I have to say I missed you girls (and sewing in general). Not only did I not have time to sew, I barely had time to read the sewing blogs. I haven’t been on a sewing related website since September. I forgot how much you can learn from the Internet.
I did a lot of research on tailoring techniques because I really wanted my coat to look as close to perfect as possible. I was especially worried about the sleeves. I have set in sleeves many times, but I would say that I have never successfully set in both where there was no puckering or gathering along the ease line. One of the things I liked about the photo on the pattern envelope for my coat was the smooth lines along the shoulder seam. I wanted shoulders like that. So, I did some research on sleeve heads and started thinking about trying to put one in. But, before I did that, I tried one other technique for easing in a sleeve. I found this interesting method, and I figured it was worth trying on my muslin.
Basically, you use a strip of necktie interfacing, and sew it along the ease stitching line (from notch to notch) of the sleeve. You do not sew any ease stitches. Stretch the interfacing as you sew, and it will ease the sleeve for you. The interfacing also adds structure to the seam. Inserting the sleeve this was way the easiest ever. Usually I have to mess around with tons of pins and keep adjusting the gathers to fit, then I have to hand baste, then fix it where it gets all wonky, hand baste some more, then machine sew it in, pick out stitches were part of the bodice got caught up in the stitching, resew, etc. Even after all of that the finished product is not perfectly smooth.
I tried the interfacing method on my muslin and it went in pretty well -still some gather, but not that bad. However, it went MUCH better on my wool fabric. I made a few adjsutments to the technique – Rusty Bobbin recommends 12″ x 2″ of interfacing. I used more like 16″x1.25″. It seemed that the 12″ was not long enough to make it from notch to notch.
My sleeves are perfect. I thought maybe this was a result of the heavy wool and that the technique might not work on a lighter fabric, so I tried it again in my extremely thin flannel backed satin lining fabric…and it worked great there too! Even better, the interfacing along the seam line of the shoulder seams acts similar to a shoulder pad, so the shoulder seams in my coat have a little more structure and do not droop.
Another technique that I have finally mastered is ‘bagging a lining’. I tried it twice before and had some success and some failure. I never really understood any of the written instructions on how to do it. This time I just thought about it real hard and then had a lightbulb moment. I pinned the lining to the outside of the coat, matched it up along the shoulder seams at the facings, and sewed. I could not believe how easy it was and how professional it looked.
I still have to hem my lining and stitch it in and find some buttons (I am having a terrible time find ten 1″ buttons in a gray or gray blue color). I might have to switch to black or another neutral color, and I am too impatient to order online.
I am going to take photos of the inside of my coat before I sew up the lining hem to show my sleeve techniques. Hopefully everything will be done by this evening.
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