Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Claire S - Have I used up my quota of questions yet ?

'Cos I've got a few more...

Muslin - done, cut apart & ready to go
Flannel underlining - preshrunk (4 times !) pressed, straightened & ready to go
Wool flannel - london shrunk, pressed & ready to go - NOPE - it's not squared up

DH & I tried to straighten it by pulling, no go. So I checked around the 'Net and found some possibilities. It went into a sink of water with Euclan (sp?) for 20 minutes, spun once in the washer and 'then' pressed while damp, stretching to straighten it. NOW it's straight - hopefully to stay that way.

I'm ready to lay it all out and here come the questions...

- Wool - I cut all the pieces (front, side front, side back, back - sleeves, collars & lapels)

? - Flannel underlining - I cut side front, side back, back and sleeves - Since there is a front facing, do I also cut an underlining piece from the front, or not ? The facing piece is only about 1/2 the width of the front piece - OK just re-read the underlining/interlining post - no front underlining

? - Interfacing - following Marji's interfacing post, I'll have to make interfacing pattern pieces
Full front piece, top of side front, - using Marji's diagram
Side back, back - using the diagram from the Tailoring book included in Marji's post
Will the front facing be interfaced as well ?

? - Lapels - this pattern has separate lapels (instructions say to cut 4, interface 2 and stitch 1 interfaced piece with 1 un-interfaced piece then turn right side out) - All the example pictures shown so far have a front piece that includes a lapel all in one piece, so to follow the sewalong techniques, What on earth do I actually do with my pieces ?

This ought to be enough to get me through the next step.

Thanks everyone - as always, any advice is appreciated.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lisette M: Back to work!!

Hello everyone!

I'm finally back to working on my Burda WOF coat. My fabric a cashmere/wool blend tore nicely to check the grain and I will take it tomorrow to have it steamed at the cleaners. I started transferring all the changes to my patterns that I made to the muslin. I'm also reading all the wonderful tutorials that have been posted that will guide me through this project.

Marji, how do you recommend I pretreat my silk jacquard lining?I can't find any reference on how to treat it.

Hope to have some more progress soon!

Guide: Pockets

  • Inseam Pockets
  • Welt Pockets
  • Patch Pockets
There isn't much I can do to improve on this chapter on tailored pockets at the Vintage Sewing site, mostly having to do with various types of welt pockets, and a bit on patch pockets.

There are also countless welt pocket tutorials around the net. If you've written one you'd like to have included here, please post a link in the comments, and we'll make sure it gets into the body of this post.

A note about inseam pockets - you'll want to fuse the fold line using a woven straight-grain fusible tape or strip of interfacing

Patch Pockets:
My preferred method of attaching patch pockets

  1. Assemble the lined pocket
  2. Cut lining just a hair smaller so that it is recessed behind the fashion fabric layer
  3. Topstitch the pocket if topstitching is desired
  4. Hand baste the pocket in place on the front of the jacket
  5. Flip the jacket front over, to the inside
  6. Beginning at the top corner, using doubled waxed thread, stitch pocket to coat/jacket, as shown.
  7. At the end of the pocket (after working all the way around, for this quick sample I just did a few stitches) reverse direction of stitches and retrace outside edge of the pocket, crossing the initial stitching line.
  8. Back at the top, reinforce with extra stitches both vertical and horizontal.
  9. The stitches will be invisible on the right side; however if while working your stitches you flip to the right side and pull the pocket away from the stitching line to see what is happening, this is what it will look like.
It's my opinion that patch pockets that are topstitched onto a coat front tend to look a bit as if they're "stuck on." I know this is more hand stitching, but it creates a much neater pocket application.

As a parting shot, an interesting link: An article by David Page Coffin on tailoring a mens coat from Threads

Guide: Buttonholes

Because bound buttonholes must be made at the beginning of construction, you need to make a decision about buttonholes early on in your construction process. If you're going to make handworked or machine worked buttonholes, once you've made that decision you can forget about them for awhile. If you decide to make bound buttonholes, then you need to work those in the front before you stitch your shoulder seams or side seams.


  • Bound buttonhole - make these before front facing is attached, then finish back through facing after garment is fully assembled. These are a hallmark of a finely tailored women's coat or jacket. You will not find these on men's coats.
  • Hand worked buttonhole - these are worked after garment is fully assembled.
  • Machine worked buttonhole - these are worked after garment is fully assembled

You have the choice of making Bound Buttonholes, appropriate for women's coats, and the time to make them is before the jacket is put together. Because your entire front should be interfaced with the hair canvas or interfacing that you're using to support and shape your lapels, it is a good idea to put your buttonholes in before applying the hair canvas. The hair canvas should not be sewn into your bound buttonhole. It is appropriate to add an alternative interfacing in the area of the buttonhole.

