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Forum > Fitting Woes > Sleeve weirdness frustration ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Sleeve weirdness frustration
Can this be fixed, or is it time to move on?
Ann V

Ann V
Intermediate
Minnesota USA
Member since 9/7/07
Posts: 77
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Date: 1/2/11 5:53 PM

I have a wonderful pink wool thinsulate lined toggle coat from J. Crew that I adore. It's 7 or 8 years old now and totally worn out, so I'm trying to make myself a new one. I have no problem sewing myself perfectly fitting pants, but I'm not experience with coats and feeling very frustrated.

This is my pattern. It's a OOP coat from 1992. It's the only hooded toggle coat pattern I've been able to find anywhere.





It seems to have a lot of ease, which I think makes it look dated. I want a roomy coat so I can add insulation and wear it over big sweaters, but I want it to look more modern. Here's what I've done to the pattern so far:

- Removed 4" of ease by making a fold down the front and back pattern pieces and folding out 1/2" on each side.

- Made the "two piece look" sleeves into actual 2 piece sleeves

- Added to the side seems below the waist to accommodate for my hips and seat.

After than I made a muslin and found that I had a lot of tightness in the front bicep when I raised my arms. After consulting FFRP I made a 1/2" upper broad back adjustment to add an extra 1" of ease across the back. I made a new muslin and still had the upper arm tightness.

I'm wondering if the sleeves and shoulders in this pattern are just drafted in a weird early 90s kind of way and that's why I'm having the trouble. The sleeves feel awkwardly low. Is it worth trying to fix this problem, or should I just try adding a hood onto a modern coat pattern?

Here's me in my 2nd muslin. I'm wearing it over a bulky cardigan, which is how I plan to wear the finished coat. Looking at these I'm thinking maybe this is a bad pattern, because it seems to be making me look about 50lbs heavier!











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http://www.annsprojects.com/

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
Intermediate
Kansas USA
Member since 12/13/08
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Date: 1/2/11 6:11 PM

I can't answer the sleeve question (although I think it would be more comfortable/flattering if the seam were on your shoulder where it belongs instead of slightly dropped per the pattern design), but I do agree that that amount of ease is not as flattering as you want.

I was going to suggest that you try to find a more modern coat pattern and just add toggles and a hood... but I couldn't really see anything that looked classic enough that would work.

So... what about sacrificing Wonderful Worn Out Pink Coat as a pattern? Or if you don't want to cut it apart, try the painter's tape method of copying each piece. (I too had a beloved toggle duffle coat in my college days--very similar to your pattern, btw!--wore it to shreds and have never found another coat I like nearly as well, and it's been 15 years!!)

ETA: I just looked at the pattern again and realized it's UNISEX! I have never gotten a good fit on a woman from a unisex pattern; I just don't believe it's possible if you have a curvy figure at all. YMMV, but that could be one of the challenges of this particular pattern.
-- Edited on 1/2/11 6:14 PM --

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~Gem in the prairie

PeppermintPam
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PeppermintPam  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Michigan USA
Member since 1/9/07
Posts: 184
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Date: 1/2/11 6:14 PM

Just a thought, but if you love your current coat, can you trace it off and use it either for your pattern, or at least to compare to the pattern you're working with? It might help you evaluate where the differences are, and what corrections to make. It sure beats continually guessing. IMHO.

MNBarb
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MNBarb  Friend of PR
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Minnesota USA
Member since 4/3/10
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Date: 1/2/11 8:22 PM

What are the chances that someone just reviewed this OOP pattern. See the review Here .

Peter always has extremely detailed reviews. Hope this helps.

------
Barb
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas Edison
"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." Woodrow Wilson

Martha R

Martha R  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
Florida USA
Member since 1/27/09
Posts: 3
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Date: 1/2/11 8:25 PM

I am sorry I can't help you with your sleeve frustration, but I have seen two other patterns for Toggle Coats. One is from the MacPhee Workshop and the other was in a BurdaStyle magazine 10-2009. Perhaps one of them may suit you.

Martha

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SM's - Viking Sapphire 850, Brother CS-770 (my travel SM), Singer 301A
Serger - Viking Huskylock 936, BabyLock Evolution
Embroidery - Janome 300E

beginagain
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beginagain  Friend of PR
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Kentucky USA
Member since 10/30/06
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Date: 1/2/11 9:10 PM

I think one reason it makes you look heavier is that your muslin has rather bold horizontal stripes. Drop shoulders are part of the style but it might look better if you made them a little less dropped.

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If you wait for the perfect time to start, you'll never start.

