I’ve been slowly working on sewing a princess coat, which I started before the holidays. As a recap, here’s part 1. I knew that I would most likely not be able to work on this project straight through, what with the kids being out of school and all the holiday stuff and things, so I am not stressing myself out about getting it done. I have it all spread out in my sewing room and I work on it as I get time. Here’s what I’ve gotten done so far.
First off, the I designed the coat to have hand embroidery in several places – the middle section of the sleeves, a band along the edge of the hood, and on the front of the coat. I know for a fact that my hand embroidery isn’t terribly neat, so I went with a free form design of swirls that I made up as I went along. I drew them on in colored pencil, and then chain stitched along the lines in black embroidery floss. I did the sleeve panels first, since they are the biggest pieces.
I didn’t use an embroidery hoop for the sleeve panels, which wasn’t the best idea. They got sort of wavy from the stitch lines pulling the fabric out of shape, but I fixed them by steaming them really well and starching them. Now they lay nice and flat. However, to avoid having to do this again, I decided to hoop the rest. I embroidered the front panels next, adding a smaller freeform design to each side.
After that, I did the hood panels, which were blessedly easy to do after all the rest.
Next on the agenda was to make all the piping. I decided to make black flat piping for the princess seams in the front and back, and in between the sleeve panels and the hood panels. I cut a whole bunch of 2″ strips of it out of black microsuede, and pressed them in half. I cut it along the bias, which was awesome because I got a big enough piece of fabric that I didn’t have to sew many of them together. First I flat piped the sleeve panels.
I stitched it along the edges, facing in, with a 5/8 seam allowance.
Then I prepared the lower part of the sleeves. I fused some strips of weft fusible along the hemfold back, and then pressed the facing back. The fusible strip helps keep the hem fold nice and crisp. Then I stitched the lower part of the sleeve to the middle part, overlapping the flat piping and sewing along the same 5/8′ seam line.
Next, I pressed the seam open, pressing the piping to one side. I graded the seams a bit and then top stitched the front along the piping edge, catching the pressed back piping seams on the wrong side.
I attached the top of the sleeve in the same way, repeating the process for the other one of course. Then I stitched up the sleeve seam and pressed it open.
I sewed the hood in basically the same way, clipping the curves of the seam allowances before I pressed them open.
Next came the super annoying part. I wanted to make a corset lacing for the back of the coat, with small loops of fabric overlapped to lace a ribbon through. Marked where I wanted the fabric loops to attach on the sides of the center back panels, and then stitched the CB seam, pressing and top stitching. Then I made a whole bunch of little tubes, just like making belt loops for pants. I decided to sew and turn them all individually, because trying to turn a long, narrow tube of wool is hell. After I had gotten them all stitched and turned, I pinned the end to the places I had marked on the side seams and sewed them on one by one, so they wouldn’t twist and warp.
Whee! That was fun – NOT! The next part was just as aggravating. I also flat piped along the edge of these seams, but I sewed the piping to the side panel seams instead of over the fabric loops, so it would be easier to sew on. However, I still had to stitch the side panel to the side back panels, which involved lots of unpicking and repositioning to get the piping to look smooth and not wobbly over the fabric loops. However, I got it all finished finally, pressed it back and top stitched, and it looks quite nice.
I did stitch the edge of the piping down along the loops, to keep it from pulling up against the tension of the ribbon.
I pinned it to the dress form and laced a ribbon through to take a peek at how it will look. I will probably use a black or grey ribbon when it’s all done, but it looks pretty awesome.
And that’s where I am for now. Next, I have to make some pockets, stitch all the body panels together, and cut/sew/assemble the lining. Whew!