I am making the double breasted coat for my SWAP. I like the contrast bound edge, martingale and loose back panels and the simple sixties style of this McCalls coat pattern.
Alterations and pattern
I didn’t make many changes, as I was lucky enough to find it was made for my size. I have already made the blouse, and a toile for the skirt, which both fitted with minimal changes. For the coat I took it up two inches in the length and reduced the shoulder by one inch. The sleeve was shortened one inch too – perhaps I should have taken out a second inch, but I will see at the fitting.
Fabric and materials
I have used a nice, Italian boucle wool for this coat. It has rather a loose weave, and it frays terribly. For this reason I used an iron on interfacing on the front. I wouldn’t normally do this, but I felt in this case the bonding would help hold the coat together. It may be a mistake but the lightweight of my interfacing also encouraged me – this is not a stiff tailored winter coat but a gentle, soft, summery coat. Look at Mia Farrow in her coat – it has a softness at the hem and sleeves that implies there is not much support behind the wool.
The main issue for me was what to use for the binding. This makes or breaks the coat, and while I considered navy which would have given a nice clear definition to the edges, Once I decided on silver I considered different approaches. I had some silver bias binding, but that looked cheap. McCullough and Wallis have some faux silver leather binding at around £3 a metre, and in leather at about £14. I decided that I would use real leather from the piece. I bought a piece of silvered pig skin from Storm leathers in Hackney.
I cut 3cm strips, hoping that I would have around 1cm visible on the edges – subtle rather than dominant. I tried out silver leather on the welt pocket flaps.
Not very satisfactory. The binding looked bulky and too rounded. I tried an alternative technique that worked much better. If you ever want to do leather binding here are my tips.
- Cut the strips as you go so as to use the minimum amount of leather
- I found it worked best if I did straight runs and avoided corners
- Sew the binding to the wool carefully as it stretches about 2/8th inch from the edges
- Turn it over and press well
- On the reverse don’t tuck it in
- stitch the turn back to the row of stitching using a leather needle
- At the corners cover the already attached binding with a straight cut (raw) edge
I had a similar issue with the proposed bound buttonholes. The suggested buttons are quite large (one and one-eighth inch). My fabric is lumpy (boucle) but also tender and loose. I tried a range of options. The first one, using the boucle for the lips was horrible and raggy looking. I then tried (right at the edge of the fabric) a machine made buttonhole which looked huge and overlong, but also spindly. The best option was when I used silver leather for the lips. Neat and clean.
Now I know what I am doing I will be able to crack on with the coat.
In terms of SWAP I have completed the struck through items:
Blue set skirt Blue set blouse
- Blue set dress
Mauve set blouse
- Mauve set skirt
- Mauve set coat
- Combo skirt
- Combo blouse
Pink wildcard evening dress Pink wildcard evening trousers Pink wildcard evening tunic
Only five more garments to finish by the end of April. Assuming the coat goes well this should be fine. How are you getting on?