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.
The wind is howling and the rain is pouring, but the power is still on--and so's my sewing machine! Let's move on to step 32 while we can; I'm going to show you a few things you can do on this step and the next to get your coat to look really professional.
Thank goodness for these illustrations, because the coat is really too big to take good pictures of at this point!
Start by pinning the lining/facing unit to the coat (right sides together) at seamline matchpoints. It's a good idea to start at center back and then work your way out on each side of the coat.
Make sure you also match the waistline seams.
You may wish to mark those stitching lines at the bottom of the skirt facing. You'll stitch across the hem with a 1.5" seam allowance, and then pivot at your usual 5/8" seam allowance on the side of the facing. Here's my stitching marks, with the hem at the top.
Once you're all pinned and marked, it's time to stitch this baby! Start at one bottom edge, and go all the way around to the other.
After stitching, we need to do some serious notching, grading, and trimming.
First, the notching. You need to make notches on any seamline that curves outward, like our shawl collar. About every 1/2", make a slim notch.
Next, we'll trim and grade the seam allowances. Grading means trimming one seam allowance shorter than the other to reduce bulk. The longer seam allowance should always be the one closest to the outside of the coat (so it pads the shorter seam allowance underneath it, to prevent a ridge showing through).
Anytime you have a roll line (a collar that rolls outward at some point) the shorter seam allowance switches sides at the roll line, because the collar flips out and the facing side is then showing.
I've made you a handy diagram to show you how it works on this pattern (click to enlarge).
The waistline seam is the roll line on this design, so that's where the turning point is. Below the waistline point, the facing seam allowance is shorter. Above the waistline seam, the facing seam allowance is longer.
Here's what my graded seam allowances look like. Trim the shorter one to about 1/4", and the longer one to about 3/8".
At the bottom of the skirt facings, you'l cut away the excess.
Once everything is notched and graded and trimmed, I recommend pressing that whole big seam open. This helps get a crisp seamline. I used a point presser under my seam to help press it, and then switched to a tailor's ham underneath the curvy collar. Here's the bottom of the skirt facing, supported by a point presser.
After pressing, flip the coat right side out, and stick the sleeve linings down into the sleeves.
At this point, it's a great idea to baste the whole opening edge and collar of the coat to get the seamlines to roll to the underside. I used diagonal basting around my edges, using my thumb and index finger to roll the seamline to the underside of the coat/collar. I used silk thread for this purpose, since it doesn't less prone to leave indentations when steamed.
Here's a close-up of the basted side of the shawl collar. See how the edge is nice and neat?
On the side I haven't basted yet, the facing is trying to peek out from under the seamline. Naughty!
This basting will go all the way around that huge seam we sewed--from the bottom one skirt facing, all the way around the collar, and down to the bottom of the other skirt facing. (Remember that below the waistline point, the facing side will get rolled to the underside. Above the waistline point, the coat side will be rolled to the underside.)
After you're completely basted, give the whole thing a good steam and then leave to dry overnight.
If you did bound buttonholes, the next step is to make windows in the facings for them. (Do this before you tack the lining in place in step 33.) I'll write about my process of doing this in the next post!
Does this all make sense? How are you doing, sew-alongers?