Embarrassingly enough, this is the fourth year in which I’ve had this project hanging over my head. It’s a top coat meant for my husband that I started back when this was the approximate level of my sewing skills (ambitious little sewist, I know.).
I used a pattern that I just should not have used (it was a morning coat, not a top coat, so didn’t have the correct amount of ease); I changed it a lot when I didn’t really know what I was doing; and hack after hack to undo error after error has piled up.
The thing is, it’s actually pretty damn close to being finished: the entire shell is constructed, and it’s completely hemmed and lined. The length and fit through the chest and waist are pretty decent. All that remains is to attach the collar, attach the sleeves and line them, do the buttons, and cover up the remaining of exposed seam allowances with the mostly-installed lining.
But I am absolutely paralyzed by two to three questions that have kept me from making any progress for the last six weeks. Opinions, tips, links to reference books most welcome.
- What should I do about the collar? The existing collar pattern simply does not fit the collar opening of the jacket. To address said jacket ease problem, I opened up the back seam and the shoulder seams an awful lot. The original collar pattern as traced does not have markings for where it is supposed to hit the should seams, so I can’t simply add distance at the shoulder seams and center back, never mind that I have no idea how much distance I’ve actually added and where.
- I think I need to draft a new collar, but the only references I can find for doing so are for drafting collars when you have an existing pattern. I do not have an existing pattern. Should I just try to trace the mostly made coat in order to approximate the pattern (something akin to the ‘rub-off’ method) and go from there?
- Something else entirely? Here’s a close-up of the front and the front facing, for what it’s worth.
- Where should I attach the sleeve? I cut my pattern pieces with very, very wide seam allowances. I did attempt to trace the original seam lines. Problem is, the morning coat/ease thing. I had my husband try the coat shell on while wearing a blazer, and the existing traced shoulder/armholes approximately follow the seam lines of his blazer. That means there’s not enough wearing ease, I think. Is there a rule of thumb for how far past the shoulder point a top coat should extend to allow a blazer to be worn underneath? In this pic, the right-most neon pink thread represents what I think may have ben the initial seam line but am not sure. The white threat in long basting stitches is what would be about half inch past the shoulder point of his jacket.
- Is there a rule of thumb for button distance on coats? I believe the first button on a top coat is meant to go just below the roll line. Most men’s top coats I see have three buttons total. How far apart should they be, do you reckon?
- Should I just scrap this shit now? I really considered it about three weeks ago. On the one hand, I’ve spent an awful lot of time and energy on it. I mean, look at these innards! But I’m worried that the collar thing in particular is essentially a problem too big for me to undo.
- And finally: Is there a good-looking simple mens top coat pattern out there? I basically want this. I just can’t believe there’s no pattern out there for such a classic silhouette, but damned if I’ve been able to find one. I would honestly attempt this again, now that I feel so much more prepared sewing skill wise. (And no, the Japanese patterns won’t work. Dr. Wasted is decidedly US-sized, and I’m not a glutton for grading punishment like that.).