Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Coat progress and a question

It was a blustery day here,  perfect to stay inside and sew.  OK - we don't have blizzards or below zero temperatures - but for California it was downright chilly!  My coat is coming along better than expected.  After my last post I played around with my muslin to find the collar roll line, even though I said I was going to skip it.  But this wool is so perfect for steam shaping, so persistence has paid off.    

Coat side pocket extensions
Before I get to the collar - I have a quibble with the pattern companies on pockets.  On many of the patterns for coats, and dresses too, the pocket is sewn right on the side seam allowance, at about 1/4" from the cutting line.  Then when the side seam is pressed the pocket seam and fabric is really only 3/8" or so distant from the side seam.  I don't like it when I can see the pocket lining, when the wearer moves or sits down.  The best hidden pocket should disappear in to the seam, wherever it is.  I realize that the pocket bag on the back can be of self fabric, but even then that seam could show. This oversight by the pattern designer can be remedied by adding an addition to the side seam at the location of the pocket, and then sewing the pocket pieces on that.  Thus the pocket is tucked about 1" or more away from the seam and should stay hidden.  

While I like multi-size patterns a lot, I think the pattern companies fall back on the excuse of simplifying things like this to eliminate features that you find on higher quality ready to wear or many vintage patterns.  One more reason to look closely at vintage designs, there is a wealth of information in those older patterns and books.

Here is my coat thus far, with under collar sewn on.  Lots more to do before I attach the upper collar and lapel, mostly trim that seam and catchstitch it above and below that seam.  The interfacing used is Pro-Tailor Deluxe Fusible from Fashion Sewing Supply.  

Coat lapel with roll line

Here is a look at the under collar.  Once I figured out on the muslin where the collar roll line was, I transfered that marking back to the pattern piece.  Then I cut a 2nd layer of interfacing on the straight grain of the interfacing (as opposed to the original layer of interfacing which is on the bias just like the undercollar.  After that I folded the collar at the roll line and placed it around a pressing ham, and steamed it, then left it overnight.  In the morning it was as seen above, with a nice soft roll that will stay, and support the upper collar. 

Coat collar inside with roll line

My question for the day is the following:  Velvet upper collar ?  or continue with same fabric, black wool?   This is just a test look,  black velvet draped over left side and wool on the right.
Lapel test with velvet collarThe velvet looks a bit odd because of the flash.  I was sure I wanted a velvet collar, to make it a bit dressy and I don't like itchy wool on the back of my neck.  It could look like some weird Victorian gentleman's coat.  Which is a nice look but not what I was going for.  I have to see it in the daylight tomorrow but I am almost sure which way to go.

How do you solve the itchy collar dilemma?   Or do you avoid wool entirely?  Let me know what you think.   

Next post, adding darts on the back and my adjustment to the pattern's lining design.

Happy Holiday Sewing,    Beth


  1. Well as you can imagine, I don't often sew with wool. But if I were in a colder climate I sure would. I love the look and warmth of it. I think you should stick to the wool collar and wear a beautiful silk scarf or one of those infinity scarfs to keep your neck from itching!

  2. Beautiful tailoring. I like the velvet collar. It looks elegant and solves your itchy collar dilema.

  3. I think a silk scarf is your answer. I agree with you on the velvet collar and looking like a gentlemen's coat. We don't get to wear wool much in Georgia but I love sewing with it. I love the way you did the undercollar roll with interfacing. I have just started watching your blog and have picked up great tips I can use. The pocket instruction is one of the best I have run across. Thanks for sharing

  4. I sew wool jackets all the time. But I don't recall having any trouble with itchy wool against my neck either because I have on blouses or scarves and/or the collar is not right up on the back of my neck. My neck leans forward slightly. I like the look of the velvet collar, but I think it is more formal than the wool collar option. When you say you were trying to find the roll line, was that so that you could add a separate collar stand? It looks like you cut the back collar pattern piece to create a seam aligned with the roll line, but did not do any additional shaping of the collar stand. Just curious because the last two Burda jacket patterns I have sewn had notched collars with collar stands and I am trying to understand how the shape of the collar stand affects the roll of the collar.

  5. I do find the wool a little itchy at the neckline, and yes a soft scarf or a higher back neckline on the top underneath work well. If you won't wear a scarf or roll neck type sweater then you probably do want an alternate fabric for your collar. Perhaps covering the buttons in velvet as well would make it a design approach?

  6. I have nothing new to add....except a vote for wool and then a supply of wonderful scarves for the itch factor. And I so agree about the annoying pocket details left out of patterns today....which, of course, I remember AFTER I've cut out the pattern, grrr. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. gorgeous! I just found your blog and I look forward to reading more. I like silk scarves. Even the finest quality wool itches me, so I wear silk scarves. Perfect combination :)