What you’ll Need
- ‘Notched’ Pattern instructions
- Our fabric pieces from part 4
- Fashion fabric
- Interlining fabric*
- Appliqué fabric
- Lining fabric
- Two rectangular loops 
- Two silver buttons
- 4 Buttons for sleeves*
- Fabric shears
- Seam ripper
- Chopstick/pencil/Corner poker thing
- Sewing machine
- thread, bobbin, snips/scissors
! Disclaimer !
Because we’ve made so many modifications to our pattern when it comes to seam location and adding new seams and removing large chunks of the pattern (Front closure), the way we put together our coat will differ in some areas from the Notched instructions.
And Sew it Begins!
Okay. We’re done our applique, we have our pieces all cut out and interfaced or interlined and we’re ready to start. Take a deep breath because we’re about to dive in.
Step 1: I can’t feel my Interfacing when I’m with you
If you’re lucky and dont’ need to use interlining, this is the part where you can iron on interfacing to help stiffen up the collar pieces and the ‘vest’ pieces of the pattern since the look of the coat is very structured.
To help clarify what I mean, I’ve highlighted the pieces that use interfacing in the image below:
I mean you can also do this with the interlined pieces, but in my case I had some sturdy canvas and decided this would be a better idea because something something historically more accurate in a video game about magic assassins. Yes the canvas worked, now the coat weighs 15lbs.
I am… not (always) a smart woman.
ALSO at this stage, if you own a serger, this is the time to serge everything. Mark your notches and sewing marks with chalk pencil on the wrong side of your fabric before you serge though, or you’ll lose track of where it all was.
Step 2: Back in
While there will be some parts that will be a bit tricky for this stage of our sew-along, after all those hellish Squiggley appliqués, let’s start off with something nice and simple and straight. The centre back seam. Just line it up, pin it and stitch. Now press it flat.
Um. Did you press it? No? I’ll wait.
*WAITS WHILE TAPPING FOOT IMPATIENTLY*
Yes we have to press it each time we have a seam that we need to sew over. This not only makes your garment look better in the long run but also makes it easier to sew through and TRUST M E we need it easier to sew through. I still haven’t found the tip of the needle that broke off into the side seam.
Now that we have our top back piece, sew it onto the bottom panel. (see, pressing helps) Press The horizontal seam open, and then sew on each of the side back panels, careful to line up the marks so that our coat doesn’t sit weirdly on us.
Note that for now I’m leaving the bottom edge of the coat flat, and once I’m done combining everything, I’ll cut it into the asymmetric hem so that it’s at the right length while I’m wearing it.
Step 3: For Whom the Belt Tolls
Alright, so we’ve got the strips for our belt. But if you take a real close look at the back of the Press-kit coat the centre strap has pointed ends.
“AHA!” you may say, as I did, and fold the strip in half, snipping off one side. “Problem solved!”
Except if you sew it that way, it’ll look like just an angled edge.
“SILLY CALAMITY,” You might say, and snip again, making a perfect chevron on the fold. “I was merely in progress towards my wonderful belt.”
Ah yes, sewing padawan, I too thought this while listening to a youtube documentary about the Bismark. Yet when you sew it, you will lose half a half-inch along the bottom seam, thus leaving your point skewed to one side.
Instead, mark a point on your strap a half inch up from the rough edges of your belt centre strap to show where the seam will be. Then, mark the halfway point between the seam-mark and the folded edge of your fabric. This will be the point of our strap that we sew to.
Don’t sew all the way around the strap for our pointy friend here. Leave a gap in the middle of the straight edge so we can turn it inside out. We’ll be top stitching it closed once we have it turned and pressed flat, so this won’t be an issue to close.
Use the chopstick to flip the strap inside out, and remember to clip your corners so you can get a nice, sharp point. Press, then topstitch the strap 1/8″ away from the edge all the way around.
The two other straps are much easier. Sew them down the long raw edge of the strap and flip them inside out. Press, and top stitch.
