is why I find fitting so confusing!

Front princess seam with wrinkle

There’s a similar problem on the back, only more so.

Back view of muslin

But I think I need some of that extra fabric for mobility, because look what happens when I put my arms forward. The excess width vanishes and there’s just a bit of extra length.

Back view with arms forward

Three quarter back view

I’m just going to take out a little length at the back underarms as well as at the front, and stop there. I picked my muslin fabric because it has a similar (lack of) drape to my shell fabric, but the shell fabric is substantially thicker so I guess it won’t make up quite the same and there’s no point worrying too much at this stage. Wish me luck.

14 thoughts on “Bewildering wrinkles

  1. This looks so much like a Burda Style pattern I attempted as a jacket a few months ago. I had the same problems and even though I inserted shoulder pads (which helped) it just didn’t work for me. I gave up in the end. I hope you find a solution because both the coat and jacket looks great in the pictures.

    1. It’s probably the same one because this has a jacket version too. The coat is 104-12-2011 and I think the jacket is 103. I hadn’t thought of adding shoulder pads, thanks for the tip!

  2. I was going to agree with you that there is too much length between the shoulder and bust point, but I think the other posters are right–a shoulder pad will fill up this length and smooth out the lines of the coat. Do you have sloping shoulders? I think that might account for the lines on the back and front. If so, a shoulder pad will definitely help. I have sloping shoulders and have to adjust the shoulder seam of everything unless I add a shoulder pad. Your coat is gorgeous so far. I can’t wait to see your finished version.

  3. Different suggestion here: have you checked where the shoulder/sleeve seam is compared to your shoulder point? It looks to me like the coat may be a bit too wide at the shoulders which would account for the extra fabric both on the front and back. It looks like the sleeve is sliding off your shoulder a bit – this can also be perceived as sloping shoulders.

    This is the adjustment I’m thinking you might need: You can pretty easily test this by pinning some fabric out before you do any alteration.

    I hope this helps!

  4. I would try shortening the upper bodice, all the way around (front and back pieces. using a horizontal pleat. maybe about 1/2 inch. Note: then you will need to lower the bottom of the armhole (by scooping out) the equal amount. Also looks to wide across the back. Another thing I see is the waist seam is a bit low, particularly in the back. try pleating up the lower bodice pieces. for a coat this type of waist seam I think it should hit at the natural waist or maybe even a tiny bit above. Also I would be careful about taking out too much in the sleeve cap, for a coat you will be putting some filler in the sleeve head and in the real fabric it may need the ease.
    Sorry for all the suggestions but it is a great style on you and will look fantastic when finished.
    Actually I suggest re-fitting the bodice first, and then add back the sleeves. One suggestion is to look at a coat you have where the shoulder/sleeves fit well and measure across the upper front and back to see how wide that it. I often compare patterns/muslins to finished ready-to-wear for a reality check on size and proportion. Good luck and I look forward to the next steps.

  5. You know after reading Beth’s comment, I have to agree with her. The bodice has to be re-fitted first before everything else. The old books on sewing from the 50’s and 60’s, show these type of alterations in great detail.

    Try it and hoping it works. m.

  6. This coat is going to look fantastic! I love it already, even with the wrinkles!
    Thanks for the encouragement with my jeans, btw!

  7. Oh, great suggestions here. I know it may seem like a bit of work… well, OK, a LOT of work… but re-fitting the bodice would be where I’d start. Beth’s suggestions seem to be spot on, to my thinking. And I agree with the shoulder pads! I always have a dickens of a time with Burda’s patterns through the back shoulder area for some reason. It’s going to be a fantabulous coat. We’re all cheering you on!

  8. Hi! This is going to be so pretty! Does your muslin bodice have sleeve princess seams? It might help to move them to shoulder princess seams. And see if that gives you a new perspective on the fitting. Also think the bodice is a bit long. Hope this helps!

  9. I also agree about the shoulder pads.

    However, I’m wondering if you have been pressing your seams as you sew? Your seams seem a bit puffy and I can’t figure out if you are pressing them up or down. While this may not fix your fitting problems it will give you a more accurate idea of how the finished coat will look and it might even eliminate some of the wrinkles. But since I love everything you make, I’m sure you’ll figure this coat out and make it look great.

  10. Congrats on the return of the coat mojo and coats and jackets scare me. Trousers too for that matter lol. This style is going to look fab when its done so I know you’ll figure it out.

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