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September 27

The Second Gertie-Coat Muslin

I’m happy to say the second muslin for the Butterick 5824 coat (aka the Gertie Coat) is much better, but still does need some work.  For the second round, I switched to my handy waffle weave muslin fabric which is much stiffer (with more body) that better simulates a coating weight fabric.  I’m thinking this alone has played a major part in this muslin looking adequate instead of a wrinkled mess.

Changes I made on this second muslin:

  • Redrew the front waist dart, angling correctly to my apex
  • Shifted the shoulder seam forward.
    • This entailed removing 3/4″ of the front shoulder/arm seam and adding 3/4″ to the bodice back shoulder/arm seam
  • Cut sleeves with 1″ seam allowance to allow more room to fit, as needed.

My bunnies were really interested to give their own thoughts about my coat muslin, they kept circling around Felix (taking the photos) and myself. 



Far fewer wrinkles than the first muslin, waistline darts are perfect now (but could end 1/4 or 1/2 lower than they are).  Issue: Deeper wrinkles forming at the armpits and sleeves.

When my arms are down the shoulder/armscye wrinkles aren’t as bad since they’re partially hidden by the collar… But they’re still there.  I’m wondering if it isn’t a tight-fitting upper sleeve that isn’t allowing that section of the fabric to lay properly.  What do you guys think?


With this muslin, there was a large fold happening across my middle/upper back that was new.  I already stuck a pin in there to mark this change for the next round.  The fold extends the whole way across my back and even into the arms.  Before cutting another muslin, I’m going to stitch it closed (like a giant tuck/dart) and see what happens to the rest of the bodice.

Another back view, with my arms up:

Here you can really see that the fold goes through my upper arms.  Funky huh!  I’m thinking it has something to do with my short armscye, but really I’m not 100% on the reason for this.

Side View:

I lifted the collar to give you a better sense of the shoulder/arms.  Can you even see that I rotated the shoulder seam forward?!  It looks like it even needs to move a smidge more forward, maybe 1/4″ or so.  You can see that giant tuck at the center back, and also on the front there’s another fold right where my armpit is.  It’s almost like my armscye & tight sleeve is causing all of the issues now.

What’s good: the waist & bust area.  I feel like the lower half of the bodice is great, I just have to figure out how to make the arm & shoulder area decent.

So… next steps:

  • Sew a 1/2″ tuck across the back bodice and through the arms
  • Rotate the shoulder seam 1/4 more forward
  • Release the sleeves for more ease.
  • Reduce the collar width (it’s a bit too wide for my frame).

I can do all of these steps on the current muslin without needing to cut a whole new one due to the fact that I used 1″ seam allowances. 

In the flickr group, there are several people having excess fabric at their upper backs (poofing effect).  While I seem to have extra fabric, it’s not poofing due to width, it’s tucking due to length.  The other main issue that seems to be happening is figuring out how to correct the armscye area.  Naturally with a kimono-sleeved design like this there is going to be some natural folds happening, but with mine I think it’s something else. 

I’ll continue to take more photos of the fitting process and I hope to be able to have the muslin 100% finished by Sunday night so I can start in time with Gertie’s sew along.  

When it comes to fitting, I’ve learnt a trial-by-error process so my adjustments aren’t definitive.  I make some changes, try it on, make a few more, try it on, etc.  So I totally welcome you guys to make any comments about fit and/or potential solutions that have worked for you!

  1. Mika / Sep 27 2012

    I have no input on fitting (I have yet to make a coat, and all of the muslins I do make I kind of just do what looks right until it works), but I do want to say that I have great respect for all of the work you’ve already put into this. It’s amazing how different the first and second muslins look, and I can see that this coat is going to look great on you. I think the large collar is especially flattering.

    • Liz / Sep 28 2012

      Thanks Mika! The first coat muslin was pretty bad, wasn’t it! heh

  2. Lauren / Sep 27 2012

    I don’t have any fitting input – kimono sleeves are pretty much the only sewing-related things that scare me these days hahaha – I just wanted to squeal at the bunnies. BUNNIES!! Lookit how cute they are!!!!

