Last month I participated in the Lady Grey Sew-Along with Gertie and I finished my lovely coat about 2 weeks ago!
I didn’t do the best job participating and putting up pictures of my progress and couldn’t even put up a picture of my finished muslin due to changing it so much that I didn’t have one I could even wear to take pictures of. But here’s the finished coat and some details of the alterations in construction and fitting I did.
(This picture shows the real colour of the coat much better than the first)
This was my first time using a commercial pattern and thanks to the sew-along I was aware that the first thing I had to do was a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on the pattern and take the bust measurement from my upper-bust (just under my armpits) which luckily ended up with the pattern that was my actual waist size.
Secondly I had to raise the waist as I am short-waisted, meaning that my natural waist is higher than average. In order to fix this I folded the pattern about 3cm in the waist area and then trued/smoothed the lines. Most of this wasn’t as necessary as I thought since I ended up having to shift most of the pattern pieces to get the grain to lay straight where necessary.
I followed Gertie’s steps in the sew-along for the most part but did a few things differently.
I connected the hair-canvas in a different manner to prevent bulk by using strips of iron-on interfacing and baseball stitching over it. I also used the hair canvas on the bias to create a softer drape, both of these I read about in Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer.
The sleeves of the pattern were not working with my body at all and I was getting a lot of creases so I just draped it to my liking. Then I opted to set my sleeves in by backstitching by hand before going over it with machine stitching. I also did not attach the sleeve lining to the rest of the lining until I was fully done.
For the lining I stitched 5mm from the seam line by sewing machine and then handstitched roughly on the seam with cotton basting thread. I learned this from my teacher as the way to attach the lining so that if the wearer needs excess room the cotton thread will break easily as needed and only in the locations where more room is necessary.
Other alterations I did were to change add a collar base to the collar so that it does not droop (I should take pictures with my hair out of the way of the collar) and also did not use bias fabric for the bottom side. Changed a bit of the collar shape to be a more traditional style. Finished all inside seams that need to lay flat by catch-stitching. Finish the hem of the coat with a bias strip of the lining. Attach all the lining seam allowances to the hair canvas loosely and therefore I didn’t need to directly attach the lining to the coat. I also made the pocket larger (I have relatively big hands) and ended the belt diagonally instead of square since I like the look of it best. There is more but I think that’s enough details.
The sew-along was a great experience and I learned a lot of new ways of doing things and loved following along with other seamstresses and their progress. Plus I ended up with a fantastic coat with teacups and teapots as the lining, what could be better!
Bonus: I knitted long fingerless gloves to wear with it!