Boring Muslin: Issey Miyake Muslin, Vogue 1320

Muslins are so boring to blog! Ugh. But, I wanted to document what I do on this one so I could go back later. And, now after my second muslin, I’m not sure this is the coat for me. Plus, nothing wrong with a little blog filler every now and then.

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I decided to muslin Vogue 1320, an Issey Miyake coat.  The first time, I cut a 12 and graded to a 14 at my thighs. It was too small overall and the CF weren’t nearly close to meeting after my 1 inch FBA (I’m a 34DDDD/G  cup, so 2.5 inches is really the ideal on a Big 4).

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Muslin #2. I went up one size to a 14 for the coat, grading to an 18 at the thighs (my widest part). I also made a 2 inch FBA on the princess seams. So, let’s break down all the issues and why I think this might be a wash for me.

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The shoulders are tight. They were just as tight in the smaller muslin I made. Ugh, the neck is also way too high. But, that’s because I have the neck of a Nutcracker.

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The FBA is actually not giving me more fullness at my apex. It’s all added to the side since the princess seam line don’t run over the bust.

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Still need a swayback adjustment and there is too much fabric at the back armsyce.

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With Jordan’s help, I cut a horizontal slash at the shoulder that makes it way more comfortable. How meta. You can see my first muslin in my sewing room below on the dress form.

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But, this horizontal slash seems to add extra fabric at the back of my arm.
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I also did some slashing at the bus apex since I could see the pull lines there ( I think that look on my face is shame. And, I had pins in my mouth).

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Here’s what the altered shoulder looks like. I think it’s doable.
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Here’s what my current FBA looks like. That two inches in length is definitely right. But, not enough width where it needs to be, at the apex on the right (click to enlarge)

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I *think* I need to actually FBA the center front part like a regular FBA so the fullness goes there rather than adding to the curve of the fairly straight side (and remove the extra inch at the curve I added).

But, that leaves me not knowing what to do with the back underarm area.

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It does give me range of motion. But, looks like there is just too much fabric there.

Erg. I might muslin again. I might not. I like the coat fine. But, I’m not married to it.

What do you think?


  1. Hmm, if you straighten out the curve at the bottom of the yoke, you can remove fullness. (Make small tucks and then straighten out the curve.)

    Do the opposite where you need more fullness. Slash and spread the yoke, then smooth out the bottom curve.

    Does the yoke fit better after that? Then move and adjust downwards.

    • Yes, the yoke did fit better. And, I could smooth out the curve of the bottom of the yoke. Thanks!

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:46 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  2. The problem here is with the pattern. The princess seams are not going over your curvy bits where they should go. A center back seam would also make a sway back adjustment much easier. I’m not quite sure what to make of the horizontal yoke seam. I’ve never handled one of these before.

    • That horizontal seam yoke is strange isn’t it? That’s why I was drawn to it. I’d not seen anything like it. But, it made me realize I didn’t know how to adjust it either. Yeah, the princes seams on this don’t work for me. I’d have to FBA it totally differently. I left off the center back seam because I was hopeful I wouldn’t need one. I’m working with a plaid and wanted to reduce me match points. Lazy, Lazy.

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:46 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


    • It’s probably not a princess seam. P/P’s Jackets for Real People p42 has a jacket with side panel like this. Where it joins the front is also closer to the side, not over the bust. The book mentions that with this style, the FBA is done on the front itself and probably will result in a horizontal bust dart from the side panel seam to the bust point – ie a “Dior dart” (

      I have often wondered what’s the best way to accommodate a full bust in a coat or jacket. If it’s quite fitted through the bust, would it have too much shaping to look OK when worn open / unbuttoned?

  3. This is my personal style opinion, so feel free to give the screen (me) a raspberry while reading it. I think Issey Miyake patterns are for those with a very thin, clotheshorse body. The pattern creates fullness where a lot of us are already plush and is not flattering to those of us who have curves, imho. I think you should make a coat with an elegant and simple line in order to show off your voluptuous curves to advantage. Perhaps something with a princess seamed like silouhette with a small collar that frames your face. You, like me, don’t need any design elements that create fullness where we are already full. We need designs that make us look sleeker and highlight our best points. Again, just my opinion. I don’t think this was a boring post at all.

