It was a dark and stormy night…
No, I’m not talking about this week’s gales; I’m referring to my ongoing wrestles with the V8548 coat. Fear not, faithful band of patient readers! As Marie and Claire both suggested, the second sleeve went in a dream. I will now be for ever tormented by the knowledge that one sleeve head is performing better than the other, but hey – I think that’s called a learning curve. Thank you all SO much for your support.
Moving on! Last night I tackled my THIRD attempt to hem the coat. Each time I tried, the hem would end up looking bulky and unsightly. I had not put in this amount of work to tolerate an ugly hem! In desperation, I flung myself on the sofa and riffled through my Reader’s Digest New Complete Guide To Sewing. At last!
There it was, on page 345. Advice on hemming tailored items. The book talked of adding a strip of interfacing at the hem and my brain suddenly pinged into life. Hadn’t one of my readers suggested something similair? Yes, yes! The Hectic Eclectic had left a comment along the very same lines. Along with Roobeedoo‘s suggestion to use a lace trim to finish the hem, I was off!
This make has been a perfect storm of trial and error. I decided that on my third attempt at hemming, I would document the process for my readers. Why should you have nervous breakdowns, too?
Before starting work on the coat itself, I decided to do a trial run on a large swatch. This would also make it easier for me to show you what I was doing. So this is my method of hemming a wool coat. The method of an inexperienced, ham-fisted, traumatised tailor-in-making. So if you have – you know – expert, considered, wise advice to add in the comments, you know what to do!
Here are my swatches: the fashion fabric and the interlining. It’s a heavy weight, fusible interlining bought from Maccullough and Wallis. I bought far too much of this, but am glad I did – I know it will be so useful to have on hand.
Here they are fused together:
First, thread trace your hem line. Take a contrast thread and with a running basting stitch, go along the line that will be your hem:
Then finish your edge and press the fabric over at the hem line. I added a lace trim to finish my edge. It’s pulling in slightly, which will actually help with easing in fullness on the slight curve of my hem:
Now, use a relaxed catch stitch (aka herringbone stitch) to attach the edge of the hem to the interlining. Ensure that your needle doesn’t catch any of the fashion fabric! The whole point of adding the interlining is to avoid sewing into the fashion fabric and creating that dang ridge! I was lucky that my interlining had an obvious weave so that I could pick up tiny, individual stitches:
And your hem is finished! If you need to do any further pressing, press the edge of the hem only, to avoid pressing ridges into your coat.
Here’s the hem as it sits on the final coat:
And here it is on the inside:
You can just see the top of the interlining peeking out above the lace trim. Notice that I finished it with pinking scissors. That was a tip from Gertie that this prevents an obvious ridge on the fashion fabric. You might think that this glimpse of the interlining is unsightly, but it’s a bit of a moot point as this is all going to be covered by the free hanging lining of the coat:
One unexpected benefit of adding the interlining at the hem is that it gives a bit of weight to the hang of the skirt, which can only be a good thing. And it makes the hem line nice and crisp.
There we are! One last note on hand stitching. I bought some new needles a few months ago that have been a god send:
For scale, I’ve added a normal-sized needle to the side of the photo. Yep. They’re that small. When you open your package, you’ll burst out laughing. ‘Hey, Tom Thumb! Your needles have arrived!’ But these teeny needles with their teeny point allow you to pick up the tiniest of threads. They’re black gold needles quilting (no. 9) by Clover. Just don’t put one down and lose it!
Now, all I need to do is open up the rear of the bound button holes and sew on the buttons. And sort out some bulk at the corners of the hems. Then, I think I’m done.
Is there a doctor in the house?!!!