Help! Your expert advice is required

Yikes. I fear I may have hit an impasse with the winter coat, and I’m only at the muslin stage! Oh dear. Let’s take a look.

Ok. Dodgy collar aside it’s quite clear that this coat is too long (even if we factor in a 2 inch hem) and the sleeves are too short. This can be fixed, yes? But check this out…

What the feck? Why is this non-maternity coat able to wrap itself around an eight-month bump without so much as a pardon me??? Does this mean it’s going to make me look totes preggers even when I’m not? And does that collar now start to look a little big for my head in that picture?

So here’s the back view. Not so bad eh? But again that collar is freaking me out a bit.

Front view – hmm, not so nice. But I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong. This is why I still sometimes consider myself something of a beginner stitcher my friends. Cos these kinds of fitting issues areΒ beyond me.

But this length is much better isn’t it?

OK so I’m just not sure about this pattern anymore. I loved the artwork on the envelope and thought it was super chic, but I’m so worried it’s actually going to be really frumpy and I’ll have wasted three metres of the most divine (and expensive) wool, not to mention loads of time. Because of the raglan sleeves and the voluminous shape I have no idea where to start with making it fit better. And should I even be trying to fit a coat to a body that’s eight months pregnant? Is that madness? Help!

And one final question – does the coat remind you of anyone?

Well at least it’s Hallowe’en appropriate I suppose…



46 thoughts on “Help! Your expert advice is required

  1. shorter helps a lot. I like big collars and its personal taste. If you having red lights STOP! because you wont like it later. I think the shape isnt that bad. Maybe having elastic only on the back to make your back waist defined? Thats a hard one to judge!

  2. I agree, the collar is too broad for your small frame. It makes your neck just disappear and it gives the impression of playing dress up with mom’s coat. The other issue I see is that the armholes are very deep on you — that is part of what is causing the frumpy, too much coat look. Was the pattern meant to have substantial shoulder pads? It certainly looks like room was created to have a think shoulder pad put in. You might be able to scale down the width of the collar and raise the armholes (or be prepared to put in those necessary should pads). Also, you might want to consider just folding the tuck at the top of the front piece out altogether to narrow down the front panels. All in all, it just may not be the best silhouette for someone as petite as you. I have run into the same problem since I am only 5′ tall. Sometimes you just have to go with it and choose a pattern with smaller scale details and a less voluminous profile.

    • Hi Lynn – the pattern doesn’t seem to call for shoulder pads but I totally see what you mean. I’m so glad it’s not just me who thinks the collar is too big – you start to wonder if you are imagining things! Now when you say ‘raise the armholes’ I’m not quite sure what you mean. Do you mean I should reduce some of that depth beneath the armpit? Thanks so much for your advice this is EXACTLY why I put this post out there!

      • Exactly, reduce the depth of the armhole. It just seems to hit you lower than it should. The other thing to try would be to cut the coat a size smaller. That should over all decrease the volume and reduce the armhole depth too.

  3. I think this coat would be absolutely adorable on you, big collar and all, but made in a more light-hearted fabric than the planned wool. So my advice, for what it’s worth, is to choose another pattern for your wool and another fabric for this pattern (maybe a water-resistant raincoat type material?).

  4. I am so sorry but my immediate thought was ‘Lollipop Lady’. Oh dear – I’m sure that’s not the look you were going to go for. However, it’s amazing the difference it makes when you hold that hem up. Also, I think that, without the bump, it will have more of a ‘swing’ shape. I agree with Barbara, above – you might be swamped by wool and might be better going for something lighter. Anyway, I have learned something – always make a muslin for something like a coat or something you’re not completely sure about.

    • OH MY GOD you’re so right! It IS lollipop lady! Hilarious! Or flasher maybe? πŸ˜‰ Quite agree that a muslin was essential in this case. Heheh am still laughing about the lollipop lady thing…

  5. I feel so claustrophobic looking at that picture of you trying to hold your arms up! The raglan ‘armpit’ is too low on you and is restricting your movement … but honestly if I was you I would be tempted to put this on hold until your bun is out of the oven, no point stressing yourself out trying to fit this (and cutting into expensive fabric) when your body is going to change shape drastically very soon

  6. hahahaha Uncle Fester!!! Amazing.

