I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
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.