I got a little carried away with my knitting this week so my post on getting started on the Dùn Èideann got a little bit put to the back of my queue. I’ve recently become obsessed with knitting because any time I’m not sewing in a work related manner I’m struck with a lot of guilt, selfish sewing has taken such a back burner right now that I’m knitting myself clothes instead – it takes a little bit longer, but I feel less guilt!
Getting back to business, the last post on this coat dealt with the actual fit and the style, I’m now going to address the sewing level for the skills involved and what you need to think about for different fabrics.
I would class this coat as a beginner level coat; the assembly is very straight forward, it is faced instead of lined so you won’t tear your hair out over bagging out a lining and you can even avoid having to sew button holes by using coat and eye hooks for fastenings or even snap/magnetic fasteners. The coat is also not a fitted shape, so if you are a beginner you can have a bit of confidence in knowing that it doesn’t need to be tailored to your figure. Sewing skills for this coat are quite basic, adding your placket/collar/facings is probably as complicated as this pattern gets. You will need to do some hand sewing though, more on that at the end.
The coat can be made in a variety of different fabrics, mid weight wools and tweeds will
work best and will need next to no sewing adjustments on the sewers part. You should never be scared to sew with wool, it’s generally a really great stable fabric to sew with (in my own experience at least) and the toughest part is normally when it comes to pressing. If you don’t already, have a pressing cloth ready to help you when you come to press those seams then stop what you are doing and find one. It is very easy to burn or warp wool fibres with a hot iron so even using a scrap of cotton from your stash between your coat and the iron will really help you from ruining your fabric.
If you want to use a heavier fabric, such as a mohair, faux fur or other kind of fur pile you will need to be aware of several things before you start.
- You will probably need to cut all your pieces in the same direction to follow the direction that the ‘fur grows,’ so you may need to allow extra fabric for ‘growth’ or pattern matching.
- It will be much harder to press your seams for a clean line, if you can even press anything at all.
- You may need to pull ‘fur’ fibers out of the seams on the external shell as some will get trapped as you sew, do this carefully (I use a cocktail stick :/) and it can help with cleaning up the seam lines that you were unable to press.
- Along the hem, you will probably need to cut your dart legs open and trim their bulk before adding your facings.
- It will be much harder to put in buttonholes on a fabric like this, coat hook and eye fasteners would be highly recommended here.
Light weight fabrics can be used for this coat but a roll collar version would be very unstable, even with some interfacing you may not going to like how it is going to sit, either open or closed (though you may get a really nice delicate cowl if you are lucky).
Open collar versions will work best in light weight fabrics and will leave you with more of a duster style coat. If you really want to emphasise that hemline in a lighter weight fabric then add some interfacing to the shell hem and not the facing pieces; try to make sure what you interface will not be visible above those hem facings.
The finishing touches of this coat are sewn by hand, tedious I know but it is worth it. You will need to use a slip stitch or blind hem stitch to finish your hem facing attachment, this is because you don’t want a big machine line running horizontally all along those beautiful darts! It doesn’t take that long to do, so if you’re not sure how to do these stitches practice on some of your coat scraps so you can get a feel for how deep you need to go into the fibres of the fabric to make your stitches stick; you may not need to go all the way through to the front of your coat if the fibres are thick enough. Some machines have a blind hem stitch and foot attachment, though I’ve not used it on this coat. For me that hand finish was actually quite satisfying.