Sewing the Robson Trench Coat, part 2

29 Apr

Following up on last week’s Robson progress post, I have a few more bits and pieces I’d like to share before the ~big reveal~. I normally hate dragging these types of projects out over several posts, but I think this coat deserves more than just a single post (plus, I haven’t taken pictures of my newest projects! So consider this filler, ha!).

Robson Progress

Last week, I left off with the main body of the coat completed – everything from the collar, to the facing, to the hem. All that was left was the sleeves, the belt and belt loops, and the buttons. Easy enough, yeah?

I WISH. I about killed myself over those dumb ol’ sleeves! Putting them together was easy – even with the added step of trimming/grading the sleeves and adding the bias binding – but setting them in took me close to 2 hours, and there was lots of scream-cussing involved. The hardest part was getting the bias binding on the sleeve seam allowance once everything was set in – mostly because the area was obscenely thick with all those fabric layers, and also because I’m an idiot and I trimmed the seam allowances to super short before putting on the bias binding.

PROTIP: Sew one side of the bias binding on before you trim down those seam allowances. It will give you much more leeway in an area that’s already pretty tight to maneuver around.

Lace Trench

I will say that, despite my troubles, those sleeves set in perfectly the first time – and they look beautiful! The drafting on this thing is pretty amazing.

Lace Trench

Hemming the sleeves was also kind of tough, because the total circumference of the sleeve was smaller than the circumference by the throat plate. Which means I couldn’t just slide the sleeve over the arm of my sewing machine and go in the round – I had to do some horrible wedging and go VERY VERY slowly. To keep my hem even, I stuck a piece of tape on the arm of my machine (you can barely see it in this picture, if you squint) and used that as a guideline. My hems turned out pretty straight and even – not that you can see it with that busy lace pattern :B

I did come across one problem when sewing the sleeve tabs – the pattern calls for you to sew 3 edges, right sides together, and then turn right side out and press. Well, I tried that…

Lace Trench
Lace Trench

And, um well, I’m not sure exactly what happened. HAHA. I guess my loop turner just grabbed the lace and not both layers? Anyway, I was able to shove the underlining back inside the lace tube with a knitting needle, but it made me think about how I was going to tackle the belt and belt loops, since they are also sewn the same way.

To make the belt loops, I followed the same procedure as for the Thurlow belt loops. You can see a tutorial on that here (from my Thurlow sew-along!).

Lace Trench

For the belt, I folded in 5/8″ along each edge and pressed it.

Lace Trench

Then I folded the whole thing in half…

Lace Trench

And topstitched along all four sides. This made for a nice, crisp belt – without having to worry about turning a long tube and ending up with that… thing.

Lace Trench

Here is my finished belt. As you can see, I made a few changes – I decided to use a buckle instead of tying the belt, as I think it makes the coat look a little more trench-y. It’s just a basic self-covered buckle that I pulled out of my stash, and covered with the navy sateen that I used for underlining (also, the sticky guide in the kit was all dried up, so I used spray-mount on the fabric to get it to stick aaaaand I didn’t go outside to do this, so my sewing room may or may not be covered with spray glue jsyk). I also narrowed the belt by about an inch – I’m not sure exactly how much, I just kept hacking at it until it fit in the buckle. With this in mind, the belt loops were also shortened to accommodate the narrower belt.

With all that done, it was time to add the button holes and buttons! Not much to report on that – I used my button hole cutter to slice through the holes, and I am pleased to report that they are decidedly unhairy. The buttons were sewn on with silk thread, which I first ran through beeswax – I wanted them to stay on that damn coat! I moved the bottom buttons outward slightly, so the coat is more straight than A-line (I just think that suits my figure better!). Oh, and I didn’t bother with the interior buttons – I don’t ever use those things anyway, meh.

As it stands now, the coat is finished! I am so proud of it and I can’t WAIT to show it off 🙂 I even got some super-fancy pictures taken, and damn it looks good.

Here is a sneaky peek because I can’t help myself.


Stay tuned!


51 Responses to “Sewing the Robson Trench Coat, part 2”

  1. Sabs April 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Oh I’m all a-quiver just waiting for the finished photos..

  2. shaewc April 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your coat!! Makes me want to make something in eyelet or lace for the summer!

  3. CarolinasCallin April 29, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Super cute! Can’t wait to see it in all its glory 🙂 Well done – and great idea on the belt. I HATE turning things inside out…!

  4. Rachel April 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    Looks great. Very professional sewing and a fantastic colour! Good on you.

  5. jennymoulden April 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    You big tease! This is looking amazing though, can’t wait to see the whole coat in all its glory!!

    When I need to see something like a sleeve which is narrower than the plate, I turn it inside out & sew from the inside. I’m not sure if I explained that very well…. hopefully someone else does the same thing who has a better way with words & leaves a comment :-P. Anyway, it makes the whole process tons easier!

    • jennymoulden April 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

      Oops- sew something, not see something!

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

      I considered that, but I firmly believe that topstitching is 1000x prettier on the top than the bottom, so I try to face all my toptstitching with the needle on top (instead of the bobbin). Does that make sense? Of course, now that I look at the sleeves… you can’t see the topstitching anyway! Oh well! :B

      • weeza April 30, 2013 at 8:01 am #

        I use a flat bed treadle sometimes as it does a very nice stitch, and sew my topstitching on cuffs with the sleeve inside out. The right side is still facing you (so you are still topstitching with the needle on top) but instead of having to keep the rest of the cuff out of the way underneath, pulling it away from the needle plate, it circles on top, so you’re pulling it away from the needle. I find it easier. Your coat looks lovely, can’t wait to see the reveal!

