Before I start talking about making this coat, can I just give a shout-out to my co-host Lauren? I’ve been away from work recently due to a death in the family and she has been juggling the sewalong duties for the both of us. Thank you, Lauren!
Ok, let’s talk about getting through steps 4-22. The good news is that there’s nothing terribly hard to do here. Setting-in sleeves is more difficult for most sewers, so if you’ve already mastered that technique you should have no problem with this coat. Here are my tips for this part of the construction:
- Attaching the binding to the seams is the main action you’re taking in these steps. Except for steps 6 and 7, you’re sewing it folded as shown in step 3, with the raw edges of the binding matched with the raw edges of the seams.
- When you attach the binding to the gusset, however, you open it out, then turn and press 1/4″ on the long end. Stitch binding to the seam, then turn binding so the seam is encased; slipstitch pressed edge over seam. You can see part of my bound gusset seam in the photo above, and there’s another photo below of the designer coat gusset.
- The rest of the time for this part of construction you sew on the binding like this:
- Pin or baste seam.
- Match raw edges of binding to raw edges of seam.
- Stitch seam.
- I like to press the seam open first, then press the binding and seam flat.
- Next, trim very close to the seam, like around 1/8″ or closer. Your bindings are going to be narrow. On the designer coat the stitched bindings are just a hair over 1/4″ wide.
- Now press seam and bias in direction we tell you to. Baste if necessary to keep layers flat.
- Topstitch from the right side of your coat, catching all layers as you stitch.
Lauren chose to baste her binding in place first before topstitching from the right side of her coat. This is a really smart thing to do. Me, I threw caution to the wind and just topstitched from the right side, hoping I was catching all layers. Most of the time I did, and this is what my binding looks like on the interior of my coat:
But there are points, mostly at the beginning and ends of seams, where the binding doesn’t look as neat and uniform as this or I failed to catch all layers. To which I say, it is what it is! It looks very nice from the outside and that’s what matters most to me.
Readers, don’t beat yourself up over the little things, like whether or not your binding is uniformly stitched. Do the best you can and keep going. I took a look at the inside of the actual designer coat and there are imperfections in the binding stitching. But that’s how you know this coat was constructed by a couture sewer and not mass-produced.
Couture designers, they’re just like us! Their sewing machines have thread hissy fits just like ours do! (photo above of the interior of the designer coat)
Here’s a photo of the gusset area of the designer coat. See how the gusset binding isn’t stitched down, where it is everywhere else? (I’m keeping this coat in my office for the duration of the sewalong; let me know if there are parts of the coat you want me to photograph and I’ll post the pics on Flickr.)
Another important tip: Don’t ignore it when we tell you to staystitch. Do this. It will help you ease your fabric in some spots, like when you’re stitching the gusset to the sleeve. And clip your seams too! All this helps with helping a shorter section match up with a longer section. Below, you can see how I use lots of pins to ease-in an area, in this case part of the gusset.
In case you were wondering, my fabric is a double-faced metallic brocade from Carolina Herrera that I bought online from MoodFabrics.com. It is very stiff and it bells out just like the designer coat…which is a style I’m not entirely sure I like on me. Still a way to go constructing this coat before I can make any final judgments, though.
I’ve been paying very close attention to our instructions for this pattern, and I think we did a good job for a pattern with a lot of steps. If you read and follow them you’ll be ok. What I do wish for are some illustration close-ups, like around steps #6, #18 and #20. I’ll be sharing my construction experience with my co-workers who work in the writing and illustration areas, and if you have any comments regarding this part of the process please let me know in the comments for this post.
A few people have asked questions about the belt, so above are photos of the belt on the designer coat. Hope this helps.
Next week Lauren will talk about steps 23-50, so bop over to her blog for that part. And don’t forget we’ve got an active Flickr group going. It’s very easy to join it and participate, so hope to see you there too.
Ok, where do you stand in your coat-making? Tell me in the comments!