Fictionfan
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Fictionfan  Friend of PR
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Vermont USA
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Date: 1/2/11 10:20 PM

The problem, I think, is that the armhole is too deep. Raise the underarm closer to your body, leaving enough room to get it over your cardigan, and see if the tightness goes away. Otherwise, I think it looks like a pretty good fit!

To get more mobility for the limb, the armhole must be smaller. That was my biggest dislike of the 1980's huge armholes, and the trend was almost as bad in the early 90's. Unfortunately, it seems to be coming back in style. Armholes that go to the waist are ridiculous for getting any movement, thus the excessive amount of fabric added to the garment width to give some ease of movement back. Hopefully, the trend will disappear quicker than it did last time.

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Fictionfan

Ann V

Ann V
Intermediate
Minnesota USA
Member since 9/7/07
Posts: 77
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In reply to MNBarb


Date: 1/2/11 10:47 PM

I actually picked up this pattern after I saw it on Peter's blog! I tried folding out the extra ease after I saw it work for him.


Fictionfan, I tried comparing the armhole to a couple of Ottobre coat patterns I had on hand, and did I notice that the armhole was longer, but it also didn't come in as far, making it generally flatter. The shoulders were also less sloped on the Ottobre patterns. Is this the low armhole and extended shoulder I'm seeing? I thought about putting the Ottobre sleeves on the Vogue pattern, but the Ottobre coat had a curved center back seam and a princess seam in the front, so I didn't feel very confident I could accurately trace the new sleeve onto the Vogue coat.

Looking at these photos again, I'm noticing in the side view with my arms down that the coat is angling outward from my bust. This seems really unflattering, considering that I have a full bust and a relatively smaller waist and am definitely not shaped like that! Maybe that's the problem with a unisex pattern.

ETA: I found my old coat (wrong size, no thinsulate) on eBay!
-- Edited on 1/2/11 11:18 PM --

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http://www.annsprojects.com/

Fictionfan
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Date: 1/2/11 11:15 PM

Yeah, those extended/drop shoulder styles really look terrible on us full-busted folks! Makes it even more obvious that we almost always have clothes that are too big for us just to be able to get them around us. One of the reasons that I learned to sew well for myself.

To change the Vogue pattern you are using, have a fitting buddy, or anyone who can see and reach your shoulder area, draw the line where the armhole seam should be. You could try to do it yourself, but the back is the hard part to do yourself. You are redrawing the seamline in order to shift the shoulder seam back to your shoulder point. The tricky part is that underarm area, which may need to be drawn in space above where it is now.

You could Frankenpattern the Ottobre sleeve to join your Vogue pattern at the revised armhole, or use the Ottobre sleeve to figure out how to reshape the sleeve cap to get it to fit into the new armhole. When they made extended shoulders 20 years ago, some of that extension took away from the sleeve cap, so when you un-extend it, you need to add that amount back to the sleeve cap and reshape it so it is not so flat. I seem to remember one article in threads magazine (sometime around 1994?) that discussed how to alter the older, extended shoulder patterns to follow the newer style of natural shoulders. Nice illustrations in the article, but can I find it for you now? nope. sorry. I can see why people want that DVD of the archived issues...

You may still want to have the larger biceps room. Since the width is added in a diamond shape, usually, the armscye is not altered, or not much if it is. That can be eased in easily depending on your fabric.

Recently, there was a thread here on the Men Who Sew board about Anderson and Sheppard and a blog site featuring their apprentices. When I connected with the home site for A&S (Saville Row, London), they had a short video about the company. One of the things they mentioned in that video is that the famous A&S cut includes a smaller armhole than was/is the typical standard, with a big sleeve that has to be eased in. That gives more comfort for the arm and more mobility since the armhole is closer to the body.

Good Luck! If your coat looks as great as Peter's, you will be the envy of everyone who sees you in it.

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Fictionfan

Sewliz
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Sewliz  Friend of PR
Colorado USA
Member since 6/22/04
Posts: 4432
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In reply to Ann V


Date: 1/3/11 9:05 AM

This pattern is going to look like a man's coat and you will look like you are wearing a man's coat, just like your muslin is showing. The wide shoulders and dropped sleeve seams are typical of this style coat and in 1992 the oversized look was trendy and exaggerated in designs. This look worked well on the straight up and down woman but was not a good look for a more shapely woman. I suggest moving on to a more modern pattern and one that is drafted for the female figure.

The JCrew coat has princess seams shaping the coat to a feminine look and the shoulders are sized for a woman as well. You mention an Ottobre pattern and Ottobre drafts would be perfect for your shape. The design elements of toggles etc. are easy to add once you have a coat base that fits and flatters your shape.

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Liz

thefittinglife.blogspot.com

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