    • I think you’re absolutely right Becky. I wanted a knee length coat that was a little full for wearing some of my boxier clothing. But, this might not be the pattern for me. And, now that I see the photos, that back view is terrible! I generally like the fit from the front. But, I need more shaping in the back. No raspberries from me 🙂

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:48 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


      • i admire the fitting work you’ve done here, but I don’t think this pattern is a great match for you. The line drawings are very enticing but I think you’d do better sticking with a Burda, Vogue Designer patterns are so hit and miss.

        • Yeah. I think this is a bust. I kind of want to make one of the Burda duffle coats. I have a really pretty red, black and white plaid wool that I want to use for something a little boxier.

          On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 2:20 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  4. I think it could be made to be more flattering but it’s going to take at least another muslin to do it, and I don’t think it’ll ever be as wildly flattering as maybe some of your past projects have been. It just doesn’t play well with your curves, and your best feature is, as it always has been, your lovely hourglass shape and small waist. This doesn’t show them off to best advantage.

    Total respect for having a husband that can be trained to pin out fullness though! You get serious props for that!

    • Thanks, Colleen. It for sure needs at least one more muslin, and I don’t know if I like it enough to go that far. OK. Back to the pattern cabinet to see what else might work. Jordan wasn’t trying to cut or pin anything. But, I swore to him he couldn’t mess it up. As long as he didn’t cut what I had on underneath 🙂

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 1:07 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  5. First, I want to say how much I enjoy your blog. When I found it several years ago, it inspired me to start sewing again.
    Second, regarding this pattern, I agree with Becky – it just isn’t the right pattern for you. But if you want to try Round 3, here are my suggestions:
    Are the sleeves loose enough to wear a heavy sweater underneath? They also look a bit snug in the upper arm but it might be the muslin catching on what you’re wearing underneath.
    I’d move the front side seam in toward the center front to make it more like a princess seam. That would make an easier FBA to add width.

    • Thanks, Leanne. I’m wearing a heavy sweatshirt underneath as I wanted to make sure this coat had enough ease. The sleeves are 18 inches and my biceps measure 13. So, it might be catching a bit. They are also cut on the bias which I think accounts for some of those lines. But, overall — yeah. This might not be the coat for me. I do like your suggestion of moving the seam lines entirely. I think that would male a huge difference since I can’t get the fullness where I need it. Thank you!

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 1:11 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  6. muslins are not just for fitting! they are a great way to try on a garment and realize it is just not for you before you actually cut into some nice fabric. Think of all the items you try on in a store before you get one you like. Chiming in with feedback that you can obviously ignore 🙂 I don’t think this is a good shape for you at all, there are soooo many other coat patterns that are beautiful and much better shapes. I say chuck it and start with something else. The sleeve/yoke combo on this coat is always going to be a problem on 80% of people, and I think with a full bust a regular coat front with a set in sleeve is far more likely to fit and look great. There are a lot of really nice coat patterns on the BurdaStyle site, take a look there. Good luck!

  7. I’m with Beth and the rest…this pattern was created on the flat table and not considering women’s bodies at all. Princess lines are there for a reason and not to be tucked away close to the underarm. I could send you lots of photos with lots of slashing and spreading and tucking on your muslin but you would almost be making it entirely over. I used to make lots of prairie blouses (back in the 80’s) with that dropped yoke and it really works best with gathers sewn unto it. When I first looked at this muslin I could see all the underarm and side seams were screaming…please put them out of their misery and try a classy coat pattern instead of this intensely laborious project.

    • LOL. Classy coat pattern it is. I might muslin a duffle coat next. That’s what I had in mind. Something a little boxier that is more casual.And, in plaid. I have so much plaid coating it’s embarrassing!

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 1:59 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  8. I don’t think those are princess seams–I think that those are panel seams, which are a bit different and fall to the side of the bust, rather than going over the apex. They’re nowhere near as flattering as princess seams, IMO. I just tested a to-be-released indie pattern with panel seams, and I got the same lines around my bust that you’re seeing. I thought that it was possibly a draft issue, but now I’m leaning towards thinking that it’s a style issue with panel seams and fuller busts.

    If you decide to move on from this pattern, but still want a unique looking coat, a bunch of us are muslining/working on the Simplicity Leanne Marshall coat, and while the sizing seems to run a little small and the zipper instructions are not good, the fit on the ones that we’re seeing so far is the flattering fit you’d expect from traditional princess seams.

