Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New and Improved Coat

Whew!  Well, as most things do, that took a little longer than I had planned.  Thankfully, I saw the client and had a chance to show her the work in progress & get a go-ahead on machine stitching the hem of the coat, which saved some time anyway.  She was pleased and I can't wait for her to see the final product!

To continue where I left off:
The next stage of the process was adding new button holes & sewing the buttons back on in a place that made much more sense!

Marking positions for the new buttonhole

I decided to use the automatic buttonholer that came with my machine.  It's a Viking Husqvarna Designer SE, which I dearly love but the guys at the store keep trying to convince me to trade up to the Husqvarna Diamond, which would give me more room to work and a much larger embroidery area.  Since it's about the same as buying another small car, I've been putting it off!  Part of the reason for starting this blog is so I can work through just about everything this baby can do - as well as meeting self-imposed "deadlines" - I tend to procrastinate but if you're reading, it'll keep me accountable!

The electronic auto-button hole foot - an awesome innovation, if you ask me!
It came with a bit of a learning curve.  (Note to self:  pay more attention to the onboard Sewing Advisor.  It really is smarter than you.  For instance, when sewing a buttonhole in the wrong size, it would have been easier to pick the stitches out if you hadn't left the machine set up to sew extremely lightweight material!  Too many stitches packed into an itty-bitty living space!)

After about an hour of picking out stitches (ugh!), I set the machine up for the proper weight of material, the right size buttonhole (which for some reason were about 1.5cm longer than the cut hole on the original buttonholes), and tried it again.  Success!  Now to cut the actual hole:  if you don't have one of these cutting notions & you sew, you need to get one.  Mine is an old one my mother gave me as a gift years ago and came with a wooden block to cut against.  The newer ones have a miniature cutting mat and are widely available at fabric stores.  It will give you a really accurate cut - no danger of accidentally snipping side stitches or ending up with a ragged hole!  People wonder sometimes what you do if the buttonhole is smaller than the blade.  I was taught to put the end of the buttonhole to be cut on the edge of the block, letting the rest of the buttonhole hang over the edge.  Using just the corner of the blade, cut up to (but not including!) the tack stitches.  Flip the garment or the block so the cut end of the buttonhole is now hanging off the edge of the block, and cut the other side of the hole using the corner of the blade.

That wood you see is my desk, not the block! It's so small the coat hides it - but I don't recommend cutting without it - this blade is pretty sharp!

Next it was time to add the two buttons back to the top of the coat.

Looks like I'm sewing my fingers into the project, LOL!
After approval by the client, I machine hemmed the coat instead of hand hemming it like it originally was.  If you attempt a project like this, make sure that when you sew, you keep the lining out of the way while  stitching - you don't want it to be attached at the bottom of the coat or it will hang strangely while wearing it.  The bottom of the lining needs to swing freely, tacked in just a couple of strategic places.  When I cut the excess fabric off the bottom of the coat & lining, I had opened up the seam between the lining & the coat about 5 to 6 inches higher than the new hem, to give me enough room to sew.

Forgot to move the Ott Light out of the way of the camera - whoops!
After that, I stitched the lining in the same fashion, being careful to keep the outer coat out of the way of the stitching.  

The hem on the lining is double-folded, to give it some weight.  

Giving the hem of the lining a press - I should have done this before sewing it to keep it even.  Be aware of your fabric content - you don't want to set your iron too high and melt it by accident!
Afterwards, all that was left was hand-stitching the lining to the coat along the edges, hand-stitching the shoulder areas closed again, and neatening up whatever straggling threads there may be.  And there it is - a "new" coat!

 Tell me what you think!

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