Goldstream Sew-Along: Sew the details
Prep work is finished and it's time to get sewing!
When I wrote the Goldstream instruction booklet I intentionally placed all of the garment details such as the darts, epaulets, sleeve tabs and pockets at the beginning of the construction process. My reason for this was two-fold:
First: They are quite simple things to sew that will give you confidence before moving on to the more complicated aspects of coat making.
Second: Once you have finished sewing these many little pieces your stack of remaining fabric pieces will suddenly seem so much smaller and more approachable!
So, let's begin with the front darts. You can include these or leave these off no matter the variation you have chosen. Pin the dart so right sides are together along the marked lines. Pin and then stitch from the hem to the dart point.
Instead of backstitching at the dart point, simply stop your stitching and hand tie a knot with the loose threads to reduce puckering. This is not especially important with a bulky wool but if you happen to be using a finer wool (closer to suiting weight) it is a nice touch. Press the dart towards the side seam.
When pressing wool, you will want to use a pressing cloth so as not to flatten the loft of the wool visibly. You might also want to use a tailor's clapper...not everyone has one of these (I don't!) but it is quite easy to substitute a piece of scrap wood or perhaps even a rolling pin in a pinch! Essentially, you want to be able to apply even pressure shortly after giving the area a burst of steam from the iron to encourage the thick fabric to press crisply.
If your wool is very thick and bulky and you notice the transition from three layers of wool at the dart to one layer of wool above the dart point is visible from the right side as a ridge, consider using the method I cover in the Belvedere Waistcoat Sew-Along to trim the dart tip (scroll down to the section on tailoring the waistcoat front to see the method).
Epaulets and Sleeve Tabs
If you have chosen to add the optional epaulets (which are on the shoulders) or sleeve tabs to your coat, assemble each set with right sides together. Stitch around them using the included 5/8" seam allowance.
Grade the seam allowance very small (no more than 1/4") and trim each corner so that it is possible to turn the tabs right side out crisply. When grading a seam allowance, trim one allowance slightly longer than the other so that the two allowances create a smooth slope instead of a ridge. This will reduce bulk and make it easier to topstitch in the next step.
Press the tabs flat and then topstitch 3/8" from the finished edges.
Apply buttonholes to each epaulet and tab to suit the buttons that you chose (make the hole 1/8" wider than the button). You could also wait to add buttonholes until the Peacoat is complete and you have the buttonhole attachment out to add the front buttons...but at that point the epaulets and tabs will be attached to the garment so there will be a lot more material to wrangle.
Adding the buttonholes now will help to reduce the nerves you might feel when stitching them onto the front of your masterpiece later! You'll have had practice!
We'll set our epaulets and sleeve tabs aside now and move on to the patch pockets. Gather the two pockets, two pocket linings. Place the pocket and a matching lining together with right sides up and top aligned. You'll notice the lining seems too short - this is because the wool pocket will be folded over during construction to create a built in facing to prevent the lining from peeking out the top of pocket.
Stitch across the top of the pocket part way, backtack and leave a 2" gap before stitching the rest of the way. This will allow the pocket to be turned right side out later.
Pull the lining down to meet the bottom of the wool pocket - this will cause the pocket top to become the notched fold line. Press along the fold line and then stitch around the pocket sides and bottom using a 5/8" seam allowance. At each corner, perform one to two stitches at a 45 degree angle. When you flip the pocket right side out the corners will look more crisp than if you had just pivoted at the corner.
Grade the seam allowances and ciip the corners as we did for the epaulets and sleeve tabs. Flip the pocket right side out and press thoroughly.
We can now add our pockets to the Peacoat front - exciting! If you sewed the front darts, you will only need to refer to the outside pocket placement markings (shown above) as the inner markings are now positioned too narrow for the pocket. They can still be helpful to keep your pocket level though.
If you have not sewn the darts, simply place the pocket atop the pocket markings and pin.
You now have a choice as to how you would like to stitch on your pockets. You can opt for two rows of stitching (topstitching 3/8" from the edge and edgestitching 1/8" from the edge) or you can sew only the topstitching and then invisibly handstitch the edge of the pocket to the coat front to ensure the lining does not peep out. This choice depends on your patience levels and your style preference. Two rows of machine stitching makes the pocket more noticeable on the final garment. One row of topstitching paired with handstitching results in a look that will match the single row of topstitching on the rest of the garment.
I've chosen to do one row and handstitch here!
The last details we will be sewing today are the optional pocket flaps. Gather the two flap pieces and flap lining pieces. Place a flap and matching lining with right sides together. Make sure that you have marked which edge is towards center front as the flaps are not quite symmetrical. They are designed to slightly angle towards the side seam for a jaunty appearance.
Sew around the flap using a 5/8" seam allowance leaving the top edge free. Grade the seam allowances and trim the corners thoroughly and then turn the flaps right side out and press. If you like, you could baste across the top of the flaps at this point to keep the two layers together.
Place the flaps pointed up (with the lining visible) on your coat front with the raw edge positioned 1/2" up from the top of the pocket. Stitch across the flap using a 5/8" seam allowance.
Now we must trim the seam allowance to 1/4" so that it is completely enclosed in the next step.
Fold the pocket flap down and press. Stitch 3/8" down from the top of the pocket flap to enclose the raw edge and to keep the flap smoothly pointed downwards.
Well, there we go, our little details have all been sewn and the pile of pieces yet to approach has rapidly decreased! Next post we will be working on the collar and optional hood. See you then!