Thursday, October 4, 2012

Coat Sew-Along: Marking and Interfacing

Once your fabric is all cut out, it's time to think about marking and interfacing.


First, let's talk notching and marking. Note: wait to mark the facings (pieces 8 and 11) until after you have interfaced them. The interfacing usually covers up your marks so you just have to do it again anyway! Just re-attach the pattern tissue after interfacing and do your marking then.

Go piece by piece. Start by notching. My favorite way to notch is to simply snip into the point of the notch, leaving a little clip that will help me match up pieces.

I also like to snip into the legs of my darts to help me match up the dart lines as I'm sewing. 

Next, look for any marks you'll need to transfer. These will include: darts, buttonholes, small circles, large circles, and stitching lines (see below). The easiest way to transfer marks is with dressmaker's carbon paper and a tracing wheel.

I like to X through my circles so I can see the precise center of the circle (plus it's easier to X with a tracing wheel rather than try to make a circle). An alternative is to use the end of a knitting needle or chopstick to make a circle.

There are a couple marks on this pattern that are not-so-straightforward. They're both at the inner corner of the collar on the Bodice Front (piece #1) and the Upper Collar and Front Facing (piece #8). There is a reinforcement point here (check out #2 in the directions).

Make sure that you mark the small circle at the upper end of the dart, on the right dart leg (as you're looking at it). It's called out with a red arrow in the picture below. This is the point you reinforce in step #2 of the directions.

There is also a stitching line that's pretty hard to decipher. It leads to the small circle in the pic above. See the purple highlighting below.

Make sure to mark these points on piece #8 as well.

Interfacing the Facings

You will need to cut out fusible interfacing using pattern pieces #8 and #11. Fuse your interfacing to the fabric pieces, using a press cloth to avoid getting any glue on your iron. Make sure that the interfacing is completely adhered.

Interfacing the Undercollar (Optional)

This next step is completely optional; it's a fusible tailoring technique for giving more shape to the undercollar. This step will help the collar stand up a bit better around your neck, and it will give the roll line of the lapel more definition.

Here's the way I did this. Get piece #1, the Bodice Front. The undercollar is cut in one with the Bodice Front, rather than being a separate piece. The dart under the collar is there to help the collar roll out nicely. We're going to put another layer of fusible interfacing in the undercollar area, up to the roll line.

First, make a line from the edge of the undercollar dart to 5/8" in from the edge at the waistline (to account for the seam allowance). Check out the photo below. The purple arrow is your starting point and the red arrow is your ending point. This is your roll line.

Grab a piece of tracing paper and trace around the roll line and the rest of the undercollar.

Make a grainline that is parallel with the roll line (this gives stability to the fold of the roll line).

Label your pattern piece.

Cut out along your tracing line.

Use this pattern piece to cut out interfacing (on a double layer so you get two pieces). Fuse the interfacing to the undercollar area of piece #1, the Bodice Front.

Voila! Nice and stabilized. We'll do some basting and steaming to accentuate the roll line later in the sewing process as well.

Tomorrow we'll get to the actual sewing!


  1. oh thank goodness! i feel so much better after reading your last two posts. i'm a very new sewist and even with the help of the lovely people in the flickr group i wasnt quite getting a lot of these thigns. i mean, i couldnt formulate questions because i didint understand things clearly enough to evenget to that point if you know what i mean lol!
    things are much clearer now. i'm less afraid to cut into my fabric now and feel much more confident about how i mark things. phew! and also, that pesky dart...i actually did it right on my muslin! yeah! (well other than the fact that i had trouble sewin gthat worner to the back and there's a little hole)
    thanks for these last two informative posts.

  2. Oh, you are such a good teacher...


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