Gentleman’s Greatcoat Muslin : First Wave Offensive

As any normal person might, I assumed fitting Husband’s coat would prove a Herculean task.  After finishing the waistcoat, I decided I needed a break from tailoring.  Now I’m itching to work on it.

This afternoon I altered the shoulder in the same way I altered the waistcoat pattern.  1 1/8″ forward shoulder (a refinement from my previous esti-measurement of 1.5″ rotation).  I decided to leave the length and back as-is and correct the muslin.

I enjoy muslins.  They bestow no pressure to live up to gorgeous fabric, no one will ever see them, and I can get away with sub-par production techniques.  Muslins help ensure the sewing will live up to the gorgeous fabric.   I couldn’t help singing as I cut it out.  All week I’ve been feeling a soft shade of pale unshakable blue.  As soon as I started cutting this muslin the blues evaporated.

Front.   I may lengthen it a bit still, but I don’t think so.  He is 1″ shorter waisted than the pattern measurement.  For the waistcoat I added 2″ overall length to suit his aesthetic taste.   The pattern front measures 1.5″ longer than the front waist measurement.  That means it falls 2.5″ below Husband’s front waist, which is about what I would have added to change the style.   His left side has a shoulder pad, the right side does not.  I’m not sure if it looks too much like protective gear.  The shoulder pad is not a large one, most of the bulk comes from clothes underneath.  His shoulders slope, the edge of the fabric just hides his shoulder.  It doesn’t actually drop off that dramatically from his frame…  Ideas? 

Back!  I couldn’t believe it, the shoulders sat almost perfectly!  I was right about using the waistcoat alterations.  Then I realized a mistake and slipped a shoulder pad in place- viola!  Perfect shoulders.  The side back/back seam needed a little taking in, and I need to add a little to the back armscythe.  That’s it.  I was expecting such a pain in the neck after the two weeks it took to fit the waistcoat.

Side.  Note how the shoulder pad sort of evens out the shoulder.  I only noticed that in the pictures, when I put it on him I just tried to make it “look right.”  Very interesting.

Next wave offensive will focus on altering the sleeve pattern and attaching it.  His arm length matches the pattern length, so this may not be a headache either.  I’ll probably stick the collar on as well to check whether the size of it suits him.  Very exciting, I’m dying to do that pad-stitching.

Stylistic question: Would you deepen the curve on the back yoke piece so that the cut of the coat on him looks more like the schematics?  I was just staring at the photo thinking “what a shame I lost the nice diamond shape on the back.”

Although…. in black flannel, the cut won’t be that obvious anyway… ?


  1. I think it looks excellent so far, and I don't think the shoulder pad looks too big or protective gearish! Sleeve head wadding should help to fill out that drop off the shoulder.I think you could lower the design line of the yoke – on the diagram it comes quite close to the princess seam (or should that be prince seam on menswear!) and I agree it is a nice detail. Lucky hubby!

  2. I agree, the shoulder pad is a must — especially since the shirt he'd actually be wearing will take up more space than that t-shirt. On the yoke — I don't know. I think (a) it won't be very visible in black and (b) I think it's hard to see because these pics are shot from slightly below. I think it may be correct but hard to see from this angle?

  3. I sometimes use two different size shoulder pads to even out DH's shoulders. I would probably alter the yoke, but I am fearful in saying that in case it wrecks the good fit you already have. I like making muslins, too. I enjoy being able to write all over them and cut bits off. Sometimes I keep them just because I like looking at my progress notes. This coat is going to be fantastic!

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