    First up, I think the raglan has got to go. It’s definitely too low for a start, and that’s what’s causing all that strain when you lift your arms. A good old set in sleeve is what you want: a little snugger and higher at the underarm allowing you to lift you arms higher without lifting and pulling on the body of the coat, and not bunching up all that excess at the shoulders.

    Secondly, and speaking from experience here, you are NOT going to want to wear something that could even pass for maternity-wear once that little bub is out and you start getting your waistline back! And I would definitely consider the fact that you’ll be getting puked on at least a few times a day for a while, so you might want to avoid that spoiling your wool… I would highly recommend you hold onto that beautiful wool, wait 6 months or so and start toile-ing for something a little more like Gertie’s incredible coat she designed for Butterick ( to get you excited about your waist again. In the meantime, I’d go for something transitional that didn’t require quite so much yardage. A hip skimming cape maybe? Excellent for feeding out and about πŸ˜‰ !!!

    • Ooh you are right – a raglan sleeve is not my friend here, especially not with the collar. I’m loving your practical tips on baby puke too! Ooh a cape you say…. now that could be fun! Thanks Elisalex xxx

  7. Awww, I’m sorry to hear you are having problems with your creations. I agree that shortening the length of the coat will make it a little better, however I think there are so many nicer coat patterns that would suit you and your baby bump much more. In my opinion, the fact that you have even written this post screams out that you are unhappy with the way this project is turning out and I would scrap it now and put your expensive material to better use. after all, you want to love and feel fabulous in the things you make πŸ˜€ xXx

    • Bang on the money Hannah – not one of those photos made me excited about this coat. Ooh it’s a shame but you are right about not wasting the beautiful wool on an unsatisfactory make

  8. Oh, honey! I wish I had an expert opinion to share and I don’t. What I can say is that the collar looks as though it’s strangling you. I like the comment that maybe this coat just isn’t suited to a wool fabric. It does look a heck of a lot better at the shortened length, and I can image a classic Diane Keaton look with some lightweight coating. Making a coat is mega stressful, from my experience, so I’d say think about what you need to be taking on at eight months’ pregnant! I know that’s frustrating, but so will be looking at the heap of untouched pieces for months on end, dreading returning to a make.

  9. It does doesn’t it?! I can feel it clawing at my throat! Maybe a few months of finding that elusive perfect coat pattern would be a good thing… It would be awful to end up with a hater of a project!

  10. Oh no! If you are not feeling the coat love don’t go there! There seems to be a lot of fitting issues that need to be considered here… Shorter is definitely better, maybe let the raglan sleeves go so the collar can be the emphasis and the collar should be okay in your wool (I like a hefty collar though). I hope you can sort this one out!

  11. I would echo the ‘wait until you’ve had your baby’ comments. I would also add ‘wait until you’ve finished breastfeeding’ (if you’re planning to). It’s only then will you know where your boobs will end up. They may be bigger, smaller and / or lower (I hate to break it to you, but ‘perkier’ isn’t one of the options) than when you started. And for some people, considerably so. To invest a lot of time, energy and money into a coat might not be such a great idea until your body has settled. You may also find yourself a little tired for complex sewing!

    • Echo that! Complex sewing might well be the last thing you want/need. The first 6 months with babes are tiring to say the least! (Sleeping and eating – both of you – and showering will be top on a new mum’s list!)

      • Do you know I’d not even thought of how breastfeeding might change my body – just goes to show how naive I am. Perkier not an option then? Goddammit!

  12. Hmmm, I have to echo everyone’s thoughts here– I would hold off, for the time being, anyway. But why not pick out a few of the things that you like about the pattern– Peter Pan collar, swingy silhouette– and make something in a similar vein in a cheaper fabric? I love the suggestion of a cape– maybe the Milano Cape from Papercut Patterns? Or you could go the more modern route with Vogue 8776. I just think that you’ll want to feel pretty and fun over the next few months, and definitely not frumpy or uncomfortable in your own skin. πŸ™‚

  13. I am sure you won’t want to hear this, but ……
    When I saw you in your muslin I was reminded of a mac I had years ago. I was wearing on a crowded tube, when a lady, somewhat older than me, stood up and smiled and insisted I took her seat. I did, but I WAS rather puzzled. Then I realised – she thought I was pregnant!
    I never wore that coat again.
    Not that I want to put you off or anything…..

