October 21, 2014

Coating with Cashmerette: Like a phoenix from the ashes


If my circle skirt was the garment that social media built, why then this is the coat that Instagram, blog comments and Pattern Review fixed!
So many of you responded to my plaintive cries for help last week, and thank you one and all. I felt like the star of my own murder mystery. Was it the lack of steaming in the armscye? The wonky FBA in the side seam?
WHY NO IT WAS THE INTERFACING IN ALL OF THE DAMN COAT. Mystery solved!
This was suggested by folks in various mediums, and so I decided to take a deep breath and test it. I made a curved seam in non-interfaced cashmere, and then the same in the interfaced cashmere (yes I realize I did slightly different seams, but it worked). Observe: left hand side has no wrinkles, all looks fine. The right hand side is puckering before our very eyes.
My mistake: block interfacing cashmere with my beloved pro-weft. Whether I shouldn’t have used any fusibles at all (the opinion of some), or whether it was simply the fact it was in the seam allowances I do not know. The lesson here is that not all fabrics react the same… this approach worked perfectly on last year’s coat, but turns out, it doesn’t for cashmere. Lesson learned!
So, how to salvage? I tested the fusible-removing process and… it worked. Kind of. I steamed it and then used an X Acto knife to slice it at the edges, and then the rest peeled off. It definitely slightly warped the cashmere, and there’s glue residue left. I tried ironing over it with some tracing paper and that seemed to take a lot of the stickiness away, but it’s definitely not ideal. I’m really, really hoping that it doesn’t stick to the lining.
If you’re squeamish you may want to look away now…
But here’s the butchered inside of my coat, with interfacing removed from the seam allowance (I went back and neatened it up, don’t get conniptions!)

And here it is, slightly neater (my fusible-removing technique improved) in the sleeve. Note that I took about 1.5 inches out, because it wasn’t just the seam allowance that was puckering, it was the area just outside of it too.

And here are the results. Before: ick.

After: WOOHOO! (I hope you appreciate the no-makeup, overhead lighting, wet towel bathroom shot. The things I do for you, readers).

Next up, I re-set the sleeve, and won’t you just look at that. It’s not perfect. But my god is it better. The main issue now is that the upper side bodice (above the dart) is a little wavy with all the fusible-ripping-out. I’ve tried steaming it but there’s only so flat it wants to go. Next step is going to be to sew in some hair canvas and see if that can stabilize it. But to be honest at this point it’s not particularly noticeable.

Phew! Perserverance seems to have paid off. I’m still not 100% sold on the actual coat, but this has definitely been a timely reminder than an awful lot of sewing can be undone and redone if need be, and if one can keep one’s nerves steady. I’m still a beginner sewist in many ways – I realize absolute beginners are probably thinking  “tosh! you’re making a coat! “, but I’ve had almost no formal training and a lot of the time I’m trying something new. But you never get better if you don’t give things a try, so here I am. Trying.

24 thoughts on “Coating with Cashmerette: Like a phoenix from the ashes

  1. Jenny, brava! I’m thrilled that it’s coming along well.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Basya! It’s a rollercoaster, it really is.

  2. Well done, Jenny! It looks so much better! I always find these tough projects to be so helpful in making me a better sewer (although trying on the nerves). I know I’ve learned a ton following along with your coat making!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Lauren! You’re right about the being the biggest learning experiences… if only for learning patience 🙂

  3. Laura (lap) says:

    Just what makes that little ol ant, think she can sew a pretty green coat? Everyone knows an ant can’t..wait I made it not rhyme anymore, sorry. But YAY perseverance! High Hopes! Frank Sinatra!

  4. This looks so great! I’m so glad you worked out a solution! It’s really shaping up! But I have to admit that I’m about to start a coat project and now I’m really nervous! 😮

    1. Jenny says:

      Ok will first off you’re much better at sewing than me dear Sonja, so you’ll probably be fine. Second, just make sure you use a dark coloured and preferably textured fabric – if I’d done that I would have had none of these issues!

  5. Yey! I am so thrilled for you that you resolved the issue.

  6. Headquarters says:

    Just gotta tell you how helpful this kind of post for those of out here. Really inspiring and motivating to see your challenges as well as your successes. Thank you. (The coat will be beautiful).

  7. HOORAY FOR THE SAVING OF THE CASHMERE! Well done, J. That process looks terrifying and like it required way more patience than I possess. I can’t decide if I’m more impressed by your fab coat or your gumption!

  8. What an improvement! Glad you were able to figure out the problem. Also love your attitude towards trying new things!

  9. Anne says:

    Well done you. I’m so happy you found a sollution. It’s going to be a great coat, I’m sure of it. I’m starting my own coat project in heavy weight wool this winter, partly thank’s to you.

  10. Sam says:

    The fabric looks gorgeous, so I’m very pleased you’ve managed to save this. I’m shortly to embark upon my coat for this winter, I’m definitely going to test a couple of curved seams before I apply interfacing to everything!

  11. Gail says:

    Love this whole post! So glad you were able to find a solution!

  12. Phew, I’m relieved for you! Having become one of Susan Khalje’s couture minions, I really like using silk organza underlining over fusibles in situations like that. It’s a little more work but very luxurious. Looking forward to seeing the end result!

  13. Katy Patzel says:

    Hooray! Take that cashmere!

  14. Can I just say how much I love this thought: “…this has definitely been a timely reminder than an awful lot of sewing can be undone and redone if need be, and if one can keep one’s nerves steady.”

    My fear of messing up often keeps me from attempting more difficult projects, but I know those are usually the ones that you feel most proud of, and that help you grow as a person (and seamstress). It’s actually been really inspiring to see you plow through and persevere!

  15. Learning and entertainment. For you and us. 🙂

  16. Madalynne says:

    I love your determination to finish this coat. You live and you learn!

  17. Laura Arhire says:

    I am so glad you managed to fix this. I’m rooting for this coat now!

  18. Mel says:

    Hi, Jenny,

    I read about your wrinkles a couple days ago, thought about them, came back to put my two cents in and found a post saying you’d solved the problem and would be updating us soon. My suggestion was going to be to take the seam apart next to the wrinkles and an inch to either side and re-sew that section of seam with the sleeve against the feed dogs. But, hey, you solved it yourself.

    It occurs to me to suggest that you may want to fuse a new piece of interfacing over the area you just stripped it off of in over to support the fabric around the armscye long-term. (And it would solve that sticky problem!) I can’t tell the weight of your fabric from the pictures but the weight of the coat may make the interfaceless area stretch out or at least hang differently over time. (You wouldn’t need much interfacing here, just a scrap edged up against the seam, press it till it overlaps the other interfacing 1/8th to a quarter inch and trim off the rest. It also looks in the pictures as if you had to leave on the interfacing in/under the seam which is good because it helps strengthen the seam, but if I’m wrong, you may want to sew a length of quarter inch or 1/8th inch twill tape into that seam where the interfacing was removed. Sounds bulky, but isn’t.)

    I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the challenge of this coat. And I suspect you’re going to get a lot of wear out of it, too. It will be fun to hear how the rest of the project goes.

  19. opalspeacock says:

    So happy to see you working this out. Thank you for sharing so that I can learn from you and possibly actually sew a coat. Love the no makeup bathroom shot.

  20. Alessa says:

    I’m glad you could make it work! Funny how even after a while of sewing, we stumble over stuff like this, right? 🙂

Let me know what you think!