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A Finished Coat and how to wear it - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Tuesday, March 2, 2021



We're done!! Can you believe it! There was A LOT covered in the Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along, but hopefully it has given you all the confidence you need to tackle sewing up Willa - just in time for the cool weather to hit down here in NZ and for those chilly spring evenings up in the northern parts of the world. 



And here is my finished coat. The great thing about Willa is that you can wear it so many ways, and how you choose to wear it can give it an entirely different look.


Wear it fully buttoned up, and tied at the waist, for those chilly, windy days - no scarf required! Or, leave the belt at home and go fuss free.



Open the top button for the full dramatic collar - a lovely choice for an evening out. Or, leave your coat completely open, maybe with the belt tied at the back for a little shaping if you feel like it.



Each little tweak can totally transform your coat, which means you're ready to go, no matter the occasion. Casual cool with cropped pedal pushers and ballet flats (I was going for an Audrey Hepburn-vibe with the styling here) or glamorous evening with strappy heels and a sparkly dress. Or nipping out to work with boots and crisp white shirt to collecting the kids from school, gumboots and umbrella in tow.


Here's a quick round up of different things I did for my coat...


I used a palm tree rayon lining and a thick, felted, forest green wool. My fabric was very very thick so I only interfaced certain areas (the hems and the back of the buttons). I added in-seam pockets (free pattern piece here) instead of the included patch pockets, and chose to add a thread chain in place of the included belt loops (again, because my fabric was very thick).






For the full Sew Along post round up, you can head over here. And you can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat sewing pattern here.


And that's a wrap (coat)!


xx

J

Hemming a Lined Garment, two ways (with video!) - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Monday, March 1, 2021


We're nearly done, can you believe it?! We just have to sew up that hole in the back hem of your Willa Wrap Coat and then you can strut your stuff. You can do this two ways - either hand-stitch it shut OR do it with your sewing machine. 


Don't forget to sew your hem seam allowances back onto themselves along the bottom before you turn your coat out (or as you're hand-stitching, if that's your preferred option). Because you don't have a 'stitched' hem, it can flop down if you don't do this at each princess/side seam section - I show you how to do this from 2:28 in the video below, but it's the same technique we used for hemming the sleeves.


Check out the video below...




Tomorrow I'll show you my final Willa in all it's glory. I'm looking forward to the cooler weather so I can properly give it it's first outing, it was boiling hot the day we took those photos but the mornings are getting darker and we've definitely had some chilly weather over the last few days.


You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat sewing pattern here.


xx

J

Finishing the Front Corner on a Lined Coat (with video!) - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Friday, February 26, 2021


Today's post is all about finishing off the front corner of your Willa Wrap Coat. This step is so satisfying because it comes out clean and crisp every single time. If you've always wondered how to finish off a corner on a lined coat, then watch how I do it below.



You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat sewing pattern here.


xx

J

Attaching the inside of a Lined Garment (with video!) - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Thursday, February 25, 2021


Turn up the volume, in this video I'm actually speaking! It's a short little video explaining how to attach the seam allowances of your Willa Wrap Coat together at the back neckline and shoulders. 


Why would you do that? Right now, your coat is essentially just a bag - an outer and lining attached only around the outer edges - which means your collar/lining will move around a lot during wear.  Attaching it together at the inside seam allowances will make sure everything stays where it's supposed too, and because Willa is all about the collar, this is a step you won't want to skip (don't worry though, it's really easy!).



You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat sewing pattern here.


xx

J

Hemming Lined Sleeves (with video!) + Attaching In-seam Pockets to the Lining - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Wednesday, February 24, 2021


Today we're covering two aspects of sewing your Willa Wrap Coat - attaching your lining to your sleeves (plus how to prevent hem droop on a sleeve like this with no visible hem stitching line) PLUS, if you chose to add in-seam pockets into your Willa, rather than use the included patch pocket, you might want to consider attaching the pocket bag onto your coat lining, to stop them drooping as well.


