Friday, 4 November 2011

Tailoring a cut-on shawl collar

Thank you so much everyone for the amazing response to the coat! Sewing it this past year has been a huge project, but a very fun one. There are few projects that have taken so much time and so much head-scratching but that I've still loved the entire time (in fact I think this would have to be the only one...) =) I've learned so much, and I wanted to share the solution I worked out for the one thing I couldn't find the answer to in either the Tailoring book or Gertie's posts: tailoring a cut on shawl collar. The book, and Gertie, talks of sewn-on shawl collars, but cut-on presents a few problems with the order of sewing. So here's what I worked out! Heads up: long and very, very geeky post ahed =) All the pictures are in full size if you click on them, for clearer details.

Click on the post title to continue reading...

To begin with, here's my working order for the coat (sans lining and interlining):
-Bound buttonholes
-Darts (bustdarts on sidefront and collardarts on front)
-Sew sidefronts to fronts
-Horse hair canvas and tailoring the undercollar

-Sew center back, and sideback to back
-Make a backstay for the top back

Sew backpiece to frontpieces:

-Waiststay (a 1 cm grossgrain ribbon cross-stitched to the wool, as stated in the pattern instructions)
-Sleeves, sew and set in
-Shoulder pads
-Hem sleeves and skirt
-Insert lining

Tada! =) This order differs in some places from the one given for coats with sew-on collars, since the entire front needs to be sewn before the undercollar can be tailored and steamed. So let me elaborate the Horse hair canvas and tailoring the undercollar part...

1. So the fronts are sewn together, and depending on the fabric thickness the seam allowances are either just pressed or they are pressed and catchstitched to the fabric. Make sure that the back of the collar is also sewn together, pressed and -if desired- catchstitched.

2. Cut and mark the horse hair canvas. I chosed to make mine just a little bit wider than the facing, but the top extends along the shoulder to the armhole. However, it does not extend down into the side-seam, but ends about 5 cm/2" from the sideseam.
I set two pad-stitch lines at 0.5 cm width closest to the roll line and in the collar stand. For the rest of the collar I set the distance between the padstitches to 1 cm (the stitches are as long as the distance between the lines).

3. Shoulder reinforcement. Basically you cut a piece of horse hair canvas that goes from just beside the collar and out to the shoulder. It's cut on the bias, and then quilted to the main horse hair canvas piece. This is one of those things I will do different: next time I'm so hand sewing this step! I thought about not adding this reinforcement, as neither Gertie nor the pattern mentioned it, but I'm glad I took the time. There's no stretch what so ever in the shoulder now!

4. Dart and center back (still only the horse hair canvas), done as Tasia explaines here. Basically seam allowances are trimmed, seams are fused and then zig-zacked.

5. Pin and then baste the horse hair canvas to the front as the book says, meaning baste roll line and armhole. Trim horse hair canvas shoulder to just inside the seamline, and catchstitch to fabric. Tailor baste the body of the horse hair canvas to the fabric. (Please ignore the tape at the roll line in the picture below, that comes next...)

During the process of basting the horse hair canvas to the front piece, cut holes in the horse hair canvas for the bound buttonholes and catchstitch the buttonhole strips to the horse hair canvas.

6. Catchstitch a stay tape (always pre-shrink the tape) to just below the roll-line.  The tape goes from the shoulder mark to the foldl line, not venturing out into the seamallowance. The tape is a little shorter than the corresponding stretch of fabric and canvas, keeping the collar flat against the chest when coat is worn. This step was so much fun, it was like magic! =)

7. Padstitch the collar, shaping the roll line as you go. Start from the inside and work your way out. When everything is padstitched, trim the seam allowances.

8. Steaming the collar. This I pondered for a long time, how to best do it? It looks so easy if you have a collar and two lapels, but here it's all one big piece... This is very much my own invention, I'm not saying it's the way to go. If anyone has other tips on how to steam a collar like this, please share! I'd love to hear them!

I did it in three rounds. First one "lapel", with one towel folded and inserted between the "lapel" and the coat, two other towels draped over the rest of the coat to pretect it from the steam:
Like so.
I steamed it and let it dry overnight (I removed the "protection" towels after steaming, so they didn't weigh down on the fabric and cause hard to remove creases), then did the same with the other "lapel":

Next and last was the collar:

I wrapped it around a tailor's ham and covered the rest of the coat with towels.

