25 June 2016

Jamie Christina Abbey Coat (fitting & adjustments)

The second of my three works in progress is almost finished.  The problems I encountered were fully brought on by me not trusting my measurements and not paying attention to detail.

Mistake #1:  I am short.

I know this.  I've always known this.  Every time I need to reach for something on the top shelf at the grocery store, I have to stand on my toes, ask someone taller than me, or, on rare occasion, grab a broom from the cleaning aisle.

Why I don't take this into consideration when I sew - particularly bodices - is a mystery.  I KNOW I need to shorten the bodice proportionately  to match my height, yet I don't.  Well sewing this coat has put my shortcomings (hah!) on full display.

Mistake #2:  I did not pay close attention to the pattern cover.

The modeled version of the coat on the pattern cover clearly shows the flounce ending above the knees.  Coupled with my height, the flounce of my pre-hacked fell below my knees. 

Mistake #3:  I did not pay close attention to the fit description (emphasis mine).

"A sewing pattern to make a semi-fitted, fully lined coat. The Abbey Coat features princess seams, 3/4 sleeves, and a peter pan collar. View A is made with the flounce and view B is made with out the flounce."

I started with a size 16 in the shoulders and neckline, gradually morphing out to an 18 in the bust and back to 16 in the hip and hem.  I figured the extra width would be good for accommodating thicker clothes.  Bad idea.  The coat ended up being way too big and I looked like a radioactive strawberry.  I could have sewn a straight 16 - maybe even 14. 

I could have saved myself a lot of hassle had I added the flounce to the muslin.

I didn't think that was necessary because it's a flounce.  What fitting issues could there be?  I could have also saved time by making petite adjustments right from the jump.  Looking at this pictures now, I can see that the bodice is too long.  The waist line is a couple of inches below where it should be.  Ah well.  Hindsight.

Pre-hack Adjustments:   I lowered the bust fullness 1" (on both the side front and center front pieces) and added 5/8" at bust level near the armhole.  This is similar to an upper broad back adjustment.   I did not do a traditional FBA.  

I made a 1" full bicep adjustment and added 2 inches to the length.  

Hacks:  To save the coat, I removed the flounce and took off 1.5 inches from the bottom.  I asked for ideas on Instagram and many suggested adding a waist seam.  This would have been my plan if shortening at the hem didn't work.

I also removed about an 1.5 inches from each side seam.  Talk about too big!  While the coat is more fitted now, wearing something heavy underneath is no longer an option.  No big deal.  I can wear this with a light sweater between the fall and winter seasons.

In these pictures, I'm using the trimmed width to make the same adjustment on the lining.  I trimmed away the extra and then marked the seam line from that edge.

Originally I added side seam pockets, but the position of the pockets exacerbated the fullness above the flounce.  So the pockets had to go. 

I had to make a few more minor adjustments as I sewed.  Trim here...snip there...and there...and there.  Unpick all of that and start over.

This was a regular scene in my sewing room.


The facing is attached and the sleeve cuffs are done.  All that's left is buttonholes and buttons. 

Whew!  This is definitely an EPIC coat - but not in the way I originally imagined.  I thought the tailoring would consume a lot of time.  Using KDK's method for sew-in interfacing took very little time.  It was the repeated stitching and unstitching that increased the time.  Hopefully I will be done in the next couple of days!

Until next time, peace!



  1. This is going to be a wonderful coat on you, can't wait to see it finished!

    1. Thank you Faye. I'll do the buttonholes today (fingers crossed) and get pictures on Tuesday.

  2. I know its going to turn out great. Most of the outwear you have sewn turn out great.

  3. "shortcomings" yes I'm sniggering away at this as another vertically challenged woman. Looks like a great coat, once the tricksy things are worked out

    1. Hey lady! Haha, yes shortcomings. Thank you!

  4. Why do we do that to ourselves and yes like ista I am vertically challenged as well. Your coat sounds like it is progressing in the right direction now and I can't wait to see the final reveal.

    1. I don't know why I can't get it in my mind to make the adjustment that I *know* I need! I think because I have to make so many, I grow tired of all the work and just want to sew. I've got some thoughts about how to combat this that I'll share in an upcoming post.

      In the meantime, my goal is to post pictures of the finished and modeled coat today!

  5. Ahh, another deluded soul. I never used to think of myself as on the small side - why, I don't know. I assume it because I don't feel small on the inside. Or maybe I thought I would grow up and into things...!! Anyway, I am glad you have salvaged this coat, and certainly a shorter length so you can show off your slim legs. Looking forward to seeing the finished garment.

    1. Hahahahaha...deluded soul. Maybe I thought I would grow taller too. Hah! Shortening it was definitely the way to go. It's still a bit longer than perhaps it should be, but it's definitely more wearable now.

  6. You are getting closer...I hope your finishing touches go smoothly, and it ends up even better than you imagined!!

    1. Yaaaaas! You're getting closer to!! =)


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