  14. Bahahahhah. I can’t help with any fitting advice as I am consider myself a newb and only starting to learn the art of fitting lately.

    I love the photos and your facial expressions though πŸ™‚

    Goodluck! I hope the coat works out. The collars are cute.

  15. You are cracking me up so hard with your pictures that i’m ashamed to say I have absolutely NO fitting advice to give. I think you make it look cute! πŸ™‚

  16. i just don’t know how to say this so it sounds nice, but even if it fit you, you probably wouldn’t like it. it looks like a man’s raincoat. more specifically, an old man’s raincoat. like my husband’s raincoat. why would you want to dress like him? even he doesn’t want to dress like him. the only difference is the collar, and i have to say that his is better. next thing you know, you’ll want an old man’s hat and an umbrella. i might be kidding about that last part. or not.

    i think definitely wait until after bump gets born. who knows what you’ll feel like wearing then?
    you’ll have your body back and you may want to cover it differently.

  17. Wowzers – I agree with lots of people here that its not the right shape for your frame.
    Not ALL swing coats make the wearer look pregnant – I own a Lilli Ann coat that has a big furry collar and a huuuuge sweep and it doesn’t drown my figure. It does have bracelet length sleeves though, and quite open at the neck so maybe it’s those things you’d have to look for – Don’t give up on the idea of one yet!
    Maybe this
    or this


  18. I’d go with the majority Joanne, and there’s some great advice in there! Def wait until after breast feeding stops to give you your boobs back and your svelte frame. I personally avoid these styles as they generally drown me, much as I love them. I go for more fitting in the waist, however, I could SO see you in a Milano cape, babe on hip. Maybe make yourself one in washable coating of some description to tide you through until you are ready to wear your wool coat?

    • ooh I dunno – been checking out capes and I’m not sure they’re really *me* although oh so cute. Sigh – maybe back to drawing board on coat and a postponement until next year?

  19. If I remember you aren’t that far from Walthamstow – a couple of weeks ago I found some beautiful wool at Walthamstow market (the stall outside Sainsbury’s on Tuesdays and Saturdays) – if you want to find something a little cheaper than your original fabric to experiment with they were charging a much happier Β£5 – Β£6 a metre…..

  20. I’m with the folks who think that fabric choice is really important here. I love the look of swing coats, but the fabric needs to be drapey enough that it won’t stand away from the body, but not so fluid that it just collapses around you in folds. But you have to accept that anything in this shape runs the risk of looking like a maternity circus tent…
    I quite like the collear, though. I think the problem might be that the collar stand at the back is way too high?
    And yes, the shorter length is totally a better idea. And yes yes yes, a cape would be even better! (Swingy shape, but no big top impressions.)

  21. I think they’ve all given such sound advice that I have nothing helpful to add. I can’t imagine making a non-maternity coat while pregnant because you can’t be sure what size you will turn out until all the rising is done and the cake (or bun) is out of the oven. I still had a 40 inch chest all the while I was breast-feeding my daughter… when I am usually a 32. So you might be bigger for longer than you expect!

  22. Hee heee heee… Uncle Fester… Oh Joanne, I’m sorry! Looking over these comments, I don’t think I have anything to add – too deep armholes, too much length, overwhelming collar… I DO think the coat is supposed to have a swingy shape which would explain why even at eight months pregnant the coat closes like a champ (is it eight months already?!?)
    I like the idea of scrapping the coat for now and returning to it later, maybe going for a simpler cape pattern in the meantime.

    • Indeed I am 33 weeks today! Which I suppose is officially 7.7 months or thereabouts but you’ll forgive my rounding up, so to speak…;-) I’m glad you like my Fester – tickles me too!

  23. Trust your intuition, going by your body language, well it`s speaks for itself, if you feel it`s not you, let it go! and be thankful you did`nt waste good material. move on to some style you love.

  24. Pingback: I think this is more ‘me’ | Stitch and Witter

  25. LMAO!! Your expressions are priceless; the second one is my fave!

    Ugh I have NO idea… I’m still struggling with fitting issues too 😦 Maybe it’s just not the right style? Yeah I say blame it on the style – cause your collar & shoulder area looks like it fits really well πŸ™‚

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