I am probably going to need to devise some sort of Dewey decimal-system type of organization for posts regarding the Lady Grey!! Here’s a mid-muslin #2 pattern alteration update.

[A size 12-14-18 tissue fitting hybrid. In need of tissue]

Here’s what I did. I started out by putting on my muslin, making a line where my waist was dipping in (mine, not my patterns. and technically it’s a ribcage dip, not a waist-dip), then transferring that line to the pattern pieces and lining everything up. I wanted to preserve the waist point as a reference, since the waist and hips of muslin #1 fits pretty well. I might not be able to preserve that, but I thought I’d like to keep it for reference. Here’s the rib/waist line marked in pink.

[marking the narrowest part of the pattern pieces]

Before I start going over my process, I want to say that there is a much easier way to do this. Here’s what I’m trying to do. My measurements are around 40 inches for my upper bust, 45 inches for my bust, 40 inches for my waist and, well, significantly more than that for my hips – since the jacket is so wide around the hips, I’m not concerned about the hip measurement.

The straight forward way to make a pattern alteration (or, the way my sewing books tell me) is to choose the pattern based on my high bust measurement – so for this pattern, a size 12. Then do a full bust adjustment (FBA) to add five inches to the bust and eight inches to the waist (the difference between the size 12 measurements and mine.) But I’m not doing that, because I love to be difficult and because I have pretty narrow shoulders – and hate wide, baggy shoulders!

So what I did. I recut all the side seams on the upper body down to a size 14, easing out to the size 18 seams by the waistline that I had already drawn on. I chose 14 over 12 because I wanted to retain some of the width across the bust, because the lines between the sizes were pretty close together, and because I knew I’d be further altering the shoulders.

Based on the photos of muslin #1, a lot of the extra width was in the back and the front pieces. The side pieces aren’t as much of a concern, so I left them at a 14. I went on to further trim along the size 12 lines where the front and back pieces, where they attach to the sleeves. Then I compared the pattern pieces to the muslin.

[pink lines show the shoulder seams of muslin #1, compared to the tissue alterations for muslin #2]

As this photo shows, the pattern piece is still significantly larger than the shoulder of muslin #1. I liked the fit of the shoulders on muslin #1 a lot. I decided to trim along the size 10 line along the side on the back pattern piece where it attaches to the sleeve. On the front pattern piece, there isn’t a lot of room between the sizing lines where the front meets the sleeves, so I scooped out from the inner collar, to reduce the amount of fabric on the top of my shoulder. Here’s a photo, with the pink line marking where I cut.

[trimming along the size 10 cutting line, easing back to the size 14]

I also recut the sleeves along the size 12 lines along the armscye seams, easing back out to the size 18 cutting lines, since I liked the width of the original size 18 arms. We’ll see how that goes.

Now, time for tissue fitting. Here’s a full-frontal, with everything pinned together. The yellow line shows where the edge of the coat should reach. I pinned the tissue to my tank top strap and centered on my side. I need some inches!

[Tissue fitting, take 1. Clearly, this is too small!]

I unpinned the tissue over my bust, spread everything out so it fits and pinned back down. Here’s a photo.
The yellow line marks where I’d like the edge of the jacket to lie, and the yellow circle on my left shows the resulting gap.

[Tissue fitting, take two… a little breathing space]

I then measured the resulting gap, it was around 2″. For a very fitted coat, I’d go ahead and do an FBA of 2″. Since this is going to be an overcoat, I’ll probably do an FBA closer to 5″ to allow for ease.

[Figuring out how much to add]

Finally, as a sort of after-thought, I’ve found that I always have gaping issues. Here’s a photo that sort of shows what I’m talking about.

[so much extra fabric!]

To fix the gaping, I took a fold right in the center of the lapel. I like the way this looks, but will wait and do this alteration after I do the FBA, to make sure I’m doing the right thing.

[yellow circle shows my fold]

So, next steps. A 5″ FBA, check new waist and hip width (adjust if necessary), neckline gaping check and new tissue fit.


  1. [patty the snug bug] says:

    Kate – Hey there! I'm working on my muslin #3 this weekend and taking pictures on that exact thing the gaping. I was WAY too aggressive with what I did for muslin #2 (the one that's posted on Gertie's blog) and as a result, the lapels are pretty small – so I undid and started over – I'll have the pics up tomorrow or Monday…

    Until then – I pinched the tissue (well, now fabric, i'm working on the muslin) while wearing. Then I took it off, marked, unpinned, laid flat and repinned in the pinched part, which DID make a wedge like you said! It distorts the pattern piece quite a bit!

    I'll let you know when the new post is up – or just check back!

    And thank you for being delighted – I have to admit, it's very cool to have a guest post on Gertie's site, and I'm happy it's helpful to people! I LOVE seeing pictures of how people do things – I use a lot of reference books too, but NOTHING beats seeing the pictures!

  2. Kate says:

    I am so very delighted Gertie linked to your blog and posts. I also demand a large FBA, and this Lady Grey is my first princess seemed garment. It's great to have visuals.

    I do have one question about pinning up the lapel to correct a bust gape. I too struggle with gaping on wraps. I want to imitate what you have done. So… when you pinned out the tuck from the lapel, are you also taking a identical tuck from the bodice fabric underneath (I think this would result in a diamond-shaped removal of fabric from the pattern when laying flat)? Or are you ONLY tucking out the excess in the lapel portion? Do you do this AFTER your FBA or before? Can you share any images of this alteration, with the pattern piece both laying flat and folded, alterations noted. Any advice is appreciated.

    I am off to the fabric store to pick up more muslin supplies and hope to attach my fitting with the same gusto and success you are showing! Thank you.

  3. Psycho Sue- Sew Misunderstood says:

    hehe you really did go about it the hard way! But it's still looking like a success so far =-) I always buy the largest hip size I can get; then merge the biggest hip size up to my full bust size, then merge the full bust size up to the high bust size in the shoulder area. Heee but that probably sounds like just as much work.

    In every shot so far I adore how the hips are draping.

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