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October 16

Final Tailoring of my Gertie Coat

After nearly sewing all day on Saturday and in bits and pieces on Sunday, I (surprisingly) finished all of my hand sewing/tailoring on my Gertie Coat (aka B5824).  What’s even better is that I’m nearly caught up to where Gertie is in her sew-along even though I added all of this additional tailoring work!  :)

This was a ton of stitching!  For each pad-stitching row (or diagonal column looking at the images) took 1 length of thread.  Each side bodice took at least (AT LEAST) 20 lengths of thread.  Keep in mind I wax all of my thread & then press it with the iron to keep the thread strong and knot free, which in itself was quite a job.

Here is the bodice after I finished all of the pad-stitching but before I attached the final tailor’s tape to the outer edge of the collar.

The tailor’s tape at the roll line helps keep everything in place for the turn of cloth (and helps keep the bust gape-free) while the tailor’s tape (or twill tape) at this outside edge ensures that the collar will retain its shape for all time; it won’t sag under the pressure of the outside collar weight nor will it get out of shape with frequent wearings.

What I actually had a lot of fun doing was ironing the tailor’s tape to exactly mimic the same shape of the collar (with the 5/8″ seam allowance).  You basically press the tape slowly over the pattern piece to get just the right curves.  I felt like such a pro when I was doing this step.  heh

I stitched the tailor’s tape to the collar with two rows of uneven (and permanent) basting stitches.

Another detail shot:

And one more detail shot for fun:

So many little lines of stitching.  *Phew*  I’m not sure if you see the bumpy stitching on the tailor’s tape on the right side of the bodice, but that’s my attempt to stitch nicely over the ultra thick, bound buttonholes.

What I’m going to have a hard time doing is: covering all of this work up with the outer collar.  While I hope my finished coat will end up looking just the way I see it in my head, it’s difficult to hide all of my hard work on the inside and not showcase it on the outside.

When I made my Lady Grey coat 2 years ago, I wasn’t blogging/documenting my work at the time so I never took any photos of it besides what it looked like at the very end.  Being my second coat, I’m feeling quite determined to take more photos of the various steps just so I have some history of what it looks like on the inside before it gets all covered up.

My Next Steps:  Seam the center back of the collar together, stitch the bodice back pieces together, and then stitch the fronts to the backs.  After all this is done, I can then steam the under-collar overnight to set the roll line.  My bodice is soo close to looking like a bodice, I can’t wait to try it on!  :)  It’s always the moment of truth after doing all of this work, just hoping that it fits just right.

  1. meredith / Oct 16 2012

    There is no way I’d be able to cover up all that work! :) But then, I think about the fabulous coat that will last you for ages & ages, and it seems like an excellent investment of time.

    I’m really glad you have so many pictures! I’m not quite ready to make a coat but when I do… your work is the ultimate benchmark!

  2. Sew Little Time / Oct 16 2012

    wow – your stitching is so neat! looks fantastic! and it will be worth it in the final coat. can’t wait to see the bodice on!

  3. Charity Shop Chic / Oct 16 2012

    Hi Liz, your hand stitching is really beautiful! So even! I wish I had your patience.

    I’m a bit confused though, I thought when you do pad stitching the aim was to get the under collar to keep its (3D) curved shape of its own accord. So when I do it (which admittedly isn’t often), I try to exaggerate this effect and tighten the stitches a lot so the undercollar is distinctly curved, from the roll line to the outside edge. I go to great lengths getting it to not lie flat like it does in your final picture. Am I doing it wrong, am I exaggerating it too much? Should this effect come from steaming only?

    • chris / Oct 16 2012

      I was thinking the same thing – that the pad stitching is to curve the collar/lapel. although if you plan to press the collar flat as in most rtw then it doesn’t matter as much.

    • Liz / Oct 16 2012

      Hey ladies! You’re both correct so let me explain.

      The pad stitching done by hand is primarily used to shape the undercollar. But at a certain point, the pad stitching acts as the glue to keep your interfacing (horse hair canvas) attached to the fabric.
      On my collar I did the first several lines of pad stitching to form the roll line. And yes I did stitch tighter at this area to really get the roll line to form itself. But after that I held my collar flat against the table. I had already worked on forming the roll line so it wasn’t neccessary that I keep holding the whole collar at that roll line.

