A Coat Muslin Downer & a Pick-me-Upper

Remember a few weeks ago when I took a quick trip down to Brighton and came back with some gorgeous wool coating and vintage Italian silk lining from Ditto? Of course you do!

Well, as shown in the photo above, I bought it intending to make the StyleArc Audrey pattern to be a transitional Fall “car coat” (heavier than a jacket, but not a full-on winter coat). So having arrived home to decidedly Fall weather, I thought I should get a move on with this coat or else it’ll be too cold before I can make it!

So I pulled out my Audrey pattern, cut out all the million pattern pieces (the attention to detail is really terrific – the lining and facing pieces are exquisitely drafted rather than just carbon-copies of the exterior), and made a muslin.

I know muslins can be super useful, especially for fit problems, but there’s something about them that makes me lose all enthusiasm for a pattern once I see it made in beige, crumbled fabric held together with pins and covered in Sharpie marks. I think I’ve probably dumped more coat patterns at the muslin stage than any other garment (let’s all try to erase the Armani coat muslin horror from our minds… oops)! I put this one on, looked in the mirror and thought…. meh.

So I recruited James and a friend for second opinions. They both gave it the thumbs down, then started going through the list of things that could be done to improve it, lengthen here, take out fullness here, etc etc. Err, no – for something that’s supposed to be “fun sewing” I’d rather just dump this and use another pattern I haven’t yet lost all enthusiasm for!

As I said, this was all beautifully drafted, and the instructions were actually pretty well done (if you can read through StyleArc’s sometimes strange wording), I just don’t think the proportions of this swing coat style really work for me – the hem ends at my widest part, and with the sleeves being the exact same length, it just adds a huge amount of visual width onto my hips. Yay! That, and the collar should be twice as high as you see here, which looked spectacularly bad. It’s a rectangle, drafted on grain with no shaping. A bias or curved piece would be so much better here, but as a quick fix I just folded it down again to see if it behaved any better.

Oh, and the coat has princess seams, which was a surprise after looking at the tech drawing. Not a bad surprise, mind, but I really can’t see this swing coat shape being flattering to anyone with a bust, either, despite how much I want to like it! (Though I’m reminded that Beth made a fantastic version of this in 2012, so perhaps it’s fine for some shapes afterall!)

So I sifted through Burda magazines coat patterns for suitable replacements, and this one from my favourite September 2010 issue is at the top, though if I had more fabric I’d be sorely tempted by the seaming on this one! I couldn’t find any reviews of the former, but I could’ve sworn someone made it (or the longer version, #120) a few years ago, if anyone with a better memory can pass me a link in the comments?

Anyway, after that I needed a pick-me-up, so I cut into the kitten-face lycra Fleur brought me from the Garment District.

MEOW! More on these later, I love them (and they took like 15min to make)!

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