Thursday, October 27, 2011

Coat Notes

   Since I plan to sew some more coats using the same Burda 8292 pattern, I thought it would do me (and hopefully any sewing novice) good to take note of some tips and tricks to make the future process seamless (no pun intended).

1) Pretreat fabrics.
Wool Coating Fabric

Flannel-backed sating lining (Kasha)

I love shopping for fabrics. I hate pretreating them. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. But there is no getting around this initial step. There are so many helpful info online on how to pretreat fabrics. I chose to preshrink my wool fabric in the dryer instead of steaming it on the ironing board or bringing it to the dry cleaners. I threw it in with two damp bath towels and set the dryer to medium heat for 30 minutes. I did the same thing with the satin lining.

2) Interfacing

Pro-Weft Fusible Interfacing

   To be honest, I have never thought about preshrinking interfacing. I've been lucky so far. None of the interfaced yokes of my past skirt projects did not seem to pucker after washing. But I decided to do it differently here. I was committed to prewashing my interfacing until I learned about Fashion Sewing Supply. The owner has great tutorials on her website and she sells professional grade interfacing that don't require any pretreatment at all. So I was sold!

3) Tools

   Unlike Ina Garten who does not recommend buying kitchen tools that don't multitask, I like gadgets, sewing gadgets that is. As long as they will help make my sewing look more professional, I don't mind investing.

Walking Foot

   This foot is probably one of the more versatile ones in my sewing closet. I originally bought this for my quilting projects but I find myself reaching for this more often than not while sewing apparels. It makes sewing slippery fabrics like silk less frustrating. Same with wool. My fabric was quite thick and using this walking foot ensured an even feeding.

Buttonhole foot

   I was dreading the part where I had to start sewing buttonholes on the coat. The fabric frayed easily and I knew there was no room for ripping any stitches at this point. I knew I would end up with a mess and I was sure my coat would end up in the bin of failed or never-finished projects. I considered doing bound buttonholes but I've never done it before and after reading tutorials on it, I thought my fabric was not suitable. But to my pleasant surprise, all the buttonhole stitches turned out perfect!

Buttonhole Cutter and Snip Scissors

   Of course, no matter how perfect the buttonhole stitches are, if you don't have the right tools to cut, it will still end up in a mess. I have had this buttonhole cutter set for the longest time. And the super slim blade of the snipping scissors is perfect for making small precise cuts through the threads.

   It goes without saying to use the appropriate machine needle and thread. And of course, one can never sew without a good iron on the side.

4) Seams

   I did not bother to finish the seams of my coat or lining as they were going to be hidden inside the lining anyway. But next time, I will definitely finish the seams on the hem. When it was time to sew the hems together, the wool fabric started fraying and I am not sure with time how well the fabric will hold up to the pull of the lining.

   It is also important to press open the seams after stitching. I used a scrap piece of fabric for my pressing cloth and the wool responded to ironing with steam beautifully.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Think Pink

My first attempt at sewing a winter coat was inspired by the "Think Pink" contest of Pattern I've always pined after Natalie Portman's pink wool coat in "Black Swan." Hers was a double breasted peacoat but I prefer the classic cut so I used Burda pattern 8292. This is my first time using a Burda pattern and the only thing I don't like about it is the lack of detailed instructions and illustrations. But sewing a muslin eliminated the need for any seam ripping later on. That would have been disastrous as the fabric I used for the coat frayed easily.

I didn't want to splurge on my first attempt for a wool coat so I purchased a dusty wool coating fabric that went on sale at Fashion Fabrics Club.

This is no Italian wool coating. It is a bit rough and has a basketweave like finish.
 For the price I could not complain.

For the lining I used a flannel-backed satin. This was a pleasure to work with as the backing eliminated much of the slipping and sliding one encounters with regular satin linings.

 Kasha satin in mink purchased from Vogue

Since the smallest size on the Burda pattern was 36,
I had to do some adjusting on the pattern before
cutting the fabrics.


I used Pro-Weft fusible interfacing on the fronts, collars and hems. I was so glad this brand of interfacing did not require any pre-treatment at all!

Before I show the finished product, here are some more pics illustrating some of the steps in the sewing process. To me, the only confusing part was the collar section. I found out that by pressing the seams open after each step, it was easier to figure out how the undercollar and collars attach to each other.

Attaching the pocket and pocket facing.

Sewing the front seams.

Sewing the back side seams.

 Sewing the front self facings.

Sewing collars.

Basting undercollar to collar.

Finished collar.

Collar attachments to be sewn together.

Bottom hem.


Lining assembled.

Lining attached.

 Hemming the lining.

Buttonholes finished

Attaching the buttons.

I attached smaller buttons on the wrong side of the coat to anchor the outside buttons.

Overall I am happy with this project. But I think my daughter is happier as she ended up with the coat. Although I originally intended this challenge to come up with something I could wear, I decided to let her have it as it fitted her better.