    • That coat is pretty cute. I hadn’t looked at it before. And, it’s along the lines of what I was looking for. Thanks for the heads up. And, yes, I think calling them panel seams is more accurate. In the line drawing I thought princess. But, they are no where near my bust which explains why I made two different kinds of princess seam FBAs and none were working. Thank you!

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 2:36 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  9. I found your website a couple of weeks ago when I was seeing how a certain pattern looked on other people before I made it for myself. I found myself reading your blog in reverse from post to post. You mam made me cry more than once and laugh a lot more than that.

    This coat though, scrap it. It looks like it would be awesome on the back of a chair and look like poop on. If you sew because you enjoy it you should never have to sew things that give you the face you were making in some of those pictures. Also, way to go on the 34DDDD, I’m 5’8”, 150-ish pounds and a 34DDD. If my experiences of bra shopping are anything to go by you must be doubly screwed. Personally I normally put in about a 4” FBA and then subtract if needed, alas much of the time its not needed. I made a wrap dress the other day and ended up adding 8 inches. I wanted to make sure the girls were tethered down well.

    • Thank you, Jessica. I just double checked my count, and 3 inches is my minimum in Big 4. That said, I tend to need more width than length. Last year I was a 32DDD and had to finally admit I * had* to make an FBA. It’s one reason I’ve always sewn Burda. They start in a C cup — less alterations for me. I stopped buying RTW that wasn’t a knit top a long time ago. NOTHING buttons. And, because I’m not actually ‘busty’ no one ever believes me in the shop. If I do buy, I purchase a large so I can just take it in myself. Bleh.

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 3:05 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  10. I think that any man who helps you with muslin alterations is a keeper!!! (Not sure about the coat, however.)

    • He’s totally a keeper! As long as I don’t bother him during the Ravens game, he’s super helpful 🙂

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 3:14 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  11. Sometimes, you just have to throw up your hands and walk away. It’s ok. There are design features that don’t work for everyone (and some which don’t seem to work on anyone not tall, not super thin and so on). It’s like the whole thing with kimono sleeves on me – I can’t wear ’em at all. Because of the bust bits, I end up with this huge amount of fabric under the arms. So…I just don’t bother with kimono sleeves.

  12. If that yoke is what drew you to the pattern in the first place, how possible would it be for you to muslin-up a classic raglan-sleeved coat pattern, make It fit, and then drape this yoke for the shoulders? It all depends upon how much energy you have to put into it- And it even with a muslin it is hard for me to imagine that yoke in plaid- where to match it and how! thanks for sharing the process- Kimbersew

    • I actually found a similar pattern in an old Burda. And, I think it does use raglan sleeves. The yoke is cut on the bias, so the plaid would be in contrast. The original pattern uses a houndstooth similarly. Yeah, I wanted something boxy that I could use this plaid fabric I have with.

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 3:57 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  13. Renee I made this coat and absolutely loved the fit. I made my regular size 20. I added a horizontal bust dart as I didn’t think the design was princess seam enough for a princess seam FBA. While I added the dart to the pattern, I didn’t sew it in. I eased it in instead. I did sew the dart in the lining. I loved everything about it especially the sleeve. No fooling around with a lot of excess ease. You can read about my excursion here

    • I do like how yours looks on you! Did you add the dart across the center front also? Or, just on the side panel?

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 4:05 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  14. I say bag it. Life is short and this pattern is not worth your time. Figuring out what’s going on at the back of the armsythe could take many, many muslins.

  15. To be honest even with the alterations it’s just not that flattering. It’s a bad choice for a full bust and sloping shoulders. I think that the rounded yoke is just not flattering on a full bust. I bought this pattern and saw it made up and decided it was not for me either. It’s too much work for something that doesn’t give you a happy face; let it go.

  16. Yes, muslin’s are so boring! But I do them because I’d rather hear the bad news before I cut my good fabric. Sounds like you’re on the fence about this project, so don’t do it if you don’t feel that positive. I’m curvy, too, and if it were me, I’d make it more like a 60s A-line that’s 3/4 length.