      Even though my collar looks flat, it really has a roll line built in. When I went to flip my collar over, it flipped itself quite naturally right at the roll line, which is what you want.

      Also, all of these pictures were taken before I took the collar to my ironing board to give it a good steaming (which I’ll be showing tomorrow). Steaming the collar creates memory in the horsehair canvas and also in the wool fabric so that the roll line always stays in tact while I’m wearing the coat. I find steaming is essential in forming the roll line! The stitching is act 1 and steaming is act 2. :)

      To address stitching tension (tight stitching) you really don’t want to stitch too tightly or else you’re going to get some major puckers on the underside of your collar. For mine, outside the roll line, my stitches are on the looser side (they’re not tight, but not baggy either), this allows for the fabric to move freely yet the horsehair moves right along with it. If it’s too tight of stitching the movement is restricted.

      And the last thing I’ll say….
      Most of the thoughts I wrote above are for collars in general, but my steps are for the shawl collar. I only applied the tailor’s tape to the shoulder line (and not beyond) since the collar at the back of the neck is a different beast. I didn’t do any special stitching to aid the back collar (behind my neck) since for this style, the shawl collar is more freeform.

      But if you’re doing a more traditional collar, the back neck collar will need the roll line formed throughout the whole thing to get it to lay properly (more roll to form).

      Have I completly confused you guys?! I hope not… But please comment back to me to keep the conversation going if you have more questions/thoughts. :)

      • Charity Shop Chic / Oct 16 2012

        Thanks for such a detailed explanation! I learn such a lot from your blog :)

        I am a bit of a cheat and used fusible interfacing on my last collar (I can hear you all doing a sharp intake of breath – don’t judge me, please!), so the pad stitching for me was more about shaping than holding the layers together. I forgot that it has this other function too.

        I guess it doesn’t require that much tension on the stitches to just gently nudge it to falling exactly on the roll line. Also, I had not considered that the outside edge on a shawl collar doesn’t really need to roll inwards, like it would on (eg) a mens’ suit – that part is (rightly) flat on your collar.

        Thanks again for taking the time to explain. Can’t wait to see how your coat develops.

        • Liz / Oct 16 2012

          Heh I’m not gasping! :) I can see why you stitched a bit tighter now since you used a fusible interfacing, get more shaping in there since the glue has a tendencey to make things firmer.

          Men suits are a whole ‘nother beast (as are notched collars)! The shawl collar is more gentle and doesn’t really require manhandling like the other types may need. :)

      • chris / Oct 16 2012

        very nicely explained :) And I would agree that tight stitching can cause issues with the fabric puckering. looking forward to seeing it all come together for you.

        • Liz / Oct 16 2012

          Thanks Chris. :) I’m going to be blogging all about this exchange tomorrow too since it brings up lots of good points I forgot to include in the real blog post.

  4. Annabelle / Oct 16 2012

    Okay, how did you learn how to do this? Seriously, I really want to make a coat, but I would never know to do something like this if it wasn’t included as a detailed step within the directions.

    • Liz / Oct 16 2012

      I did Gertie’s Lady Grey Sewalong 2 years ago which was my first introduction to tailoring. It’s all still on her blog which are great instructions.

      But secondly, I bought a tailoring book and I followed that this time around. I’m a sewing nerd and love reading about this stuff. :)

      Here’s some links for Gertie’s Site that details some tailoring steps:

      Pad Stitching & Seaming the Undercollar (back neck collar)

      Tailoring Front Coat Part 1
      Tailoring Front Coat Part 2
      Tailoring Front Coat Part 3

    • Sew Little Time / Oct 17 2012

      annabelle – have you got a copy of gertie’s book? it’s really worth a look if you want to try some tailoring as it’s very clearly explained (the the pics and patterns are lovely!)

  5. Awfulknitter / Oct 16 2012

    I too am in awe of your handstitching! I feel like throwing myself on my knees crying “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!”

    • Liz / Oct 16 2012

      You’re so funny!!! Obviously you didn’t see where I messed bits and pieces of my stitching. :)

      Truthfully I still feel like my handstitching is lacking, but I can admit that I’ve been getting better at it with practice.

