February 24, 2011

Quick jacket update

I've started!!

And here's the proof. This is the center back piece with the horsehair back stay. I've cut the horsehair with half-width seam allowances and without the darts. The shoulderdart (which I think can look quite cool moved to the center back seam like this) has been cut open at its wide bit, pressed flat and hand-stitched (I don't know the name of this stitch in English, in Dutch it is called flanelsteek).
I wanted to get started last night, but I remembered that the only bit of horsehair in my stash was fusible. Yes, there is such a thing as fusible horsehair. I tried it out on a tiny scrap and it fuses really well and the end result gets quite stiff. Because I really want to try out the whole padstitching thing in this jacket, I didn't want to use it. So, I had to wait until today and go out and buy non-fusible horsehair.

One question for the experienced tailors among you: Normally, I cut the undercollar on the biais to let it ease into the shape of the upper collar. And when using woven fusible interfacing, I match that. Now, I want to shape that undercollar with horsehair and padstitching, so what do I do?
I know RTW jackets often have felt undercollars (which makes the whole grainline issue irrelevant anyway) but I have never taken one of those jackets apart so I don't know how those are shaped.
Oh, and by the way, do you really have to use silk thread for padstitching?

Unfortunately, I have a lot of other things to do today (it's my day off now, because I'll be working Saturday), like laundry, cleaning the house and some computer as well, so I don't think there will be any huge progress today.


  1. The stitch you use is called catch stitch, I believe. It is shown in this article from Threads Magazine http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/7207/how-to-sew-a-catch-stitch

    I would also go for non-fusible interfacing - I will try to post some thoughts on how to do it later today.
    Good luck,

  2. The horizontal shoulder dart is rather cool!

    For the under collar, cut both fabric and horsehair on bias, overlap and zigzag CB edges together on horsehair, then padstitch. You will need to trim the outer edges of the horsehair away to keep it out of the seam.

    I would add turn of cloth to the top collar. In in my opinion it is more accurate to estimate TOC and cut it to a pattern so it is perfectly symmetrical, than fiddle around with it at the sewing stage. You can always check it on the stand and further adjust if required.

    I should add that I've done plenty of fusible jackets, but never hand-tailored one! So I'm learning too.

  3. I didn't use silk for any of my padstitching on my Christmas coat... I suspect the silk thread is supposed to be less likely to show through, for the same reason you use it for basting? This wasn't a problem on my thick coat fabric, of course. And any show-through would be on the underside of the collar anyway...

    But then, what do I know? ;)

  4. Oh, yeah, and those rotated shoulder darts are so neat---I'm very curious to see how they look!

  5. I was going to say the same thing as Sherry above... I've read this although I've never taken apart a jacket either.
    Re the silk thread for pad-stitching, I can see no reason for this. It is certainly no superior to polyester thread for this purpose. Purely "best quality" reasons? And if the pad-stitching is done carefully there shouldn't be any show through.