How to hem Sleeves on a Lined Garment


I have videoed this step, as I think it's easier to see in action. Take a look below at how I hem lined sleeves and then prevent any hem droop by attaching the seam allowances back onto themselves.



How to attach In-seam pocket bags onto your Coat Lining



If you added in-seam pockets, you may want to consider attaching them to the inside of your coat. Inseam pockets can be a bit floppy if they have nothing to attach to other than the side seam, and while it's generally not an issue, if you have a seam allowance to attach them too (like we do because of the lining) why not attach them and keep them in place? Doing this also keeps your facing to the inside of your coat (rather than rolling out, since under-stitching is not really an option for Willa if you're choosing not to top stitch) - so, it's a mutually beneficial relationship!


You can make a pocket attachment out of any thready-thing - a thread chain (how-to video here!), ribbon, twill tape, bias binding, thin rope, lace etc. I had some rope laying around that I chose to use as a different example, but you really can use anything - you don't see this from the outside of your coat.


You can skip this step if you like, because you never see the pockets due to the lining, but if you'd like to have your pocket stay in place rather than droop (especially if you have something heavy in it) then read on...


Steps:


1. You will be attaching your pocket bag seam allowance to your facing/lining seam allowance. Press your pocket over flat to the front, and keep your facing folded over flat, right sides up, but with the lining lifted gently so you can see the seam allowance.




2. If you're using something other than a thread chain (which you will sew straight into your seam allowances) the first thing you should do is tie a knot at one end.




3. Place your knot on top of your lining seam allowance and measure up how long you'll need the length of your thread/chain to be. You want to include some slack in this, it shouldn't be too tight. Equally though, don't let it be too loose, or you'll defeat the purpose.




4. Tie a knot at the other end of your thread once you're happy with the length and cut away from the remaining length.




5. Take a needle and thread, knotted at the end (it doesn't have to match or look pretty! You won't see it) and thread it into the knot, then attach it securely to your seam allowance on one side, knotting at the end.





6. Repeat for the remaining side and that's it! Your pocket is now attached to your lining and vice versa, keeping both in place when you're out and about.


You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat sewing pattern here.


xx

J

How to make a Thread Chain (with video!) - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 


Learning how to make a thread chain is a handy little skill to add to your sewing repertoire.  In this post, I'm using it in place of the included belt loops in the Willa Wrap Coat pattern. My fabric is very thick and my sewing machine was not even entertaining the thought of sewing through that many layers of thick fabric. 


Choosing a Thread Chain Material...




There are lots of options available to choose from when making a thread chain. You can use normal sewing machine thread, and double or quadruple it to make it a bit thicker and sturdier. You can use embroidery thread - either use as is for a thick chain, or separate some strands out for a thinner chain.

I used the thread that was third from the left, it's a mystery vintage thread that was a bit thicker than the thread I used for sewing (second from the left). I would have used the vintage crochet thread on the right, but the colour was just a little too leafy green for my dark forest green wool.

You could also use wool or linen threads, or even add a little sparkle by using a thread with metalic woven through. How thick you want your thread chain to end up being will dictate what you choose to use.



How much thread do you need on your needle? 



Well, this all really depends! It depends how thick your thread material is to start with and how long your thread chain needs to be.  

I opted for a straight 'belt loop' style thread chain on my coat, but you could use a looped belt loop (which would mean you'd need double the length of your thread chain) or you may not even be making a belt loop! Thread chains are also great for keeping the insides of coats and pockets together.  

I made my doubled thread as long as my arm, and had plenty left over after the first thread chain belt loop.  



Sewing a Thread Chain


Watch the video below to see how easy it is to make a thread chain. They are great in place of belt loops or for keeping the insides of lined garments together. They're strong and sturdy but also delicate and look great whether you can see them or not.





xx
J

Inserting Buttonholes & Attaching Buttons (or other closures) - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Monday, February 22, 2021


Willa is designed to be a wrap coat tied with a belt at the waist, so you absolutely don't have to add any closures into Willa if you don't want too. If you want the option of the cosy funnel neck though, you will need to add some sort of fastening there. 


