Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Winter Coat Progress Report - week 1

The last time I about 'the winter coat' was here. At that point I was still at the inspiration seeking stage but the more I looked at coats (you wouldn't believe how obsessed you can become about coat shapes, lengths, collar shapes and sizes etc) the more I decided that I wanted to go for something resembling this lovely creation by Kate Spade.

Coat and sunglasses by Kate Spade, bag by Prada (surely once the coat is made I will need at least the glasses...)

Once I had made that decision I started the hunt for a pattern. I knew that if I wanted something similar to the collar detail on the Kate Spade coat I would probably have to draft the pattern myself and for the rest I finally decided on a Burda style pattern from the March 2010 magazine. You can see the pattern here. It obviously needed some modification but it does at least give me the basic shape.

Now, if you have had a look at my blog before you will have realised that most of the projects I undertake are fairly quick - a limited amount of sewing time and a propensity to like to 'get things done' mean that most things I do are finished within a couple of days. This has advantages in that I do 'get things done' but the disadvantage is that it does limit the type of projects I do and therefore limits my skills as a seamstress.

I have therefore decided that 'the winter coat' is a perfect opportunity to change all of this. Rather than just jumping in I have actually read up on tailoring and set out a series of steps for myself, determined as I am that this should be a project that is done properly.

For my research I used Vogue Sewing (revised and updated by sixth&springbooks) and Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer. I have also followed the excellent Lady Grey sew-along on Gertie's blog.

The steps I have determined should be done, and in this order, are

  • make a muslin
  • transfer any changes to muslin to paper pattern
  • cut out fabric and thread baste all markings and stitching lines
  • overlock seam allowances
  • cut out and baste interlining (more on this further down)
  • bound button holes
  • interface (including some padstitching) coat front
  • make and attach pockets (if decide I want them - see further down)
  • assemble coat body
  • apply back stay
  • set in sleeves
  • interface collar
  • assemble lining and attach to coat together with facings and collar
  • finish button holes on facings
  • hem, attach buttons and go forth in beautiful coat
Phew! Now I am feeling completely overwhelmed. Somehow putting the steps in type print rather than having them scrawled on a scrappy but of paper makes them seem much more serious.

Anyway, enough with being overwhelmed and on with the task.

the muslin

I haven't got much to say about the muslin. Fitting was not really the issue - I cut a size 38 and then widened the armholes slightly as the pattern was for a spring coat- hence no underlining and also I imagine not drafted to ensure thick woolly jumpers can be worn underneath. Other than that I made no other fitting changes. The changes I did make were to make the coat more like the Kate Spade inspiration  - I omitted the front welt pockets, shortened the sleeves, took off the collar and added a self drafted scarf like collar. I am, as yet, undecided as to whether or not I will add patch pockets. I have some drafted and will wait to see once the coat is basted together whether I like them or not. Similarly for the back belt.

The changes I made translated fairly easily to the paper pattern and then it was time to cut the fabric and thread baste all the markings and stitching lines. I have to say that thread basting stitching lines, especially late at night, is quite tedious and I would be sorely tempted to omit this bit if I had a pattern that included the seam allowances. (Burda style patterns do not include seam allowances).

After the thread basting overlocking the seam allowances was pure joy- I love my overlocker!!

I then cut out and basted the underlining to the fabric. The underlining adds a further layer of warmth to the coat and although my fabric is pure wool it is not massively thick. The underlining adds the 'cosy' touch! The underlining I bought has a fleecy felty kind of feel and, from my research, once it is basted to the fabric I treat it and the fabric as one.

And so now I am up to the bound button holes.

I blogged a couple of days ago about the first lot of buttons I bought but yesterday I found these

new bigger, darker buttons

Despite everything I said earlier I am actually going to go slightly out of step next and baste together the coat as I want to baste on the buttons to check where I want them to go and also to double check that these are the right ones. I am also going to be practising making bound button holes (what a life!!).

I will leave you with a view of my supplies

clockwise from left:shoulder pads, fusible interfacing, tailoring interfacing, underlining, lining, twill tape for roll line, thread, buttons and silk thread for pad stitching

1 comment:

  1. The making oh this coat must be a wonderful task. Details you can enjoy and so much tailoring techniques you can learn. I´ll follow you through. Thanks for your advice on my topstitching problem. It was definitely the needle! I learnt another tip for topstitching heavy fabrics, thread the needle with double normal thread. Not the same but worked well.