Friday, October 8, 2010

Tailoring Your Coat Front, Part Three

Okay sewists, no dillydallying today! Let's get right back to our coat fronts. On the last step, we had just sewn the two front pieces together, applied the hair canvas to the coat front (piece A) and catch-stitched the seam allowance down to the hair canvas. Now we tape the roll line! Please check out this video:

Next, you want to baste the area between the roll line and the princess seam like you did on the side piece. As a reminder, use an uneven basting stitch in lines 2" apart from each other.

Now it's time for the pad stitching. I can just feel the mounting excitement in the blogosphere! (I'll turn you all into tailoring geeks yet. Just you wait and see.) Another video for your viewing pleasure:

Some general guidelines for pad stitching:
  • Pad stitching is all about shaping! Keep a finger under the roll line as you stitch so that the fabric shapes into a fold as you stitch it.
  • Don't pad stitch into the seam allowances.
  • Don't worry if the outer fabric gets a little puckery; it will be on the underside of the lapel.
  • When you get to the end of a line, don't turn the fabric. Keep it oriented the same as your last row, and just start stitching in the other direction. This will keep your chevron-shapes nice and neat. 
  • Your pad stitch length should match the width. So, where your rows of stitches are 1/8" apart, your stitch length should be 1/8". 
When your pad stitching is complete (be patient, it will take a while), you want to steam it and let it dry over night. Double up a damp towel and place it underneath the lapel, thusly:

Now steam the hell out of it. BUT. Do not press down on the lapel. You're forming a soft fold, not a crease. Let it dry this way overnight. Done!

A couple odds and ends to complete on the jacket front:
    • This might be a good time to remove the hair canvas from your seam allowances on the lapel and coat front.
    • Now, at some point, you also need to cut a window for the buttonholes. Just poke some pins through the buttonhole at each corner. This will help you locate your buttonhole on the canvas side. Connect the pins with chalk markings.

    And now cut that baby out!
    • Sharon also recommended staystitching through all layers at the armscye.
    Whew! I don't know about you all, but I'm a wee bit exhausted. Let's take the weekend to catch up and then Monday we'll start on the coat back. (I've made an executive decision to move padstitching the collar to a later date. More to come on that!) Good news: the back is much easier!

    Now go pad stitch like the wind!


    1. I love how you called pad-stitching 'magical' :)

      This is the part of making the coat I was most excited for, thanks for the very easy to understand instructions Gertie. I'm off to pad-stitch!

    2. hooray! I second Mo! I was so excited to see you in action!

      I'm headed out of town this evening, and still haven't even cut my fabric! Hoping to get the front pieces cut so I can baste and padstitch in the car!

      BTW - I picked up some of the pellon tailor's elite (the grey stuff) sew in and am using that in the place of hair canvas. We'll see how it works! It's hard to tell the weight of the hair canvas compared to the tailor's elite. I know, I know... i should have just ordered hair canvas! Doo! Also! I picked up some wool batting meant for quilts to interline. Apparently that's what 'everyone' does, here in Minneapolis. We'll see. Not sure how to pre-treat - hot, wet towel in the dryer, I suppose!

    3. Thanks for the great instructions, but I have one question: after you pad-stitch the roll line, how much do you roll the rest of the collar as you are stitching it? Do you continue to drape it over your finger throughout the collar, or do you hold it flatter? Thanks!

    4. I love these tutorials, really truly! I don't have the time to sew along with everyone at the moment, but I'll absolutely be coming back here when I get around to finishing my partner's coat!

    5. Hi all! Phoebe, do not flatten the collar as you're padstitching. Do not! Promise me. :) The roll line needs to remain rolled at all times for the magic to happen. Even if you don't keep your finger directly under the roll line (this can get difficult as you get futher out on the lapel) keep the lapel folded over.

      Does this make sense? I hope so!

    6. Hi Gertie,
      With your current fabric this probably isn't an issue, but when you've padstitched on solid colored fabric, how much do the stitches show on the right side of the lapel? I'm using a solid purple gabardine, and the only silk thread I could find is in a slightly more violet (lighter) shade. Why are we using silk thread? Is it important or is it more important to match the color perfectly? Thanks for all of your helpful tutorials -- I am learning so much!