The waist button was added for extra security, since the waist does get quite a bit of additional strain put on it during wear and if you want to, you can add in an additional button between the two current ones for more security across the bust.


Fastening Options


You don't have to use buttons as a closure on Willa - especially if your machine will struggle with inserting button holes (mine only just put up with it!). You can use toggles, coat snap fasteners or for a completely clean look, use coat hooks and eyes so that the fastenings aren't seen at all.


I opted to go with copper coloured metal shank buttons for my Sew Along Coat. The shank in the button means there is plenty of room underneath the button for my thick fabric to sit under. This leaves a smooth finish to the outer coat, rather than if I had chosen to use a flat button - which would have lifted above the thickness of my coat fabric, leaving an indent and meaning that my closure wasn't as secure. It would also have out a lot of additional strain on the thread holding my button on.



I also recommend using an anti-fray glue on your button holes for extra strength and durability, even if you are using a fabric that doesn't fray easily like mine. It just means that you're making sure your coat will last you many years of frequent wear, and buttonholes are prime areas for early degradation of garments. If you're spending this much time and effort making a coat, then this is well worth the investment.



Inserting Buttonholes


1. Try your coat on and make sure you're happy with the fastening placements indicated on the coat pattern. You are able to move these up or down, or back and forth to suit your individual body. I choose to mark my buttonholes with Tailor's tacks. Once they're snipped to open out your pattern though, I do like to go back in and mark them. This is because, depending on how long your buttonhole needs to be (depending on your button size) you can use the tack as a guide to get straight buttonholes!


It's very easy to get a little wonky when sewing in your buttonholes, but using the tack as a guide, you'll never have wonky buttonholes again.


Pre-adding new Tailor's Tacks.


Adding new Tailor's Tacks over the top of the original markings.



2. Following your sewing machine instruction manual, sew in your buttonholes. Follow up with fray glue and leave overnight to dry before opening up carefully with embroidery scissors or a seam ripper.


Attaching Buttons


1. If you followed the instructions, you would have already interfaced your button placement (unless you were planning to move them...). I didn't, because I got carried away with not interfacing all the things

So, if you're like me, place some squares of interfacing on the wrong side of the outer coat, where your buttons will be. This provides a bit of additional strength on the fabric, under the button, since there is only one layer of fabric your buttons are attached too.




2. Much like when re-doing your tailor's tacks, I like to mark my button placement pretty firmly, this is usually with something like a ballpoint pen. I don't recommend this if you think you might move your button placement, but it works for me. Just add in a small dot where your button will go.




3. Take a needle and thread (knotted at the end) and sew your button on. You can sew directly through your lining, but I like my coat to be as clean as possible on the inside, so choose to sew them on through just the outer coat instead (your back bottom lining is still open at this stage, so you're able to do this easily).





Today's post is pretty straight forward, but I know that sewing in buttonholes can be frustrating for some - me included with this fabric!! I nearly cried several times, but had already sewn one buttonhole in and was determined to add the second one (and once I had decided on these buttons, it was them or nothing!).

My advice is, like always, to take your time. Practice sewing in buttonholes on your coat fabric scraps, that way, you can then make sure your buttons will fit and can play around with any machine settings to make your buttonhole thread more or less dense depending on your fabric choice.

I'll see you tomorrow where I'll be showing you how to make a chain thread!

You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat pattern here.


xx
J

Attaching Lining to Outer Coat, Front and Collar - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Friday, February 19, 2021



This is the part of coat sewing that I really have to push myself through, and it's not because the techniques are hard, it's because once you attach your outer coat to your lining, everything just gets so heavy and big. Especially so if you have extra heavy/thick fabric like I do.


But, we will plough on through our Willa Wrap Coat journey, because it's worth it, and guess what? WE'RE ALMOST THERE!!


