20 November 2012

Sewing Lady Grey

Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments.  I am very happy with my coat and will definitely wear it until it turns arctic.  The coat doesn't have enough built-in warmth to last through a Michigan winter, but it's perfect for transitional fall-to-winter weather.

Fabric & Notions:
  • about 3.5 yards of wool coating (90% wool, 10% nylon)
  • about 2 yards of flannel-backed satin lining (52% acetate, 48% cotton) from Vogue Fabrics
  • light-weight hair canvas from Steinlauf & Stoller
  • fusible interfacing for the facings, collar, and hems
  • small piece of pre-washed muslin for back stay
  • walking foot to ensure even fabric feed
  • silk thread for all hand sewing
  • 90/14 universal needle
  • twill tape to mark lapel roll line
  • 2 11" by 2" strips of bias fleece for sleeve heads
  • serger & thread
  • shoulder pads

Curvy girls, Colette Patterns is your friend!  The pattern drafts are for curvier figures and full busts.  While this is only my second pattern made from this company, a scan of the reviews for other patterns shows that her patterns work on curves.  I have yet to see one of her patterns not flatter someone. 

It is rare that I can sew straight from the envelope; almost everything needs an adjustment.  I started with a straight size 14 and made a muslin out of medium-weight upholstery fabric.  The muslin showed the need for a couple of minor adjustments.

The adjustments only had to due with length.  The front was too long within and below the lapel.  The upper back was a bit too long and I needed a swayback adjustment.  Aside from that, everything else looked okay to me.  No FBA required!

Construction Details:

Tailoring the Coat

If you want to make the coat strictly following the Colette Pattern instructions, then the construction is very straightforward.  I opted to tailor the coat as part of Gertie's Lady Grey Sew Along and as Faye stated, sewing this coat was truly a labor of love.  There is a great deal of hand-sewing with stitches and techniques that were new to me.  Tailoring the coat included hand-basting hair canvas to the front and side front; taping the lapel roll line; pad-stitching the lapel and under collar; interfacing the hems, facings, and undersleeve, inserting sleeve heads; sewing a back stay; and catch-stitching the seam allowances to keep them flat.  This is a lot of work, but well worth the effort. 

The information contained in Gertie's series of blog posts is invaluable and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a properly tailored coat. The techniques presented in the sew along can be easily adapted to other patterns.  I intend to use them to sew a full-length wool coat complete with lining, interlining, and all the other fixins to keep me nice and toasty through the bitterly cold northern winters. 

Sewing the Coat

All of the raw edges were serged, sewn together on my machine, and pressed open.  I used my clapper to make the seams nice and flat and my tailors ham to press along the front and back princess seams.  I also used a walking foot to ensure even feed of both the fabric and lining.

Pocket Bags

The pocket bags are a bit long and tend to hang below the hem. I hand-stitched the bags to the nearest seam allowance. One pocket still tends to dip below the hem, so I will probably just make it smaller by serging off some of the length. My hands are small so I don't think I'll miss the extra room. I knew from following Gertie's sew along that the pockets were low. I thought about moving the pockets up during construction, but they seemed to be too high for me. If you sew this coat, keep this in mind and perhaps give yourself an extra inch or two in length before cutting out your fabric or devise some other plan to handle the pockets.
Belt Loops

Initially, I sewed the belt loops onto the back of the coat. I moved them to the side because I didn't like how the loops stuck out at the back. The loops still "bubble out" at the side, but it's less noticeable. If I make this again, I will shorten the loops a bit and maybe add some interfacing for stability.
Shoulder pads

I couldn't decide if I wanted to include shoulder pads or not. I have meaty shoulders already and wasn't sure if the extra fluff would be a good thing - especially since this is to be worn over other clothes. Eventually, I settled on a thin shoulder pad (about 0.5-inches thick) and think it looks okay. I compared this shoulder pad to that of a RTW pea coat that I own and find the thinner pad looks better.

Coat love is in effect!  I love the style and fit of this coat.  It's moderately warm for the weather we're having an a great addition to any wardrobe.  Many thanks again for all of your comments.  =)

Until next time, be well!


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