Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lindsay T: Finished my Chanel-style bouclé coat

I honestly never thought I'd see the day when this coat was finished!

I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and this sewalong was a great help. Thank you so much, Marji, for organizing and overseeing it. And many thanks to the experts who posted tutorials here—I relied heavily on your advice.

Stop by my blog for photos of me wearing my coat while shopping in Soho (NYC), my thoughts on the whole coat sewing process, and more detail photos of my coat. Here's my review on PatternReview.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

KayY - I'm done!

I'm checking back in after a long hiatus (my last post was September 7). Since then a lot of stuff got in the way of sewing my coat, and I was making such great progress. I knew it was too good to last! However, I overcame my sewing-related hurdle and had some time, so completed the coat yesterday as I had the day off. There are more pictures on my Flickr page.

When I last posted I was in the midst of the assembly of the shell. That went well until I hit a snag. I had altered the pattern to make it loose-enough for a winter coat and among other things, I extended the shoulder 1cm. This was a mistake. When I added the sleeves, they weighed down the shoulders terribly and made the coat just sag unattractively. I had to do some ripping out, cut the shoulders back and re-set the sleeves. Luckily this was a relatively simple task, just took some mental preparation.

This is what I did inside the shoulder. I decided against putting any padding in the shoulder but I did cut another layer of stiffening following the pattern piece for the shoulder inset (which is shoulder pad shaped). I used 2 layers of the stiffest hair canvas I had, and fused them together using a pressing ham to get the shaping. This pic shows the resulting layer stitched in place by hand. You can also see my home-made sleeve head which I cut out of fleece, using the sleeve cap pattern. This emulates the nice curved sleeve heads that some of you bought - but honestly, they are the easiest thing to make, and if you use your own sleeve pattern they are precisely the right shape and size for the garment.

Here is the sleeve hem, which I did while I had the sleeves off the coat. I used a bias strip of the hair canvas, which is placed over the fold line and extends above the hem edge, as you can see. This supports the hem. In this pic you can also see the black underlining (mystery fabric) which I hope will block the wind.

And the hem. It is faced, using lining fabric. I cut a 3" (or so) wide strip, following the hem edge of my coat pattern pieces. The strips are seamed, serged, and then sewn along the lower edge. This did 2 things for me. It allowed me to maximize my coat's length and it avoided bulk. It also made for a nice finish at the facing edge, as you can see.

Here's my lining. It's an odd black-on-black printed Kasha, purchased in Montreal at a warehouse-y place near the highway, where they practically needed a forklift truck to get at some of the fabric way up high.
And a closer shot, showing my pockets and the red strip (lining fabric, cut on grain) which is sewn between the facing and lining. This adds a subtle pizzazz but, more importantly, stabilized the bias facing/lining seam. It won't stretch now.

My coat pattern had NO POCKETS! I briefly considered making inseam pockets but the side seams are very far back and they would have been awkward. So, I just made big patch pockets in the lining. I added a little patch to the right hand one, for bus tickets.

Last but not least, here is the coat with 2 different fur scarves. Bring on the sub-zero temperatures! I'm ready.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Claire S. - Underlining's Done

The underlining of my coat is done...doing a bit here and there, it took all week. I just finished. These are all the pieces, each showing the underlining side and the wool.

On to the interfacing................

Tany's coat: Now I really understand…

…why a custom tailored coat is so expensive! The amount of hand work is tremendous, there are many hours spent perfecting little details. And the difference shows, I assure you: the coat is heavier, the collar/lapels are crisper and better shaped and the coat hangs much better when it’s on. As a side note, working with velvet on such a project is really hard; besides the mess (my living room’s floor is always covered with little black spots of velvet fur, no matter how many times I vacuum), the velvet acts like a magnet to all the lint/dust around and it’s looking “dirty” until I brush it in the end, so don’t pay any attention to that!

The collar is nearly finished but I still have to finish hand tacking the facings inside (so there is a little rippling on the inside of the collar but it will disappear once I finish the facings). The following pictures show the collar right after the under collar was set (following Paco’s method, the facings/upper collar are stitched first and then the under collar is first machine stitched to the outer edge of the upper collar, turned to the right side under the upper collar and finally stitched by hand to the neckline and lapel’s corner (turning in the SAs ). I still have to press and prick stitch under the edges, but you can preview the clean crisp look of the collar and lapels already:

I also managed to make some progress on the hems; they were cushioned with bias cut interfacing strips, a little wider than the hem allowances, and set by hand (following the traditional method). I also stitched a wide cotton tape to the hem edge; this tape will cover the interfacing that is peaking out of the hem. I like to do things this way because the lining will be free hanging on this coat. The hem is not finished, just hand basted so I can evaluate it’s final aspect:

Another detail that I want to share is the way that the coat’s waist is slightly eased to the satin tapes on the back; I did this to better shape the waist on the back and to avoid adding a center back seam to the coat, as I had determined with the muslin:

This was the result of a weekend in which all the free time was used to work on this coat; there is still much work ahead: tacking the facings (and finishing the buttonholes on the facing side), constructing and setting in the sleeves, applying the sleeve heads and shoulder pads (I have Els' excellent tutorial to assist me on that task) and constructing the lining and applying it to the coat (I’ll be using the traditional method, so the lining will be entirely hand sewn in place).