Steps:

1. Right sides together, match your outer coat to your lining around the outer edges of the coat (aka the front edges and outer collar)



2. Pin together. The lining is shorter than the outer coat (which is how it's meant to be, don't panic!) but the bottom of the facing should match to the bottom of the stepped up outer coat front corner.




3. Back tacking at each end, sew up one side of the front edge, pivot to sew along the collar and then pivot to sew back down the other front edge.



4. Trim down the seam allowance, notching the corners. Turn your coat right sides out and press.



And that's us for the week! Take a sewing break over the weekend, instead, clean up your space & clear out the lint hiding in your sewing machine. Next week's a big one, but we're oh so close to finishing...




xx
J

Adding In-seam Pockets (with free pattern piece!) - The Willa Wrap Coat Sew Along

Thursday, February 18, 2021


If you prefer a more understated coat or want your collar and buttons to shine, then you may want to consider adding in an in-seam pocket, rather than a patch pocket to your Willa Wrap Coat.


I like to in-step my pockets into my seam by 5mm (3/8) as I find they tend to sit flatter this way and they won't be seen, so you can use any kind of fun fabric you like! You can use this technique on any in-seam pocket - it is the one I use for pretty much all of my patterns!


You can download your In-seam Willa Wrap Coat pocket piece for free here!


Steps:


1. Download and print out your FREE pocket lining pattern.  There is a Curve pattern and an Original pattern, these are slightly different depending on the pattern you are using. Print pages 1-2 for the Original pattern and 3-4 for the Curve pattern.


If you have enough fabric left over from the lining you're using for Willa, cut 4 pockets from that (this is what I am doing). Alternatively, choose a different light weight fabric - you won't really see it from the outside, so it doesn't matter if it doesn't match.  If your outer coat fabric isn't too thick, you could also make pockets with that.




2. Choosing the placement here can be a little tricky, as there are no matching pocket/coat notches along the side seam. I've designed the pocket pattern piece so that the top raw edge of the pocket (in pink below) matches to the side seam notch on the coat (black notch below) - this is circled in red. The notches on the pocket itself are stitching guides. 

You can alter the placement of the pocket to suit you, but the outer edge of the pocket will need to be re-shaped to fit the shaping at the side seam.



3. Right sides together, match up your pocket along the side seam of your front and back coat.  Pin in place.


* If you want to finish your seam allowances, finish the pocket bag seam allowances now, removing as little fabric as possible.





4. Using a seam allowance of 1cm (3.8") and back tacking at each end, sew your pocket onto the side seam of the coat. Press the pocket out, leaving the seam allowances to the pocket side.


Sewing at a smaller seam allowance here will instep your pocket into the finished side seam by 5mm, meaning it won't be seen at all within the seam when worn.


* If you're wanting to finish your seam allowances, finish the entire side seam/pocket seam allowances before pressing the pocket out, removing as little fabric as possible.






5. Right sides together, match your back and front coat along the side seam and pocket. Pin in place.





6. Starting from the top, and back tacking at each end, sew down your side seam and around your pocket in one go. Use the notches on the pocket as a guide for when to pivot into your pocket and back out again.

Use a 1.5cm (5/8") seam allowance here.





Because it's hard to see my stitching lines above, here they are in pink.




Here's a close up of the pink side seam stitching lines with the in-stepped pocket seam in white.



7. Trim down side seam seam allowances, grading down the front seam allowance shorter than the back. Due to the pocket insertion, the entire side seam will be pressed to the front, rather than pressed open.



8. Press pocket and seam allowances to the front.


Ta dah! Look at that lovely side seam, you can't even tell there's a pocket in there!



Oh hello lovely hidden pocket. You can see how it's in-stepped into the seam here, making it completely invisible when worn.




Attaching Pockets to the Inside (so they don't move around!)


Stay tuned for this! We will get to this step once we've attached the lining to our coats - this is because the pocket string is attached to the front facing/lining seam.


If you were sewing along and had to hit pause because you were wanting to add in in-seam pockets, once you've done that, you can move on to setting in your sleeves and then continue on with the sew along as normal.


You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat sewing pattern here.


xx

J


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