Tag Archives: bias tape

Sewing the Robson Trench Coat

22 Apr

Spoiler: There are no finished projects in this post, sry2say! I’ve been working on this coat for the past week, and I thought it might be beneficial to show some progress photos as well as share some tips :)

Anyway, let’s get down to business. Have y’all seen the newest addition to Sewaholic patterns – Robson Coat?! AHHH. I’m on Tasia’s pattern tester email list, and every time she sends out an email for testing, I’m almost always too busy with current projects/too poor to buy fabric (as was this case) so I have to pass… and I always think, “Man, I’m going to regret passing on this.” Sure enough, when the official announcement came out, I considered punching myself in the face out of frustration, because, FUCK. That coat is awesome and I need one, weather be dammed.

What really sealed the deal for me was getting an eyeful of Novita’s lace version. It’s just jaw-droppingly beautiful, and I immediately wanted to be a shameless copycat and make my own version (of course I asked first ;)).

This is the lace I am using for my coat:
Robson Progress - lace fabric
It’s from Mood, of course, and I think I bought the last of the bolt in the store so you can’t have it nyah nyah nyah ;) It’s labeled an outwear fabric, and it’s nice and weighty for a trench coat. At $20 a yard, it was definitely a splurge (and remember – I had to buy underlining, bias binding, buttons, thread, interfacing, all that fun stuff!), but I recalled Novita saying she only used 4m to make hers, so I ordered 4 yards and it was just enough. Yay! The lace is underlined with navy cotton sateen, and the bias binding is made with white/navy polka dot cotton batiste.

I’m not going to sugarcoat – this jacket requires quite a bit of stamina to make, as it takes a loong time. I spent at least 8 hours just prepping the dang thing, before I even got to sewing! Cutting the fabric pieces (twice, since they are underlined), making my own bias binding (because I clearly don’t have enough to do as it is), attaching the interfacing, basting the underlined pieces together, marking the notches, etc etc. I chose to do all this before I started sewing, just to get it out of the way.

Robson Progress - fusing interfacing

My garment press made fusing interfacing fun! I just stuck the pieces in the press, sprayed them with water, and set a timer on my phone for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, I flipped the pieces, sprayed them again, and fused for another 30 seconds. Since the press doesn’t require you to stand over it and hold it down (like an iron), I could get other things done in the meantime…

Robson Progress - thread

Such as prepping my thread and winding bobbins. My bobbin winder is amazing and self-motorized (no holding down the pedal!), so I was actually winding bobbins, fusing interfacing, AND dicking around on Instagram at the same time! GLORY.

Since my coat has several different colors going on, I am using three different thread colors. Part of what is making this take so long is that I have to keep changing out the thread with practically every step!

Robson Progress

Deciding on how I would handle the underlining took a lot of thought. Since my lace is see-through and the inside of the coat is not lined, I had to take that into consideration when it came to fusing the (BRIGHT WHITE) interfacing to my pieces. Thankfully, all the interfaced pieces do require a facing on the opposite side, so I simply fused my underlining to the wrong side of my cotton sateen.

Robson Progress - underlining

Then I stacked the lace on the sateen and basted the pieces together – all 30+ of them (yeah, there are a LOT of pieces in this pattern!). THAT PART TOOK FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER. Thankfully, I was able to get them machine-basted, which definitely sped up the process – I think I would have cried if I had to hand-baste all that!

More info on underlining can be found in this blog post, fyi!

Robson Progress - test button hole

I also had to consider how my button holes would look on the lace. Fortunately, my machine makes pretty awesome button holes, so combined with my new button hole cutter, I think they look pretty profesh, yeah?

I was planning to do a whole series of posts on this coat – but honestly, once I started sewing (like, actually sewing, and not prep :B), it’s pretty fast and straight forward! There isn’t a lot to elaborate on as far as the instructions are concerned. I did want to share a how I dealt with the binding, though – the instructions just have you fold the binding in half and wrap around the edges of the seam allowance (as like this), which is fine when you’re working with a lighter weight fabric – but not two thicker fabrics sewn together! I actually tried to bind a seam as per the instructions, and then laughed for about 20 minutes when I saw how ugly and sad it turned out!

So here’s my advice to you~ for those bound seams-

Robson Progress - trimming seam allowances

First, pull your seam allowances apart (you will need to remove the basting stitches holding the layers together) and trim down the shell fabric to 1/4″. This will greatly reduce the bulk of your seams, making it easier to wrap the bias binding around the remaining seam allowances.

Robson Progress - trimmed seam allowances

Here is the seam with the shell fabric (blue lace) trimmed down. You may also want to trim down your underlining at this point – not too much, just enough to get the edges even if they aren’t already. As a sidenote, sorry about all the thread/cat hair. Apparently, cotton sateen is a magnet for EVERYTHING. Who woulda thought?

