Friday 26 March 2010

Five Coat - Hemming

Now I have lined the body of the coat and the sleeves, I can move onto the skirt part and finally finish it.

I have created a pattern for a narrow vertical strip to run the height of the skirt at the front. This, looking at publicity photographs, needs to be narrower than the lapel panel above it (see right).

This is cut and interfaced with the same fusible canvas as the lapels for structural stiffness. By interfacing this lining panel rather than the outer skirt, I will get the stability I need on the leading edge of the coat, but still retain the fluidity of the skirt on the outside of it.

I can then cut the lining panel for the skirt, less the width of the facing I have just cut. These are then sewn togther.

I trim the lower edge of the body lining so it is level, and then attach the skirt lining to it. I need to be very careful to alighen the horizontal waistline seams at the front edge of the coat.
Some adjustment was needed to make sure the facing panel hung vertically, as initially this pulled on the skirt causing unsightly folds down the front.

The back edge of the skirt lining is blended into the back of the coat as the outer skirt had been before.

The skirt is then ready to be hemmed, once a satisfactory length had been decided. Looking at the calico test I felt in hindsight that it was a tad short (see left), so I’ve learnt from that at added enough to make a better length.

Firstly I pin the length I want with the coat on my tailors dummy, folding the excess up and pinning it up in place. After checking it for fit I then firmly press the folded edge to define the hemline. Then using the seam guide I got for Christmas I can trim an even two inches all round.

I now lay the coat tails flat as possible on the floor, drawing the coat upwards to drag the lining as flat as I can. The lining it then trimmed to match the skirt.

The lining is then pinned to the skirt, inside out and through the open seam I have left. The edge lining is pulled around half an inch lower than the skirt so that when finished it hangs higher than the skirt, and thus out of sight.

I can then sew the hem together, starting at the hem length at the ends, but for the duration of the lining fabric, switching tracks to the edge of the two-inch seam allowance I have left. This defines the length at the corners, but leaves capacity for the rest.

I just then need to secure the hem’s seam allowance up so it does not gape. These days I would hand stitch this which is a more discreet way to secure it, but I have been finding the gaberdine to show these stitches through. Also I want the skirt to be a little stiffer around the hem, so I use a tailors cheat of WondaWeb instead! This is a strip of fusible glue which is pressed and steamed in place.

All I need to do now to complete the coat is sew the three vertical lines of piping on the fronts and back split. This conveniently seals up the open seam I left for access to the hem (see left).

Finally I’ll add the buttons and buttonholes and I should be done.

Check back REAL soon to see the results of my labours!


  1. Could you tell me what colour the fabric is?

  2. For the coat and the trim??

  3. I'm in the proses of making my own fifth Doctor coat and I was wondering, what color is the lining? It looks like light brown but I'm not sure.


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