I love that scan. This muslin has completely absorbed every last drop of my free time for the past several days. Not entirely true, I’m secretly at work on the waistcoat as well. Most of my free time goes to making this muslin fit. I want to extend my apologies once more for the quality of my photographs. They’re grainy and badly-lit, but I think they show my wrinkles just fine.
I also shortened the coat to just above knee level. I’m sure I’ll play with the hem length before I finish.
While I thought about how to alter the pattern, I had a mini-epiphany- Why alter the pattern, make a muslin, alter the pattern, make a muslin until I’m satsified? Why not alter the muslin itself in the same way I’d alter the pattern, the I can try it on as I alter without making seventeen muslins?
Generally, I make flat pattern alterations based on measurements and math. Generally, this suffices. I never liked tissue-fitting. It seems to me a waste of an original pattern; I find flat pattern alteration quicker, more accurate and more accessible for simple alterations.
But what to do for more complex, nuanced cuts?
Answer: You slice right into the muslin. Here you can see where I cut from the hem, up over the fullest part of my backside, and angled the cut into the seamline. I left the seam intact. Then I cut another wedge lower down, roughly following the idea of how to do a FBA. The lower wedge is comparable to a horizontal dart wedge.
For this picture I spread each slash by 1/2″ and pinned some fabric behind it. I can’t believe how dramatically the wrinkles smoothed out, and how much more comfortable the whole muslin became. Basically, I did the tissue-fitting method on my muslin. It worked amazingly; I think tissue-fitting has its place, but I don’t think that place is to help determine simple alterations. I think it is more a backup technique. The “big-guns” of alteration.
Side note- I realized I have a silky dressing gown about the right length and weight to approximate my lining. I pinned my shoulder pads into the dressing gown and slipped it on under my muslin. It also helps smooth out nasty wrinkles.
At this point, I knew I needed a little more advice on fitting my back so I took it to work. Many, many of my projects are group efforts, made better by the advice and input of my colleagues. After classes last night, my fellow teacher (to whom I take all my most confusing problems, and who taught me to perfectly set-in sleeves) helped me work out a laundry list of tweakings.
For one, I still have some wrinkles across the front that point to not enough hip room. Ditto on the back. I was on the right track with my slashes, but I could take it a little further. I’ll spread them to 3/4″ and see if that makes things better.
We also decided to do a tiny FBA adding a little length on the front yoke, so the underbust seam hugs my ribcage.
Surprisingly, the addition of shoulder pads and dressing gown made the shoulders/biceps/sleeve fit even better. The shoulders drag slightly when I reach, so I’ll address that. I think I’ll do a small full bicep alteration because I usually need to do them on 30’s garments and it would be a little simpler than trying to lower the armhole with all of those complex gusset seams.
The bias sleeves are wonderful, I’ve decided. In the picture they appear to have shortened, which would give me more room through the bicep. They grow and stretch and accommodate in the most surprising manner- I don’t think I can bring myself to change the grain one whit.
Instead, I’ll pipe these seams. I want the cut to really stand out, so I think I’ll use some inky black wool from Husband’s coat to pipe the Deco waist details, to pipe the top of the sleeve seam, and perhaps to pipe the edges of the front.
Also, I need to work out where and what kind of pockets I want. I thought boring old flapped welt at first, but then I found an awesome electronic book on 1920’s pockets. And I’ll put in a K.King secret lining pocket.
Patch Pockets- they’re not just unfinished squares anymore.