November 18, 2009

Coat finished!

I finished my coat today. I managed to get most of the work done yesterday and found rather nice buttons this morning at the market. Fairly large fake horn ones with large holes, so I decided to unravel a scrap of fabric and attach the button using light coloured threads from the fabric itself (pulled then through and made a knot at the back of the button, then sewed that down using normal thread).
Then, I went back home to make buttonholes. Which was an absolute nightmare and took almost 3 hours. The thing is, my lovely new sewing machine can do no less than 7 different automatic buttonholes. All I have to do is position the garment under the buttonhole foot and press 'start'.
But it decided not to like the thick layer of very loosely woven wool I gave it today. I kept fighting transport problems. First, when making tests, I realised that my usual coat style buttonhole wasn't going to work and eventually, I found one which seemed to work a lot better. When I used it on the coat however, there were problems. I only had to do two buttonholes, but I had to rip out the top one three times, which is a total pain in the .. in this type of fabric. I considered giving up and simply sewing on the buttons with snaps at the back, but I didn't (well, I did put a snap on the inside, instead of a smaller button). I wondered why I hadn't been more ambitious and made welted buttonholes (because of the fraying fabric, I know that).
In the end, I got the job done and it doesn't look bad, but I wasted a lot of time and good mood. File under 'new sewing machine learning curve' I guess...

Despite the buttonhole-misery, I am very happy with the finished product. I'm actually quite pround of myself for making such a different shape of coat. I see myself exploring the territory beyond fitted things lately. And although I love fitted things, I really like this new ground I'm gaining. It takes a peculiar kind of confidence to put on and make things which don't cling to every curve (although of course, as always, what will work is very much dependant on individual body shape).


  1. This coat is beautiful.
    I have the same problem with buttonholes in thicker fabric, as well as dealing with bulky seams in facings and collars (when the front, back and collar converge it can be difficult getting all those 3 cornered layers of seams to lie smooth), thus my query in a previous comment about any tips you might have for thick wool fabric....

  2. It looks fantastic! I love the oversized lapels, they're really cool. Don't be too hard on yourself over the buttonholes, though - at least know that bound ones wouldn't have saved you any time anyway! Hand stitching all those basting marks just takes FOREVER and it's so early in the construction I'm usually impatient to get into the good stuff, hahah

  3. I think this kind of boxier shape is a *total success* on you. I *love* the mix of fitted and looser shape in the same outfit. I have just finished a coat for myself too, with large lapels and... bound buttonholes, yes! (the first I ever made). One question arose: is it necessary to sew tape twill along armscyes so they keep their shape? I noticed that on a rtw coat.

  4. Great job!

    Buttonholes: I use my old Singer machine (1950) and its big-arse buttonholer. There isn't a fabric weight it hasn't been able to make beautiful, beautiful and sturdy buttonholes on. The only non-success I had was with a wool that was underlined in denim (for weight) and had - this was the killer - lots of loose yarn applique on the outside. Just couldn't do it.

  5. Fantastic coat! Very stylish and great fabric selection! I'm about to attempt my first heavy coat after Christmas and I will definitely be using your tips.

    You're very brave to attempt a less fitted silhouette! I'm not quite there yet... I feel like I need to just improve my skills before I start getting too creative with silhouettes :) I'm still learning just to fit myself! At least I have a dressform now to make it easier...

  6. Hi Lauriana, the coat you've made is amazing! I cam across your site googling "how to make a jacket thicker". I just bought a coat today, for cheap. The colour and the fit is perfect when I've just adjusted it. But it was much too soft and I hate the folds it makes when I button it up, or after moving about a bit.

    I was wondering if you could give some more pointers on the fusible interfacing. Such as what you used, and if it's okay to fuse patches on instead of covering the entire fabric. I'm thinking of taking apart the lining, and see what I can do to make the fabric stiffer and give it more body.