project winter coat: bagging the lining

it’s time to talk lining. there are about as many ways to finish a coat lining as there are people lining coats. and, until you’ve done one yourself, it’s just hard to visualize what the heck they’re all talking about! what i’m showing here is a super easy, no-hand-stitching-required way.

but before i get to that… a long time ago i mentioned that i planned to interline my coat for warmth. i hemmed and hawed over how best to add that extra layer. initially, i had planned on constructing a flannel layer of the back and side front pieces then catch stitch it to the coat at the neckline and down the princess seam of the front. i was undecided on whether or not to do the sleeves, so i kept mulling it all over and did some online research. there isn’t a whole heck of a lot of info on this topic, but most everything i found suggested underlining the lining fabric and finishing construction like that. initially i didn’t like this idea, but ended up coming back to it and that is what i did.

everything was fine and dandy until i needed to do the bagging, and turning the coat and all the little interior finishings. since the inside of the lining was flannel instead of slippery, this all became quite difficult and i ended up doing a lot of hand stitching that otherwise would have been done by machine. if i were to do it all over again, i would definitely choose a different method. that said, my hand stitching was still minimal.

at any rate, while discussing this with my sister, monica, who is sewing up a different version of the same pattern, i suggested she try catch stitching flannel to the inside of the shell, so i’m sharing pics of her interlining.

here’s a sneaky peek at her coat… so cute!

okay. so, assuming that you are going the “no hand stitching” route, when you construct your lining, leave an opening in one of the sleeves. you will need to allow 8″-10″, because you will ended up pulling the hem of the coat out through this opening. i’ll get to that in a bit. if you haven’t attached the lining to the facing, now is the time.

your sleeve lining should be about 1″ shorter than the shell (and the same at the coat hem). with your shell and lining together, make sure the seam(s) in your sleeves are lined up, turn them in toward each other then reach up through the hem of the coat in between shell and lining, and with your other hand grab that little part you had pinched and pull the sleeves out.

both the shell and lining of the sleeve will be inside out. if you haven’t done this before, it will feel weird, but it works. just trust me. so pin all around the sleeve openings and stitch them together.

then stick your hand in the sleeve from the shell side and pull the sleeve out and adjust the hem so it is even and laying properly. repeat with the other sleeve. if you need to, take a few stitches and tack the turned sleeve hem at the seam allowance(s).

now turn the coat and lining inside out, and stitch the bottom edge of the facing. when you get to the point where the facing meets the lining, pull the lining down and stitch diagonally, then continue stitching the bottom edge of the coat.

repeat with the other side leaving 8″-10″ open. check out sherry’s post on this step HERE, she illustrates it better than i do. turn the coat right side out through the hem opening. now, to close the hem by machine, reach down through that opening in the sleeve, grab the hem and carefully pull it out through the sleeve just enough to finish stitching the hem. 

if you think you have too much bulk to do this, just slip stitch the gap in the lining at the hem. give the hem a good hard press making sure the hem is even and everything is laying as it should. but do take care not to let the iron rest over the plastic head of a pin…

guess who’ll be buying some glass head pins? that’d be me. lucky this didn’t melt on to my coat. eeps!

sherry has great tips about sewing the seam allowance on the inside of the coat to keep the hem laying properly (same link as before). if you can’t do it as she instructs, just tack the hem at the seam allowances to make sure the hem stays crisp and in place. then remember that opening in the sleeve lining? just pull it out, pinch it together and edge stitch it. since it’s tucked inside the sleeve, it will never be seen! so clever!

after all that, i finished off my coat with some top stitching, removed the basting stitches, and finally made my handworked buttonholes. actually, i just finished sewing on the last button this morning. so excited to show it off!

—lisa g.

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