Blackwatch Plaid Coat: Collar

backMatching plaid is always a challenge.  This plaid is slightly irregular, which made some matching really hard to wrap my head around.  I had to choose between matching horizontally, vertically or both.  In some areas, I was able to match both ways, but when I had to sacrifice, I chose to match horizontally (except when I chose to not match at all).  I had to re-do this CB seam three times before it lined up.  I found the topstitching pulled the fabric slightly askew.  The bodice back is completely interfaced with bias hair canvas.  The shoulders have an extra piece, padstitched together.front

The shoulders were a big challenge for me.  DD1 has both wide and broad shoulders, and she wanted the pagoda look.  So I researched how to make pagoda shoulders, and, after learning it’s the most difficult shoulder to tailor, decided I’d focus on getting her wide-broad-forward shoulder adjustment just right instead.  I made several toiles, but here’s the results in a nutshell:

  • one inch broad/wide shoulder adjustment
  • one inch forward shoulder adjustment

These looked quite extreme on the pattern pieces, and I doubted my eyes (until she put the toiles on), but she wanted her shoulders accentuated as much as possible, as well as growing room built in.  Once I show you the pictures of her wearing the coat, you’ll see it isn’t extreme on her at all.  For the record, the dress form modeling the coat in the last picture has totally square shoulders.

As an aside, I referenced Fitting and Pattern Alteration extensively, but which alterations to do for DD1 was a little difficult to determine.  I tried broad shoulder, broad-wide shoulder and protruding shoulder blades before I realized which one worked for her.  Does anyone else struggle with “reading” toiles to determine the correct alterations?

I cut the collar completely on the bias, both top and under collar and interfacing.  The stand is on the straight grain.  The collar is a detail from Burda’s Talea. coat pattern.  It’s quite deep – about 3 inches.collar front I really had to take breaks trying to match the plaid across the shoulders and sleeves.  I started going cross-eyed from staring at it so long.  I ended up second-guessing myself and cutting an extra (different) front piece, but discarded it the next day when I saw (with fresh eyes) that my original cut had matched up just fine.There were a lot of things that made the construction of this coat a messy business for me.  I used 1 inch seam allowances, which totally messed up the side bodice pieces (every other step of the construction went fine with the larger allowance- d’oh).  I have no idea what I did, but once I trimmed everything back to the standard 5/8″, the armscye and princess seam went together like a charm.  Lack of experience, I guess.  Next up: the sleeves that made me cry.


17 thoughts on “Blackwatch Plaid Coat: Collar

  1. Very impressive! Your daughter is very lucky. Can’t wait to see her model this couture jacket!

    Totally with you on the maze that is toile wrinkle reading. I too refer to F&PA a lot. But I find it quite hard to match the fabric wrinkles to the simplified drawings. Photos might have been more helpful. But I suppose it would have meant making lots of samples each with only one alteration issue. And even them it might not help with identifying combination issues.

    The other thing that might have helped is to have all the drawings together so you can see “oh it’s that type of wrinkle there rather than this type of wrinkle here, so better try alteration X rather than Y”. The book assumes the reader can read the body itself and ID the figure quirks to look up. But for us self-taught home-sewers it’s more frequently the other way around – I certainly didn’t know I have uneven shoulder, or twisted arm until those unsightly wrinkles reared their ugly heads!

    Just one more gripe with the latest edition – I have the red-cover one as well as an earlier gray-cover edition. They got rid of the useful ToC on the cover page of each section. The earlier one had this so you can scan the list of all the possible hip area alterations to narrow your search. Now you have to flip through every single alteration. Urgh!

    Still a good reference book of course. But could have been even better! :o)

    1. haha! I wouldn’t call it ‘designer’ so much as blood, sweat and tears trying to wrap my head around matching plaid on the bias! No plans here for that black line, it just worked out nicely. 😉

  2. This coat is looking amazing! Plaid matching can make a person crazy… Love that you did the collar on the bias, it breaks up the pattern nicely.

    1. Thanks! Nothing makes or breaks a great coat like the shoulders, imho, so extra attention is always given to them so I’m happy with the result.

  3. As a fellow broad/square shouldered gal, I love that your daughter wants hers emphasized! I struggle with fitting that area, especially as I think most of the problems happen in the back. The coat’s looking gorgeous.

    1. Thanks! And, yes, I agree about the back being the challenge. It’s very hard to follow her very distinctly “V” shape when fitting shirts and jackets because wearing ease needs to be accounted for, and yet seems to look like too much sometimes when drag lines appear or excess fabric creates folds. Then when she hugs herself or reaches her arms forward during fitting, all the ease disappears into “Mom, it’s too tight!” This coat fits her perfectly – no pulling across the back or restricted movement when reaching forward – and yet it does look like there’s excess fabric in the side back. Still learning! 🙂

      1. It’s a complicated area to fit! I’ll bet she’ll be forever grateful for the effort you’re putting in – it wasn’t until I made my own that I had a coat I could reach forward comfortably in. I’m not sure if this applies, but I’ve very recently found that the appearance of excess on the sides was because I actually needed a square shoulder adjustment (aka more room, not less).

  4. That’s an unusual collar cut – the stand is normally cut on the bias and the top on the straight but it looks great. Such an intriguing design too. I appreciate the plaid matching!

    1. Well, it just seemed to look better than cutting the collar on the straight grain – maybe because it was so large – because it just seemed like it needed something other than matched lines. I don’t know about you, but plaid garments seem to scream for the occasional bias break!

  5. What a labour of love! Those shoulders and collar turned out exceptionally fine – it’s just a pity that any non-sewist never will be able to appreciate the love and toil that went into these details.

    1. Well, in all fairness, my DD1truly appreciates the work that goes into making garments, even though she doesn’t sew. Which is why it’s fun sewing for her!

  6. It is quite the challenge, Tia. Using the horizontal lines since they are actually darker is a good choice. Sewing for family can be the most difficult of all!!! I am looking forward to seeing the sleeves that made you cry…I’m so sorry this project has brought you to that point but the photos today are just beautiful!


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