  6. Melanie / Oct 16 2012

    Thankyou for sharing your inner workings, I had no idea about tailoring. Seeing this really demonstrates how intricate and detailed the work is. Your coat is going to be beautiful and will last you many years! I hope one day I get this good (and patient).
    We’re heading into summer down here in Sydney and the last thing I feel like making is a coat, but I’m storing up all these tips for next year! Thanks again for blogging about it.

  7. Melanie / Oct 16 2012

    Holy cow your stitching is so tidy!! That coat is going to be so lovely, and a perfect color for you.

  8. Liz / Oct 16 2012

    Wow – that is so tidy, you might have to make it inside out just to show off your workmanship! Almost seems a waste to hide it within!
    This has all the makings of a fine coat to last many, many years.

  9. Neeno / Oct 16 2012

    WOW. That’s fantastic hand stitching! good effort xx

  10. Ginger / Oct 17 2012

    This looks so beautiful! I love looking at all the neat, tidy stitches! Great work, gal!

  11. floweryhoney / Nov 6 2012

    hi liz, im new here(-: and am only starting learning about “couture sewing” – which i find is what you do. i was looking for a tutorial page about couture tailoring for ages and now found your blog by chance(-:. i from germany and am very sick from lyme disease, since very long – and its killing me i cant “do” anything productiv with my hands at the moment. so i will now do the theory with your blog(-:. am eager learnig all i can from you(-:

    may i ask you some questions?: (-:

    could you explain to me the the pad stitch – maybe a photo where i can see how it is been done in detail – cause ive never done it this would be sooo nice of you(-:

    and why is it hard to sew the actual outer collar to this inner collar, what do i need to take care of whilst doing so?

    if i am doing a winter-padded coat with thicker interfacing, do i also use horse interfacing (in addition to the thick padding)?

    1/8 inch is 0.3mm right?

    thank you sooooo much!!! for your blog and everything!

    • Liz / Nov 6 2012

      No worries about asking so many questions! :)

      I first learned about pad stitching from Gertie’s Blog here: http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2010/10/pad-stitching-and-steaming-undercollar.html

      She has better close up and step by step images for you on this (more than I do at present).

      “Why is it hard to sew the actual outer collar to this inner collar, what do i need to take care of whilst doing so?”
      For me, since I made some alterations to my undercollar I have to make the same adjustments to the outer collar. But it’s going to be even more difficult for me since I’m planning on adding in an embellishment that’s going to require some pattern drafting/altering skills. If you stick with the actual pattern for whatever coat you’re planning on making, you should be fine. :)

      “If i am doing a winter-padded coat with thicker interfacing, do i also use horse interfacing (in addition to the thick padding)?” This pretty much depends on the fabric you’re using. But a general rule of thumb is that the horsehair interfacing is what is shaping the outside coat fabric not the padding underneath that is used for warmth.

      1/8 inch is 3.175 millimeters

  12. floweryhoney / Nov 6 2012

    does the tailors tape at the outer edge also help prevent the underside from showing at the edge? so the seamline is neat? then i could also use it if i sew a piece without the interfacing right? (-:

    • Liz / Nov 6 2012

      The tailors tape isn’t a good substitute for interfacing. I used tailors tape here to help the collar retain it’s shape. Over time the collar may warp and stretch, the tailors tape is non-stretchy and will help the collar stay in the perfectly curved shape for all time.

  13. floweryhoney / Nov 6 2012

    yea i meant if i sew sth light with no interfacing, then i might also use the tape

    • Liz / Nov 6 2012

      Just an fyi, the tape is usually stitched just inside the seam allowance so it doesn’t add bulk.

  14. floweryhoney / Nov 7 2012

    ah yes thanks so much liz your a wunderful teacher!
    so for inside the seam allowence i do stitch it on the right side of fabric?

  15. Visitor / May 24 2015

    A lot of painstaking work in evidence. One note: pad stitching is supposed to be staggered, otherwise it can create a ridge that shows on the outside.

    • Liz / Jun 3 2015

      Thanks so much for your input, I’ll keep this in my for my next tailoring project. But so far, I haven’t seen any lines on my coats from my pad stitching. I imagine it’s much more important with thinner fabrics.

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