We need to talk about the innards of this beast. How do you sew a coat or jacket and avoid failure?
Start with the details. This coat pattern has 76 – count ’em – steps.
Ignore the running order of the step-by-step instructions.
Begin by sewing up the smaller details and putting them to one side for when they’re needed. (Below, sleeve tabs marked up for top stitching with a Pilot Frixion pen.)
This tactic really does speed up the sewing.
Once that’s done, move on to the guts. Oh, the guts. Crucial!
Even though my IKEA curtain fabric was fairly robust, I don’t trust fabric alone to support the structural needs of a coat. I didn’t want fabric bagging, stretching or flapping like a limp piece of lettuce. So I fusible interfaced every pattern piece of the fashion fabric with weft insertion. Every piece. All over. (Apart from the sleeves, where you do want some fluidity. I only interfaced the sleeve heads.)
This was the single biggest game changer, in my opinion.
This step also allowed me to catch stitch the edges of every raw seam down to the interfacing. Stitching doesn’t appear on the right side of the make, and the seams of the coat lay flush to the garment.
If you would like to see exemplary details of this type of tailoring, check out this blog post from Sunnygal Studio.
Let’s not forget the back stay, already blogged about here.
Go slowly. If you rush, your machine shall skip stitches and you shall lose accuracy.
When I wasn’t top stitching, I had a go at prick stitching by hand along the top of the pockets and around the edge of the collar. I didn’t really know what I was doing, this was my first attempt at prick stitching and – oh my goodness – I disappeared down a rabbit hole of perfectionism. My work isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough. (And I’m now slightly fascinated to explore this technique more.)
Why don’t all sewing patterns tell you to insert shoulder pads and sleeve head rolls? This is another deal breaker in successful coat and jacket projects.
I never quite know if I’m inserting mine correctly, but these certainly did the trick. I use English Couture for my supplies.
And then there are all the scary details of making bound buttonholes and opening up the rear of the bound buttonholes. For these techniques, check out my ebook. Below, details from opening up the rear of the buttonholes.
And that’s your lot. Phewee! Looking back, HOW did I sew this coat in only three weeks?