I’ve made progress with my tailored wool coat! It’s very exciting. Even though I haven’t been good about updating the blog, I have been reading up on tailoring techniques in the Tailoring book my sister gave me one Christmas AND making some progress on the coat itself. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
The under collar, stitched down the middle and ready for some hair canvas! Sorry for the slightly blurred shot; I was so excited that I finally started that I had to share with a friend who has been on the receiving end of all my coat updates lately.
The fabric – a lovely, lovely Italian herringbone wool I picked up during a Gorgeous Fabrics sale in winter 2011 – is impossible to mark so I’ve gone the “speed tailor’s tacks” route, as suggested in Tailoring. This basically means using multi-strand embroidery floss, which has the benefits of grabbing the fabric in a single stitch without falling out easily. You can also use different colors to represent different markings. I like that idea!
Here’s a shot of my progress in marking the roll line of the collar and lapels with the help of my dress form. (I like this shot because you can see Leonard from The Big Bang Theory on TV in the background.) I took a permanent marker to my muslin (one of three that I ended up making) to mark the roll line and then unpicked the pieces so I could transfer this line to my pattern pieces. Not as hard as I thought it might be, phew!
For the record, I ended up going with a size 10 at the bust and a size 12 at the waist and hips. One of the great things about this pattern is that it provides front pieces for A/B, C, and D cups, just so you know. I also added length to the main pieces so that the hem will fall below the knees (if you recall I decided to nix the ruffle, so in order to allow for walking ease I added some width to the hem).
My main goal with the longer length was to have a dressy coat I could wear with below-the-knee dresses and skirts, such as my October Issue Dress pictured in the above photo. I don’t know why, but it felt so great trying on the muslin and having it cover the dress! An evening out at Lincoln Center, here I come.
I like this photo because it looks like a potato with a smiley face and the next photo amuses me because it looks like an egg wearing a cape!
Anyway, the red line on the hair canvas (picked up at A Fashionable Stitch, by the way) marks the roll line. The blue lines are the seam allowances. The green triangles are for matching the under collar to the main coat later on in the process. Or to give Mr. Potato Head some eyes, whichever you prefer.
After I marked the pad stitching lines on the hair canvas I started… pad stitching. It took me a few tries to fully grasp what direction the lines should go, so every time I realized I messed up I had to use a different color so the correct lines stood out. And that’s how this blog post got its name! The under collar started looking quite colorful when all was said and done.
I must confess I goofed up my first attempt at pad stitching because I was following a photo in Tailoring, but I think the shorter pad stitches they show are meant for a jacket/thinner fabric and not a coat/thicker fabric. In any case, the fabric wasn’t shaping properly. This is my second successful attempt – not perfect, but, as my first go at it, I’m happy!
The best decision I made? Using this textured fabric. You can’t see the black silk thread at all on the other side, even when I didn’t do as great a job of hiding the stitches. Definitely an excellent fabric for a first tailoring project.
All the pieces of the main fabric have been cut out – it’s exciting I tell ya! I’m going to give bound buttonholes a try. I need four so I’ll be practicing my technique this weekend. A perfect activity for the snowstorm we’re supposed to get. Oy vey…