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
The first thing was to even out the hem and for
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:
Finally the raw edge of the coat is finished with a bias binding and the bound edge is stitched to the interfacing.
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 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.
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:
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:
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 lining part looks like this:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
Margaret M Barton
This is amazing effort and I assume, massive frustration on finding those 2 front edges refusing to drape well. So impressed at your persistence. I couldn’t follow it all, required too much imagination of what your problem details were. Blew my mind!