Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just for comparison

No pic for this post.  The coat is finally finished and I'm waiting for huzbear Brian to come back from vacation to take some pictures of me modeling it.  So while I wait, I thought it would be interesting to pull out my receipts and see how much the project has cost.  Adding a generous $20 for thread and considering that I have enough hair canvas and flannel lining for another coat, the total is $165.  Just for the heck of it I suggest you check out the Ralph Lauren flannel toggle coat currently available at Bergdorf Goodman's website.  It will ship to you in October for a mere $1895.  The picture is quite murky but it appears to have ( Gasp!) wooden toggles.  Can we say cheap?  And does the model have a huge wad of chewing tobacco in his cheek?  You decide.  
I'm feeling slightly adrift now that this project is over, so I'm planning to start a fall coat.  I know I previously said I'd start a trench coat, but I'd much rather have something that I can wear in the upcoming season.  My next project will be a deep eggplant brushed cotton twill balmacaan.  Totally yummy.  

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some final construction details

I'm just "saying NO" to all the topstitching on my coat.  If I'd made the unlined version it would be necessary to hold things in place, but I think it looks more professional without it.  Plus nothing looks worse than a garment with bad topstitching, and I don't want to run that risk.  To hem the sleeves I inserted a 2" wide bias strip of my hair canvas.  The hem is folded up over the strip and the two are sewn together.  The actual hemming is between the hair canvas and the coat fabric.  The same technique is used on the bottom hem except the bias strip is muslin which I hit with some spray starch.  In one of the pictures you can see how the hem and strip are sewn together.  I wonder if the $2000 Burberry version has this kind of attention to detail?  You'll also see that I hand basted the strip into place.  I've become a HUGE believer in hand basting while working on this project.  This should make my daughter, the monster making / hand sewing queen, proud of the old man.   Hard to believe, but all that remains is sewing the bottom hem of the lining into place.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hell NO, I haven't been slacking!

I need to get caught up with all the progress that I've made.  I actually have a coat that I can put on, not that I exactly want to wear a wool coat in the middle of summer.  The major pieces went together easily and I used my Bishop Method book which emphasizes sewing in the proper direction.  Shoulder seams are sewn outward, vertical seams are sewn bottom to top.  I don't ask why, I just do what Edna says.  After setting in the sleeves I beefed up the shoulders by hand sewing a 6" and 4" bias strip of wool over the sleeve cap.  This really helped smooth out the sleeve cap.  The coat, as designed, is unlined so I had to develop patterns for a lining.  I used the sleeve patterns as is.  The back was cut on the fold allowing for a 1" center back pleat.  The front lining required some calculating, but again the Bishop Method book was a big help.  Because I want the lining to be free moving I needed to attach the leather toggles and tabs before attaching the lining to the coat.  Each leather tab took well over 1/2 hour to sew on.  4+ hours of hand sewing later I'm just about ready to put the whole thing together.  I just want to tweek some of the seam binding in the hood, and rip out and re-do a front seam where the lining and front facing connect.  I sense being in the home stretch of this project.  I've found a trench coat sew-along blog, and even though I'd be way behind everyone, I may jump in with my bargain olive green stretch denim.  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

obsessing a little

Thanks to everyone on the Pattern Review message boards who advised me on the patch pockets.  It was unanimous that I interface the entire pocket even though the instructions (just pictures) don't show it. I think they would have been very disappointing if I had merely lined them.  I'm getting a lot of mileage out of my hair canvas.  In addition to the pockets I also interfaced the reinforcement patches that the toggles will be stitched to.  I spent quite a bit of time positioning the patches because they really need to line up.  I lined everything up with masking tape and then topstitched the patches in place using the tape as a guide.  Voila!  I've also attached the pockets and their flaps.  Marji from the Great Coat Sew-along blog has a great tutorial on patch pockets.  She topstitches the pocket first and then sews it by hand onto the coat.  It's time consuming, yes, but it looks SO much better and eliminates that look of the pockets just being tacked onto the coat.  The coat fronts are now complete and I've laid them out with a toggle to get a sense of what it will look like.  Things should start moving ahead quickly from this point.