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16 Apr 2014

Final Winter sew: a coat!

As promised here is my last project for Winter: a plaid coat! 
WARNING: this post is loooooong! If you don't want to be bored look at the pictures :-)
I have a coat for Winter but as you can see on my pictures from my last trip to London, it's not the most beautiful one, although it is really warm. 
But I wanted a pretty one. 
I had in my stash a piece of wool fabric that happened to be large enough to make a coat out of it, so there I was, I decided to make my first coat ever!  

Am I going to state the obvious? Yes this coat is really the sum of what I seem to enjoy: plaid and purple... I really should expend my tastes!

Making the pattern was rather easy, I am used to it know. I took my block pattern added 0,5 cm all around except around the neck and did the same for the sleeves. 
The rest is just a question of taste, I lurked on the Internet to find coats I liked, shaked the ideas in my head and voilà! Plaid and leather (faux leather), I think it's current and Winter appropriate.

Concerning the sewing part I thought I would try myself with tailoring, but there was no horse hair at the shop, nor silk thread. 
OK, so no fancy tailoring. But there is not one way of making a coat, you can still have a nice looking one without using enhanced techniques. Here is what I did with the help of my sewing book.

I interfaced all the important parts : neck, coat and sleeve hem, facings, collar, upper part of the chest until the bust dart. I didn't interface the back because it's mainly leather.

interfacing the hem of the sleeve
I added some cotton ribbon to all the important seams. It's mainly those who give a nice crisp look: collar, facings and hem. I just followed my book. 

attaching the collar
I attached the collard in a different way as usual. I stitched one side to the facing and the other to the coat, then turned the edges facing the "gap" inside, pressed  and hand stitched together the two stitches so that the edges facing the outside stay on the outside. Does it make sense? The goal is to reduce the width of the edges by distributing them inside and outside of the collar.

I did quite a lot of hand stitching on the coat. I can't say it tool me a long time. Anyway I was watching the Great British bake off at the same time, so time passed on really quick!

In the pictures below you can see that there is a lot of folding and attaching the lining to other seams or seam allowances. The result is nice, you can see sometimes that it has been attached by hand. I find it really fancy: my coat is partially hand sewn! What a luxury!!

attaching the lining
Before, I added some fleece to the lining, because Winter is cold and my fabric was not thick enough.

I really enjoyed that part. It went on really fast and if I might say, really pretty. I cut my lining then added some fluffy fleece. As you can see the fleece is cut without seam allowance, then pinned.

I traced my stitching line on the lining, and simply used a wavy stitch on my machine. I had no problem with it, even with the fleece face down. I was really pleased with my machine!

I also did something funny:

It' really simple, I cut three circles of fleece and shaped them in the form I needed. It's a really interesting method because the pads are custom made to the exact measurements that you need. Us seamstresses we know that we are all different and we have special needs for our clothes.

How pretty are my shoulder pads! They are simply attached by hand to the shoulder seam and sleeve head. I my opinion it is a really compulsory addition to a tailored garment, it really gives the sleeve an elegant finish, by keeping it's shape.

Of course, as I make my own patterns, I have to find out how to attach all the pieces together. I usually don't need a lot of help from my book, but as it was the first time I was making a coat I decided to be serious and to make everything as good as I could so I gathered information in the sewing book make by the same person that wrote my pattern making book, and ugh...

There was not a specific chapter for coat making or simply tailoring. I had to go back and forth across several chapters, and even inside the chapters, that lazy women often doesn't explain everything, she just refers you to previous paragraphs, I hate that !! I made it through, but next time, I will copy the pages I need to make myself my own coat making book!

In commercial patterns sleeves head are often not gathered. It's an old way of making sleeves I believe. But I make my pattern the old may. So I had to gather my sleeves. It's easy on thick wool, but it's my nightmare on thin fabric.

Patched pockets are the best! No fuss, easy, fast, LOVE!

The coat is closed with a fancy metal zipper.

Can you believe I don't like to read long posts? I should have sliced it into several but I really wanted to be over with winter sewing... and also I am not good with this blogging thing.

I saw before cutting the fabric, that it seemed to be a bit thin. But I had no other fabric and I really wanted to make a coat! Maybe a solution would have been to interface everything, to give it some body.
What is done is done. Maybe if I am bored one day I will hand stitch the lining to the fabric of the coat, so that it will be one. I think it would be nice.

But I think I did a good job, I really like it and seems to be warm, although maybe not warm enough for really cold temperatures. No problem, I'll just make a new one!

We had warm weather the past weeks (of course now it's over...), many trees have leaves and I have begun sewing for spring and summer. Can't wait to show you. Spoiler alert: there might be some purple outfits :-)


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