  17. I do not think that pattern is flattering on you but more importantly, I do not think it will show off a great plaid fabric. I feel that the pattern is too busy to show off a plaid. (and I don’t mean just being lazy not wanting to match everything 😉 ). A great plaid needs a more simple design, less seams, and perhaps someplace to use bias for an accent. YKWIM? Keep looking, you will find the perfect pattern.

    • Yeah, I want simple too. But, simple seems to mean not enough fitting seams. This one seemed to work since there are bias pieces which I wouldn’t have to match. Oh, if only my love for plaid would go away!

      On Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 8:23 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  18. If you really like that yoke, could you add it to a different coat pattern? With a plaid, I’d probably go with a darted coat vs. a princess seamed one, but as I’ve never really matched a plaid (though I too, am obsessed with it and have a few pieces in my stash!) you should take what I say with a grain of salt. You might try Burda 12/2011/104 without the “blocks” if you want a princess seam coat though, it looks like it might have a similar shape.

  19. Well it may be boring to write about a muslin but it sure is interesting to read about! And so helpful to all of us trying to sort out which styles work on which shapes.

  20. It’s a nicely structured coat; I might try it again. My impressions… 1) I don’t think these are true princess seams, but rather, they are side panels that happen to be curved at the top. So I think you are right to do a standard FBA rather than alter the side panel/princess like seams. 2) It looks like the yoke is being distorted-pulled downward over the shoulders-and that may be causing the pooling at the back of the arm. The tech drawing shows a curved yoke (and I assume/hope that there would be quite a bit of steaming into shape). However, the muslin’d yoke looks straight across the front, so it does not appear to be doing what it’s supposed to do. 3) If there’s another muslin, it might be worth doing it in something more like the final fabric (especially if it’s going to be wool).
    Thanks for sharing – it’s an interesting muslin!

  21. I really like the pattern, but it looks like an epic amount of adjustment for the final product. And I don’t know about you, but I have to be head-over-heels-stupid-in-love with a pattern for that much effort. But then JenL, above, has made some really good points about where things might be going wrong so you can make suitable adjustments.
    You might enjoy Curious Kiwi’s latest approach to muslin-ing. She did a paper toile of Deer & Doe’s Belladone and pinned it to her dummy, Scarlett. It came up a treat!
    All of that said I’ve very much appreciated you sharing your process! Particularly because it turns out that you’re the only blog-owner I follow who has the same bust-issues as me (also a 34G…but here in Oz we call that 34 a 12), and fitting around those boulders can be problematic.

    • Thanks, Liz. I just got a new dressform and I need to get a bra on her soon. Working on the dressform would have helped me figure out the bust much sooner!

      On Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 9:13 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  22. Hi Celie: What about going larger in the beginning as you need the space through the thighs, then take in the rest to a feel good fit. Means making another muslin….sorry Just a thought. To me taking-in always easier the doing a lot of making-larger .

    • I am in Reust1’s camp. I think the bodice needs to be made larger before you can really decide what adjustments need to be made. What’s the finished measurements at the bust compared to your own measurements? Are you adding the necessary ease for a coat (3-4″) to your measurements before you decide what size to cut? I know these are basic questions but they are worth asking. I am a firm believer of picking the size that will go around the bust apex and adjusting from there. FBAs are for the birds! Just my two cents. Always love to see you update! I think this could be an amazing coat.

  23. Thanks. While boring to you, I find muslin posts to be the most useful of all. I learn so much and it underscores to others the necessity of this step. I wouldn’t have picked this pattern for myself as it doesn’t look comfortable to wear because of the shoulder seams: I find that my shoulders get tired easily even with more conventionally designed coats. I personally wouldn’t keep working with the pattern unless you love it.

    Incidentally, have you tried pre-fitting with a medium like Bosal Create-A-Pattern or Swedish Tracing Paper? I’ve found it helpful to trace the pattern, make adjustments such as grading out for the hips, pin, fit, mark, retrace, sometimes a few times before moving to the muslin. As I don’t have a dress form that’s padded out to mirror my shape or a great deal of pattern making experience, I always need help.

