Tag Archives: Hand Sewing

5 Things I Learned Making A Coat

After the triumph that was making my first proper coat (if I do say so myself!) I thought I would share some of the things I learned while making it and the resources that helped me, so here are 5 things I learned making a coat.

1. How to make bound buttonholes.


There are loads of tutorials on how to make bound buttonholes. I used this YouTube video, and I practised twice before I did it on the real thing. This tutorial shows you how to do bound button holes when you have a lining (or in my case a facing). The only problem was she didn’t make it 100% clear whether you need to put the pieces right or wrong sides together, but after practising it I figured it out for myself. There is an ebook by Karen from Did You Make That for only £2 which will also give you extra help.

 

2. How to do tailor’s tacks.


As I mentioned in my post about my coat, I tried to do all the marking for the coat ‘properly’ with tailor’s tacks – I say ‘properly’ because it feels like it’s the proper technique, though, of course, tailors must have used chalk for as long as it has existed too! Again there are loads of tutorials, but I used this one on YouTube – I feel like there are some techniques it is really useful to see someone doing, rather than to read instructions and look at pictures. Just be careful not to pull them out by mistake! But then remove them as soon as you don’t need them any more – I didn’t do this and spent several rather irritating minutes with some tweasers trying to get all of them out from seams I has sewn over the top of them!

 

3. How to do tailor’s basting


To be honest, I’m not sure I did the basting stitches quite right, but as I mentioned in the post about my coat, I was very glad to have an extra later to baste to instead of trying to stitch the hair canvas to the wool, without the stitches showing through to the other side – I have no idea how I would have done it! I did find it interesting to put in some hair canvas, having unpicked some (which was disintegrating) from my dad’s suit.

 

4. That sewing a slippery lining is really difficult!


Obviously coat linings have to be slippery to provide lubrication (snigger) to get the coat on and off, but I haven’t sewn with that many really slippery fabrics and this definitely proved a bit of a challenge! Not helped by the inaccurate job I did with the cutting out. If anyone has any tips, please pass them my way for next time 🙂

 

5. I really enjoyed the hand sewing.


Each time I do lots of hand sewing (like when I made my Dressmakers Ball dress and hand-stitched all the hems) I discover I like it. Especially making this coat where I planned to take my time, it’s nice to slow down and sew some things by hand. I hand stitched all of the interlining pieces to the wool, basted in the canvas, hand sewed the stay tape and attaching the lining to the shell along the bottom and the cuffs was all done by hand. I got a little fed up of hand sewing, though, when I had to redo the hem because I had shortened the lining too much and it was pulling the wool up inside the coat.

I would like to learn some more tailoring techniques – if you have any recommendations of courses (online or in person) please let me know.

 

 

I made shoes!

I know there are still some things I’ve not yet made (like jeans, a proper Winter coat or underwear) but I have made shoes!

As you’ll know if you read my last post about my prize-winning outfit I made for the New Craft House Summer Party, I made some slightly crazy silver espadrilles from some fabric I was given at Christmas. I’d seen these espadrilles popping up online and saw that they were for sale at Guthrie and Ghani.

I used some quite stiff white cotton twill I bought in Birmingham (which I had in mind for a specific project, but I haven’t got around to making it yet and thought i could spare a little bit of the fabric for the shoes) as the lining and I also used some pretty thick, papery interfacing to add even more structure to the liquid-y silver viscose foil.

I discovered in cutting out the silver parts of the shoes that using pins left a mark on the silver fabric, so I improvised for the sewing part and used paperclips to hold the various layers together to sew them – I maybe could have just held it with my hands, but the silver fabric is quite slippery and a little stretchy so I didn’t want to chance it, especially because unpicking would have left a mark.

I can take very little credit for knowing how to make these – I totally relied on this YouTube video by Makery. They tall you through adding seam allowance to the pattern, stitching the shell and the lining together, and then how to do the blanket stitch all around the edge.

I hadn’t done blanket stitch for years and years so I kind of had to re-learn how to! It probably means it’s not the neatest it could be, but by the end of the second shoe, I definitely felt like I was getting the hang of it. I used topstitching thread, doubled, following the recommendation of the YouTube video.

There are also some little running stitched holding the front to the back on each side of each shoe – this was one of the quickest parts of the hand sewing! I love running stitch!

One really good tip on the video is to hide the knots from the thread on the inside, between the layers of the sole. You can just about make out one knot, below, which I haven’t quite managed to hide!

The only slight problem with the shoes is that the heel has slightly collapsed, and they don’t stay securely on my feet. I suspect this is because the fabric has slightly stretched out of shape.

I’m pretty pleased that I managed to make shoes, to blow my own trumpet! I feel like it was the shoes that swayed the win for best handmade outfit at the party. I don’t think these will get many more wears this year as the weather is sure to turn cool very soon, but hopefully next year I can have them in semi-regular rotation in my Summer wardrobe.

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