project winter coat: the muslin

i finally got around to sewing up the muslin for my coat and i’m rather pleased with how it looks.

but… before i get into what i like about it, can i just vent for a moment about some bizarre pattern drafting? i can see that you are collectively nodding your heads in fervent agreement.

i’m calling this the WTF? dart:

i have the front pattern piece laying on
top of the front facing for reference

for seriously. why is there a random dart at the base of the collar? yes, presumably it is to take care of the collar roll because there is no roll line treatment or markings. however! nowhere in the directions does it even mention this dart. or what to do with it, or which way to press it. and. it. just. ends. mysteriously. what about that space above the dart opening? i guess it would get closed off when attaching the collar? comparing the front piece to the facing piece, clearly the dart is necessary to bring these pieces inline, but it’s just… weird!

see how the dart is just open at the top? bizarre.

maybe i’m overreacting, or just ignorant (it’s not like i’ve done that much tailoring) but i really don’t understand why that dart is there.

now, there is an alternate collar style with this pattern that is a shawl collar and i can see how the dart for that version would be helpful, albeit technically unnecessary. at least the dart on those pattern pieces is mentioned in the directions and that dart isn’t just mysteriously left open ended. soooo…. what’s going on simplicity??? can you ‘splain yo-self? and if any of you bright readers have an explanation, please kindly let me in on the secret!

i’ve scoured teh interwebs and while this pattern has been made several times, no one mentions this dart. but now i have, so consider this my public service announcement for the day. oh, and i totally cut out that whole portion of the pattern and replaced it with a tracing of the corresponding section of the facing since it all lines up and such. don’t worry, the facing lapel portion is still wider for turn of cloth.

okay, i have a few other disappointments/modifications with this pattern. nothing major, just thought i would give you all the deets while i’m at it:

  • lining: there is no separate back piece for the lining. typically the back lining is wider than the shell and cut on the fold; then pleated at the neck, waist and hem. this allows for sufficient movement and also keeps the lining from pulling at the front of the coat.
  • collar: other than the WTF? dart, there is no marked roll line. wah wah wah. since i made up a muslin i can figure it out for myself, but… well never mind.
  • pockets: this pattern has in-seam side pockets. i prefer that the pockets sit in the front princess seam, so that’s where i’m putting them. haven’t decided if i’ll be doing it in the seam or if i’ll do a fat single welt. probably going with the welt just for interest and the opportunity for extra top stitching.
  • sleeves: i prefer a two piece sleeve and this pattern is a one piece. not a big deal, but i think you just get a better fit that way. since the rest of the coat has nice seaming, it’s only natural that the sleeve does too. i drafted a two piece sleeve and only need to tweak it a bit!

so how is the fit? pretty darn good! i graded from an 8 out to a 10 and i think it’s just about right. i’ll need to raise the armscye so i have a better range of motion and can do crazy things like drive a car comfortably. once i have these little things done and my pattern adjusted i’ll be ready for cutting!

i’m totally loving the wide collar on this pattern!

but before i dive in full steam ahead with cutting fabric, i plan to do a little round up of fabric treatment options if you are dealing with wools and silks and probably even a word on interfacing and other random details to consider before cutting into the real stuff. so, that’s it for now! 

—lisa g.

9 thoughts on “project winter coat: the muslin

  1. Jenny says:

    Hi – new to your blog here – I'm glad I stopped by – this looks like it will come out really, really nice! I can't wait to see what the finished product will look like. I wish I could offer you some help with the WTF dart lol but I'm still too much of a novice.

  2. poppykettle says:

    Its looking awesome on your form – does the end of the dart land where the stitch line is? I mean, if you take the seam allowance off, does the dart make sense? I couldn't agree more on the two piece sleeve being better drafted than a one piece – I always steal the sleeve pattern from Vogue 8333 and put it on whatever project I'm working on :)Pockets in the side seam are frustrating to get your mits into too!Looking forward to seeing how it turns out and what pocket treatment you go for 🙂

  3. lisa g. says:

    i looked at it without the SA and it still didn't work! it seems to me that there would still be a pleat/tuck at the open end of the dart even once the collar is attached. at any rate, it was an easy fix so i'm leaving it out!

  4. lisa g. says:

    thanks gail, i have less and less patience for stupid drafting! i'm glad you're enjoying this level of detail. i figure coat making is a little less intuitive than the usual dresses and tee shirts!

  5. Cherie says:

    I really like your muslin and am looking forward to reading about your fabric treatments. I don't sew coats (I live in the southwest and don't usually wear coats), so I am enjoying reading about yours.

  6. JLP says:

    Just found this old post while trying to figure out to do with the same mystery dart! I actually have a RTW coat that has this exact dart, and I think it helps with shaping the upper bust/shoulder area and giving the lapel has something more structured to lie on. My approach for Simplicity 2311 was to stitch the dart at the end of step 1, carefully trimming away any interfacing/underlining in the body of the dart afterward, and then pressing the dart toward the lapel.

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