Friday, December 18, 2015

Coat Progress

Okay, so I have been making progress on my coat. But the warm weather has not been much of an impetus to get it finished. I have been taking my time, doing lots of hand-sewing (which doesn't show up at all). I hand-stitched hair canvas to the fronts, upper back, and all hemlines. I put hair canvas on both upper and under collar and pad-stitched the under-collar. The fabric is really thick and fuzzy, and no stitches showed through to the outside even if I took bigger stitches than just little pricks. 

Given the thickness of the fabric, I didn't want welt pockets, I didn't think I would do a good job with them, so I opted for patch pockets. And they are interfaced with hair canvas, then lined, and then hand-stitched twice to the coat so they will be nice and secure without any stitches showing.

I also added a back stay using linen fabric from the stash. This will help keep the back shoulders from stretching out and will also hide any outline of shoulder pads.

At this point, before the sleeves were set in, I made the buttonholes. I made six preliminary buttonholes by machine and the plan is to overcast these with buttonhole twist so that I will actually have handworked buttonholes. I have been practising those, and so far they are not looking good to me. I may resort to going over the buttonholes once again by machine and calling it a day. 

Here you can see the interfacing strips in the hem area. With hair canvas, you cut strips on the bias that are 1 1/2" wider than your hem allowance, then position the interfacing so that it extends 1/2" below the hemline. It is hand basted along the hemline and catch-stitched along the top to the coat itself. Then when the hem is turned up, it is catch-stitched to the interfacing and it never ever shows on the outside. The bias interfacing also gives a nice soft edge to the hemline. I also did this on the sleeve hems.

Here is a photo of the inside of the front of the coat, it isn't the greatest photo. But you can see the hair canvas which covers the entire centre front pieces. I also interfaced the side pieces of the front to about 9" below the armholes. And you can see where the sleeves have been put in, I used tie interfacing (since it is on the bias) to ease the sleeve caps and then that interfacing is turned out into the sleeve caps to provide a sleeve header. After that, the shoulder pads are stitched in place. 

This is the back where you can see the linen back stay which covers the back from neck to under the armholes. Underneath the stay, there is more hair canvas. I tell you there has been so much hand-stitching on this coat. But you know, where I live, winter is a really big deal. It is wicked and lasts for four months of the year. We can wear winter coats for five months so it is worth doing all this work because this coat will get worn a lot.

Full photo of the back with all the inner stuff showing. Pretty unsightly, but it will be all covered up with beautiful shiny Kasha lining (flannel-backed satin) in royal blue and none of this will ever be seen again.

I was planning on getting buttons to match the coat in colour, but I am thinking now that I should perhaps go with jet black buttons. The coat looks really plain, and perhaps a contrast button would be a good idea. I am thinking that this coat needs a gorgeous sunny yellow scarf tucked inside the neckline and I am on the lookout for one in the stores. Funny when you want a specific colour in something, it is nowhere to be found. I may have to make one.

More later, I hope to have this finished by Christmas day.

Merry Christmas to all.


  1. Great progress, Julie. The inner workings are very interesting to see. As for the scarf, why not buy a white one and dye it?

    1. I never even thought of that, what a great idea. thanks.

  2. Beautiful work Julie! And what a lo0vely shade of blue - it will surely brighten up any dreary winter day!