Once you’ve got your three straps for the belt, take each of the side straps and slip them through the metal loop, pinning the rough edges together.
Line up the belt loop with the centre back waist seam and sew them down onto the edge of the side back piece.
This might be difficult because of how many layers of fabric we’re sewing through. If your machine is giving you trouble, turn the wheel on the side to manually ‘walk’ it through once or twice across to hold the fabric in place.
You thought I was joking about the lost needle, didn’t you?
I ended up using my serger because the canvas + Interlining + regular fabric sandwiched in bunches of layers was just not fitting through my sewing machine. Once I got it through the first time, the thread helped compress the fabric so that reinforcing the seam was much easier.
Step 4: Don’t Think Twice, It’s all Right …Angled
Back Panels combined: Check.
Belt straps made and attached to the side-back panels at our waist line: Check.
Now it’s time, time to tackle the Right-angled Princess Seam.
If you chose not to add this seam in, that’s absolutely okay. It just means you’re not
stupid crazy as committed to seam-accurate reproduction as I decided to be.If you have a regular princess seam, sew it as you normally would and if you have no seam at all skip ahead to step 5.
If you find my instructions unclear, there’s a wonderful Tutorial at TK.com with clear photos.
So to start, I sewed along the horizontal seam, making sure the ‘apex’ of the side panel overlapped the vertex of the front panel by approximately the seam allowance I was planning to use.
Protip: Think A for Apex (points out) and V for Vertex (points in) to remember which is which!
Stop stitching in line with the vertex and back stitch. Snip your threads and snip the vertex of the front panel up to a few threads shy of where your seam is.
It’s a little unclear in the picture but I’m lifting up the apex of the top panel
to snip the vertex of the bottom.
Rotate the side panel and pin down along the vertical seam (the princess seam), making sure that there are no wrinkles or buckles in your fabric.
Stitch down that seam from the point of your seam towards the hem. Once the pins are out, ‘pop’ your seam out so that it points out like a dart/boob.
If there’s a little pucker at the point of the seam try snipping a few threads closer to the seam, that should give you enough room for the fabric to lay flat.
PRESS YOUR SEAM. Note that this seam is a lot trickier to press ‘flat’ so I instead pressed it forward to because that was the only way the fabric would go. See the comment about canvas earlier.
Now repeat on the other side, same as we just did.
If you’re nervous, try this out with two pieces of scrap, or the pieces of your muslin before you work with your actual fabric.
Step 5: I’ve Got Something Up My Sleeves
Pin the pieces of your sleeves together and sew down each side.
Pretty easy, after all that stuff we just did, right?
BUT WAIT. I’m not done yet, get back here. Because the seams at the shoulders are going to be tricky what with the multitudes of fabric and shoulder pads of doom, we’re going to do the lining for the sleeves right here, right now.
(And yes, press your seams)
Sew your sleeve linings together like you did to your regular sleeves. Leave them turned inside out, but turn the outer layer of sleeves the right side out. slide them into the corresponding lining sleeve and pin around the cuff. Sew the cuff.
I know it’s tight, but think of it as a small merry-go-round that rolls vertically as you sew, the bottom is where you stitch. It makes things a lot easier, and you don’t have to fiddle with trying to get the sleeve around your machine’s base.
Done? Cool! Slide the lining off and tuck it into the sleeve proper for now. We won’t need the lining part for a while.
Step 6: Come Together, Right Now
This is where things get heavy. Literally. Pin the shoulder seams of the front and back torso pieces, right sides together. Sew along each seam and then press flat. DO NOT Sew the side seams yet. It’ll be easier to do the collar first.
It should look like a weird poncho at this point.
Step 7: Poppin’ My Collar
Emily’s collar stands straight up because she’s a badass and it’s scared stiff of her. (heh… interfacing pun.) Yet in real life there’s a thing called gravity, so I’m going to reinforce and engineer the crap out of my collar so it does the same, despite how heavy the fabric is.
