Shrek!

1 Zany McCalls 5766

Muslin McCalls 5766 back and frontI can explain….

1 McCalls 5766 Pattern EnvelopeThis isn’t some garish costume I made for one of the courtiers in “Shrek, the Musical”.  What I’ve done is used old children’s room curtains – originally dyed  to match cheerful IKEA Mammut furniture – to make a muslin for McCall’s 5766.  This is an out of print coat pattern I first  came across when Anelise made it.  Hers is a fantastic version in red fur, no less!  I needed a winter coat and after reading some good reviews on SPR, I bought the pattern second hand (but unused) through Ebay.  Mine is the combination AX5 (sizes 4-12) and I made size 12.  This has a finished size of 38″ (97cm) in the bust, exactly the same as my RTW coat that I wear all the time and which is size 10.

1t zero maria cornejo lab coatThe shape is very different from the coats that have been all the rage the last season or two – which I call the Manta Ray because they bulge out in the middle.  Lovely as they are, Rays do my short arse (pardon my Yorkshire!) no favours.  McCall’s 5766 follows the empire line which I’m not sure is any better, to be honest.  There are several questions I have before I proceed and I’d very much appreciate your thoughts.

I think we can all safely agree that the biggest problem is the sleeves.  1 McCalls 5766 Techncal DrawingView C is the only full length in the pattern.  Shortening them would help (they’re 4cm too long and possibly too wide).  But my initial verdict trying on the balloon shape?  Zany.  It’s a look that can be offset by wearing dainty high heels but I’d like to be able to wear this coat with flat boots without looking, er, medieval.  Though I like Views A and B, coats that need to be worn with long gloves don’t suit my lifestyle much.

Do you think it would be a cop-out to make just plain old straight sleeves?  I’m worried that it would make the coat plain.  Is there any other full length sleeve shape that you suggest?  And those shoulder pads are too big, aren’t they?

1 Instructions McCalls 5766The instructions were easy to follow.  I didn’t use any interfacing but as there was plenty of curtain, I made the whole coat, including attaching the lining, to remind myself of what to do.  Since starting this blog, I’ve done a couple of tailoring courses (one blogged here, the other was here) but I have never utilized the lessons learnt by making an actual tailored garment.  This coat project was picked with the aim of adding tailoring techniques to improve on a basic.  The add-ons will be:

a) A sleeve head (or sleeve roll?).  This is a folded strip of flannel or domette attached to the top of the sleeve seamline to smooth out the outside appearance at the top of the sleeve.

b) A strip of interfacing fused to the hem to sharpen that bottom edge.

1 Pinned Roll Line on Muslin McCalls 5766c) Taping the roll line.  This inside strip is stretched over the roll line with the effect of making the front of the garment subtly concave, thereby following the hollowed shape below the shoulder.  The roll line on this pattern isn’t marked but I’m following the instructions in this Tailoring guide (from Morplan) to determine and mark its position.  Basically, you pin the roll line, press it, then copy its position onto the pattern.

Anything else you’d suggest?

1 Tailoring By Apple Press, 2005 Creating Publishing InternationalAs you can see, the facing of the coat has rolled outwards (See the first picture?   The facing’s yellow).  I notice my RTW coat suffers from this too. It’s something I’ll have to prevent when it comes to doing the real thing in wool.  Do you have any tips for making the outside of the garment roll inwards?

Finally, I’m not happy with the lower half of the armscye.  I think it’s too big and cuts too deeply into the bodice.  Should I extend the bodice into the sleeve and make the underarm higher?

1 Sleeve C and Armscye McCalls 5766

1 Blogstalker fabric-sittingI’m also including a picture of the fabrics I intend to use.  Yup, it’s gonna be a plaid-matching nightmare which is all the more reason why I needed a muslin – to show where the lines would lie.

But do you think there’s enough fur here for such a big collar?

I’m kidding.

Thanks for reading!

33 thoughts on “Shrek!