        • Nykied April 30, 2013 at 11:30 am #

          It took me a few read to see what you mean but – genius! Thanks :o)

        • Carolyn April 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

          This is just what I was going to suggest. I don’t know if this will help with clarity (this is a tricky thing to describe), but I would just add that you don’t sew from the inside/underside with the sleeve right-side-out, but turn the whole sleeve inside-out so that the right side of the sleeve is now the inside/underside. Did that help, or just make it more confusing? :o/

          I use this technique for all small openings and sleeves and it makes it SO. MUCH. EASIER.

  6. kristiellkay April 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    Holy CRAP the inside pics don’t do it justice!! That blue! WANT NOW haha

  7. sewbusylizzy April 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    OMG I am just about writhing on the floor with jealousy. Beyond f’ing fabulous.

  8. Helen April 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    This is stunning and you make it all sound so easy! Can’t wait to see those super-fancy photos!

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      It WAS easy (well, except for binding those arm holes, hahahaha)! Just very very time-consuming. Totally worth it, though 🙂

  9. CGCouture April 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Can’t wait to see the final pics, this thing is so freaking gorgeous!!

  10. MarrieB April 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Loving this already, can’t wait for the big reveal! I finished mine Sunday, and wore it for the first time today. This is such a fabulous pattern, I want to make another one, but not sure how many trench coats one really needs.

  11. walldruggie April 29, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    I am sewing most of my tabs, belt loops, straps/belts with the press seam allowance down and topstitch on the outside method. The first belt I ever made (that’s when I was going to make a living sewing unique fabric belts with great thrifted buckles) took a couple of hours and lots of frustration to turn inside out . . . then there’s the rolling/ironing that took another couple of hours. Life’s too short . . . and I get much better edges.

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      You’re totally right, my edges look fucking perfect now since I didn’t have to turn them out 🙂

  12. mancunianvintage April 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Ooh cannot wait to see the finished product – it looks so good just from the snapshots we’ve seen!

  13. Leila April 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    string us along…you know we’re gonna keep reading. ha!

  14. Fiona April 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    I cannot wait to see! The suspense is killing me!

  15. Clipped Curves April 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Please, please can we have lots of pics of the inside? I’m desperate so see how aesthetically pleasing it is… I know you’ve put loads of effort into making it pretty on the inside too.

    • LLADYBIRD April 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      Oh yes, lots of inside pictures! 😉

  16. Katie April 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Looks beautiful! I run into that problem with sleeve hemming a lot when I sew for my kids–the sleeves on kids clothes are WAY to small to fit around the throat plate. I actually have the best luck turning it all around and sewing inside the sleeve, if that makes any sense, rather than trying to wedge those tiny openings in.

  17. missparayim April 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    That lace is gorgeous! I can’t wait to see the finished coat!

  18. Ruth Meek April 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    I’m on pins & needles waiting to see the whole coat!!! I must buy this pattern & look for a similar fabric!

  19. missjoiedevivre April 29, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Holy moly this is amazing!!! Can’t wait to see the finished thing.

  20. goodbyevalentino April 29, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    I’m on the edge of my seat. No kidding – this is going to be spectacular!

  21. weefrills April 29, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    Really wonderful, a work of art.

  22. lisa g April 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    so pretty! a labor of love for sure, can’t wait to see!

  23. Rochelle New April 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Ooooo can’t wait to see more! It’s looking glorious. You tease, you!

  24. ambybambi April 29, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Yay congrats! I adore the fabric, it does seem like one that I would want to wrap myself in and be afraid to cut!! Cant wait for the big reveal 🙂 ♡

  25. Dumb Emily April 29, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    You continue to inspire me to focus on the details! Left to myself, I’m a big picture gal, but the things you make are so thoroughly well done to the last thread that you’ve convinced me it makes a difference.

  26. Nay April 29, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    I think there might be a few more shameless copies out there soon!

  27. jenny in oz April 29, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    OH WOW !! That looks like one spectacularly expensive designer coat. Well done.

  28. myrosesindecember April 29, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    What an exquisite raincoat. The fabric is wonderful. Have you shared where you found it? I sew for antique dolls and made a coat very similar to that from one of the 1930s patterns. It was white eyelet with a pink underlining and so sweet. Would love to make a darker one for myself.

  29. maddie April 29, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    Damn, I can’t wait for you to show off the coat too! You put so much hard work into this and it looks awesome from all the photos you’ve shown. Good job and sticking with this project from start to finish.

  30. christine haynes April 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    can’t wait to see it all done! it looks amazing so far!

  31. Kay April 30, 2013 at 2:58 am #

    I’m ready to see it because the fabric looks awesome!

  32. Amanda April 30, 2013 at 5:27 am #

    Sassy minx! Looking forward to seeing all the inside shots!

  33. kazzthespazz April 30, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    Ah you tease can’t wait to see your fancy pic’s, those fabrics you chose look smashing. I need to get this pattern, well done lady.

  34. Kiwimel April 30, 2013 at 5:40 am #

    I love this, it looks so gorgeous. I’m adoring the eyelet lace. 🙂 well done you

  35. Lori April 30, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    This looks amazing, I am in love with the coat and fabric. Great job.

  36. sewcookgardenrepeat April 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Can’t wait to see it! And I’ve never worked with beeswax but have always been curious. Tips/tricks?

  37. Portia May 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Aw, Lady! This is all kinds of gorgeousness!

  38. Kelly May 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    ooh, this is going to be beautiful!! I can’t wait to see it 🙂


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