In the Collar-sandwich the layers from inside out are (L-R): lining, buckram, canvas, interlining, fashion layer.
I cut the buckram with a tab at the bottom that sticks down about an inch along the part of the collar that will lay flat against my back to help support the weight of the collar as it stands up. Sort of like how tabs on pads keep them from moving around, (Or for you period-less people: how fence posts need to be buried a few feet deep so they don’t fall over as the ground thaws).
Pinning these layers together, I gently curved the fabric as I went, because when a panel is this thick and curved, the inner circumference will be less than the outer one. The sharper the curve, the more noticeable the difference. This helps the satin lining lay flat against the support fabrics instead of wrinkling of buckling out if I’d just pinned them together flat.
Sew around the collar, right sides OUT and trim off excess fabric due to the circumference issue. Pin the collar onto the neckline of your jacket, being sure to line up the middle of your collar to the centre back seam. Sew.
Press the seam so that the collar support tab points down.
Step 6 Reprise: Come Together (Reprise)
Right sides still together, pin and sew down each side seam then press flat. I don’t think this requires images, but if it’s unclear drop me a comment and I’ll add them in.
Try on the ‘vest’ of your coat, marvel at all the work you’ve done. Have a drink, a break and return for lining and the shoulders.
Step 8: (Get That) Dirt Off My Shoulder
*closes eyes, and takes a deep breath* I hope you’ve been lifting because this is going to be a bit of a workout if you used heavyweight fabric.
Install your shoulders into the armscyes.
(It sounds so easy.)
I cannot stress this enough: Always check that the correct sleeve is attached before you wrestle it though the machine. If you have enough space, try to have a fair amount of room to the left of your machine to help support the weight of the coat and use the Ferris wheel method of sewing the sleeve that I described above when we combined the sleeves to their linings.
BEFORE YOU DO THE SECOND SHOULDER TRY ON THE COAT. BE SURE THE SHOULDERS FIT. BE SURE YOU DID IT RIGHT OTHERWISE YOU WASTE YOUR TIME RIPPING OUT BOTH @#^%ING SHOULDERS AND HAVE TO DO EACH AGAIN.
… not that I’m talking from experience. Or anything.
Press your shoulders.
Step 9: Blurred Linings
Combine the vest of your lining the same way we did for the shell of the coat (minus the collar interruption).
Press it. Press it real good.
I know we pressed the collar into place just a moment ago. But tuck it back against the shell so that the tab sticks out and the blue pieces are touching. With the right side of our lining vest to right side of the coat shell with the collar in between, pin along the neck line of the coat. Stop just past where the collar ends on either side.
Sew along the pinned part of the seam and then open it, pressing it flat so that the right sides now face out.
Put your coat onto your dress form or yourself and pin the wrong sides of the lining together starting at the top of your coat and working your way down to the bottom edge. Don’t pull super tight, a little ease goes a long way to comfort in a lined garment.
Sew down each edge, top to bottom. Leave the bottom hem for now since we’ll need to cut the asymmetric curve in.
Step 10: (We) Started From The Bottom …Hem
With the coat on you, a friend roughly your height or a dress form that’s roughly your height, pin the bottom edge of your coat so that it hangs smoothly. Using pins and a chalk pencil or painter’s tape, mark on the LEFT side of the hem the longest length the coat will reach. Now mark the RIGHT side of the hem with the shorter length of the hem. Pin the centre line of the back panel, then outwards working carefully to keep the fabric hanging smoothly.
Mark out the shape of the hem (I used painter’s tape because it let me adjust the line after I tried the coat on)and pin along the path’s edge.
Sew down the marked path, and try on the coat to see if it hangs right. Once you are sure it’s correct, trim off the excess fabric and move on to Part 5. Remember, you can fix things before you cut, but you can’t do much after you’ve trimmed the seam down to a half inch allowance.
Whew! We’re done for the major sewing. What’s next is putting on the trim, buttons and other final touches. See you in part 5!