The Sewaholic Robson Trench lends itself to everything from a conservative look, to all out funky. I have chosen all out funky for my sew along coat. I had this rather interesting piece of fabric in my fabric closet for quite some time. As I thought about what I might use, this came to mind. My only problem was that I was short the yardage needed for the coat. But as Tim Gunn says, “make it work,” and I will! In the end I think I will have a much more attractive coat as I will be mixing it with a solid black piece of cotton velvet. So if you have your heart set on a particular piece of fabric and you don’t have quite enough, think about what you might possibly pair it with.
As we get started on the construction of the coat, I thought I would go over just a few things. First of all, notches. I often see students go to the pain staking task of cutting out little triangles. Please don’t waste your time. Simply cut on the appropriate line for your size. Once the pattern has been cut, simply make a small clip into the notch. This will help you to easily find the notch as you sew along the seam.
In the event that you choose a fabric that is velvet, has velvet accents like mine does or is a corduroy, feel the fabric to determine which direction the nap runs. If the fabric feels rough as you move your hand over it, then you are pushing the nap up. If it feels smooth, then you are pushing the nap down. You want to cut the fabric so that as the coat hangs, the nap has a smooth feeling as you rub your hand down the coat.
The Robson coat calls for bias tape to finish the seams. In my original coat, I purchased bias tape. You may also make your own if you like. It’s quite simple to do. It will take a little extra time, but you can customize your coat beautifully with your own bias tape. I decided to use this small checked vintage gingham for the interior of my coat. It will be unexpected!! If you do decide to make your own bias tape, please use a cotton and one that is not too heavy, but fairly lightweight.
The first step will be to straighten out the crosswise grain. With a stripe or check like mine, it’s quite easy to do. I could simply cut on the line, but to ensure that I truly have the crosswise grain, I made a small snip on the selvedge edge and then ripped the fabric across.
Once you have found the crosswise grain, simply match the crosswise grain to the selvedge of your fabric. Cut the fabric on the folded edge. This will be the bias grainline of the fabric. You must cut your bias tape on the bias of the fabric or your tape will not go around the rounded edges of the princessline seams or the pockets.
Cut your strips 1 1/4″ wide. A clear ruler works beautifully for this task.
In order to have strips that are long enough for the seams of the coat, you will need to sew the strips together. The picture below shows how the strips will look when they have been matched together for sewing.
Once the seam is sewn, the bias strip will lay in a straight line.
Now that you have your bias tape ready, begin with the center back seam of your coat. All seam allowances on the Robson coat are 5/8″ unless otherwise noted. Sew the center back seam. Once sewn, lay the bias tape on top and match the edge to the edge of the seam allowance.
Stitch the bias tape to the seam allowance with a 1/4″ seam allowance. If you are using purchased bias tape, simply unfold the tape and stitch in the ditch of the fold.
Once the bias tape has been stitched to the seam allowance, fold it around the seam and then stitch it in place by stitching in the ditch.
Once all the stitching is complete, press the seam to the side.
Turn the coat to the outside and stitch in the top stitching by stitching 1/4″ away from the seam.
The top stitching is complete and the seam looks as pretty on the outside as it does on the inside!
Now let’s talk about the front pricessline seam. The princessline seam gives shape over the bustline.
Find the notch that is near the top of the pattern and be sure to mark it. I am pointing to the notch on the center front pattern piece.
Look further down and you will see a notch for the belt loops and a little further down you will see a notch that marks the top of the pocket. Mark all notches of course, but pay close attention to the notch that marks the top of the pocket. We will use this notch as a guideline.
Match up the notches with the side panel of the coat and pin in place. The front panel will not lay flat.
To allow for the side and the front panels to lay flat, make small clips along the edge of the seam allowance of the side panel. Be careful to not clip too deep. If you clip past the 5/8″ seam allowance, the clip will show on the outside of the garment.
The seam has been sewn.
Press the side panel toward the front as you see below.
Keep in mind that the pockets need to be attached before the princess line seam can be sewn in place. In our next post, I will go through attaching the pockets in detail so that you will have perfect pockets!