Hooray!

Happy I am that this is finally complete! The sleeve construction maybe shows better in this picture.If you squint at it you can just see the princess seams. Inside, there’s a sleeve head support, made from some scraps of lambswool and a light shoulder pad layered from scraps of  various woven wool cloth. The pattern for the shoulder pad was made by placing the front and back patterns together at the shoulder seam and drawing a curve from about 3 inches down the armscye on each side to a point on the shoulder about 3 inches in from the sleeve head. Then tracing off the armscye curve. The slightly crescent shape piece gets cut out several times, reducing the width on the curved edge on the layers, until there are enough pieces to get the thickness that seems right. The pieces were layered up over the shoulders of the dress form, so as to get a 3D shape for the pad, and hand tacked together. The sleeve head support for this strap sleeve was constructed slightly differently to the support you usually get in a set in sleeve; instead of a narrow roll of fabric at the top of the sleeve seam and a sleeve head support stitched in the sleeve head seam, I made the top strip the width of the strap and slightly longer than it, almost down to the level of the back and front balance marks, and cut a sleeve head support with a top shaped identically to the centre part of the sleeve head pattern, and the bottom edge boomerang shaped. I joined these  edge to edge with hand stitching, so as not to get a bulky seam ridge there.  It filled out the shape nicely, without making it rigid. My buttonholes were bound in the same black wool as the piping round the neck, centre front and sleeves. I generally mark buttonholes with masking tape, but this  wouldn’t stick to my wool interlining and Scotch tape barely stuck so reluctantly I ran two lines of hand tacking to mark and hold the interlining steady. With the facing on and the piping in place, its not so easy to tack through, picking up only the top two layers of fabric.  Here’s my tip for just these situations. Flexible polyethelyene cutting boards, sold for kitchen use to chop your veg save lots of time and your nerves any time you need to hand sew something to or through a top layer without either catching the underneath layer in your stitches or moving it out of the way. You can cut strips or pieces from them to slide between two layers (in this case between the garment and facing).  Its like having the work on a table, and you can stitch on your lap while watching tv without joining the work to your skirt, or cutting a hole in it when your attention wanders. They’re also just the right thickness to cut guides for pocket shapes, repeat appliqué shapes, patchwork pieces. I found mine in a local pound shop, but they’re pretty inexpensive on Amazon .

The lining is in a man made Duppion. Exactly what ease I’d allowed in my lining went from my head during the delays in construction. Another reason to have a notebook in the sewing room. Pinning it on the dress form, I decided there was too much and chopped some off the CF. Well, you’ve guessed it, not a drafting error as it turned out. After it was all bagged out,  does anyone actually like bagging out linings by the way, it pulled the front piping inwards on, of course, the buttonhole side. The coat looked great from the top down to about four inches above the hem, when it went its own sweet way. Ripping and cursing, the lining had to come out, and now it has a strip of black satin between the facing and lining on that side – trying to pretend its a design feature, as seen in classier jackets.

I think it looks ok, now I’ve got over the pain of separating a very firm duppion from a fraying loose weave bouclé, stitch by tiny stitch.

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About jay

I design and draft patterns
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