Sunday, 22 January 2012

Duster Completion

To redo the side seams and turn the seam under the lining, where it would be hidden, first I had to take out the old seam. This is annoying enough with just a regular straight seam, but I had serged these ones. So I threw on a movie (or two) and went to work removing tons of thread. Three hours later, once it was all out, I matched up the outside layer, basted and serged it closed again. As you can see from this picture I also had to remove some of the seam on under-arm of the sleeve.

With the lining no longer so constricted, I was able to get the sewing machine up inside to sew the front facing on to the lining so it’s no longer loose. It looks much better and appeases my need for perfection.

I forgot to take pictures of the next part, but I basically turned the coat inside out to close the side-seams on the lining. Basting was also required here to ensure my idea would work, and properly line up the material. It did! I am so smart!

Once that was all closed up, I had the battle of trying to re-close the under arm. This took several tires (and a third movie) but I finally got it.

To make the hem much easier, I serged the bottom closed, rolled it up and put it through the sewing machine. I love my serger.

Finally, it was time for the buttons. My friend’s Dad had picked up some buttons on his trip to Wyoming and I was not expecting what was in the bag. They are beautiful buttons, but I wouldn’t have thought gold & silver with a coat of arms was authentic old-west. First, marking the button-holes and button placement:

Then sewing and cutting the buttons holes and sewing on the buttons:

Nine buttons on the front of the coat and four more on the back. I don’t believe the back ones are ever intended to be actually buttoned, but they do look good.

The completed coat: This I am happy with.

Total time: 16 hours (actually closer to 23, but I’m not counting the time to fix mistakes and redoing things to make myself happy). Total cost: $120 + materials.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Duster Part 2

I’m sure you are wondering why the colour seems to be changing on this project. The lighting in my sewing room is a couple of fluorescent tubes, so it does funny things to the colour depending on my angle with the camera. The material is a blue-grey colour, so the lights really mess up what the camera sees.

In the last few days, I’ve managed to come pretty close to finishing, but there are a few things that as a perfectionist, I don’t like.

First thing after the last post was completing the hems on the sleeves:

Next was the cape: I used the serger again to help me with the finishing.
This is really like! Saves so much time and frustration!

Pinning the cape: I then basted it on for ease of sewing.

Prepping the collar:

Pinning the collar on: the pins are inside the layers.

Prepping the front facing: These had to be adjusted to match up with the instructions.

Attaching the facing:

Prepping to sew on the collar: This is supposed to be done all in one step, but with this much material, it’s far too easy to make mistakes that way.

Collar sewn on: One layer is left out of the seam so you can turn it inside and hide the seam.

Like so:

The coat so far:

What I have left to do is finish hand-stitching the front facing to the lining, hem the coat and sew on the buttons. What I want to change is the side seams. I really don’t like that they are showing. Seems to defeat the purpose of having lining; just have to figure out how to do it…

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


Last summer, a friend asked if I could make a new coat for her Dad. He does Wild West re-enactments and they wanted something authentic. She ordered the pattern online and they picked up the material. It sat in my sewing room in a bag for months. Yes I’ve had other projects that had time-sensitive deadlines, but I’m also really bad for procrastinating. But I’m working on it now!

Here’s an interesting note about the difference between the metric and imperial systems: the pattern is in imperial (yards) and the local fabric stores only sell by the meter. Whoever cut the material for my friend and her dad didn’t know how to convert. A yard is 36 inches or about 92 centimeters. I’m guessing the person at the fabric store must have thought a yard was more than a meter. My friend told me the blue they wanted was short so they got some extra of something close. When I pulled it all out, the blue they wanted (in the middle of the stack) had almost 10 meters! That’s 1.5 times what the pattern called for! And even more of the alternate material! I’ll be making vests or something with the left over.

I do like the old-fashioned feel of this pattern, though some of the instructions are really confusing. Sometimes you just have to trust the instructions and go with it.

Adding the pocket flaps to the front of the coat:

Cutting the opening:

Pinning the flap:

Pinning the back of the pocket over the flap:

Back of pocket & flap sewn on; pinning the front:

Front turned in, reinforcing around the pocket opening:

Pocket from the inside:

Sewn closed and finished: 

Completed pockets:

The first use of my serger! Serged the center back seam:

Pinning to prep for ironing the back flap:

Preparing the “gusset”: This goes inside the back flap.

Serged the shoulder seams:

The lining was done the same way to this point. The pattern didn’t include a lining so it took some creativity to figure out how to get it into the jacket.

Pinning the lining to the jacket at the shoulder where the sleeve will attach, for basting. There is no lining in the sleeve so it had to go on now.

Pinning the neck line for basting:

Once everything was basted together, the challenge was getting the flaps to work together. To do this, I cut off the flaps on the lining and folded the outside over, the way it was meant to be.

With the heavy-duty thread I am using for this, the good-looking side of the sewing line is the top, so to get this on the outside, I flipped the coat over, repined and used my tailor’s pencil to mark where the edge of the flap was on the inside.

The finished seam:

Now to add the gusset:
Again, I wanted the nice looking seam on the outside. This one was much easier to do.

Sewn on and tucked in: 

Pulled out:

Next step: sewing on the sleeves. Have I mentioned I don’t like doing this? Well this was even harder using this heavy material. It really didn’t want to match up, but after much cursing at it and many stab wounds to myself, I managed it. It’s the small victories.

Pinning the under arm and side seams. This one didn’t want to cooperate either!

Here is the coat as it hangs now.
I’ll be working on it more today so I can post more updates on Thursday!

So far this project is at nine hours including all the cutting.