For any method you'll first need to mark your coat front with a "ladder" to make sure that your buttonholes are consistent and lined up. Using thread tracing stitch the CF line, then a line for each end of the buttonholes - so you now have 3 vertical lines. Then you'll add the horizontal lines to mark the placement for each buttonhole.

3 methods of bound buttonholes:

What I call Patch and Wrap - I'm honestly not certain if there is really a name for these. After the patch is cut through the center, the patch is wrapped around the seam allowances in the center and stitched down.
  • Summerset has already written a great tutorial for this here
  • Simplicity has a clearly illustrated tutorial here
  • A tutorial for another patch method may be found at Vintage Sewing site.

Corded Bound Buttonholes: Does anyone have an illustrated source for the old fashioned way to make the corded bound buttonholes? The type where you make a corded piping, then sew the piping to the buttonhole box, cut the fabric, then turn the corded piping through and stitch the triangles on the ends?

Hand worked buttonholes
I chose to make hand worked buttonholes for my military style jacket, made with a cashmere/wool blend coating weight wool. I just thought that bound buttonholes would not be in keeping with the style of this jacket. And, just to show you that I'm along with all of you, I'm having to make samples, work on technique, and practice some of this stuff that I don't do often. I'm going to post pictures of the first sample buttonholes I've been making for my jacket. It's obvious that I need to practice. But, I'm showing you my first and second buttonholes here - which are pretty miserable. Thankfully, by the time I got done with my 6th they're looking much much better. If you click on the picture it'll get large enough to see.

These are the epaulettes that go on the shoulder. I made one set that came out lopsided, even though I carefully marked my seamlines, so I used them to practice the topstitching and buttonholes. The topstitching is by machine, using a 5mm stitch and Madeira Lana thread. I'm very pleased with the look of the topstitching. I had to experiment with widths from the edge.

I made my first hand worked buttonhole using Madeira rayon embroidery thread. Too shiney, and the stitches were really uneven. The second buttonhole I tried using Madeira Lana thread, doubled. Too heavy, although I like the matte finish of the thread on the wool, and again, I still need a lot of practice with the handstitching.

Next I tried the regular Gutterman All purpose thread, doubled and waxed. The thread buried so deep into the wool that it didn't look as if there were any buttonhole there at all. So then I tried a single thread of the Madeira Lana wool thread. It's what I ended up deciding to make in the epaulettes.

I've made the buttonholes for the epaulettes and stitched them onto the shoulders of the jacket. I'll practice more before making them for the front. I'm being realistic, even the 5th and 6th hand worked buttonholes I made weren't anywhere near perfect enough for the front of a jacket. But the epaulettes will never be unbuttoned, and those buttonholes will not show. I did want working buttonholes up there, I think it's better looking than just popping a button on top and stitching the end of the epaulette down.

Machine Worked buttonholes.
All I can say, if you're planning on making buttonholes by machine is "Sample sample sample!" Practice before you make your first one.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fabricluver: Attaching wigan?

Could you give us more information on this please? On your blog (Marji) you state "attaching wigan at hemline - stitched to side seams and hand stitched with running stitch along fold line. Still needs to be pressed to fit shape of hem."

I can see that you cut it to match each pattern section and that it is sewn to each piece before the side seams are joined. It looks like you have left about 5/8" below the hem line and the bulk of the wigan above the hem line. Is this correct? Does the running stitch come out later? How is it pressed to fit the shape of the hem? It looks as if there is a lot of wigan above the hemline.

As I'm sure you can tell, I've never used wigan before so any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

***Edited to add: I really should Google first. Found it here

Response From Marji

Susan, that's a great resource link you found.

As far as the wigan I'm using, and what went out in the packages that I sent, it is the lighter weight 3" wide wigan that Kathleen talked about.
Kathleen is a professional coat maker, so I'm sure her information is more correct than mine. I do it the way I was taught back in the 80's by a European tailor, so my photos may look a tad different than hers.

  • I use a 3" wide wigan for a 2" hem, and attach the wigan over the fold line so that it is included in the folded hemline.
  • I cut the wigan to the lengths needed at the hemline of each body piece. I then use chalk to mark a line 1/2" over the edge, and stitch that to the hemline. In this case I hand stitched it, right along the fold line using stitches that do not go through to the right side, and those stitches will stay in.
  • I then stitch the wigan into the side seam
The wigan is a stiff bias product, and may be shaped with pressing just like a bias binding tape.