Goldstream Sew-Along: Fit and Style
Did you come across any exciting fabrics and notions during your hunt for Peacoat materials? Today we are continuing our prep work by determining the fit and style that you would like to acheive.
The Goldstream Peacoat comes with two variations - Variation one includes long darts at the front, classic details such as epaulets and sleeve tabs and flaps over the patch pockets. Variation two is a more relaxed fit with no front darts. It features a removable hood and simple square patch pockets (no flaps). All of these style elements can easily be mixed and matched on the base garment. For instance, someone might want a very classic navy Peacoat with epaulets but would love the option to wear a hood occasionaly and prefer to leave off the sleeve tabs since they find them cumbersome. Another person might like the casual look of variation two but prefer the slimmer silhoutte created with the front darts. Customize to your heart's content!
Both variations include a two piece sleeve, a shaped center back seam, a narrow double breast (only one row of buttons is functional so that the Peacoat can be worn open and still look symettrical and attractive). Both variations are fully lined and have an inner patch pocket.
I designed the Goldstream Peacoat with a new coat sewist in mind. I wanted it to be a simple sew (as far as outerwear goes) and easy to fit. The center back seam allows you to take in or let out the back to perform small fit adjustments across the shoulder and waist. The darts can easily be sewn wider or narrower to take in or let out the coat at the waist and hips.
Image credit: This very practical and thorough mock-up was made by SewAndrew using upholstery fabric - a great heavy material choice! He sewed the collar and added the facing. This is a good idea if you want to see how the finished collar looks (perhaps if you are toying with the idea of making the collar smaller) but it isn't necessary to determine fit. Be sure to look at his thorough blog post featuring all the fit and style considerations that he made.
I highly recommend sewing a very simple mock-up before you cut into your wool fabric as you probably plan to invest a considerable amount of money in the best quality wool your budget can afford...not to mention the time you will be investing in this project! An evening spent mocking up the pattern prior to the real deal is well worth your time.
To mock up a wool coat, it is most accurate to choose a material that has the some of the same properties as your finished coat. You can use a sturdy muslin fabric but I would not recommend a lighter muslin or my usual mock-up fabric of choice - thrift store bed sheets. If you are going the thrift store route, I would instead look for an old blanket (wool or otherwise).
First, choose your size and grade between sizes if need be. Here are tutorials that will help you out if you are unfamilar with measuring a man or grading between sizes.
Cut out the Peacoat Front, Back, and one or both sleeves (it is nice to fit with both sleeves but if you are short of fabric, it is possible to fit with one). It is not necessary to cut out the lining or facings or any of the design details such as sleeve tabs or the hood.
When you sew the pieces together you can leave one dart unsewn so you can see the difference the dart makes in the fit and choose which effect you like best. Put the mock-up on the wearer and pay attention to any folds and drag lines in the fabric. Take your time pinching different seams and thoroughly pinning them or open up any seams to give more room where needed. In the photos below, Matt is wearing our original size small sample which fits him very well except for the arm length. We’ve pulled the fabric taught or loose to demonstrate fit issues for the purpose of the sew along.
Common problem areas to watch for include:
Across the shoulders: Have the wearer put their arms out in front of them and ask if they feel constrained (this is where it is useful to have two sleeves).
If they feel constrained the fabric will look too taught across the shoulder blades (even if it doesn’t but the wearer says the coat feels right, now is the time to add some room at the center back seam to suit the wearer’s preference).
Open up the center back seam across the shoulder blades to give more room. Or, if the mock-up buckles across the back and looks too roomy, take in the center back seam.
Taper your adjustment so that there are no changes made to the neckline or it will change the way the collar fits on the neck.
The small of the back: If the fabric is pooling at the small of the back, the coat is likely too tight across the hips so the fabric is not able to fall smoothly down the back.
Let out the center back seam and the angled side seams to give more room around the hips. You can also exaggerate the curve of the center back seam by bringing in this seam at the small of the back to create a very fitted appearance (this is a style choice). Avoid the temptation to overfit - remember that a warm wool coat is usually worn over bulky winter clothes. Have the wearer try on the mock up with a sweater underneath.
Sleeve and hem length: It is very easy to create the perfect length of sleeve. Matt clearly needs some length added to his sleeve!
Our Garment measurement chart includes the sleeve underarm length - this is not measured on a sleeve seam since it is a two piece sleeve. Measure from the wearer's underarm, over their ever so slightly bent elbow to the base of their thumb. If this measurement matches our garment chart, you are good to go! If it doesn't, use the provided lines and our Lengthen or Shorten tutorial to create the perfect sleeve and lining length. As for the coat hem, you might want to lengthen or shorten the hem to fit a particularly tall or short person, or, you might want to adjust the length to suit a style that you are after. You can lengthen the Goldstream to duster length if you so desire! You could shorten it to jacket length for a very jaunty look. Right now the finished coat is designed to fall to mid hip. Keep in mind that you may need to add a center back vent to allow the legs a full range of movement if you lengthen the coat a lot.
If you need help fitting your Goldstream, please email me (Morgan...pictured above in a very old photo from the early days of Thread Theory!) at firstname.lastname@example.org and include pictures of your mock up on the wearer. A straight on back view and straight on front view are most useful to me. I would love to help you out!
The next sew-along post is an exciting one - we are going to cut out and mark our fabric!