If you told me in January when I started this coat that it still wouldn’t be finished by November, I wouldn’t have believed you. Then again, if you told me a week ago that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States, I wouldn’t have believed you either, but that is a story for an entirely different post. As for the coat, not only has this been way more work than I had anticipated, but the utter size and weight of this thing makes every step an odyssey, requiring a will of steel to keep it all moving forward.
- I am SO ready for this coat to be finished.
- There is still so much more work left to do.
But never fear, things ARE moving forward, albeit at my typical glacially slow pace. Today I have more in-progress shots to share, as the outer shell comes together and the three layers of the coat become one. Onward!
After my last post, I assembled the main pieces of the shell, resulting in the nearly three full coats that you see above. From left to right: lining with hair canvas on the front facings, flannel interlining, and shell. All of the seam allowances on the shell are simply pressed open, and I chose to omit the topstitching that the instructions recommend. The black bias binding is more than enough, I think! I also made the fully bias-bound belt, which is one of my favorite parts of the coat. 🙂
After my long torso alterations, I had to move the pockets up 3 inches from the original placement lines. They’re still a bit lower than I’m used to, but I wanted to keep them below the line of the belt. I think the final placement will be comfortable enough.
And check out these mitered corners on the belt!
The acute angles could be better, but I’m pretty proud of them. True confession: this belt took me FOUR HOURS to make. Four hours for a simple fabric belt!! I couldn’t believe it, but I have to say, it’s a damn fine looking belt. 🙂 I almost wish I had kept track of the total number of hours I’ve spent making this coat… almost.
Setting in the sleeves on the shell was a bit of a struggle. To be honest, I usually don’t have too much of a problem setting in sleeves, but here I lost nearly all of the natural stretch along the top of the armhole due to the storm flaps being basted in ahead of time. I used a million pins, as you can see above, and it all worked out though.
Making the loops themselves was easy. For what it’s worth, I almost never bother to sew a long, thin tube and turn it inside out. I hate fiddling with those things! I just fold the tube to its proper finished width, enclosing the edges, and topstitch that sucker. Quick and easy, and still produces a great finish.
Positioning the loops, on the other hand, took a bit of head scratching. I don’t know what happened, but I couldn’t find the placement marks on the pattern. Maybe I forgot to trace them originally, or maybe they got lost during all my pattern alterations. Regardless, I had to start from scratch here. I tried on the coat, tied the belt around my waist where it felt comfortable, and marked the approximate placement with pins while I was still wearing the coat. Then I trued up the placement marks on my sewing table, measuring up the same distance from the hem for each loop. Finally, I pinned the loops in place, threaded the belt through, put the coat on again, and made sure everything looked ok. Thankfully, it worked!
To secure the belt loops, I decided to sew them through the shell and interlining (for extra support), but not the lining (to maintain as much freedom of movement as possible). Above you can see the lining pushed up and out of the way while I was pinning on the loops, and below, the finished loops.
Nerdy fact: I tried to roughly match the print on the loops with the print on the shell. They’re not an exact match, and you can’t really tell anyway when the belt is looped through, but I had fun doing this. 🙂
A cool feature of this coat is the pocket stay. It’s included in the instructions, so I can’t take credit for this idea. The pattern recommends securing the pocket to the front of the coat with bias tape to keep it in place, which I thought was pretty clever. For my coat, I left an opening in the flannel interlining for the pocket to go through, so I’d have the extra flannel layer to keep my hands warm during wear. As you may be able to see above, somehow I didn’t make the opening quite long enough, so the pocket bag is getting a bit squashed on the top and bottom. I can’t decide if it bothers me enough to fix it. If I don’t, at least my partially squashed pocket will stay in place thanks to the stay!
[Edited to add 11/13/16: I wound up fixing the pocket openings after all. They were driving me crazy!]
I debated whether to understitch the facing here. I didn’t want the visible line of stitching, but it was SO bulky in this area that I caved in and did it. There were over 12 layers of fabric in some areas! This was one of the only times that my beloved Bernina has struggled getting over a seam, but we got through it in the end.
Now that the coat is all one piece, the weight of it is really apparent. This coat weighs a ton! It’s also super warm, at least indoors. I hope it keeps me nice and toasty outside too. 🙂
I suspect people will be able to spot me a mile away in this thing. 🙂
Anyway, that’s all for now. There are four major steps left:
- Sew the lapels and center front, and apply bias binding. (Also, make more bias binding.) The intersection of the lapels, collar, and storm flaps is going to be tricky. I suspect some hand applique will be required to get the binding positioned just right.
- Hem sleeves.
- Hem coat. I’m planning to catch stitch all the hems by hand, incorporating jump pleats in the lining.
- Buttons and buttonholes, including finding and purchasing buttons. Any ideas on what color to get? Would black buttons be too much? Maybe a light pink or blue?
For now, the coat remains on my sewing table, protected from dust and cat hair with some extra pillowcases. I need to muster up the motivation to get back to it. Maybe tomorrow. 🙂
Hope you’re all having a good weekend!