Friday, 19 December 2014

Freemantle coat - VIEW B up close!

I've been wondering whether or not I should go into details about the name of my newest pattern. At first I was not going to go into it, but why not? It is not without meaning and maybe you would be interested. It is named 'Freemantle', which is my maiden name and means cloak maker in ye olde English. When I was growing up and making clothes, I chose to interpret this as clothes maker and (in a silly way) felt that it was my destiny to sew for a living (which I did). Now I interpret it more truthfully as coat maker and thought it was a fitting name for a coat pattern. Ha, see I do have hidden depths really!

Right now to show you more of the workings of the coat! I think that it's important to go into more detail with this garment as there are so many really cool details that I find hard to explain accurately in the product description. The insides are my favourite bit and I am dying to show them off some more. This sample is also my favourite version (black and white version a close second).

First to answer a question that I have not been asked yet! Why underline it and not do a traditional lining?

Well, I played around with a loose lining and found that it billowed too much in this loose shape (even when anchored at the underarm). It was causing strange ripples and bulky shapes to the outside of the coat, so I decided to scrap that and line it in a way that made sense to me.

I have used brushed cotton for most of my underlining, as it is snuggly and warm. Catching on clothes isn't so much of an issue I don't find, because of the loose fit.

Bias binding is applied everywhere that is visible and then all seams are hand sewn to the underlining to keep the insides looking neat.

 I know that not everyone is a great lover of hand sewing, but my approach is to sew neat, but do fast and long rather than slow and tiny stitches. I have seen people hand sew in the past with the most minute little stitches, but honestly I'm not that festidious. I think working as a curtain maker has ruined me, as I used to have to hand sew everything apart from the heading tapes. As you can imagine, stitches got longer and longer, so when I am slip stitching something like the seams where they just need to be held down really, my stitches can be anything between 1cm and 1.5cm in length. Everyone is different, but that's my advice!

One hand stitch detail that I did take some care over was this exposed, snipped edge. There are two snips on each sleeve seam allowance, which don't quite get covered by the binding, so I have just bound these small areas by hand with a blanket stitch. It is barely noticeable and takes no time to do, but if someone did get really close to my coat then I know that I have nothing to be ashamed of ;-)

I guess whilst I'm riding this hand stitched train, I may as well mention the poppers. I did a small slipstith to outline the poppers on the coat front. This looks really nice (if subtle) and I am super please with it as a design detail. It also performs the function of holding all of the front layers together, which is an added bonus.

I used a chunky knitted ribbing for the cuffs on this coat which is very thick. Because of the thickness of the coat fabric and cuffs I decided to hand sew the binding over the top rather than do any machining, as I knew I wasn't going to achieve a finish I would be happy with on the machine. Sometimes it pays to take the slower option! I got my ribbing from here

One area I am really struggling to explain and photograph in a flattering light is the sleeve gusset extension. It is a gusset that is grown on to the front sleeve edge and wraps round to the back. It sounds way more complicated than it is and I provide detailed instructions for you to follow when sewing, but I cannot illustrate it very well as a 3D model. Here are some pictures for your reference anyway, but they are a really interesting feature, if a little strange and difficult to photograph!

Last  of all is the yummy seam detail around the collar of this version. I love how the colour blocking really shows this off, but I am also keen to see this as a block colour. Maybe in a grey or a black. I hope to make another one day, but maybe not just yet!

Here's a bit more detail about the fabrics I used...

For my main fabric I sourced a vintage length of unused camel hair fabric, which seemed to sit perfectly with some other scrappy pieces I had about the place. The camel hair is a bit itchy, so I used a wool/mohair blend for the collar piece and a cashmere/wool blend for the sleeves. All have a hairy texture and go well together I think. I used the cahmere/wool blend for the facings and pockets too as this is sooo soft. To be honest, the cashmere blend was intended for a block colour sample, but I made it too early on and didn't like the fit, so scrapped it and re-used what I could. Gutted!

The underlining is a combination of a striped brushed cotton and an oatmeal brushed cotton with black fleck. I didn't have enough of either to complete the job, but fortunately they look good together. The black bias binding was used on all samples, because it seemed to look good on them all and I bought a 50 metre roll for a tenner. I was determined to use this as often as possible!

The ribbing for the cuff is as previously detailed!

I hope that you have enjoyed taking a tour of the insides of my coat and I shall be talking about an alternative method of lining the coat with no exposed seams very soon. I cannot promise no hand sewing, just considerably less!!!!