Robson Progress - bias binding

Open one side of your bias tape and pin it to the seam allowances, right sides together with raw edges matching.

Robson Progress - bias binding

Sew the bias tape to the seam allowances – try to get your stitching line right along the opened fold. I use a long basting stitch for this step; it’s really just to keep things in place while you top stitch.

Robson Progress - bias binding

When you flip the binding to the other side, it should naturally fall into place.

Robson Progress - bias binding

Top stitch with a matching thread. See how nice that looks? It’s an extra step for sure, but totally worth it in my opinion. With a thicker fabric, it can be hard to get that tiny bias tape folded around the edge with an even stitch and both sides caught in the fold. I’d rather take my time and get things done right the first time, rather than try to take short-cuts that result in a personal one-on-one with my seam ripper :)

Robson Progress - grading seams

Another tip if you’re sewing the Robson is to be sure to aggressively grade those seam allowances by the collar, because they can get real thick real fast.

Robson Progress

I have the body mostly done at this point and it’s become quite a beast to wrangle under the sewing machine. I’ve taken to pulling my top drawer out and using it as a tabletop for the bulk of the coat.

fucking cat
fucking cat

Since all the interior seams are finished with binding, I haven’t needed my serger at all for this project – so I took the opportunity to take it in for it’s yearly cleaning/maintenance. As you can see, Amelia is pissed that she has to share her ~window seat~ with that dumb ol’ machine.

Anyway, it’s look great so far-

Robson Progress
Robson Progress

I love how nicely that collar rolls! Just beautiful!

I plan to have this finished within the next week or so. Since it’s for the Mood Sewing Network, The Big Reveal won’t be until May – sorry! I’m such a tease.

Tutorial: Using Bias Tape As A Facing

22 Feb

Continuing with my sewing-for-the-wrong-season theme (spring, please get here now!), my current project is a simple little gingham sundress. As I mentioned yesterday, I am using the Peony pattern sans sleeves – summer dresses don’t need sleeves! Here is my inspiration, if you wanna be inspired too!:) I squeezed this out of a sale remnant (1.5 yards @ 44″, if you’re curious!), which left no room for facings. That’s fine, I guess, because I don’t really feel like drafting facings for those arm holes. Onto the next best thing – bias tape!

Bias tape is a great alternative to facing – whether you are working with a fabric that is too thick to use as a facing, or too uncomfortable to wear next to the skin, or maybe you just want something lightweight & unfussy! It gives a nice clean finish with considerably little effort. I personally like to make my own bias tape – the Coletterie has a great tutorial on how to do this – as I find the packaged stuff to be too stiff and bulky. Making your own bias tape also gives you all kinds of options – contrasting colors, patterns, something to give the inside of your garment a little pop! Yellow bias tape would be so fun with this dress! I had to make do with what I had on hand, though, so mine is white.

Here is my method for sewing in a bias tape facing – I understand there are different ways to do this (such as Colette’s Sorbetto top), so use what you will!

You are going to start by sewing up your garment as usual – should seams, side seams – as we are going to insert the bias tape in the round. If you are using bias tape to face the neckline, insert your zipper as well. I’m just focusing on the arm holes here.

1
Trim down the seam allowance minus the width of the fold of your bias tape – in my case, my bias tape is 1/2″, so the folds are 1/4″. I trimmed off 1/2″, as the seam allowance for this is 5/8″.

2
Open up the bias tape and fold under 1/2″ at the beginning. Press.

3
On the right side of the garment, pin the opened bias tape right sides together around the arm hole, matching the raw edges.

4
Sew the whole thing down, positioning your needle in the crease of the bias tape. Don’t sew over your pins!!!

5
Clip the seam allowance every 1/2″ or so to ensure that the tape will lie smoothly. Be careful not to clip into your stitching. If your main fabric is bulky, you may want to grade down the seam as well.

6
Now fold the bias tape over so it is on the wrong side of the garment and carefully pin into place.
You can sew the tape down on your machine, or by hand (like I did). Sorry the picture doesn’t show so well! I slip-stitched to the underlining only, to keep the stitches from showing on the right side.

7
Give your arm holes a good press with the steam iron to ease out any wrinkles.

8
And you’re done!

9

My next dilemma – how to trim up this dress! I do want to incorporate some yellow, so I pulled out all my yellow notions & threw them in a pile in the middle of my sewing table. I have buttons (1/2″ and giant 1.5″!), tiny rick-rack, wide lace, a scant piece of piping (enough for maybe a neckline or a waist), seam binding, and of course the petersham that is choking poor Dolly. The petersham is probably going to turn into a belt, since I only have a yard of it. What would you do? Jazz it up, or keep it simple?

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