Friday, November 9, 2012

Coat Sew-Along: Hemming and Finishing!

Hurrah! We're there! The last steps of Butterick 5824.

Let's get this thing hemmed. First, you're going to do a line of basting stitches 1/4" from the bottom edge of the coat. I put a heavy duty thread in my bobbin since my fabric is kind of thick--it helps with pulling up the basting threads (so they don't snap and break). Because this hem is so flared, we need to gather up the raw edge to reduce the extra ease in the hem allowance. (Sorry about the weird  colors in the photos; I shot them in the middle of the night!)

So when you turn up your 1-1/2" hem allowance, you'll have some of the bias strip of fusible interfacing sticking out at the top.

Next, go section by section on the skirt, pulling up the bobbin thread and pinning the hem allowance in place. (Measure the hem allowance as you go, of course.) I used a t-pin to pull up a loop in the center of each skirt section, and then gathered up the hem allowance enough that it will sit flat.

After the whole hem is pinned, you'll use a lot of steam to set those gathers and shrink them up a bit.

I would normally do this hem by hand, but I found I had a perfect storm of circumstances in which I could use a blind machine hem: a thick fabric with enough texture that it won't show the stitches.

So I got out my blind hemmer foot and did it that way!

You have to flip back the body of the coat, and use the blade on the foot to make sure you are catching just a teensy bit of the coat fabric. Definitely go to your machine's manual for complete instructions if you want to do it this way.

It ends up looking like this. (Yay, we're back to daylight pictures!)

Nifty, right? It's undetectable from the outside.

If your fabric is thin (or you just prefer to hand stitch), get cozy on the sofa and hem that baby up with a slip stitch or catch stitch.

Once you're all hemmed, it's time for step 36, where you'll catch stitch the edge of the facing down to the hem. First, note that this is a raw edge. If your fabric unravels, you can finish it with a little strip of seam binding or bias tape first.

Step 37! That little bit of the bottom edge of the front lining that's not attached yet? Slip stitch it to the facing.

Step 38! French tack your lining hem to the coat hem at the side seams.

To do this, use a hand needle and a long strand of strong thread. Take a little stitch from the top of the coat hem, and then a little stitch from the bottom of the lining hem, leaving 1" of slack between the stitches. Repeat these two stitches so you have several strands of thread between the two layers of fabric. Then cover those stitches with blanket stitches. Here is a diagram from the Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing that will help!

If you're making machine buttonholes, do them now.

Sew your buttons on so that they correspond to your buttonholes.

Lastly, give your coat a final press and then remove any basting stitches. Don't forget the basting in the center back pleat of the bodice lining!

Whew! The coat is done. Now it's time to take pictures!


  1. Wow I can't wait to see your coat!! By the way I am on my third garment from your book. I am having a great time drafting collars and tulip sleeves. Who what of thought I would love pattern making.thanks for helping and sharing sewing knowledge.

  2. I love your work!!! I learn so much tips with your blog... I put your Craftsy class on my Christmas wish-list. Thank you ;)
    Bisous, Sparkle

  3. Hi Gertie, If you read this- I began to learn to sew in 2010 and I started following you back then and still check in weekly. Your tips, explanations etc have been invaluable- and a life saver to a now lifelong, peaceful, relaxing, life changing & ever developing talent/hobby - seriously it is ;) :) love it! Thank you!!!!


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

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