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09/06/2012 / thriftomancer

T.C.o.Dr.C: Beginning Alterations

Now that I’ve taken everything apart, the first step in putting to all back together is to take some measurements. The fix I had to make before any other was widening the back panel. To accomplish that, I laid the shirtdress’ remains out flat to see how much the two front panels overlap. That figure, minus the width of the buttons/buttonholes-to-edge measures is how much I would expand the back.

Curiously, the width of the overlap varied from .5″ to 1″ over the length of the garment. Seems something stretched or was sewn wonky to begin with. Either way, I added 1.5″ to the back. That much should give me comfier dimensions on par with the other coats I’ve made.

I cut a 51″ x 2″ strip of black linen, matching the color as closely as I could (had to piece it a little too) and then cut the shirtdress’ back panel in half.

Caligari's coat - fixing the back

I inserted the strip in the back panel, but only attached it at the top in case I decided to add gores to the bottom of the seam later. This way, if I do, I won’t have to rip the seam back out. Saves me time and thread.

The next thing to attend to was the sleeves. Before doing any cutting I pinned the side seams closed and tried the shirtdress on to mark where the new armhole should go. I decided that re-cutting so the bottom of the armhole was 3″ lower would be sufficient to make it work.

After cutting the new shape I measured the armhole to be approximately 23.5″ in circumference, much improved, and started on creating the new sleeves.

That was hard. And time-consuming. As predicted.

By taking the sleeves from several different patterns and testing each Cinderella-style on the armhole (just pinned each on in turn to see if any fit) I was able to find that none of them would work. The sleeves from the Simplicity pattern I’ve used before was the closest though, so I drafted a new pattern like it (but that worked) onto butcher paper and used that. It’s not so hard.

Caligari's coat - sleeves

The sleeves I got from it are where the first gray shows up. There should be more in the hood later and possibly the bottom hem if I feel up to it, but for now I’ve got 9 10.25″ x 2.5″ strips in every shade of gray linen I’ve got. (That stuff is surprisingly rare.) Each of those seams has been stitched, bound with zig-zag stitch, then topstitched down after pressing so they’ll behave for the life of the garment. The strip of blue is going to serve as an inner facing since trying to hem that many seams would be quiet tiresome.

I had to cut the top down a bit before actually putting these on because the original shape made the shoulders too severe and made raising one’s arms difficult/impossible, which is, as you know, exactly what I did all this to avoid. But it all worked in the end and both sleeves are now attached. Sorta. Tomorrow I’ll work on the side seams, finishing the sleeves, and any possible gores. After I do some tailoring for Slender Man. (It’s a long story.)

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