There you go! Tailoring all done, and all set for starting on the back! If you want to be time-efficiant, you can of course sew the back during the days when the collar is steamed and dried...

This may seem a bit intimidating, but from cutting the horses hair canvas to have the collar padstitched took me one weekend, so it really wasn't all that bad. In fact, I would say this was the absolute most fun part of sewing the coat, I'd happily make another just for getting to padstitch =) (I do have more jackets and coats planned)

The collar, all ready with the topcollar/facing sewn on. One thing I realised too late: it doesn't hurt to cut the topcollar or the topcollar part of the facing with very, very generous seam allowance. My fabric is so thick the collar actually ended up a little smaller on the coat than on the toile, even though I had 1,5 cm seam allowance to play with.

Hope you enjoyed this, and thank you for reading all the way here =) I'm hoping this will help someone else interested in tailoring a cut on shawl collar, or maybe just get someone interested in tailoring!

Love, Erika


Brittany_Va-VoomVintage said...

Wow! It is absolutely beautiful!! When I first saw it, I thought you had bought it. The color is lovely on you. I've wanted to sew a coat for a long time. I may have to put that on my to-sew list this winter! :)

Kitten said...

Åh, imponerande! Och samtidigt ser det lite svårt ut, så det känns bra att jag kommer att ha lärarhjälp med min kappa. Men jag kommer dock att ha en annan sorts krage så kanske det blir lite lättare? Hur som helst, fint jobbat! Och tack för mönsterbilderna, ska studera dem noggrant tillsammans med läraren på måndag!


Solanah said...

Seriously, you MADE that? It's amazing, you are so talented! Also, you look adorable, so well styled!


Jitterbugdoll said...

Absolutely amazing work--you did a fantastic job and the coat looks wonderful on you!

Always Alice said...

i keep stalking your coat and thinking of mine (well, the one i bought a pattern for but haven't braved yet). It is a very early 40s Vogue ((Vogue 3200)) with a huge shawl collar (think almost sailor style) and i want to do it in blue window box plaid wool. i'm just so daunted by the layers and lining up the stripes. i can't even figure out what view i want to do... sigh.... the snow has already graced us with its presence too. i need to hurry!! your coat came out so beautifully, like wow beautiful!

Erika said...

Brittany: Thank you so much!

Kitten; Tackar! Nja, egentligen var det inte svårt, mera tidskrävande... Faktum är att att själva hanteringen av vattulinet med pikering och allt var riktigt kul och tog som sagt bara en helg. Det var resten som tog tid =) Men att ha en lärare till hands dagligen hade med all säkerhet hjälpt! Sen kanske ni inte handsyr så mycket? Vet att många föredrar att använda påstrykbara stabiliserare i kragen... Tänkte experimentera med det med i framtiden =)

Hoppas bilderna var till någon hjälp, ska bli kul att se vilken design du landar i.


Thank you so much, Solanah and Jitterbug doll!

Always Alice; you've had snow?! I'm almost jealous, winter is ridiculously late in Sweden this year =( Your pattern sounds amazing, I'd love to a pic of it! Blue and plaids, how can I not be sold on the idea? =) Me, I'd be a bit hesitant on using a patterned fabric, but I guess it depends on how many pieces the coat is to be in. My coat used 4,5 m wool, I sudder to think how much more it would have been if in plaid!
Just take the plunge, though! If it's not ready this winter, you'll get it ready for next winter. Have fun sewing!

Always Alice said...

lol, we got snow on halloween! nothing has stuck yet but it should be close. according to the caterpillars (the little fuzzy kind) its going to be an awful winter. you can tell b/c the more brown they are the worse the winter will be and this year they are completely brown!

here is a link to the coat ( i think it would be okay for plaid, there are not too many pieces but the collar wouldn't line up. i'm ok with that though. i think.

Rebekah said...

I found your blog through your post on Sew Retro and had to say thank you so much for sharing your coat. I'm in the process of making a coat with a tailored shawl collar right now, and the photos and details of this post have been very helpful to me. Your finished coat is just beautiful!

Erika said...

Thank you, Rebekah! It's great to hear someone might find my little how-I-did useful! So excited to hear you're tailoring a shawl-collar coat, I'll def be dropping by you blog to see it =)

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