Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hemming Your Lady Grey

Hey everyone! So, just to recap, I've decided to hem my coat before assembling and inserting the lining/front facing (that will come next). I did this on my last coat too, and found it was much easier to work with the hem without the lining in the way.

I've put together a little video on the hemming process. But first, let me say that this method is ALL SHARON. Thank you, Sharon! It works like a charm. Make sure to check out the photos at the bottom of the post too.

So, here's what the seam binding will look like on the hem. First, sew along the lower edge of the seam binding, pulling it taut as you go. (Your seam binding goes over the row of gathering stitches, holding your easing in place.) Second, secure it in place with another line of stitching at the top of the seam binding. Update: in response to a couple questions: do *not* stitch the seam binding through all the layers of the coat. Isolate the top of the hem (like you did to steam out the excess fabric, but with the right side of the hem facing up as you sew at the machine) and stitch just through the hem layer.
Now it's ready to catch stitch in place. Instead of catch stitching it flat (like we did on our seam allowances on the coat front), you can catch stitch a hem between the two layers. Use your thumb to hold the top of the hem down as you go, and take the first "bite" of your stitch in the hem (indicated by the yellow arrow below), and the second bite out of your hair canvas (blue arrow).
Remember not to hem all the way to your front edges! You'll need a couple inches free to sew the front facing to.

Next, you'll want to hem your sleeves. They don't need to be eased, since the pattern allows for the difference in the hem circumference. Simply "pin-baste" your hem near the bottom, steam it, and catch stitch as above.
Don't forget to put in your shoulder pads, if you're using them. They're very simple to insert. Just try on your coat (doesn't it look pretty?!) and slap 'em in there. Wiggle the pads around until you're happy with their location. Pin them in place on the outside of the coat, along the shoulder seam. Take the coat off and turn it inside out at the shoulders. Your shoulder pad will look like this:

 Slip stitch the top of the shoulder pad to the shoulder seam allowance.
Turn the coat right side out and tack down the edges of the pad (see blue arrows below).
That's it for now, friends! If you're caught up, go ahead and start assembling your lining. Don't forget to add some fusible to your front facing. I know a couple of you have had questions about the back lining pleat, and I'll address that when I'm able to get to that part this weekend.

If you're not caught up, no worries! You don't have to keep this pace. The tutorials and the Flickr group will still be there for you for support.


  1. Gertie, this is SO helpful! I have not joined the sew-a-long, but have recently purchased some gorgeous orange wool and when I do make a coat, I will be coming back to these posts. Thank you so much!

  2. Thank you for another wonderfully clear tutorial video - so helpful.

  3. Hi Gertie, this may sound like a very obvious question but I just want to make sure I don't make any mistakes - the closer I get to a finished coat the more nervous I get that I'm going to mess it all up!
    When sewing on the seam binding do you sew through all layer of the coat - right through to the outside - or just the turned up hem? Please excuse my ignorance, I can be quite clueless when it comes to some basic techniques!
    PS I love your blog and this sew a-long has made me one happy camper so thank you :)

  4. I had the same question Katie!

  5. Your posts about the lady grey are very inspiring. I really enjoy watching the progress of this fantabulous coat! I hope you enjoy every minute in it. You're quite an artist.

  6. Gertie, just wanted to let you know how helpful these posts have been. I haven't joined the sew-along either, but am planning to make a coat in a couple of months, and these tips have been invaluable!

  7. Katie and Erika! Me too! Me too! It looks from her catch stitching photo it's just through the turned up layer... but... but... just want to be sure!

  8. Hey guys, do *not* stitch the seam binding through all the layers. Isolate the top of the hem (like you did to steam out the excess fabric) and stitch just through the hem layer. Think of it this way: we're going to all this trouble to make the hem undectable - we wouldn't want two rows of stitching on the outside of the coat!

  9. HI,

    I am trying to buy a decent beginner sewing machine for about $100 or less and I though maybe you could help. I have no idea where to start! Any help you could provide would be much appreciated.

    Many Thanks. ~ Aubrey

  10. This series of tutes has been SO helpful, Gertie! I'm making a completely different coat (finishing up a 2YO UFO) and every single step you've shown has been applicable. Thanks for doing this sew-along!

  11. heh...I am a serious procrastinator, and am only just now cutting out my muslin. I think it's partially fabric-fear. I have never used anything quite as expensive as the wool and silk, so...terrified of whack-whacking wrongly! but I must begin somewhere :D

  12. Another brilliant video, thank you very much!! I never thought of hemming before the lining but actually it does make some sense. I chickened out and decided not to do the more tailored version (just basically following envelope instructions - is it bad I dropped out?) so will probably need to be extra careful not to make stitches show on right side of fabric.

  13. I just finished my hem and a note for anyone who used a thinner coat fabric: don't use any ole ribbon-type thing you have around for the hem - use something super thin or it will create a ridge/bump on the outside just from the thickness. I may re-do mine, even though it's barely visible and it was a lot of stitching.

    Great video help (again) - thank you!

  14. I had a go at this today but I don't think it's making a difference because my fabric just won't shrink (it's not wool). It's also not very thick so the seam binding is adding bulk. I have pinned it in please and will think of a solution but if you (or anybody else) has suggestions I very much love to hear them :)

  15. Hi Gertie: Just finished slip stitching the hem and tried it on for length. The length is great but the pockets are sticking out the bottom a good half an inch!? I followed - the instructions to the T (put the pockets where they were supposed to go) and now I'm confused. Will the lining be able to fix this (something tells me no). Will I have to make the hem half an inch (could be dicey with the weight of it and using the hem tape)? Should I try to make the pockets smaller using my serger (dangerous if I make a wrong move and also bound to make the pockets too shallow)? Any advice would be so appreciated. K

  16. K.Line, I'm having the same problem and I saw on the Colette Patterns flickr that other people have too. Sarai suggested tacking the pockets in place. I just looked at mine, and if I pull them up (so they're not drooping), I can tack them to some seam allowances or the hair canvas on the front to get them to stay above the hem.

  17. Gertie, could you post a picture of your front coat hem from the outside? I'm having a weird flaring issue and I think it's due to the hair canvas in the front side seams. It would just help me to see what it's ultimately supposed to look like.



Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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