  1. Hi, You seem to be able to answer your own questions a lot of the time but probably just need some reassurance. 1. the sleeves are hideous! However, there’s plenty of options for straighter sleeves. Here’s just a few. Turned back cuffs with a self covered button? Two piece sleeves with a “suit” effect on the hem, i.e. a row of small buttons. A strap coming out of the seam to “pull in” the cuff when buttoned down. Look at historical references for ideas and build up a file of ideas for different parts of garments to keep for future projects (pinterest?)
    2.Shoulder pads help to balance the hips so do have them but maybe reduce?
    3. All those tailoring techniques are a must and will make a big difference to the finished look.
    4.Facing rolling out? Try cutting your facing slightly smaller or the front slightly bigger on that edge.I presume you have understitched it? If not then do so.
    5. Armscye – Don’t cut it too high under the arm or you won’t get it on over clothes, yes,increase the bodice slightly to allow for movement but remember, it should look good when relaxed, not in any kind of extreme pose like the one you’re doing in the pic. If increasing the body makes it baggy in the relaxed pose then it’s going to have to be a compromise somewhere. Hope this helps X

    • This helps enormously, thank you so much. I actually didn’t even think to understitch the facing (the instructions didn’t ask) and yet, it would have been easy enough as that piece is separate from the bodice/collar.

      I shall look at some interesting sleeve shapes.

      • Glad to be of help. When you’re learning it can be a minefield of choices: “Will this help?” ,”Should I be doing this?”. As you sew more you will get more confidence to do things the pattern doesn’t call for. It’s what will make your results more professional. Clothes these days are so badly made that is it hard to find good inspiration just by looking inside things. Keep it up, you’re doing great. x

  2. Well! I can’t possibly improve on Sass’s comment – some of it I can barely understand – so, suffice it to say, I am awed by your courage to make this in plaid which, as you know, is my nemesis.
    You can’t possibly have those sleeves going on and, yes, possibly the shoulders should be smaller but I really like the shape of the coat on you. I’m with you on the Manta Ray – at barely 5’3″ I would look like a tellytubby.
    Also, we can now see that, should you go down the jewel colours route for your next Dahlia dress, as you hinted in your previous post, that emerald green looks stunning on you.

  3. I am impressed by your use of the old curtains and the old pattern. I do that too. I like the whimsical sleeves and just looking at you in the coat, it seems the upper sleeve should be shortened, not to match bodice seam but maybe two inches. Adjusting the armhole will demand a bunch of work and it’s size allows you pile on an extra lay or. The fur collar would look good, but what a mess. Perhaps you could just train your cat to drape it self.

    • Upper sleeve shortened (so that the sleeve aims more out than down). High armsceye. Or, don’t move your arms (I have a sweater that took forever to knit in the round with this problem).
      I know somewhere on the interwebs there is an illustration of the rolling out solution. Too ill to go look right now, but that ‘smaller lining thing’ plus understitching sounds good.

      • Thanks Ernie. I hope you feel better soon!

        If you can, please enable your readers to comment using the Name/URL profile. As with Anelise’s blog, I’d like to leave a comment after reading your posts but can’t.

  4. Can’t wait to see the real thing as I think it will be beautiful! Not sure what I would do about the sleeve…And now the hunt is on for this pattern for myself

  5. I like the sleeves! (Well, obviously, since I made them on my own coat 🙂 Thanks for linking back to my blog!). I agree with Robin that that if the upper sleeve was shortened it would put the seam at your elbow and the band at your wrist where they’re supposed to be. But these sleeves are pretty quirky and if you’re looking for a more everyday look a straighter silhouette would be more wearable. I’m looking forward to seeing your tailoring techniques, especially how you create a crisp hem and keep the facing to the inside of the coat (problems that I always have!).
    I admire your determination in using plaid…I don’t think I would have the patience to match up the pattern! (I don’t approve of the fur, though. :D)

  6. Don’t do the sleeves.its too much going on , on a small person .I really like the collar and the empire waist . I will look forward to seeing your progress.

  7. Just as an afterthought why don’t you do the centre panel in the back bodice and maybe even the front, on the bias ? I think that would look great with your check and also mean less gnashing of teeth with matching . Also use a walking foot to sew it up , makes a big difference to stop the layers creeping on each other when you are stitching (even with tacking ) .

