Duster Coat VPLL #0402, 1912 Project
I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it, and could hardly wait to make it up. I knew I would be altering it to fit, as the bust measurement is 34”. I also wanted it custom tailored and fully lined. Now that the Ladies Spring Mantle (VPLL #0189) is finished, I’m ready to have a new coat.
I taped the pattern together in the size published. I then removed the seam allowances. I decided on a slash and spread alteration to increase the bust measurement up 6”. I made the alteration using the shoulder dart, treating it like a bust dart. I stitched it together in muslin and hung it on my DanaDouble. And boy, it did just that, hang there. So much so that I decided to go back to the original pattern and redo the alterations from scratch. I decided the shoulder dart’s purpose is to create shape in the front collar area, rather than a utilitarian bust dart. It certainly was not useful in altering for a full bust.It was so ill-fitting, that I didn’t take pics.
No-Dart Full Bust Adjustment
I went back to the original pattern and started over. Altering the shoulder dart had not worked, and I did not want to add a bust dart, as I felt that would distort the design of the Duster. I decided to leave the shoulder dart alone and do a no-dart FBA.
First, I cut the pattern front in half at the waist, as I didn’t need to make any alterations to the bottom of the coat. Using the top of the front pattern, I marked a straight line from a point approximately 3” down from the shoulder seam at the armscye and at right angles to the grainline. I drew another line approximately 3” below the armhole at the side seam, also at right angles to the grainline, and all the way across the bodice to the center front. I then drew a line from the shoulder to the waist, parallel to the grainline and through the bust point.
Cutting the Pattern apart – First, cut the lower horizontal line (side seam to center front) across the grainline. Second, cut the line from the waist up to the horizontal line extending from the armscye. Third, cut on the line into the armscye. The armhole section is then moved out from the bodice ¾”. This increases the bodice front by 1 ½”. It is also necessary to lower the front waist by up to 2”, which is the amount I chose. The Duster has no marked or set-in waist, so I decided to drop the front hem rather than add this amount at the waist. It is also necessary to curve the hem up to meet the side seams.
The Duster was snug across DanaDouble’s shoulders, so I added 2 ½” to the center back. This helped to maintain the cut of the armscye in the back, but allowed enough movement to make the coat wearable. The side seams needed a little adjustment, so I added 3/8” to each side seam. I also added ¼” to the collar edge of the bodice front. This made the pattern increase the needed 6” through the bust.
I cut the second muslin (using the fabric from the first, as it was more than ample) and made my own personal alterations at the shoulders and neck. It is ready to cut the fabric, lining, trim, and interfacing.
I created a pattern for the back stay by copying the Duster Back pattern from the shoulder/neck to 3” below the armhole. I curved the bottom seam up to the center back approximately 1 ½” from the sides using a curved ruler. I also created one interfacing pattern for the bodice front and collar facing together, and a shoulder reinforcement pattern.
I also redrew the roll line of the collar by raising it approximately ¾” at the center back and curving it into the original roll line at the shoulder.
Additional Alterations for Lining
In order to reduce stress on the stitches and give more room for movement, a few adjustments are necessary in the lining pattern.
- Added an additional 1 ½” to the center back neck edge, tapered down to nothing at the hip.
- Added ½” to each side seam, front and back, at the underarm, then tapered to waistline.
- Added 5/8” at underarm of under sleeve, tapering into armscye sleeve about 2”.
These changes will be eased into the Duster shell when the lining is attached.
Next post will be choosing and cutting the shell, lining, and trim.