Tag Archives: design

Coat Making Tutorial – part 4 coat linings

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A Classic Pea Coat

Lining and Interior Finish

I selected a polyester fabric with a satin finish for my lining.   I actually prefer rayon linings especially when working with natural fibers, but I wasn’t able to find  the color I needed to complement the face fabric, so I opted for a synthetic.  In this tutorial, I will go over how to put in a lining with emphasis on  finishing details.

Step 1.  Once the lining is assembled, top stitch the seam line of the sleeve sewing on the sleeve piece (not the body of the lining) catching the seam allowance underneath.

Step 2.  With stitching completed,  turn to the inside and trim away the excess seam allowance.

Step 3.  On right side of fabric, pinch press seam and roll stitched line into sleeve.

Step 4.  Press entire seam to encourage the sleeve to roll towards the sleeve edge to create a smooth interior finish.  This helps the lining “ride” over the interior seam of the coat sleeve.

This shows the nice clean line you will get once it has been pressed.

Step 5.  Double breasted garments often include interior buttonholes on the inside facing to hold the front of coat in place.  Sew in buttonholes before attaching lining (it’s a lot easier before than after).  I use my machine for  buttonholes, because they will not be seen when wearing.Careful measuring for proper alignment is very important in this step.  

Step 6.  Attach back facing to collar at the neckline edge using hand stitching.

Step 7.  Insert shoulder pads and hand stitch into position.

Step 8.  Press 5/8 inch seam allowance under on sleeve edges and at the bottom of the lining before attaching it to the coat.

Step 9.  Pin lining to interior front and neck facings and stitch into position.

Step 10.  Use a machine basting stitch to sew in the lining in.  A long stitch is easier to remove for alterations or lining replacement. Leave an opening near the bottom of the front facing as shown below.

Step 11.  Turn lining to right side out and lightly press edges down, being careful not to over press.  Stitch lining at hem edge first and press, Then slip stitch down on both front facings as shown below.

Step 12.  Sew interior buttons into position using a flat button utility button.

Step 11.  Sew fashion buttons on front of coat paying careful attention to alignment.

Step 12.  Take to dry cleaners for a final press.  A professional press really adds to the look of the garment by smoothing out all construction wrinkles.  It is a must for any tailored garment.

So, it’s off to the cleaners.  Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Coat Making Tutorial – part 2 Bound Buttonholes

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Tales from the Bound Buttonhole

The first bound buttonhole I ever attempted was in a Clothing and Textiles class my freshman year in college.  It was, as they say, an exercise in futility, as my 18-year-old brain was simply not geared for the rigors of buttonhole science .   That early experience caused me to avoid the dreaded things for years to come; I was convinced I wasn’t up to the job.   Not so, as I shall now show you.

A great lesson I learned from my college experience is that there are alternative methods to getting a desired result.  If one method doesn’t work for you, try another until you find one that does.  The method I will demonstrate here works for me and I hope it will give those of you who may like to learn the art of creating a beautiful couture buttonhole some tips for success.

1.  I begin the process by carefully marking the button layout.  Always make your buttonhole 1/8 inch larger than your button measurement. Some button styles require more ease, but 1/8 is adequate for most buttons.

2.   Machine (or hand) baste over buttonhole width so that placement line shows through to front side of fabric.  Cut a 2″ x 2″ bias square for each buttonhole.  The bias creates the piping in the buttonhole and can be in a contrasting fabric if desired.

3.   Steam and stretch bias strips in both directions to eliminate the “give” in the fabric.

4.  Place bias strips on the right side of the garment over the basting lines and pin in place.  Be sure to have right side of garment and bias strips facing each other.

5.  On the wrong side, machine baste on the buttonhole line as originally marked in step 1.  Once basted, shorten stitch and sew 1/8 inch on either side of basting line being very careful to keep both lines even at buttonhole end.  Good markings really help with accuracy in this step.  Once stitched, remove basting thread on bias strip and cut through the center of strip.

6.  On wrong side, cut down center line, carefully snip to left and right corner creating a triangle at both ends.


7.  Turn the bias strip through the hole to create piping edges.

8.  Hand stitch piping into place being sure to catch inside edges within the piping.  Conceal stitches in the “ditch” of the seam line.

9.  Once piping has been stitched into position, baste the piped edged together to secure for next step.

10.  When piping is secured, turn to inside and machine stitch the triangles created in step 6 at each end with a small stitch.  This is an important step both for creating a nice clean edge on the end of the buttonhole and also for giving strength and durability.

