sewing, tailoring

Silk Coat

This coat has been in the works for awhile.  I started it in the spring, but by the time I was close to finishing, it was already too warm to wear it.  I lost motivation at that point, and it sat on Annie (my dress form) all through the summer.

The fabric is a silk coating with a herringbone weave.  I got it from Fabricmart awhile ago.  It loves to unravel, so I used a narrow zigzag on all of the edges after cutting out the pieces.  The lining is an American-made rayon coat lining that I got from Gorgeous Fabrics (which is now closed).  It is quite thick and feels luxurious.  I used the same fabric in black for a coat I made for Wade, and it has worked really well.

The pattern is Marfy 3204, and I liked it because of the collar shape and the longer length.  I’m hoping to use this coat as a replacement for a wool navy peacoat that I wear in early fall and late spring.  (I replaced the lining of the peacoat in a too thin fabric, and the new lining is ripped.)  Silk is actually much warmer than people think, and I think that between the thickness of the silk and the hefty lining it will be quite warm.

You can see how much it likes to fray!

This coat was the first time I have ever sewn bound buttonholes.  Since I wanted them to look good, I actually practiced making samples using several different bound buttonhole techniques.  Unfortunately, since I did this so long ago, I can’t remember which sample is which technique.  I am not 100% happy with my buttonholes, but they are not terrible for a first attempt.

I have done several tailored pieces at this point, using both hand methods and fusible interfacings.  For this coat, I combined techniques.  On the collar and front lapel where I wanted really good control and shaping, I used hair canvas and padstitching.  I also taped the roll line and front lapel by hand.  However, for the back stay, which only provides strength, not shaping, I used fusible interfacing.  I also used fusible interfacing on the hem and front facings.  I added custom shoulder pads and sleeve heads.  I used several books as guides: The Vogue Sewing Book, Tailoring (an old Singer book), and Couture Sewing by Claire Shaeffer.  The tailoring and construction all went really smoothly, and I had that part finished in the spring.

Padstitching on hair canvas with silk thread.
The roll line taped with twill tape.
The shoulder pad and sleeve head.  The white is quilt batting, the grey is a wool knit backed with something fluffy.

I got stuck on installing the lining.  I wanted to do a fully machine-sewn (bagged) lining, but I wasn’t sure how to do that with the back vent.  Marfy patterns do not have any instructions beyond numbering the seams and a few descriptions such as “ease” or “fold here”.  Grainline has my go-to tutorial for how to bag a lining, but it doesn’t include a vent.  I finally found a nice video that describes how to sew a lined jacket vent.  It doesn’t discuss how it works with bagging the lining, but what I did was basically incorporate the technique from the video as part of sewing the bottom hem (step 6 on the Grainline tutorial).  Not sure that was the proper way to do it, but it seems to have worked out.

The hanging loop; also one of my very last Kiri’s Clothes tags (new tags will be KiriMade!).

Once the lining was in, it was just a matter of sewing it to the bound buttonholes (by hand) and sewing on the buttons.  I originally bought some horn buttons for this coat, but the color was all wrong.  Instead, I found some large real shell buttons from Wawak.  I love these, and think they really make the coat special.

Me, sewing on the sleeve buttons. There are no buttonholes; they are purely decorative.

I’m hoping this will be my main coat for transitional weather.  I love the overall look, but I do notice some minor imperfections.  I’m not happy with the vent, and somehow the front hems are slightly different lengths (this is fixable, but I will have to open up the lining).  The buttonholes are only ok.  However, I have learned that most people don’t notice as much as I do, so I’m sure the errors won’t keep me from wearing it.


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