Choosing a Size and Making a Toile - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Thursday, January 21, 2021

I think I can safely say that this is one of the biggest hurdles to even starting making a coat - choosing  a size and making a toile. 

I've tried to make this part as easy and stress-free as possible by providing heaps of additional Finished Garment Measurements, but read on for some more in-depth info...

Making a toile:

I promise if you make a toile, you will feel absolutely confident that you will have a great fitting final coat come the end of this sew along. You will enjoy the process and take your time, knowing none of it was wasted.

As I mentioned in the Fabric & Tools post, it's important to choose the right fabric for your toile, and not to overfit it if you're using a lighter weight fabric than your final coat. 

The reality is that you'll more than likely have lighter toile fabric laying around that you want to use, rather than thicker coat fabric. Just bare in mind that once the final coat is lined and interfaced as well as fitted over any additional garments, you want to leave enough wearing ease for comfortable movement.

A Whole Bunch of Additional Finished Garment Measurements:

If the toile/fitting part of coat sewing seems like it could be endless, NEVER FEAR! I've included a whole bunch of additional measurements that you can use to get the best start and make the least changes possible to your Willa Wrap Coat toile so that you can get to sewing your final coat as soon as possible.

First of all, if you have a coat you love (or one that you know you'd like to make changes too to make it more comfortable) I suggest you grab this and get measuring. You can compare the measurements of this coat to the additional Finished Garment Measurements included in the instructions. 

This way, you'll already have a great reference point for how your final Willa Wrap Coat will fit you and you'll know straight away whether you might want to grade between different sizes or make any specific pattern alterations before you even print anything out! YAY!! 

This will cut down on a huge amount of time as well as quell any negative 'coat fitting' thoughts that may have entered your head.


The Finished Garment Measurements included are:

A - Full bust circumference

B - Natural waist circumference (smallest part of the torso, usually above the belly button)

C - Hip circumference

D - Sleeve length, from top of shoulder to finished hem

E - Bicep circumference

F - Armscye circumference

G - Back width, from outer sleeve seam across

H - Length, from top of inner shoulder seam to finished hem

Let's talk about the bust:

The Willa Wrap Coat combines two cup sizes per front coat pattern. Because of the easy wrap style and less tailored fit around the front, combining cup sizes made more sense in terms of the pattern and grading. This means that there is one Front Coat pattern set for A+B cups and one for C+D cups in the JLH Original patterns, and the same goes for the Curve sizes. 

It does mean that if you're the smaller of the combined cups (the A cup for example) that there may be a touch more fullness at the bust - this should not effect the overall relaxed fit and feel of the coat though.

It's important to always choose your cup size first before you choose the rest of your coat size. This is because fitting the bust is harder than fitting the waist/hips. If you've got the bust fitting well from the get go, you can then grade the pattern from there to get the rest of it fitting nicely.

I'll be doing an in-depth post on bust adjustments next week, but you can also work out your cup size here!

Choosing a size:

Once you've worked out which cup size you are, look along the cup row to find the closest measurement to your Full Bust circumference. 

NOTE: Don't fall into the trap of thinking you should make a different cup size if your Full Bust measurement fits exactly (or closer to) the next cup size up or down. In reality, the cup size your measurements put you into has more to do with your shoulders/upper bust proportions than it does your full bust circumference. So, if you go up (or down) a cup size based solely on your Full Bust circumference (rather than the difference you worked out to get your cup size), you will probably have fit issues over your shoulders/neckline, which is much harder to fix after the fact.

If you don't fit exactly into one of the Full Bust Circumference measurements within your cup row, you can grade the pattern at the sides to get the circumference correct for you (whether that's adding or subtracting).

There is enough wearing ease in Willa to be able to layer 1-2 light-weight layers or 1 mid-weight layer underneath. If you're going to want to layer more than that (or you have a really thick outer coat fabric), I would suggest sizing up, as you do want to be able to move, after all. This is just one of the instances where trying on a coat you already own and comparing measurements is extremely helpful. Do you need more or less room than you current coat allows? And how does that compare to Willa? This is really useful information so that you can make the smallest number of toiles possible for the best fitting final coat.

Next week is Pattern Adjustment week at the Sew Along, so if you've found you need some pattern adjustments, we'll be covering the major alterations you might need then.

You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat pattern here and check out the full Sew Along Schedule here.



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