When triagles on both ends are stitched, remove basting stitches on piped edges.  Trim excess from bias strip and lightly tack down.

trim and tack

Voila!  There you have it… a bound buttonhole.

Here are the four that I made for my coat.  As you can see, each one has its own personality, and that’s the beauty of a handmade garment.

Next time I will show you how to complete an interior finish for your buttonhole.  Until then, happy sewing!

Coat Making Tutorial – part 1

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Yes Virginia, making a coat is really simple!

I sat on my patio this afternoon completing the handwork on four bound button holes that I am putting in on a wool coat.  I finally had to stop, because it was so hot I was melting all over my melton.  (That’s a sewing joke for those of you who didn’t quite catch it).  🙂
Making a tailored coat has so many steps that I couldn’t possibly keep your interest showing all of them, so I have picked out a couple of areas to focus on and will do so over the next couple of entries.

I’ve had this Donna Karan pattern for a long time and really like it.  It’s a classic pea coat... you know, one of those things that’s always “in” even when it’s not.   I’ve always wanted to make it, but never quite got around to it until now.


My next step was a visit to the fabric inventory I have in my sewing room; I’ve vowed to make a sincere effort to try to use up some of my on-hand stock, before buying any more… as painful as that is.   Much to my delight,  I found a luscious vermillion coating measuring 1 3/4 yards.  The pattern required 2 yards and I knew it would be a squeeze, but figuring in the old addage,  If there’s a will, there’s a way, I proceeded.

When making tailored garments, I like to interface the entire body when possible.  I like soft and supple interfacing that will give body without being rigid.  I prefer iron to sew-in types, but it wholly depends on the fashion fabric you are working with.

I had made some adjustments to the waist and hip area and wanted to be sure that it was going to be roomy enough before moving to the next stage.  The fit turned out to be fine, which was a relief.  A too tight jacket is not a good thing!

I had to make a quick trip to the fabric store to find lining, but it was well worth it, because I found the exact color match and perfect top stitching thread.

I needed the lining to complete the pockets which turned out quite nicely.  It’s a nice heavy lining and will had good warmth as well as add body to the finished coat.

The pocket is soft and snug and will be very nice on frosty mornings.

The sleeves are a two piece design with a center seamline and decorative stitching along the sleeve cap.  They went in without much trouble.

And then it was on to creating and applying the collar.  All the stitching you see is on the under collar and give support to the collar stand.

Once the under collar is sewn on, trim away the excess seam edges,

and hand-stitch the edges to flatten and secure in place.  This same technique is applied to the facing and upper collar at a later stage.

Next time I will show you how I made my bound buttonholes.  Until then…. happy sewing!

Tribeca Jacket

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Tribeca Jacket Revisited

Linen Tribeca jacket

I made my first Tribeca jacket from the Sewing Workshop Collection (they call it a shirt) several years ago and was never quite satisfied with the fit.  I loved the fabric and was happy with my technical work, but I think possibly because I generally prefer more structured clothing that I always felt a little swamped or sloppy in it.  The interesting thing was that whenever I wore it, without fail,  I received compliments on it from friends and strangers alike.  It got so much positive feedback that I finally decided, what the hey,  maybe I should accept what the universe was telling me and decide to like it after all.

For reasons, which are now lost to me, I decided to line my first effort with a gold and black fabric; it was designed to be unlined but creating a lining was not difficult only more time-consuming to complete.  I finished the interior seams by turning under the raw edges and stitching down. The lining gave the jacket enough warmth for fall and winter wearing.

I applied a contrasting duppioni silk bias trim by hand (a true test of patience, for sure).   The patches for buttonholes were also completed in this same gorgeous golden-colored silk.

Tribeca Revisited

I have a piece of fabulous linen that I’ve been aging for quite some time.  I  love the rich color and its unusual sheen.  I have considered it for various patterns on many occasions over the years, but have always been reluctant to cut into it.  This week I decided it was time.  Here is the happy result.

The linen is unlined and finished with French seams.  The pieces went together very quick and easily.  The sleeves are set in with a French seam finish which is an unusual but very tidy application.  The inside looks as great as the outside.   I decided to leave the patches and buttons off (at least for now)  and just let it drape open.  I love the result and will definitely make this again.

Tribeca Jacket front view

Sewing Decorator Pillows

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I saw a great blog entry by Bleak Midwinter on a table runner and pillows.  It inspired me to make more pillows, but sadly I have too many pillows already.   Here are a few that I particularly like.  I have a peculiar habit of giving them each names, like they are children.  As you can see, I love braided tassels and exquisite trims.  These are just a few of my favorites.  Enjoy!

Toiles des Empire