Good morning, sewalongers! This is the week we finish up our coats – woohoo!! (and those of y’all who are not following the sewalong – this is the last week you have to skip a boring sewalong post! Woohoo!). Can you just feel the excitement radiating in the air? ;)
So, the good news is – this is the final construction post before we have our sharextravaganza next week. The bad news – it’s a HELLUVA post. Lots and lots of pictures (in advance: I’m soooo sorry! Tried to cull them down as much as possible. On the flip side, none of them are of me ;) lolololol), lots of little fiddly steps here. On the flip side, this is all finishing – which means when it’s done, the coat is done – but expect this to take some time, especially since there is lots of hand sewing in this section.
Anyway, onto finishing!
The first thing you will want to do is sew the bias facing to both of the opening edges of the coat front, as well as along the neckline and across the hem. I’m not going to go into detail of how to do the facing – we’ve all done enough bias facing on this coat, I think most of us can do it in our sleep at this point ;) – but I did want to mention a couple little tips that helped me.
Then simply press the facing to the inside of the coat. You will want to hand baste this in place, which will give you greater control when top stitching (especially important at those coat front edges).
At the hem and neckline, you may find that where you are intersecting seams tends to be *very* bulky – like, so bulky that you can barely turn the facing to the inside. I used my scissors to chop out as much of the bulk as possible (being careful not to cut into the stitching line or outside of the seam allowances), and them hammered them down like crazy with my clapper, to make things very flat.
Actually, if you have a clapper – it’s a good idea to smack down those edges after you’ve top stitched them, to flatten them as much as possible and give them a nice sharp crease. This will make your coat look much more professional :)
Now, for the button holes! Fair warning – these took foreveeeeer to finish! Lots of fiddly pieces, lots of fiddly hand stitching. I know at this point, most of y’all are probably over this coat and just want to finish so it can be worn, but please take your time with these steps. The button holes are one of the most visible parts of the coat, and you don’t want them to look sloppy!
Remember when we sewed around the edges of where the button holes would go? Now you need to cut right in the middle of those stitches. I first used chalk to mark where the V would start, and then cut along the lines indicated. Cut right up to the stitching, but not through it.
To make the button hole binding, find those 4 bias pieces you cut, and press down one long edge about 1/4″. You will want to cut the binding into 20 pieces – 4 pieces will be 2.5″ long, and 16 pieces will be 2.75″ long. You should have enough binding to cut exactly the number of pieces needed (if for some reason you screw up and need more binding – just salvage a piece of leftover facing, and cut it in half at the fold. Y’all have lots of bias facing left over, right? I do hahaha). Fold in 1/4″ at short edges of each little piece and press. Yes, this part takes forever. Sorry.
On the bottom of your button hole, pin a piece of binding with the right sides facing and the raw edges matching. The edge that meets the front edge of the coat should be flush, the edge against the end of the button hole should extend a bit farther. Be aware of what binding goes on what button hole – the 2.5″ binding is for the top 2 button holes (on the left and right side of the coat front); the remaining binding is for the remaining button holes.
Sew the binding to the coat, stitching along your original stitching lines. I found it easier to do this from the inside, so I could make sure I was sewing in the correct place. When you get to the end of your stitching line – where the stitching pivots to the end of the button hole – stop and back stitch. Do not go any farther than the existing stitching line.
Your binding should look like this on the outside of your coat. Notice that the stitching does not go all the way across to the tip of the binding. This is good; it means we can pull the end of the binding to the inside.
For the end of the binding that is by the V you clipped, pull all the binding to the inside of the coat and pin down. This should cover the V completely, but if not, you can always clip whatever is sticking out :)
The next thing you nee to do is slipstitch alllllll those bindings invisibly to the inside of the coat. Yep! This part takes forever! I also stitched my bindings so the edges encased the edge of the coat front, as well as slip stitched the open ends together with a few stitches. When you get to where the binding covers the triangle, be sure to catch that in your stitches so the button hole is secure. Check from the front occasionally to make sure everything looks good, especially making sure that triangle is pushed all the way to the inside of the coat and not sticking out.