    • Liz / Sep 28 2012

      The sleeves are tricky beasts, I’m not surprised you’ve been avoiding them.

      Anytime we’re in the kitchen, the buns are directly under our feet. Its total cuteness but also hard to walk around. I *squee* all the time at the buns, especially when they’re on their hind legs.

  3. Lashell / Sep 27 2012

    Maybe once you do the next muslin with the corrected back that may correct your sleeve issue. I can’t wait to see the final outcome.

    • Liz / Sep 28 2012

      Hmmm, maybe. I’ll take the tuck out first and will try it on again before making the other changes.

      Thanks Lashell!

  4. Jill / Sep 27 2012

    It seems like that excess fabric in the back could be what’s causing some of the armpit wrinkles. It looks — in my extremely inexpert opinion — like there’s too much fabric and no place for it to go. I’d eliminate the extra length before messing with the sleeves/armpits.

    • Liz / Sep 28 2012

      I totally see what you mean. I think the sleeves are too snug and that’s causing part of the “fabric has no place to go” issue.

      Thanks Jill!

  5. Rachel / Sep 27 2012

    I’m with the others… I’d start by eliminating that excess back fabric and hope it works on some of the sleeve issues.
    Then, those lines on the sleeves, look like there is something going on in the armscye, so maybe working on that might help!
    I am completely clueless as far as coats are concerned, so that is about all I can offer ;) But I love your audience! Our bunny would probably just lie down and sleep LOL

    • Liz / Sep 28 2012

      Thanks for helping Rachel. Given what you and others have said, I’m going to do the tuck out of the back first and try it on again to see how that worked out.

      Oh my bunnies… I love them so. :) Whenever I’m in the kitchen they get pretty frisky, hopping all about. I swear they can smell food through the refridgerator!

  6. Charlotte / Sep 27 2012

    I have precisely no fit notes as I still live in fear of coats, but the darts on the second muslin are just perfectly placed. Also, the bunnies obviously have notes on your muslin fit.

    • Liz / Sep 28 2012

      Yes the bunnies are quite helpful with the muslin…. they eat all of the bad sections for me. heh

  7. Liz / Sep 27 2012

    Ok, I am not going to discuss the jacket because I know it will turn out beautifully. How cute are your bunnies?!! I love, love, LOVE them!!!

    • Liz / Sep 28 2012

      Heh. Thanks for the bunny props. I’ll give them a little petting from you. :)

  8. Amanda / Sep 28 2012

    I love how your bunnies are like, “Whatcha doin’ Mommy?” So cute.

  9. Kerry / Sep 28 2012

    I can’t offer any fit advice as it looks pretty good to me at this stage – I like your idea of using the thicker fabric for a coat muslin as I am hoping to make a coat soon but know that it will be useless for me to use the usual discarded bed sheets.
    Also, what cute bunnies! :)

    • Liz / Sep 28 2012

      Hey Kerry! As you saw in muslin #1, that was the regular muslin and while it did look really bad I made some basic changes in it that saved me from using the thicker and more expensive stuff up.

  10. Awfulknitter / Sep 28 2012

    Like everybody else, I am loving the way that the bunnies are watching you so curiously!

    I agree that it looks like you have a too-tight upper sleeve, but a shallow armscye that’s creating that big horizontal tuck. I’m also wondering whether your waistline is higher at the back than at the front? That could push fabric upwards.

    (I should add a disclaimer that I am a novice at fitting for dressmaking, although I am an expert at standing in changing rooms howling at ill-fitting clothes and detailing all the ways in which they are rubbish because they don’t fit properly.)

    • Liz / Sep 28 2012

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! All thoughts are good thoughts, it helps me assess the coat better from looking at multiple points of view. You guys see things that I don’t necessarily see the first time around.

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