project winter coat: the roll line

okay, computer is back and fully functioning… woot!

i believe last week i posted about what coat pieces need fusible, so i’m just going to expound upon that for a moment. for the main pieces i did a block fuse, which just means that you fuse a large piece of fabric and then cut your pattern pieces. to do this i figured out my pattern piece placement, traced around them, fused them, then cut them out precisely. easy peasy and most accurate!

if you’re following sherry’s RTW sew-a-long i’ve roughly covered steps #4-7 at this point. i didn’t really follow the pattern amendments as i wanted to keep my full seam allowances (she has you reduce them) because i am a ninny and don’t trust my own muslin fittings that much.

moving on… one thing you’ll want to note from your muslin is where the roll line falls. evidently many patterns are now just putting a randumb dart in the front piece that gets stitched into the collar instead of marking the roll line. side note: i finally found that step in the directions where it tells you when and how to stitch that dart: halfway through the collar insertion! obvious.

no idea what a “roll line” is? it’s the line where the collar folds down and the lapel folds out.

it’s really one continuous line that begins just over the top button and goes up and around the collar. on the collar i’ll use an extra piece of fusible later. the collar line must meet the line on the lapel. if there isn’t some treatment here (tape or dart) the collar won’t lay nicely. with your muslin on you or a dress form, pin the collar and lapel where it naturally falls, making sure the ending point on the lapel crosses about 1″ above the top button at the seam line. then pin right along the fold line so you can lay your muslin flat and transfer this line to the pattern pieces. on the under collar we will fuse a small strip (essentially the collar stand portion) after it has been sewn, since the under collar is two pieces.

i marked the collar stand on the upper collar because i am cutting
my fusible on the fold and my under collar has a seam in the middle.
this piece will be fused to the under collar.
sorry if that is confusing!

to tape the roll line, you can use a strip of fusible cut on the straight grain or you can use twill tape and do it by hand. whichever you do, cut your tape 1/4″ (smaller bust)-1/2″ (larger bust) shorter than this line. then pin it in a few places inside the line (toward the body, not the lapel) and with your iron, ease the fabric in (catch stitch if you use twill tape). press and steam on the body side of the taped line to ensure that it lays flat without wrinkles. the collar side will be slightly wavy.

marked roll line and seam allowances


catch stitched

after pressing

sorry if it feels like i’m moving at a snail’s pace here and you are effectively bored out of your mind (or just disappointed upon realizing that i am not famous). i’ve noticed other coat sew-a-longs are moving at the pace of a slow rocket ship and i see comments like: hey! i don’t even have my pattern yet! i just want to detail all the small bits that sometimes get glossed over and cause confusion. bear with me! actual sewing is NEXT!

like i said from the beginning, all this prep work will make the sewing zip right along. you will spend more time on the muslin/fitting/cutting/fusing/more cutting/tailoring bits then you will actually constructing this baby. i feel like the prep work is something sewists don’t talk about much, so those new the whole sewing thing are easily discouraged by all this extra work the more experienced people forget to mention. after my muslin, i worked on the fabric cutting and fusing in bits and pieces over the course of 5 days. or maybe i’m just slow. or have four kids so it takes me forever since i occasionally have to do things like feed and dress and clean up after them. or whatever.

—lisa g.

p.s. sorry about my crappy pics. white and black are very hard to photograph!


project winter coat: time to fuse!

i didn’t mean to have another rambling picture-less post but my dear sweet computer is having it’s graphics card replaced (or some such nonsense) since the monitor went ka-poot.

i have successfully pre treated my “fashion fabrics” (am i the only one who kind of hates that term? i feel like i am anything but fashionable–just a girl who loves to sew and can’t really afford the quality i want!) and am itching to start cutting. 

whenever i start work on a project that cost more then oh, $5 i kind of have an anxiety attack and become deathly afraid of cutting out the real deal. my muslin revealed a bit of bagginess on the back kind of near the armpit area. oh arms and everything about them have become my achilles heel! i think if i just shift the entire arm scythe in about 1/4″ (the shoulder was a touch wide also) then redraw the side seam i’ll be good. i tweaked my sleeve and just have to lengthen it by an inch, and i’ve decided to go with the welt pockets in the princess seam. hopefully i’ll be cutting in a few hours, i don’t plan to tweak and tweak and tweak. you can drive yourself crazy with fittings!

also, i’ve been on the hunt for the perfect silk buttonhole twist. evidentially, the only colors carried locally are black, white, red and maybe blue. me? i want fuchsia. i have it in my head to do hand worked buttonholes and really, why do all the work if it’s just going to blend in to (slightly boring) grey/black wool? i did find a tailor shop online somewhere that has the gimp and buttonhole twist i need. unfortunately, the giant spool of gimp is $18, the buttonhole twist is $1.50 and shipping is about $14. so basically, not including the buttons, these things are gonna cost me about $35. hmm… i thought, okay maybe i can find some other cording instead of the real gimp, but i was still looking at a $13 shipping cost for the thread alone! UPS is their only shipping option. i really didn’t even consider it would be so difficult to find my supplies! sigh. must dig deeper into the interwebs. i do live near boston and it’s rumored that there is in fact a garment district… perhaps a trip into town will be necessary! though i usually just end up in a long line in front of an italian pastry shop downing hundreds of calories in a shockingly short amount of time… ahem. 

anywho… mostly i just wanted to stop by and list all the pattern pieces i plan to fuse because that’s what i be working on over the next couple days as i ponder my buttonhole situation.  here goes…

to fuse:
-entire front of coat
-entire front facing
-under collar
-a second layer only under the roll line of the under collar (after the under collar center seam has been sewn. i’ll show pics of this later!)
-back neck facing (if your pattern has this pice)
-upper sleeve from the sleeve cap to the upper to mid bicep
-upper portion of the back. my pattern has a separate upper back pattern piece so i’ll just fuse that section
-the sleeve and coat hemline. you will want about a 2.5-3″ strip of fusible at the very bottom edge of these pieces. part of this of course will be turned to the inside of the hem. this just ensures that you get a good crisp edge.

more advise… for the large sections such as the front and front facing, fuse before cutting out your pattern piece. just in case there is any further shrinking that occurs while fusing you want to make sure your pattern pieces don’t lose their shape or size. also, things are just more accurate this way! have you ever cut your fabric and fusible from the same pattern piece only to have them not completely line up? i sure have. also, on the partially fused pieces cut the edge of the fusible with pinking shears. this will help reduce any ridges showing up on the outside.

i’ll address the taped roll line later when i have pictures to illustrate what i’m doing. this can be done with fusible or catch stitched with twill tape. 

okay, i think that’s it for now! see you on the other side when my fabric is cut, fused and hopefully i have my laptop back!

—lisa g.