Fitting the Coat Muslin- What happened?

The madwoman in her blissfully untidy sewing room.  This is what I wore under the muslin- good bra, normal gored skirt, and a light cardigan.  Should I perhaps fit it over a heavy cardigan, what would be most prudent?

I cut the front and back on the straight of grain, after much head-scratching, reading vintage drafting books, and referring to the pattern itself.  I cut the Front Yoke on the crazy straight of grain.  I figured that if I want to play with cut, I should understand the original cut.

The sleeves are bias tubes.  Not sure how I feel about that.


My middle name is not Quasimodo, I merely slipped a stripped down raglan shoulder pad under the fabric on one side.  The pad is quite thin- I don’t dig the linebacker look but a tailored coat or jacket needs some shoulder structure.  I think it looks better with.  What are all those wrinkles? Those wrinkles, ladies, represent the differences between my juicy round backside and tube-snake-girdles of the 30’s.

Same problem here.  The marked CF wants to swing to the side; sure signs I need more hip room.  I see heaps of wrinkles around the bust, too.  Perhaps I need to do a FBA.  FBAs with cut-on sleeves are a piece of cake.

I marked the funny “waist” line.  It is very, very clever and I learned a valuable construction technique: these seams don’t go together in one long line.  You do the top, then the bottom and then join them together with 8 or so separate little seams.  I joined each front piece, then each side of the pointed back, then the weird tiny gusset seams.  I learned that the pattern has all appropriate clipping built into it,  I don’t have to pin with my tiny scissors ready on the table.

Now, this side/underbust seam hits under the bust. Should I still do an FBA?  Generally, this pattern has 1930’s ease, which I should have expected.  My waist and hips conform to the measurements given on the envelope- then why doesn’t it fit properly?


I don’t wear one of these, do you?

I think not.  This brings me to an interesting question.  Do I wear “full-vintage” from the skin out in order to maintain the absolutely authentic vintage style, the exact look?  Or do I artfully alter the pattern to maintain the lines and style, but to accommodate my unbridled curves?

To me, the answer is clear.  I can easily see how another person might make a different choice.  I do girdle up sometimes, but usually only for my 50’s dresses.  Once or twice a week.  My girdle doesn’t squish, it just maintains the need for Zero Ease.

So what should I do in this case?  Well, I think I can leave the lower front alone.  Once I fix the back, the front CF line should swing forward.  In the back, I’ll do something like a FBA, but for my backside.  The idea occurred to me a long time ago, I haven’t had the chance to try it out.  I’ll leave the waist as-is.

I think I will do a small full bicep alteration to the front and back sleeve.  I don’t think it will change the lines, but it will afford a little more ease through that area.  As it stands right now, the bicep area is firm but not tight; once I make the sleeve up in two or three heavy fabrics I think it will be another story.  I suspect creating more room through the top of the cut-on sleeve will eliminate the wrinkles under my arms, too.  Rather unsightly.

Finally, I think I will do a small-ish FBA on the Front Yoke.  3/4″.  Just to be sure.

Other than that, I like the coat.  I like it enough to do all the alterations and try again.

With the collar pulled over.  The pattern shows to put a loop on the end of the collar for buttoning.  I think I might put two or three, because it gives a little mandarin-collar effect to have several buttons along my collarbone.  This picture tells me not to worry too much about an FBA.  I think I’ll still try it.


  1. "Or do I artfully alter the pattern to maintain the lines and style, but to accommodate my unbridled curves?"That! Perfect idea! Good luck!I differentiate between my "I have to wear it historically' and 'Historically inspired, modern comfort" clothes.

  2. I would alter the pattern. We are generally larger as a race than the ladies of the 30's. I had a stress recently when I had to alter a 60's pattern considerably. I reminded myself that I am a different shape than a woman would have been then and tried to stop feeling just fat! I still think this is a gorgeous coat. Don't forget that the coat will be lined and the smooth fabric won't bind on your clothing the way the muslin does.

  3. I would fit it over what you normally wear, to give a vintage feel, not 100% authenticity. It’s a coat not a costume after all and it will look great!!! X

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