Next up is thread bartacks! Start by marking where the bartacks will go – you will have 4 total for each button hole – left and right (so a total of… 40. Woof.). There will be a bartack at each end of the button hole, plus another bartack 1/2″ from each end. I marked mind with chalk.
The bartacks will go faster/look better if you thread up with multiple strands. I used 3 strands of thread, and then doubled my needle, for a total of 6. You can also use embroidery floss – I just didn’t have any of the right color on hand.
Pull the needle to the outside and stitch across the button hole to the other side, letting the thread connect the two sides. Make another knot on the inside (or, again, secure with a few stitches), and then pull the needle back to the outside.
Pull the loop until it knots at the end. Repeat this over and over until you have a chain of knots that completely covers the thread. This is your bartack. Do this 4 times for every button hole. Also, have a glass of wine while you’re doing this – you’ll be sitting for a hot minute ;)
Some bartack tips:
– You will get better as you do these! I recommend starting with the button side first, at the bottom button hole, so your practice attempts won’t be as easily seen :) Of course, you could practice on scraps first – but, naw, not me!
– Don’t pull the knots too tight, or you will distort them and they won’t be as pretty :(
– Try to make your knots in the same direction as you go – this will keep them uniform and hopefully prevent twisting!
– If at all possible, try to do these in one sitting. The repetition means you will get better as you do it, so if you complete them all in one sitting, you won’t need to go through multiple learning curves (than if you picked it up several times during the week).
– The original Rucci coat has the bartacks continue on the back side of the bound button holes as well. The instructions for this pattern only call for the bartacking in the front (which is what I did). If you want to mimic the original and bartack the back of the button holes – well, don’t let me stop you :)
– Don’t get too hung up on perfection – yes, you want these to look nice, but at the same time, most of them will be covered by the buttons. Not worth killing yourself over!
Once you’ve finished your loops, time to sew on those buttons! Sew the buttons in the middle of the binding on the left front, catching both bindings in the stitches. For the top button, sew it 1/2″ away from the edge (it won’t be quite in the middle).
You can also go ahead and sew those back buttons on the belt. The pattern actually has you make button holes first – which of course you can do, but I omitted mine.
One word of note about the belt – don’t try to cinch it in too tight, or you’ll create gathers on the coat sides. Pin the belt closed first, and try it on to make sure everything is smooth and flat.
Finally, all that’s left is the sleeves. Go ahead and hem them with the bias facing – same concept as the other hemming and facing we did in these steps.
The last thing we will do is make these little sleeve binding pieces, to cover the edge where all the crazy sleeve seams intersect. Cut 2 pieces that are approximately 1.5″ long by 1″ tall (or possibly taller, if your fabric is very thick and bulky – I cut mine 2″x2″, because my fabric required the extra room!). Fold one long edge under 1/4″ and press, and both short edges as well.
Sew the binding to the outside of the sleeve, with the right sides facing, at the point where all the seams intersect. Sew right along your topstitching line. If your fabric is bulky, you may want to trim down the seam allowance of this binding piece.
Turn the binding to the inside, wrapping around the sleeve hem and being sure that all folded edges are tucked under. Slipstitch around the 3 edges and press. Again, this is a good time to use your clapper to really flatten those seams. Gah, you guys must think I have stock in clappers at this point hahaha.
Whew! That’s all for this post – AND THIS COAT! How’s everyone coming along with their coats? I’ve been loving all the progressing (and some completed!) coats that are popping up in the Flickr Group. You’re SO almost done!! If you want to show off your coat in our Parade of Coats next week (which, obvs, you should!), you have a few options – you can upload to the the Flickr Group, and you can also upload to the Pinterest Fan Gallery. Be sure to use the hashtag #v1419Sewalong so you’ll appear in our Tagboard, where we will also be pulling finished coat photos. Can’t wait to see everyone’s coats!! :D