Binding, My Way

I needed 2-3m of binding for my wrap coat and I ended up using the silver grey Bemberg silk that was the lining fabric, thank you Tanis Itis for her suggestion. As I had very little fabric left I had to piece bits together to get the length I needed. I’ve put together a small tutorial showing one, of many ways, to make binding. I thought perhaps it may help someone, especially if they have only scraps of fabric left to making binding.
To stabilize the silk I interfaced it with black Sheer Pro Elegance interfacing. This is very fine and doesn’t affect the drape much and it also put a hint of darker shade into the silk.

Next I found the 45 degree angle from the edge of the fabric (which is the bias) and started cutting strips – cut these to the width necessary. I used 8cm (2 3/8th in) for mine and used a cutting board with rotary cutter. This makes nice clean and accurate edges.

To piece the cut pieces together, I used a 45 degree angle seam as this makes an almost unnoticeable seam when the binding is used, less noticeable than a straight seam.

Lay the two pieces right sides together, one piece at 90 degrees to the other. With a chalk marker and ruler, rule across diagonally from one side to the other. Pin to stop pieces moving. You now have your sewing line. Sew the seam.

And the completed seam. Trim away some of the seam allowance, I left approx 6mm (1/4 in).

Trim off notches and then sew a line of straight stitching along the seam line, the width of your preferred seam Press stitching line, then press open.allowance. I choose 1.5cm (5/8 in).
And you can see the completed binding.

Now, you have a choice on whether you pin the binding to the right side or the wrong side of your garment. I choose to pin right sides together as I hand-sewed the binding to the wrong side. If you choose to pin the right side of the binding to the wrong side of your garment you can turn the bias to the right side and topstitch by machine.
You can see how the binding will look once it is hand-stitched down.


Sewing the Lining

I’ve been sewing the lining of my Wrap Coat and it’s coming along well.

You can see the ‘as yet’ unpressed darts and pinned centre back seam. Provided I used a 70/10 needle with the Bemberg silk my machine sews perfectly.
Instead of serging/overlocking the seam allowances on the silk I used a couture method from Roberta Carr’s book ‘Couture-The Fine Art of Sewing’ where you top-stitch close to the seam from the right side and then trim back the seam allowance. Instructions start on page 163 of my book. She calls it a welt seam and it can be used to stiffen a seam to make it more stable or you can use it when you are sewing a sheer or white fabric and want to trim away excess seam allowance.

You don’t need to clip any curves (or maybe very minimal on a thicker fabric), the seams lie very flat and there is no bulk.

It does take extra time to top-stitch but it’s worth it. It’s a nice look.

Because the coat back is not cut on the fold I fiddled around and worked out how I could add some extra ease into the back lining. All I did was cut the backs 2cm wider then sewed my usual 1.5cm seam but at the top and bottom I sewed in an extra 1.5cm for about 6-8cm and this I pressed open, then top-stitched around which created a pleat and left the extra ease in the back.

Probably not the proper way to do it but the pattern instructions are not clear on adding a lining so I muddled around. Then I realized later on, duh, that as it was the lining and I needed extra ease I could have cut the centre back on the fold and it wouldn’t have mattered!
I also cut every pattern piece 2.5cm shorter than the outer fabric so my lining should end up hanging shorter and not showing at the hem.
If anyone has any ideas for trim (I need to bind the collar, centre front openings and the sleeve hems) then I would love to hear. I have had a bit of a search on the internet (Etsy, Ebay and some online stores) to see if I could find something that would work but haven’t had any luck. I’m happy to make binding myself but can’t use any self-fabric as I don’t have scraps big enough to use. Also, I’m thinking that a contrast might look good and that’s also what the pattern picture shows.

Parting Shot: Still warm from the iron so Valentina decides my coat lining is the perfect place to sit.

It Has Arrived!

Finally my Bemberg lining arrived.  Isn’t the packaging beautiful? The fabric is a perfect match for the wool. This coat has bound edges and I know I’m going to struggle to find something that is going to suit without being too harsh.  Black is too harsh against the soft silvery coloured wool and I have absolutely no fabric left to make a self-binding.  The pattern picture has a contrast binding but I’m not sure that’s what I want.Inside the package was a lovely note and some buttons, as a thank you for placing an order. I really do like this shop for online ordering. The fabrics are really good quality and their attention to detail for their customers is the best I’ve come across so far.

