Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Coat sewing part 2, the inner workings


Warning: messy coat guts! When I started planning my winter coat a lot of thought went into choosing underlining, interfacing and experimenting with horsehair canvas, silk organza and wool for sleeveheads.

 I've made many coats and jackets over the years and I've always found deciding on the amount of inner structure one of the most challenging parts. Most of the time things went well, but occasionally I produced a jacket with floppy lapels, coats with overly stiff facings and I'm known for adding just one more extra layer of interlining to winter coats.


My kids never froze but they often had to break in their new coats. During the first weeks of use their arms were locked in a 45 degree angle ;)

This autumn I devoured Thomas von Nordheim's Vintage Couture Tailoring book, watched all tailoring classes by Allison Smith on Craftsy and enrolled in an Inner Structure workshop at the Master Tailor Institute in Amsterdam. A game changing experience that deserves its own post.

The pattern instruction for my coat just called for fusible interfacing for the facings and under collar (standard routine for Knipmode patterns) Without following any strict tailoring rules I added a lot of extra structure. It started with a soft cotton underlining. The perfect base for catch stitching seam allowances and hems .



A flannel back stay, just for the fun of it.



On the front I added a bias cut horsehair canvas chest plate and a flannel shoulder piece. It helped smoothing out the hollow curve between my shoulder and bust.



The bound buttonholes and inset corners were reinforced with fusible interfacing.

For the collar I replaced the underlining with silk organza, thus adding firmness, but no extra bulk.



Silk organza was also used to create the bound buttonhole facings.



I made my own shoulder pads but forgot to take a picture before the lining was in. I used a piece of fluffy wool to support the sleeve head but ripped it out later. It was just too much.

I added lightweight (bias cut) sew in interfacing to hem and sleeve hems of the outer shell, pressed and catch stitched the hems to the underlining. I'm not a fan of bagging a lining, to put it mildly. I love to have extra width as well as extra length in my lining. It's comfortable, the lining will last longer as there is less strain and, most importantly,  there will be no pulling at the hemline.


The bottom row of pins is where I first pinned the lining hem. Then I removed pin by pin and place the lining just a little bit higher (about 1-2 cm upwards). Slipstitch the lining in place and press the extra length downwards.


The stitches are hidden under the small pleat. It may look like a bit of extra work, but so worth it as it saves you from replacing torn linings later on.

My coat is finished, but I call it a day. I just had a root canal treatment and I'm pretty sure you don't want to see my grumpy face while modelling my new coat.
Will be back soon with the pics!

10 comments:

  1. You know you are in good company when messy coat guts capture your fancy! As a fan of coats - and sewing them - this was a wonderful post to read and study. I find silk organza my best friend when it comes to coat construction - and that flannel is a wonderful component, too. Thanks for taking the time to share the details - and I hope you recover quickly and are soon all smiles!

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    1. I agree, silk organza is the best. Sadly it's so hard to find over here! I just placed another order in the US for my spring coat. For my winter coat I used up all kinds of interfacing remnants, whatever felt like the right weight and was around went in. I didn't do it by the book but the hybrid-speed-fantasy-tailoring went well this time. O, and I found the perfect way to recover: I watched Susan Khalje's Couture lace skirt class. All smiles now!

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  2. Thank you for sharing the inner workings of your coat. And I agree about the lining...it will last longer if it is installed your way.

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    1. I'm glad you agree, Tomasa. I've had to mend or even replace linings in RTW, but never in my handmade coats!

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  3. I hope you recover soon - root canal treatment is awful. I enjoyed hearing the details of construction and if course looking forward to seeing the modelled finished garment. I'm just starting my jacket construction journey.

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    1. Thank you, Anne. Root canal treatment is certainly not something to look forward to and I'm glad it's done. Will you be working on the McCall's jacket? Can't wait to see it! I tend to overthink my jacket projects and I could use a few more. Time for a new approach to speed things up a bit!

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  4. How interesting! Look forward to the finished product!

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    1. Working on it! Mr F just fixed my limping tripod so as soon as the rain stops I'll take the pictures.

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  5. Wow! I have never made a coat before. Who knew so much detail goes into the construction. Very interesting post. So looking forward to seeing it modeled.

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    1. Coat making is so much fun! I really enjoyed working with this bright and colourful wool and I'm going to get a lot of wear out of this coat during our long winter months. But things may be different for you in your sunny part of the world!

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