Fabric For the Duster, Lining, & Trim
My vision of this coat was to make it in linen. I found canvas weight linen (7.1oz/yd2) in a beautiful dark emerald green from Fabric.com. I ordered it and spent a week trying to find the right trim. I felt the shape of the trim begged for a stripe, the mitering almost demanding it. At Hancock’s, I finally found a wine and tan uneven stripe in the home dec department. It was a little heavy for trim, but I figured I could make it work. The lining took longer to find. As much as I appreciate the choices I have online, I have a hard time buying fabric if I can’t actually touch it. This is only a problem because I live in a town with three fabric stores: Hancock’s, JoAnn’s, and Hobby Lobby. Sometimes the available choices seem limited. But, JoAnn’s came through and I found a lining, a very slinky polyester called Harvest Paisley. It fulfills my preference for an interesting lining and still manages to go well with both the shell and trim fabrics. I was almost ready to cut.
Although it has been years since I tailored a jacket or coat, I certain there was hair canvas in the stash. If there is, it is well enough hidden that it will never get used. I hit the local fabric marts, and no one carries hair canvas in this part of the country. I did find the silk thread and cotton stay tape, but not a sign of hair canvas (and clerks who didn’t know what it was). Okay, now here is a problem the internet can solve. I don’t need to touch hair canvas to purchase it. I know what it is. I know what it looks and feels like. The order is placed; now it’s time to do everything except the tailoring of the Duster front and collar.
Cutting the Fabric
Lining: Due to my alterations, the left and right front bodice pieces are different at the shoulder and top of the armscye. I cut and marked each, being sure that I was constructing the lining right side in, and that the right front would be on my right side, wrong side out. Careful as I was, I managed to get this backward, and had to adjust the patterns. Luckily, I had cut with 1” plus seam allowances, and had plenty of “adjustment” room.
The lining fabric is so soft and slippery, it was not easy to mark the stitching line. My solution was to use a portion of my supply of tape (stocked especially for the VPLL 1912 Titanic Project) to tape the fabric to my table to stabilize it. This made marking much easier.
Shell: I cut the shell from the linen, which presented none of the problems of the lining (not to mention both sides of the fabric are identical). I did not cut the cuffs, as another sewer commented that the pattern piece was small for the sleeve hem. I’ll cut them after measuring the sleeve hem to ensure they will fit.
Making Continuous Bias Trim
The pattern calls for 2 yards of bias trim. My rough measurements showed that I needed closer to 3 yards. I cut a square of trim fabric 20” square. I then drew a diagonal line and cut the fabric in two. I flipped the bottom triangle over the top triangle and carefully matched the stripes so the seam would not show on the finished trim, then stitched the edges with a ¼” seam allowance. I pressed the seam open and laid the piece out, right side down, with the seam running from the upper left corner to the lower right corner. Using a see-through ruler, I marked lines parallel to the top 1 ¾” apart. I turned the piece over, right side up, and brought the right side to the left. Offsetting the marked lines by one, I pinned the sides together. This leaves one width of bias hanging off of each side of the seam. With sharp scissors, I then cut along the marked line. The end result was 5 plus yards of bias 1 ¾” wide. I then pressed one long edge under 3/8”. My trim is ready to apply! (Little did I know I was only half way there!)
Sewing the Lining
I stitched the shoulder darts in the lining, cut them open and pressed them into place. I also stitched the dart in the upper collar. I sewed the fronts to the back at the shoulder seams, and stitched the center back seam of the collar facing. These seams were pressed open. I attached the collar facings to the lining along the front and neck edge. I had added 1 ½” to the center back lining, so I made a pleat at that point to take up the extra fabric. The seam was pressed toward the lining. I then stitched the underarm seams from underarm to hem and pressed the seam open.
Bias Left and Right
I pulled out the continuous bias I made and started to lay it out. Uh-oh. It all points in the same direction, from upper left to lower right. This is what I wanted for the left collar, but I want the right collar trim to point in the opposite direction. It took me a few minutes, but I finally figured it out. I made another continuous bias strip, but this time making my initial cut of the square of fabric from the upper right corner to the lower left corner. It worked and the stripes are pointing in the correct direction for the right side of the Duster.
I pinned the trim to the collar and basted it. It was a little tricky around the curves at the “notch”, but working the fabric into several tiny tucks, it eventually laid down flat.
Impatience is the Mother of invention
While waiting for the interfacing to be delivered, I decided to play with some of the extra bias tape trim (since I made twice as much as I actually needed). I stitched two pieces together along the long edge, one each of left and right leaning stripes, and I had a strip of chevron bias. With a little too much time on my hands, I wound up with a nice little belt for the back of the coat. A couple of buttons covered in the green linen, perhaps?