And if you sew for children, included in my package was this business card advertising an online children’s fashion magazine dedicated to sewing for your child. There are patterns for the beginner sewer through to the advanced sewer. It is part of Waetcher’s Fabrics but does have it’s own website. It is free to sign up for the online magazine and then you can choose the garment you wish to make and order the kit.  It also looks like you can buy the magazine.


Muslin-y Pictures S2311

Just posted my muslin pictures on Sew A Beginner

Last night’s session with Thea was very successful.  I continue to be excited about this coat.  I just adore this pattern.  Did I mention that it is well-drafted???  And the collar/lapel is just about as perfect as can be.  LOVE. THIS. COAT.

So, I realized some errors I had made, but it’s all good.  No animals were harmed in the making of this muslin.  😉   I forgot I had changed the seam guide on my Featherweight from 5/8ths to 1/2 inch, so all my seam allowances were an 1/8th off. 

Oh, and I figured out why my bobbin thread kept breaking.  Now this is just a theory as I have not really researched it, but I think the needle position must be in its highest position when you pull out your work.  I think the way the machine works is that having the needle position high changes the way the bobbin releases the bobbin thread.  Oh maybe I’m on crack here, but it’s just a theory.  I experimented last night with keeping the needle up at its highest position whenever I removed my work after a seam and I had no problems whatsoever with the bobbin thread all night.  So, I think I’m on to something here.  However, this mild success in using the Featherweight did not convince me to use it for this coat.  I am still going to use my Emerald 183.  I think I need to practice on the Featherweight with less complicated, less important projects first before I sew something like a coat.

Thea helped me fit my coat.  She agreed with me that the fit was basically fine but I could use some shaping in the back to remove some of the bulk there.  The pattern provides a center back seam, but there is not much if any shaping in it, so we added about a 3/4 inch of shaping out from the waist tapering to the hem and yoke.  It looks great now.  We inserted the sleeve pretty easily.  Thankfully there is not an excess amount of ease in the sleeve cap, so very little easing was required.  There was also easing for the elbow which I love.  Gives great shaping to the line of the arm as well as being practical for something pointy like an elbow.  I should mention that I was mistaken about the pattern calling for sewing on the sleeves in the flat.  I just misread them because they have you jump around the instruction sheets from Coat A to Coat B instructions. 

Thea also helped me figure out how to attack the back yoke to the front and collar better.  The pattern itself is missing some markings, so that was part of my problem. The other was not know how to properly sew a squarish u-shaped piece to a straight piece.  I will explain that later.  Ingenious method though. 

Without further ado, here are the pictures of the muslin on me!  I wore a suit jacket to fill out the coat a bit.  I am really pleased with the fit and look of this coat and can’t wait to start cutting out the purple wool.  Please ignore the goofy faces.

Let me know what you think of the fit.  Thanks!

The great coat blitz…

Looking not-terribly-glamorous on the hanger. I hung it from my upstairs-railing to make hemming it easier.

Was not successful. I had really hoped to have it done this past weekend, so I could start wearing it. However, I was stymied at every turn. I realized I have no buttons for it. Then I got sick, which puts running out to find buttons a little out of reach. It did, however, give me time to do some finishing touches. At this point, all I need is to get buttons on and decide how to do the button holes. My automatic-buttonhole stitch won’t work, as it doesn’t handle thick fabric well (and by thick I mean anything heavier than blouse-weight). It is obviously way too late for bound buttonholes. This leaves me with plain machine zig-zags or hand-buttonholes. I should do some samples to help me decide, especially since I doubt I’ll be able to acquire proper buttonhole twist for doing hand-buttonholes in a reasonable time frame (i. e. right away… I want this done).

But here’s a few shots of what I have accomplished.

Chain-tacks in the hem:

chain tacks between lining and coat hem

My very own label:


Printed on T-shirt iron-on, then fused to twill tape.

That’s a whole lotta coat!

The whole skirt spread out (before hemming)

I’m still having a lot of trouble with how the front skirt of the coat hangs; there seems to be distortion along the centre-front seams (despite them being cut on the straight grain). It probably has to do with my interfacing the facings rather than the coat front (this is why you should read your instructions thoroughly FIRST), as well as the coat hanging un-finished for quite a while. I’ve re-sewn it twice (including understitching) and at this point short of pad-stitching the whole front (which may yet happen) I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done. Anyone who’s a more fabulous tailor than I have any suggestions for the next time, though? I’m a sucker for this kind of long, full-skirted coat so I can see this coming up again.

