Pepernoot Coat – Pattern Alterations and Muslin

It’s funny how I feel like I’ve been making the Pepernoot coat for a while, but I haven’t even cut into my final fabric yet!

I started with the largest size – 48. The measurements are:

Bust 43.3

Waist 36.2

Hips 45.6

Between the two largest sizes, the pattern grades differently. Between size 40 and 42, there is a 1.78 inch difference or a 4cm difference in the bust, but between size 46 and 48 this difference jumps to a 6cm or 2.3 inch difference. I chose to grade up based on the 2.3 inch difference in the bust. Grading up two sizes meant the following changes:

Bust changed from 43.3 to 47.9 inches

Waist changed from 36.2 to 40.6 inches

Hips changed from 45.6 to 49.8 inches

These are not finished garment measurements, though. The finished garment has about 5 inches of ease across the bust. The finished measurements are not listed for the waist or hips.

With 22 pattern pieces, I had a lot of flat pattern alterations to do. I graded up two sizes on 19 of the pieces (3 were for all the sizes and didn’t need alterations: sleeve tab, pocket, and pocket facing). I used this method on the Curvy Sewing Collective to grade all those pieces up two sizes.

For the bodice pieces and the bodice lining pieces, I also chose to to an FBA of 1.5 inches, which adds 3 inches to the bust for a bust size of 50.9 just short of my 51 inch bust. Finished garment should have 5 inches of ease and have enough room underneath for layers and wearing ease.

I also graded up the waist and added 2 inches there for 45.6 inches just short of my 46 inch waist. The 2 inches was added by darting from the waist, but in my final pieces I will be slashing and spreading instead for the front skirt pieces to make them proportionally fuller since my muslin didn’t have enough flare to the skirt. The method I used for the muslin will be fine to get an idea of the final fit in the waist/hip, but slashing and spreading will be a better way to get that flare. I will just have to imagine the better shape I want in the final garment when trying on the muslin.

For the muslin, I just used a thrifted sheet. I used it last year for my winter pictures. I didn’t have a space for that this year without sacrificing my sewing area so I decided to repurpose the sheet into muslin material. It’s not really final garment worthy material.

Here is my muslin:


Fits pretty well, but there are some issues. The armsyce needs to be widened. I’m not sure what happened there. Possibly lost some with the FBA, but I am not sure. The sleeve doesn’t fit into the armsyce. It will need an extra inch or so. It’s likely it was an issue with grading rather than the pattern itself, but I can’t verify that. Sleeves also need to be shortened by a few inches. My hand is somewhere in there on the right.

The waist needs to be raised by about 2 inches. The FBA lowers the waist. Sometimes I need to take that length out and sometimes I need to add more length in. It really depends on the pattern. Shortening the bodice will mean shortening the front band, but both are easy alterations.

Here is an idea of what the bodice will look like shortened:


It’s a much more flattering fit on the right. It’s just pinned up here. The left side got pinned a little too high, but the right side is perfect.


The back fits really well, too.


To sum up:

  • Started with a size 48
  • Graded up 19 pattern pieces 2 sizes
  • 1.5 inch FBA on bodice main and bodice lining pieces
  • Lengthened front band and facing for FBA alterations
  • 1.5 inches added to waist

Next alterations:

  • Shorten bodice main and bodice lining pieces by 2-3 inches
  • Shorten front band and facing for bodice alterations
  • Redo waist grading for slash and spread method
  • Widen armsyce to accommodate sleeve size
  • Shorten sleeve by 2 inches
  • EDIT: Narrow shoulder adjustment (See Kathy’s comment below)

After I do these alterations, I’m cutting into my final fabric. I’m excited to see the final results with all the details of the pattern highlighted. I think it’s going to be a great Spring/Fall coat.

A reminder on my fabric choices:

20160204_162334.jpg brown wool 20160212_131924.jpg

Main fabric: medium weight brushed cotton pink plaid

Contrast fabric: Medium weight wool suiting

Fur trim for hood: faux fur (I will be making this a removable fur trim)



8 thoughts on “Pepernoot Coat – Pattern Alterations and Muslin

  1. Hi Andie! I would say that the armsyce was lost with the FBA. I would add fabric to the bottom of the armsyce at the side seam line. It seems you have the downward sloping shoulders like I do. The sleeve should be only a little bit bigger than the armsyce if it were a blouse, but for a coat you need more ease in that area – maybe 2 inches or more. The back needs to have more ease too because if it’s fitted, as you probably know already, you won’t be doing much moving in the coat – at least 3 inches maybe more. For the shoulder area, what I’ve done in the past, is measure the length from your neck to the top of your shoulder bone at the top of the sleeve, then add seam allowances. In that way the sleeve should fit at the shoulder instead of either too high or low down on the arm itself. There’s an angle you would need to do to the bodice for the downward sloping shoulders. On the bodice when it lies flat you might start with 1/2″ increments increases at an angle going down from the top of the neck area to the shoulder until you see your neckline and shoulder “match”.

    I’ve been thinking about that blouse you posted about previously – the one with the gathers. I know you said you don’t want to make it again. I was thinking if you had used a thicker fabric it might have been better – maybe like a heavy jersey. Then make the sides of that blouse looser such as 1 to 2 inches outside of the line of your sides. You could make it longer as well. I’m thinking it might not have stretched out when worn and may not have then lost the gathers which were an integral part of the blouse/tunic design.

    By the way, I have sent you two emails directly. I’d be curious to know what you think about the lace I made for the very first time.

    Thank you so much!
    Kathy from Arizona

    1. Thanks for all the help, Kathy. The back actually has a decent amount of ease in it. Difficult for me to take a picture of/you to see, but there is probably 2-3 inches of ease there. Even though I didn’t have the other sleeve in, I did test to make sure there was enough for movement. You make a good point about the shoulders. I will add that to my list of alterations. It’s definitely not sitting at my shoulder and I didn’t even notice that. I will be making a shoulder pad for it, but it still needs to move up a bit. Thanks! 🙂

      I *might* try that other top again. I do think a thicker jersey would help. I’m just not sold on it. If I do, I’ll follow your suggestions.

      Thanks for the reminder about your email. I’ll reply now. 🙂

  2. You’re getting there! I’m looking forward to seeing the pink plaid–I think it’ll really make for a spectacular version of this pattern. Raising the waist definitely sits better on you particularly on your back I think. I have to raise waists often and it’s a funny alteration. So many times I’ve looked and looked at a garment, not really knowing what was wrong except that it just looked funny, then raised the waist an inch or two, and everything came back into balance.

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. It’s funny whenever I feel like a garment is “frumpy” it is because the waist is too low. Luckily it’s an easy alteration. 🙂

I love comments, but sometimes I may be slow to respond/approve. I will respond though. :)

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