  24. Not every pattern works for every woman! It would be easier to start drafting from scratch than to make all the adjustments you’ve already made to this coat pattern … I vote for you to put it down and just walk away. You can always take the envelope out of the drawer and caress and admire it, at your leisure, later. The circular yoke is interesting, but I’ve always found that raglan sleeves work better with that sort of yoke. A 1950s style swing coat with a circular yoke would be fabulous on you. I think that McCalls had a similar style on offer, 6-8 years ago. I’ll look out the one I’m thinking of, in my own stash, and scan it for you later this week. I made it up in double-knit for my own (busty) daughter, and it fit her just fine.

  25. I *almost* made this coat last week in an embroidered wool and then went with Burda 7072 instead. I think your adjustments are coming along and everything you make is gorgeous, but I’m kind of wondering if that pattern is worth the hassle? I admire your stick-to-it-iveness! I don’t have that.

    • It’s totally not worth the hassle 🙂 I need to take photos in a vintage wool coat I have that is less fitted. I really like how it looks on me. That’s the style I’m going for. It’s very similar to this Burda you mentioned.

      On Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 4:50 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  26. Seriously, you have the best, most thoughtful commenters! I read through and agreed with some that while this is an interesting pattern, it’s not the best cut on you. When I knit a yoked sweater I know it’s not going to be as flattering on my DD self as set in sleeves, but sometimes a girl wants a yoke.

    That said, if your goal was to make a coat that worked over boxier clothes why not look at a coat like Yona wrap coat from Named, or something like it (don’t be put off by their web version). Burda also have some some kick ass coat patterns so maybe one of theirs will strike your fancy. Good luck so I can live vicariously! I love coats but live in the warmth…

    • This is a good reminder. I had a yoked sweater a few years ago that I LOVED in the catalog. It looked terrible on me. Like fabric hanging off a boobs. I still wore it though because it was a REALLY cute sweater!

      On Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 7:29 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  27. Man, that’s a lot of adjustment. I am sorry I am not of much help here. But I am thinking you might be better off drafting this using your own sloper. Didn’t you create some sort of sloper for yourself before?

  28. When I saw the little sewing chair in the background of one of your pictures, I confess I let out a little shriek (my co-workers came rushing in to see what was the matter, luckily it was lunch time and not many were around!). I have the same exact chair, it goes with my Singer 401A cabinet. I too vote for put-it-down-and-back-away although it IS an interesting design.

    • You know, I would have shrieked too. I love that chair! I first saw one locally at a vintage shop and they wanted something like $150 for it. Then, I found one on ebay that including shipping was less than $50. I used it to sew only once and had the WORST back pain. So, now I use it for guests. Or, my husband will sit on it when he visits me in the sewing room. And, I use it as a little step ladder in here too. I love the look of it!

      On Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 4:38 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  29. I also have a shorter neck, plus broader shoulders for a woman. I, personally, wouldn’t make this coat or another muslin for it. I think Although you may not be able to use the plaid fabric for my pattern suggestion, I would suggest a swing coat. The sleeves tend to provide more room than a boxier style, there is plenty of room for heavier and bulkier sweaters/sweats, they naturally flow out in the hip and thigh area, and they really can be quite feminine. (I’ve made two over the years.)

    (A belated congrats on your marriage!)

  30. Have you considered drafting your own pattern & muslin from your coat with the fit you like?

    If not, then I looked for some patterns you might use. (I don’t own any of these. Some are listed as good for plaids because there are fewer lines.) Included are style that might/should work better with sweaters and bulky items.

    c) New Look 6325
    d) (for lightweight fabrics)

  31. I think the mistake you (and most commenters) are making is precisely to see it as a princess-seamed coat and try to make it fitted. Its not princess-seamed and it’s meant to be relatively loose and flowing, like all Miyake’s work. I have to disagree with the person who said Issey Miyake’s work is designed on a flat table. That’s laughable. Anyone who knows Miyake knows that he’s the master of three dimensional design. And his designs are always, but always cut to be loose. I think if it’s too small on the shoulders, and you are going up two sizes on the hips, the truth has to be faced. You cut too small a size. I think it could look great on you once you “adjust your (mind-)set.” I don’t agree that “some patterns are not for everyone. I think the whole point about sewing is that once you get the fit and adjustments right, anything can look good on you. (Anyone remember the Selfish Seamstresses mods to long flared trousers for shorties?) You may decide Issey Miyake looseness is not your style or it’s not early-twenty-first century (Miyake is always out of time, or ahead of it), but that doesn’t mean you can’t look good in it in other people’s eyes.

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