So anyway… so close, yet so far away.

S2311 Muslin

Apologies for my absence friends.  I am now turning my attention to my Fall Coat.  I worked on the muslin last night.

Here’s a refresher on what the finished coat looks like (top left, the short camel version).  

Simplicity 2311


I cut a straight sz 14 in heavy weight muslin (think of it as almost like painting canvas).  I found this weight to be extremely helpful to give an accurate read of how the coating would drape if a bit ravelly.  It took me forever last night to get to a point where I could try on the muslin (more on why later).  Essentially I got to the point where you attach the sleeves.  I believe they instruct you to sew them on in the flat as opposed to in the round.  But it was late and I wanted to see the fit, so I skipped that and basted the side seams.   

 The verdict?  I.  LOVE.  THIS.  COAT.  I love the wide lapels.  I love the princess seams in front.  The back needs some fitting but luckily enough there’s a CB seam to play with.  I think I might take some bulk out of the shoulder blade area through to the waist, but that’s about it. This coat is going to rock!!!  I was scared of the princess seams, but they were really easy to sew.  I didn’t need to clip anything to get them to lay flat.  Weird!  The collar and lapel have a great shape and lie around my neck and shoulders beautifully.  And I didn’t even do the inside facing/over collar yet.  This is a really well-drafted pattern.   

 I’ve decided that I won’t interline this coat.  I’m intending it to be a fall coat, something transitional and more like an accessory rather than true outerwear.  So, even though I bought cotton flannel for it, I am just going to use the purple wool coating and silk charmeuse lining for this coat.  But I could totally see myself making the longer version for a more substantial winter coat next year.   

 I wish I had a picture of me wearing the muslin, but I was too tired and not camera ready last night, so here’s a totally craptastic shot with my iphone to tide you over.  


Thea is coming over tonight to help me fit the back and show me how to sew the back to the front better.  I had major problems sewing that part last night and just did a down and dirty job of it in the muslin to see how it looked on.   

 And speaking of problems…  I had an awful time using my Featherweight last night.  AWFUL!!!  I almost dragged out my Emerald 183 from retirement.  I couldn’t get the bobbin to wind correctly and smoothly so my bobbin thread kept getting stuck and then breaking.  I have no idea what I’m doing wrong.  One time when it broke, something jolted the needle thread tension discs and now they are really loose.  I hope I didn’t break my “new” Featherweight.  I guess the honeymoon is over.  😦   As a matter of fact, I am probably going to un-retire the Emerald 183 to sew my final coat.  I don’t want to slow down the making of this coat due to machine temperamentality.  

 How is everybody else doing with their projects?????  I am going to be a more active participant in this sewalong.  I promise!  I am super excited about this coat and can’t wait to wear it!  Hopefully I will have better muslin pictures to show you soon.

Wish me luck!

I Can’t Do Any More

This is where I am up to and I can go no further. I’m awaiting the arrival of the lining fabric, hopefully coming this week.
Mum came to visit, we went shoe shopping and then we fitted the coat on me and there were quite a few adjustments to make.
The side front piece had a considerable amount of flare and didn’t look good (on me) so we pinned out quite a bit from the front but left the side back as it was, only taking out extra along the entire CB seam.
I found I didn’t need to have made such a big FBA. This pattern block is designed using a C-cup and it really was roomier than I anticipated. So I had to remove some fabric from the front princess seam.
Next up was pinning and sewing in the sleeves. I had not previously used this method of attaching raglan sleeves but I found it extremely simple and easy way to do it. You finish the sleeve seam and the side seams of the coat were already sewn. Then pin the sleeve to the coat, right sides together and sew.
The unpinned raglan shoulder dart. I love these darts, it creates a sort-of shoulder line in the raglan sleeve. The pinned dart, ready for sewing.

The finished and pressed dart.
I needed to take some excess out of the back, so added in a third dart and you can see my chalk line inside the basted original stitching line.
Three darts pressed and looking good. The fabric is fantastic to sew, ease and press. It’s a wool/cashmere blend by Ralph Lauren which I bought from Fabric Mart and similar to this, although my fabric doesn’t have the yellow undertone and also has a silver thread running through it.