    7. Wow very good very detailed tutorial thanks I am just about to make a coat so I will be back here to do some reading and see what tips I can pick up. Is that your arm with the tattoo in the video...I have some old school roses on my arm tattoo that look very similar ;-) ~Thanks Heather

    8. Katie, the stitches shouldn't show at all on the right side of the coat. As I mentioned, it might get a little puckery, but ideally all your thread will be inside the coat. Silk thread is recommended for tailoring all the time - I think because it tangles less and it doesn't leave impressions with pressing. I like hand stitching with it because it runs through fabric so smoothly. Kenneth King says in Cool Couture that you can substitute rayon embroidery thread, which is easier to find in lots of colors. Hope this helps!

      Heather, that is indeed my be-flowered arm. :)

    9. Ooh! It's getting exciting! :) I just caught up to where Wednesday's post left off and am getting ready to do the taping part tonight. Hopefully I'll be able to work on the pad stitching over the weekend. I keep looking at what I've done so far and thinking "Wow, this is so cool!". So thank you for taking the time to document this process and teach me a new skill--I'm really getting hooked on tailoring!

      I do have one question for you: I decided to interface the back with the hair canvas entirely, since the gabardine is really benefiting from the body that the canvas give in the front. I know you're only going to be covering the half-canvas back, so I was wondering if you might briefly touch on how to handle the back hair canvas if one decides to interface the full back? (Should I do it just like the front pieces with the basting and such?)

      Anyway, thanks again for posting these video lessons! :)

      ♥ Casey | blog

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    11. Does anyone know if it's a bad idea to try piecing hair canvas? I don't have a large enough area left for my last front piece, but could probably piece it at the lapel roll line or something. I'm chagrined that I bought 25" hair canvas at a "discount" fabric warehouse when I could have bought 66" wide online for not even double the price.

    12. Gertie, I am surprised that the side front is done in hair canvas -- my tailoring books omit interfacing the side front even when it is a single front piece rather than a princess seam. Have you decided to do it this way because of your particular fabric? I do know that some people will fuse the whole front especially on a loosely woven fabric. I'm inquiring because I am considering skipping the canvas on my side fronts. I'm using a wool herringbone flannel. Thanks!

      PS Wow! Lot of work you are putting into this. thank you!

    13. Hey ejvc! My original thought was to do the front the traditional way, which is one piece that goes around the armhole but then the side is cut out. (Do your tailoring books show this? Not sure what your references are, but my tailoring book does this.) When I ran my plan by Sharon, she suggested that interfacing the entire front would help the skirt of this particular coat drape nicely. So it wasn't just for my particular fabric. If you decide you don't want to do the entire front, I would still make a separate interfacing piece that covers the front piece as well as the armhole. It's a good idea to have armsyce support in a tailored piece.

      Hope this helps! Yeah, it's been a lot of work, but fun too. :)

    14. Oops, forgot to answer the other questions!

      Casey, I'll definitely touch on that. but yeah, it's the same process as for the front -- basting the canvas to each piece with uneven stitches and then catch-stitching the seam allowances down to the canvas (I know how you love that part!).

      ChrissyJ, I think you can piece hair canvas. Just lap it and then zigzag it together, then cut off the excess along the lap.

    15. After you sew with your finger under the roll line near the roll line, do you keep the rest of it flat or continue with that finger under where you're sewing?

    16. Just saw Phoebe's question & want to clarify - mine's similar - I understand to keep the roll line folded over as I continue down the lapel, but as I stitch the rest of the lapel, it is flat, not rolled over my finger as when you start the padstitching, right?

    17. Great job with these tutorials, pictures and videos!

      I just wanted to mention, as your padding the lapels, stagger your stitches with each row, it's the symmetry that causes most of the puckering. Depending on the fabric, that puckering can show through the facing.


    18. Wow this is great! Thank you so much for posting this!
      I have a lazy question - If I was making a quicker jacket and did not want to pad stitch the collar, would taping the roll line give the roll a better effect that not doing anything, or would it not work without the pad stitching?
      I always feel kind of lost when I'm making a jacket but don't really want to hardcore tailor it (like if I was making a simple jersey blazer without even lining. (I hope this doesn't shock you)) but I can never get a good roll line.. is there a way to this without doing the WHOLE process?
      Though I do look forward to tailoring a coat soon, maybe it'll be ready by next winter if I start now. :)
      Thank you so much!


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

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