TNT Trench Odyssey: Part 3 Fabric Fitting

With any luck this will be the last fitting post you see before I sew!

Fabric Fitting:

So following FFRP instruction, I’ve interfaced the fabric & pin the main pieces together to check how the pattern fit in this particular fabric. While I don’t plan to wear this in the midst of winter, I do hope to wear this into mid-fall with a light sweater/jumper underneath. So that’s what I’m testing the fit with.


  • Front:
    Looks OK to my untrained eyes.
  • Sleeve:
    • Looks a bit long.
    • Width-wise I had add back the 1/2″ I tucked out. 3-1/2″ ease made the sleeve a bit tight over the sweater. So I’ve let out 1/4″ on the oversleeve at the both seams. That takes the bicep ease back to 4″, which is actually what most of my RTW coats have. Doesn’t look too dowdy does it?

  • Back:
    • My lower left shoulder seem to be causing havoc here. There’s a fold at my left underarm. The CB is swinging to the right. I’m wondering if that’s also partly caused by the lower left shoulder: The fabric is rather stiff, so may be swinging to the right rather than forming more folds the left side.
    • There’s also a little bit of drag lines at the right underarm. I think that might be me being naughty & not doing the 2nd part of Sloping Shoulder Adjustment – ie lower the armscye at the underarm as well. The unslashed seam allowance here exacerbate the problem I think, with the arm joint pushing the fabric downward forming those drag lines.

Fabric Fitting Tweaks:


  • Lower left shoulder:
    I’m taking the easy way out & doubling the shoulder pad height (from 1/8″ to 1/4″). That fold under the left arm is now gone & the CB now seem a bit straighter.
  • Underarm drag lines:
    I’ve slashed the underarm seam allowance 1/4″ deep on both sides. The drag lines now seem to be reduced. I’m debating whether to lower the armscye or not. Once sewn, the SA will be trimmed a further 1/8″ anyway. So maybe no change is necessary? I don’t want the underarm to be too low as it might make the sleeve seem fatter.
  • CB still swinging to the right:
    Maybe I have a slightly bigger right hip? Maybe pinning & not pressing make stiff fabric like this misbehave? I think I’ll sew up as is first and check again. If the problem is still there I might let out a little bit at the right  back princess seam.

Decisions decisions decisions!

Fitting headache sort of over, time for headache of a different kind.

I’m a bit unsure about this fabric from the 2 decade old stash. It’s cotton twill of some sort (khaki chino?). Seemed like the right color and texture for a classic trench. But the beast is stiff with hardly any drape! More so than my RTW trench.

When you throw in interfacing on both the front & the front facing, it might just look like armor rather than chic trench inspiration I had in mind. And I have to use fusible interfacing. I tested sew-ins & I like the dimpled folds at the hem even less. Fusible at least gives me a smooth curved fold.

The contrast with the velvet hem might be too great. Both velvet are quite limp. And I won’t be able to stiffen these up with fusible interfacing. One’s silk and the other I think is rayon velvet.


So dear readers. what would you do?

Does the main fabric look too stiff? Should I not waste the velvets on this one, make a short plain trench with this stiff chino & find a softer replacement for the version with the velvet border?

I’m already considering not interfacing the whole front facing. Maybe just the lapel area so it’ll look smooth. (Did I mention this fabric love to wrinkle too?) And the interfacing for the velvet I might double up – fusible on sew-in.

The other thing that I didn’t really think through is how to finish off the velvet part at the back vent and on the inside (front facing, hem). I could have used the main fabric on the inside. But it’s a bit too late now as I’ve already cut the fabric front facing the same length as the fabric front. Oops. Looking on the bright side at least the velvet will be nice to the touch against my knees!

0 comments on “TNT Trench Odyssey: Part 3 Fabric Fitting

  1. Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing
    around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?

    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!


    • Thanks. Sorry I can’t help you with Yahoo News listing. I didn’t do anything in particular. Just writing my blog & sharing my sewing trials & errors.

  2. I think sometimes when you make muslins and analyse them you start to not see the wood for the trees (or something). I think the coat is looking great, personally I like a trench that has a bit of structure and I think it makes for a more dramatic collar, but only you can know how it feels on.

  3. I agree with Tia Dia’s words on the fit. Its looking really good at the front, I think the sleeve is correct for a coat, and the alterations at the back seem to have sorted that too. I don’t know about the fabric stiffness – its not looking wrong, but only you can tell how it feels and moves.For the inside finish Sigrid’s tutorial on lining/facing might help

  4. zuzuni says:

    I think the trench and the fit looks good and that this is more of an issue of how it feels. If it feels stiff and the wrinkles annoys you, well then maybe it is better to invest the time and money to make a softer version. You’d probably use that one more too since there wouldn’t be any wrinkles or stiffness to bother you.

  5. I’m not a fitting expert, either, but here’s my thoughts! 🙂 The front looks amazing – all your alterations were perfect – and I disagree that the sleeve is a little bit too long. If you shorten it, as soon as you reach for something, it’s going to be too short. Besides, if you’re not planning to bag your lining, this is something that you could possibly alter later to taste after wearing it. Imho, I’d leave it where it is, mostly because I hate chilly wrists. And your tweaking of the back shoulders looks really good. If you’re striving for perfection, after you get the seams sewn, you may need to let out the R hip a bit. My L hip is bigger than my right – something I often forget to account for in alterations. As for your fabric stiffness – what about soaking all the pieces in cold water with a mild detergent to take some of the finishing chemicals off? Even if you don’t this is going to be one spectacular trench. I’m loving the velvet, and velvet facings sound soooo luxurious!

  6. cejay says:

    If you discount the irregularities that are just pinning, the fit looks good, to me at least. The disparity in hand between the velvet and chino is more of a worry. I think if it was me though, having done so much work, I’d probably keep going. But that’s partly because I know I’d never redo the trench – you obviously are far more productive than I! Don’t like the sounds of the wrinkling though…. stiffness and wrinkling? That’s just not fair.

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