March 19, 2015

Dufflin’ on: two steps forward, one step back on the coat

Why is it that when I have very little time to sew I manage to squeeze it in, but when I have all the time in the world it comes to a screeching halt? Am I the only one? I need to get busier sharpish if I’m ever going to finish my Grainline Studio Cascade Coat before the snowbanks and ice mountains melt.

That said, I did make a start this week. Let’s begin with the good. I made the full lining first – a tip I picked up somewhere I no longer remember (thanks, tip-giver!). The reason it’s a great idea is because if you leave it until the last step in the garment-making process, it’s incredibly tempting to rush it in a bid to finish up. If you make it first, however, you tend to take more care, and you can try it on to check fit – if it doesn’t fit, then it’s less crushing to remake a lining than the whole thing.

Cascade Duffel Coat Lining

My favourite bit so far is the tartan plaid flat binding at the facing/lining junction – I’ve wanted to put that in a coat for ages but always forget for some reason. There was a bit of angst behind this though – I managed to sew the whole thing… before realising I hadn’t put the binding in. I’d already trimmed and graded the seams, and taken the Thinsulate out of the seam allowance so I was terribly tempted to move on. But then I gave myself a virtual slap in the face and a good talking to: don’t cut corners Sewing Jenny! Don’t give in to your mistakes! So I painstakingly marked all the seamlines (as the grading had made the layers offset), ripped all the seams, and put the bias in. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but worth it in the end.

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffel Coat Bias

As I underlined the lining with Thinsulate I can’t iron it (because it will disappear as if by magic), so it’s a little puffy in these photos. But in the long term I think my poor shivering body will be grateful for the warm coat, puffiness be damned. 

Next up: the coat itself. It’s not tailored – though I may add a back stay – which means it should be a little speedier than my previous attempts, I think. Do you make the lining before the garment? Are there any other times you change up the order of sewing from the “rules”? Come on, my little rebels, share your transgressions.

22 thoughts on “Dufflin’ on: two steps forward, one step back on the coat

  1. patsijean says:

    The name of the woman you are looking for is Ann Steeves of Gorgeous Fabrics.

  2. It looks great, and good for you having the fortitude to do that binding! I agree it’s good to do the lining first…that way if you’re sick of the whole project you don’t abandon it at the lining step.

  3. Emily says:

    I often change up the order of things! I recently did the lining on a bag first. The outside had more interfacing and would be harder, plus there is piping in the seams on the exterior. I knew the curves would be tricky, and sewing those on the lining would be easier, so I did the lining first to test it out.

    Love the plaid binding on your coat!

    1. Yeah it makes so much sense to do the trickier bits early on, before you’re exhausted and just powering through to get finished!

  4. gingermakes says:

    Wow! That piping!!! I always forget to do that, but it really makes a coat look SUPER fancy. The plaid is a fantastic touch- I can’t WAIT to see this coat!

    I constructed the lining first for both my Gerard coats. In both cases, I was using some form of underlining and had to catch stitch all of the seams so they would lay flat, and in one, I quilted it, so it felt like a good chunk of work to get out of the way while I still had a lot of enthusiasm for the project. It makes you feel like you’re almost done when, in reality, you’ve still got to construct the entire coat! Yes, I love playing mind games with myself… 😉

    1. Always Be Fancy: that’s my motto. Your Gerards were clearly labours of love, and they turned out so beautifully. Outerwear forever!

  5. Carolyn says:

    The flat piping is such a fun feature! I always do this on blazers and love the little pop of color it gives. I’ve sewn the lining first on a few dresses to check for fit, essentially using the lining as a muslin. I should do it more often. Your coat is looking great so far – looking forward to more progress! 🙂

    Oh, and I totally agree about not getting any sewing done when you have plenty of time. I guess it’s a matter of “I can always do it later” and then you never do. Oh well!

    1. Isn’t it funny how it’s the simple little things that can make all the difference? And I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with the time/getting things done ratio! I’m working on it…

  6. joen says:

    I am certainly going to remember to make the lining first in future as I do tend to rush. Thanks tip giver!

    1. You’re welcome, I hope it helps!

  7. elana says:

    Beautiful binding on those seams! We’ve all been there, having to rip seams out for the sake of perfection, I can definitely relate. Also, I typically make the lining first as well and use it similarly as a muslin if I’m in a hurry. You can always hide things in the lining that you can’t hide on the outside.

    1. So true! Occasionally I mess up a lining then have to remind myself that not only will no-one else see it but *I’m * unlikely to remember about it and notice it in the future

  8. Marike Smit says:

    When making my last Megan dress, I first sewed the bodice and skirt sections together to match all the bodice and skirt darts and then joined everything at the side seams…I often disagree with pattern instructions.

    1. Oh yes that’s a great idea when you’re trying to line up bodice and skirt seams. I try to “sew flat” wherever possible – it really does make things easier and more accurate.

  9. Bunny says:

    I like free hanging linings in my coats so I sew them up second. This allows me to alter the length of the lining in relation to the coat . I often find this alteration is necessary to cover the coat hem evenly.

    You are doing a wonderful job on this, Jenny.

    1. That totally makes sense for the free-hanging linings – I went back and forth on whether to do that on my last coat, but ended up hand stitching it up. Is there a particular reason you prefer free-hanging?

  10. Never made a coat, but have definitely used a lining as a toile and felt v smug with my geniusness!

    1. There’s always room to be smug at one’s genius!

  11. i love the flat piping – it’s a great touch that seems really luxurious! i like the idea of making the lining first. i will try that in future!

    1. Thanks! It really is the little things that make a difference, even if they’re fairly easy (of course it’s much easier if you don’t forget to do it and have to re-do everything :))

Let me know what you think!