A couple of years ago, I made my wedding dress. It was daunting, I was out of my depth, and I made some pretty big mistakes. But. I had a deadline and I had to finish or face wearing a $700-1500 pile of polyester in the middle of June in Virginia.
I’m in the midst of another project where I’m daunted, out of my depth, and several mistakes in. But we’re in the third fall/winter season of this being a work in progress, and I have really, really got to find some will to finish it. That will might end up coming in the form of several updated posts, so if men’s tailoring isn’t your thing, you might have to join up again in December. For those of you interested (and better yet, experienced!), please know that any and all advice is most, most welcome.
Here we have a black coat I’m making my husband. Still.
First, an observation on mens patterns: there really aren’t any.**
I really thought it would be easy to find a chesterfield overcoat. It’s like half of what Burberry sells, most of what J Crew sells and most of what I see walking around K street on any given chilly DC day.
Find me a single-breasted Chesterfield pattern. Srsly.
The observant amongst you will note that this coat is the kind of long-ish top coat that’s worn instead of a suit jacket, not over one. You want to know something that 2014 Wasted didn’t know a whole lot about? Ease. And that you need a lot of it in winter coats, particularly those meant to be worn over suits.
Fine, I made muslins, I added inches, etc. But I didn’t add quite enough before cutting out my fabric and the coat was really too tight once I basted it together and he tried it on over a blazer. I took back everything I could from all of the seam allowances. All of them. In some places, the seam allowances are currently 1/8”.
More recently, I realized the coat was too short. I’m fixing this two ways: I’m cutting a separate hem facing so that I can preserve about 1.5” in length at the bottom. And I was also going to open up the shoulder seams by about another 1/2”.
Question 1: Is it a terrible Idea to make the armhole bigger in an effort to make the garment longer? Will it eff up my sleeve setting in too much?
In opening up center back seam and (potentially the shoulders), I am making a much wider neckhole. The collar I cut out two years ago isn’t big enough, basically. I don’t have any more fabric. Luckily Dr. Wasted (Dr. Weekends? I don’t know) was on board with the idea of a traditional velvet collar, which I kind of have Morgan over at Thread Theory to thank for pointing out in the Burberry photo, so that alone can’t kill the project.
I’ve been using Roberto Cabrera and Denis Antoine’s book, and there is quite a detailed explanation for drafting your own collar once all the body fit adjustments are done. But I still have questions.
Question 2: Should I use the original seam line of the neck hole? Or, since it is now much wider, should I go into the seam allowance a bit?
And finally, I had already cut my linings out. I think I probably can’t use them anymore (except the sleeves) based on how much I changed and also because I’m extending the hem way a lot.
But. (Question 3) How on earth am I supposed to cut new linings? The pattern pieces don’t resemble the garment much anymore. Should I do something like the rub off method, kind of, to try to make new pattern pieces by tracing the current coat? (I would then draft specific lining pieces with the additional ease.) Something else? I think I read in a Claire Schaeffer book that you could technically make a lining for a couture coat just from rectangles, since you’re just sort of putting things in place and then attaching the linings at the side seams.
Which brings me to Question 4. Assuming I’m able to successfully draft new lining pieces, how many sewist/sewer points am I docked for just bagging the lining, rather than using that couture method of sewing the seam allowances of the lining to the seam allowances of the coat, cross stitch by itty-bitty cross stitch? Have you ever made a tailored coat, bagged the lining, and massively regretted it? ANY strong strong arguments for the couture method other than ‘control’? Because at this point I would happily cede control of this garment over to someone else.
Anyway, I’m hoping to get the hem sorted over the next couple of days and then I’ll have those other problems to deal with.
**Yes, I know there are some. This was a bit of hyperbole.