Today we sew our coat exterior. By the end of the day you will have a shell to try on! Let's get started:

Bring out your two back pieces and place them with right sides together. Sew the center back seam and press open (don't forget to use a pressing cloth to protect the loft of your wool!).

Now it is time to sew the shoulder and side-back seams. Line up the fronts and backs and pin at these seams. Sew and then press the seams open.

Before we set our coat body aside for a little bit, let's staystitch any areas that may be prone to stretching and becoming misshapen, do this along the neckline, armholes and hem.

Ok, it's time to assemble your sleeves! If you are sewing variation two with no sleeve tabs, simply place the upper and under sleeve with right sides together just as we did with the lining pieces. Stitch along the seams and press the seams open.

If you are adding the sleeve tabs, make sure to do this before stitching the sleeve seams! Sandwich the sleeve tab between the upper and lower sleeves so that it sits between the notches. If your tabs have a wrong side (perhaps the button hole is less tidy on one side), position this against the upper sleeve.

Sew the sleeve seam and then trim the tab allowance to 1/4" to reduce bulk. Press the seams open.

Finish sewing the sleeve by adding two rows of gathering stitches along the top of the sleeve head (just as we did for the lining pieces). Gather the wool ever so slightly.

If you are adding epaulets to your Goldstream, it's now time to baste them on to the shoulders (centered over the shoulder seam, pointed towards the neckline) so that they will be sandwiched between the sleeve and body of the coat.

Ready to add the sleeves to the coat? You might be surprised that working with wool is quite a bit more forgiving than easing the sleeves on the lining!

Place the sleeve and body with right sides together so that the top sleeve notch lines up with the shoulder seam, the other single sleeve notch lines up with single notch on the coat front, the upper double notch with the side seam, and lastly, the lower double notch with the double notch on the coat front. Pin thoroughly and adjust the gathering stitches.

Sew around the sleeve (remember to baste first if you'd like to make it easier to pick out any unintentional gathers). It helps to ease the sleeve (as I mentioned before) if you place the sleeve against the feed dogs of your sewing machine.

Grade the seam as necessary to reduce bulk (best not to grade this area very thoroughly as we want to keep it very strong. The sleeve seams are a point of wear!). Press the seam allowances towards the sleeve.

Let's add a little more structure to our coat now by handsewing some shoulder pads in place. I always recommend trying on the coat to determine shoulder pad placement. If your coat recipient is anti-shoulder pad, gently try to push them towards wearing some by having them try to Goldstream on at this point and slipping some pads in so they can see the effect in the mirror. A tailored coat like this one really needs the structure of a shoulder pad to hang nicely on the body...even if the pad used isn't very thick.

The straight edge of the shoulder pad can extend beyond the sleeve seam allowance slightly to add structure to the seam. Secure the shoulder pads with a few hand stitches to the shoulder seam allowance.

How does your coat look? Everything fitting nicely? If you want to make any last minute fit adjustments, now is most certainly the time - you can take in the center back seam or adjust the length of the sleeves slightly.  Just remember to make similar adjustments to the completed lining (which will probably involve a little bit of stitch ripping at the side back seams if you need to take the waist in at all.

On Wednesday we attach our collars and lining to the coat. We've almost finished our masterpiece!

October 14, 2019 — Morgan and Matthew Meredith