Finishing touches for my wool coat V8346.
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A wool coat for winter, part 6: Hemming, problems with the facing and the finishing touches

This kind of big sewing projects do have their setbacks and with the V8346 wool coat project the biggest setbacks came only after the lining was attached to the main coat. What is even more annoying, the setback was mainly due to my own “cleverness”. Anyway, I managed to fix everything and finish the coat! But first, let’s talk a little bit about hemming the coat.

A couture hem

I was determined to make the same couture hem as I had done with my trench coat as also the vintage tailor-made coat that I own had a similar kind of hem. This hem needs to be done by hand but I have learned to love hand-stitching, since I can just sit comfortably and sew while listening to something interesting. I followed the process described in the book by Roberta Carr.

The first thing was to even out the hem and for that I went to Ompelino to ask for the lovely ladies there to hem it for me. I couldn’t really do that by myself without a dressform that was my exact replica. When the hem was evened out, I cut a long bias strip (in my case several strips, since my hem was about 4 metres long) of wool canvas interfacing and slip stitched it to the fold line.

Wool bias strip for the hem.

Then the interfacing edge was float stitched to the garment about half an inch from the raw edge. The hem is pressed and the raw edge of the coat hem is slightly gathered and steamed in order for it to lay flat:

Pressing the hem.

Finally the raw edge of the coat is finished with a bias binding and the bound edge is stitched to the interfacing.

The finished hem.

I hemmed the sleeves in a pretty much same way, except that I left out the bias binding that no-one would have seen under the lining.

Difficulties with the drape

After the hemming process, I could attach the lining. I pinned and sewed it in place and carefully pressed the edges. I tried the coat on and was very disappointed on how the coat fronts behaved:

The drape problem with the coat fronts.

The picture above is not very good, but you can see how the coat edges curve inward. It was unclear for me whether it was due to my main coat fabric stretching, or my facing pulling or both. When I laid the coat flat on the floor, everything looked right but when I put it on the problem appeared.

I consulted some experienced sewists and one of them proposed on sewing some cotton twill tape to support the bias-cut coat front interfacing that didn’t seem to offer enough support for the heavy coat front. I did one side but unfortunately that didn’t fix the issue.

The only thing I could do then was to rip out the bottom part of the facing and see how it draped. This was something I was trying to avoid since there was the piping between the lining and the facing and I had even finished the seam. I had to rip out 5 seams to separate the facing from the lining! However, after I had done it, I could see the problem. The facing was trying to hang to the right and the coat front was trying to go to the left.

Checking the drape of the new facing.

In the picture above, I have attached a piece of silk-organza-backed wool that I was planning to use to make a new bottom part of the facing. The old facing is still hanging way back:

Furthermore, the wool coat front edges didn’t go straight down. This was probably due to my off-graining of the coat fronts. Roberta Carr’s book and my sewing guru Michele recommend the off-graining but it seems that it doesn’t work with a coat like this. The drapey wool and the weight of the wide hem in fact pushes the coat fronts and basically does the same work as the off-graining. So, I had to straighten the coat front, too:

Straightening the coat front to hang right.

This took quite a while. Remember that I had hand-stitched the hair canvas and the taped the coat edges. Now I had to unravel all that and do it again!

When sewing the new facing on, I got an idea. I was a bit turned off by the seam in the facing since the seam seemed to have no purpose (besides fixing the drape). I added a little hidden pocket that is just big enough for my phone:

A little hidden pocket in the facing seam.

After doing the right-hand side the coat looked much better. I stopped and tried convincing myself that no-one would see the left-hand side, but I failed. There was no way I could leave the other side baggy but I had to fix that, too.

Now that I had fixed the both sides, I could still see a difference. I had left the twill tapes in place when I originally tried to support the other coat front with it. Now the side with the twill tape draped much better. So, I could only do one thing: add the twill tape to the other side as well.

Finishing touches for the wool coat

After all that, there was only some hand finishing to do. The coat looked like this with the lining pulled out of the way. You can see the pockets, the support for the shoulders and the hems:

The wool side of the coat at this stage.

The lining part looks like this:

The lining side of the coat at this stage.

The twill tape is the gray tape attached to the hair canvas. I can see that I forgot to add the silk organza to the other facing. Luckily that is the one that is not showing so I didn’t bother to add it later.

Checking the drape of the sleeves.

I pinned the sleeve lining to the coat in order to slip stitch that in place. Luckily I checked the drape of the sleeves before starting to sew, since my both sleeves were wrinkled. The lining was pulling the coat fabric upwards. I realised that I needed to pin the lining to the coat while the coat was on my dressform.

Snaps and the covered button(s).

In my previous post, I was talking about buttonholes. However, finally I decided to use these sew-on snaps. I had to sew the right-hand side snaps through the coat front, so I then covered two buttons and sewed them to the opposite side.

Attaching the lining to the coat.

I attached the lining to the coat by making this crochet thingies out of thickish silk thread. What are they called? I sewed a few stitches in place and then made a crochet loop. I used my fingers to make a chain about 5 cm long and then finished by sewing the end of the chain securely to the other piece. I put a chain on each shoulder, to the side seams and on each seam at the coat hem. I also attached the pockets to the nearest seam allowance to keep them in place.

Prick-stitching the pockets.

To make sure that my pocket bags stayed where they should, I prick stitched them to the seam allowance. If you have sharp eyes, you can see the tiny stitches in the picture above.

Ok. Is it nice to leave you with the cliff-hanger? I seem to wear gloves in the picture above and that is because I am already wearing the wool coat. I will post the pictures of the finished coat very soon!

The previous posts in this series are:

1. Planning
2. Toile
3. Cutting and interfacing
4. Smooth seams and warmth
5. Collar, sleeves and the lining

Thank you for reading and see you soon! Happy sewing!


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


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