Winter Coat for My Man – the Muslins

With a project like this that’s going to take quite some time to finish, I think its always a good idea to make a muslin. I used to make muslins all the time of everything I was going to sew and now, I’ve kind of turned a little rogue and try to restrict the muslin making to only those things that I draft for myself or require a gigantic commitment of time. This coat for my man falls in the latter category. I made two muslins here because I want this coat to be as perfect as possible for him.

Lest you think that I’m married to someone who is in all respects very boring, let me undo that fantasy right now. Even though Mr. S told me that since I was making a coat for him I could take as many photos as I liked of him in whatever stage I was at, this photo shoot took some real coaxing. For one, I had just woken the beast up from a nap and two, this was the end of a very short weekend in which he spent the entire time doing homework (he just went back to school this fall). If he looks a bit strung out and rather wild, that’s because he is. It is almost Halloween after all! Ha ha!

Anyway, let’s chat about the muslins here. So just to update, I’m making the toggle coat from the Men’s Japanese Coat Book. In the first muslin we had some definite fitting issues. When I’m making something, especially for someone else, I think its important to note their view on the feel. The first muslin looked alright except for the sleeves – too short – but Mr. S told me that there was some serious tightness in the arms when he put his arms in front of him. Not only are we married and live in the same home, but we share the same broad upper back problem. Oh yes! Later this week I’ll show you how I fixed this problem and how I fix my own broad upper back problem. This is also the reason you see the slashes in the back here – its part of how I fix the issue. More on that later, promise.

So after I did a few alterations namely – lengthened the sleeve, fixed the broad upper back and raised the armscye – I think we’ve got something pretty great to work with. The second muslin shows the mobility in the arm and the added amount to the back. The back actually hangs quite nicely, but someone wouldn’t stand straight and put their head up! So naughty!

Next up – draft a lining pattern and add a zipper placket! Almost time to cut into the cloth! How exciting! Thoughts? How many of you live with a significant other who has the same fitting problem as you do?



25 thoughts on “Winter Coat for My Man – the Muslins

  1. That first photo – hilarious! The look on his face… All wild-eyed Jack Nicholson. ‘Where’s my axe?!’ Even from the muslins, the coat is looking fabulous. Oh, this is going to be gorgeous. Can’t wait to see what fabric you’re working with.

  2. That second muslin looks very promising! I’m still learning and I learn a lot from your explanations. When I saw the first picture I laughed so hard it almost hurt. The arms are definitely too short, since he looks like you’re making him a straight jacket, lol!

  3. I have yet to sew anything for my partner. I’m a little bit afraid of sewing for someone else, to be honest. I can say that we definitely won’t have any of the same fit issues. I do an FBA and swayback adjustment on everything, but she’ll need an SBA if I use a women’s pattern and proabably a forward shoulder adjustment as well. Your Mr’s coat is going to look great!

  4. my hubby is desperate for me to make him something (either a shirt or a jacket) but he’s so picky and fussy about clothes that he will never find a pattern he is happy with! anyone got any good resources for men’s patterns, particularly in a retro/ 60s/ mod sort of a vein?

    1. I have great luck finding patterns on Etsy. One caveat, when you search “mens sewing patterns” you will have to wade through hundreds of “mad men” wiggle dresses. But that could be a win-win for you. Something for you and something for him!

  5. I’m so impressed with how you’ve made this fit! I don’t think most people realize how much work it is just to get to this point. I’m looking forward to all your fitting explanations, especially the back and armscye adjustments. Soldier on!

    1. Thank you Duane! It has been quite a bit of work just to get to this point – fitting is always the hardest part I find. It always takes the longest too. Grrrhh.

  6. my husband and I have the same broad upper back problem as well. And he’s back in school this fall as well. We are your doppelgangers! I’ve been avoiding making him a shirt for over a year because of that broad upper back (I’ve made the shirt three other times and still haven’t gotten the adjustment right). Perhaps I should suck it up and try again. I’m looking forward to the rest of your posts about this coat!

  7. I just love the look on his face in the first pic!

    I’m seriously impressed with your success thus far! I am still wading through my own plethora of fitting problems so tackling someone else’s scares the pants off me! LOL

    1. Totally understand. Give it a year and then if you want to sew for someone else, give it a try. I still feel hesitant when I’m teaching someone else how to fit their body, but in the end it all works out.

  8. Good thing I wasn’t drinking coffee when I looked at the muslin #1 photo LOL. It would make a great costume for Halloween. I have sewn for both my husband and kids (adults now) and the more I sew for them the pickyer they get. All 3 have different fitting issues. Husband is short(5’4″) and muscular, son is tall (6′) and daughter is average (5’4″) muscular and I have to do a FBA. One common fit is square shoulders for all of us. When fitting them I ask them how the muslin feels when they do simple movements like reaching, bending & sitting. These movements give me a better idea of where the problem is I just don’t always know how to fix. I get out my fitting books, search the net and pull out my hair no no no. I am learning and clothes are being made.
    Looking forward to your coat making.

  9. Oh, those are great photos! I’m curious about the back-broadening alteration, when I tried it on my hubs’ coat it ended up just really baggy when his arms were down.

    We have some fitting issues alike—long limbs, shortish body—but he’s much “curvier” than me!

  10. I’ve recently started sewing and would love to make something for my husband. I think this is a little beyond my capabilities at the moment but when I’m feeling more confident I’d love to give it a try.

    1. Definitely do. A few years ago, this sort of project would definitely have been beyond my own capabilities, but now I’m pretty excited to dig into the fabric and sewing. Oh its going to be glorious! And he’ll have it for so many years to come! Yay!

  11. Yes, second muslin is looking great. I too laughed at the first one he looks positivley murderous! I feel terribly guilty for not making my hubby anything or my son – but he’s at that age where its all about labels ( my son not my hubby) and mens patterns are so uninspiring. So its just for me and my girl – though she too has that look on her face when I drag her from her bed for a fitting!

  12. Don’t want to be offensive, but he looks like a serial killer in the first pic. Awesome coat, but perhaps you should sew the arms extra long to be on the safe side.

    1. He totally looks like a psycho killer in the first pic! That was the point really, I had just woken him up from a nap. Ha ha! Why do you think I should cut/sew the arms extra long just out of curiosity? The length of muslin #2 is the final length of the sleeve – I cut off the hem allowance for the muslin and I personally feel its hitting in just the right spot. I think the weird thing with sleeves is that if they are too short, you know they are too short, and if they are too long, you know they are too long, but if they are just right, you don’t notice them at all.

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