    • It would look great but I’m worried about stretching the fabric. I’m going to make a skirt out of this first just to see how the wool behaves.

  8. I’m just wondering about the pattern pieces for the facing front edge. Does the piece look to be perfectly perpendicular to the floor? If it does, maybe try marking about 4cm along the hem edge toward the side seam. Then draw the line up to the original match point at the top. My drafting notes tell me to shape to about 10cm up, that may or may not fix your problem. This is something done on jackets and it helps them fall nicely at the front. Also has the facing piece been pared down along the front edge about 2-5mm. As you probably know, that facing piece shouldn’t look exactly like the coat front piece, it should be smaller on the front edge to encourage the edge to favour the front. You’re probably all over this and my apologies for telling my granny how to etc!
    I’m not totally against the sleeves, but it may be less 2015 if you make them more pedestrian? Great potential.

    • I wasn’t aware of this drafting tip. Thanks for introducing. It’s never too late to teach granny a trick or two. Though my kids inform me it’s impossible to teach them I.T.!

  9. Oh my gosh, all that work just for a muslin. How about lopping the sleeves, throwing it in a dye bath and taking the cat on a nice winter outing while you contemplate what else to make with the plaid! Just kidding – I know you could make a fabulous plaid coat. Keep us posted.

  10. I like the sleeves, but am not sure about them with the plaid – leaning towards a basic sleeve. There’s enough going on with the big collar and checks. The armhole looks too low in the toile, don’t forget you will have at least one more layer (lining) and may be wearing the coat over a sweater. Double check the bodice width fit over layers before messing with the armhole.

    • It’s a good point but I don’t usually wear baggy jumpers, just cashmere (of various age and quality) over vests and t-shirts. I shall compare to my RTW coat.

  11. Firstly, I’m impressed you’ve made a muslin! Hmmm on the sleeves, I like plain old straight ones that you can always push up or turn back.
    As for the front facing – grade the seams shorter in the inside and then switch to shorter on the outside around the lapels where you want the fabric to fall the other way.
    Your checked fabric is lovely.

    • Thanks Ruth. The checked fabric is making some people very nervous… all those seams and pleats. My coat may take some time!

  12. I LOVE the sleeves on View A—I am a sucker for that style. For a sleeve idea, what about doing a straight sleeve in a longer length with a rolled cuff, showing the lining? It will make a nice contrast and keep the coat from being too plain. Pair it with a skinny scarf made of the lining fabric that is layered under the color. Voila! Color details and it will tone down the green, also.

  13. Your coat is great. If you haven’t already done so you might check out the Ralph Rucci – Vogue 1419 Sewalong. The steps for this Sewalong were co-written by Lladybird and McCalls. It has some really great detailed information about sewing a coat. I really like the sleeves on the Ralph Rucci coat too and they might work on yours. I also love the fabric you plan to use on the final version of your coat. Looking forward to seeing the final version.

    • Thanks Gertrude. That’s really, really helpful (the Ralph Rucci coat tips). I wasn’t aware of that pattern; a coat shape that is totally different from the two I talked about above.

  14. Hi Marianna,
    That’s a great shade of green! I love the design and the sleeves – that coat will be a beautiful piece to have in your wardrobe – I’m sure that you’ll love wearing it.
    I will be the (only) one who says that it may me a good idea to raise the armhole. Since I have been using Adele Margolis’ book as well, I know that she says to lower the armhole only 1/2 inch from your fitted bodice sloper – which is probably 1 inch higher than most pattern companies place their armholes. A low armhole can cause a garment to have limited range of motion, similar to the way that a low crotch can bind across your crotch when you try to take a step up on something.
    Also, it looks like your upper arm is binding with the fabric when your arm is raised. I ran into this problem with a shirt that I was making for my daughter, so I have tried to explain it here Hopefully this may give you some food for thought as far as fitting the armholes. I always love your blog – so I’m trying to share what I have learned about fitting garments with you. Let me know if it is helpful.

  15. I actually kinda like the green haha! Definitely do a straight sleeve, it will make everything more streamlined (not boring!). The empire style of the coat is quite nice and I think if you can sort the sleeve so it’s a bit more comfortable then it could be quite fabulous. 🙂

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