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Trench coat project part 5

The previous parts in my trench coat series can be found:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

And… I know I promised to show the coat the next time I posted. However, this post became too long and I split it in two parts. No worries, though, I will post them both at the same time and you can read them both!

Hemming the coat

I used the wonderful book of Roberta Carr, Couture – the art of fine sewing, to instruct me on how to make a good hem.

To be honest, this is the most work I’ve ever done with hemming. At first bias strips about 6 cm wide were cut from wool canvas. The strips were then folded softly so that the other side was bigger than the other and then sewn invisibly to the precise hem foldline at the roll-line of the bias strip.  Then the bias strip was sewn to the inside of the coat again, using invisible stitching (or float stitching how Roberta Carr calls it):

Image: Hemming the coat, float stitching.

After that I finished the actual hem edge with some sating bias binding. This bias bound edge was then float stitched to the wool canvas strip:

Image: Hemming the coat, the final round of stitching.

So finally there was three rounds of careful hand sewing, plus the bias binding that I did using my sewing machine!

Hemming the sleeves

Hemming the sleeves was a bit easier, because the sleeve hem is sewn to the satin sleeve lining. To add some support I sewed a bias cut strip of wool canvas to the sleeve edge. The stitching line is right at the fold:

Image: Sleeve hem interfacing.

Fastening the lining

I fastened the lining in place at the shoulder seams and here and there at some spots using hand crochet chain stitch. Basically it is just crocheting a chain and fastening it in place. The chain allows some movement for the lining and prevents it from ripping.

The chain is in the middle of the picture below. You can see how much different fabrics are combined to make the shoulders! There is the gabardine and the cotton support, the shoulderpad with its many layers, tie interfacing strip, checked lining, the interfacing for the lining and the satin sleeve lining. There is also the front hair canvas and the epaulette with the faux leather binding!

Image: Hand crochet chain stitch.

Buttons and buttonholes

I have hand-sewn buttonholes before, but I always have to check the actual technique from somewhere since I mostly do my buttonholes using my sewing machine. This time I watched this wonderful instruction video on tailor-made buttonholes.

Here were my tools for the making of buttonholes:

Image: The tools for making the buttonholes by hand.

  • buttons
  • paper pattern for measuring and marking the places for the buttons and the buttonholes. (I punched needle holes through to be able to mark the positions with my magic marker.)
  • magic marker
  • angle ruler (again for the accurate placement)
  • Prym pliers for making the holes
  • fray check (optional, but very handy with a fabric that frays easily)
  • very sharp scissors
  • cotton thread for basting
  • silk buttonhole twist
  • buttonhole gimp
  • beeswax (well, I do have a real beeswax candle!)
  • needles

I also used an iron and some scrap fabric.

For anyone interested in the actual technique I recommend the video since I’m no expert. I did take some photos in between stages, though. Here I have marked the buttonhole, basted the fabric layers together, cut the hole and am currently serging the edges to prevent the fabric layers from fraying or slipping:

Image: Serging the buttonhole edges.

Here I am almost ready. I am using buttonhole silk that I have waxed with the beeswax and ironed between layers of scrap cotton to remove the extra wax. I use buttonhole gimp to give my buttonhole shape and I have already gone almost completely around the buttonhole. The only thing missing is the end tab.

Image: Making the buttonhole stitches.

Here is a picture of one of the finished buttonholes. It is not perfect but it works:

Image: Finished trench coat buttonhole.

And finally the buttons were sewn on. For those I used doubled polyester thread. I also placed a smaller button on the inside to support the big buttons and to add some durability.

Image: Trench coat button detail.

Word about materials

It would make sense to talk about the materials in the beginning of a sewing project, right? Well, not in this case, since I changed a lot of things along the way. This is why now at the end of this project I can finally describe all the materials I ended up using:

The main fabric

The gabardine came from Calico Laine. The colorway was called Stone. This was not only a very good choice, but it also costed only £5.99/m! I washed and tumble dried it to shrink it and then I treated it with Nikwax cotton proof to make the fabric water-repellant. I had never previously heard about this stuff even though it was easy to find at our nearest mall! Of course I tested the fabric afterwards and found out that the water tends to form droplets on the top of the fabric instead of seeping through:

Image: The gabardine is treated with Nikwax to make it water-repellant.


I used basic Coats polyester thread for both the seams and the topstitching. However, for the topstitching I doubled the thread. I used DMC embroidery floss for both the embroidery and the hand stitched seams. Cheap cotton thread was good for the basting and the button holes were sewn using Gutermann silk buttonhole twist (colorway 001) and white gimp.


The checked lining came from the Abakhan Eesti and it was supported by very lightweight interfacing from Marimekko outlet in Helsinki. The satin sleeve lining I bough from Eurokangas and the sturdier lining for the flaps and the pockets came from Inkuri.

Other fabrics, buttons and haberdashery

I used the basic unbleached cotton from Ikea for both the making of toiles and for the back stay. The white lawn that I also used for interfacing was from Shaukat.

Then there were the numerous interfacings. The small scraps of sturdier fusible interfacing and the white bias tape were from Eurokangas and I had it already in my storage. My lovely sewing guru Michele sent me the shoulder pads, the ermazine tape and the tie interfacing. The rest of the interfacings: the hair canvas, the wool canvas and the linen Holland came from the Lining company, where I also got the buttonhole silk and the gimp plus the brass chain hanger. Prym edge tape interfacing was from Nappitalo, where I also got the buttons besides the inner supporting ones that I found at Marimekko outlet.

I bought the faux leather trim from the and the buckles from Espoon kone. The eyelets were also from Eurokangas. Oh, and the little D-ring for my keys was from Hobby Point in Helsinki.

All, in all, there were a lot of different materials included and it wasn’t cheap! I know that I spend more money on just interfacing than my previous trench coat costed. However I learned so much and finally got a coat that is just like I wanted it to be.


I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


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