Once again, we welcome Heather Lou of Closet Case Files to the Sew News blog for the Clare Coat sew along! We’ve learned so much in the past three weeks: how to choose wool coating, how to sew welt pockets and, now, how to bag a lining. Let’s get started!
(Quick note: If you’re late to the party but still want the pattern, you can find it, and Heather’s other amazing patterns, at the Closet Case Files pattern shop. )
Traditionally, tailored coats are lined using a lot of hand stitching but who has time for that? Today we’ll be bagging the lining, a commercial technique which lets us machine stitch almost the entire thing. Bagging a lining feels like magic the first time you do it; it almost doesn’t make sense that it will work, but I promise you, it does!
You should have your coat shell and lining/facing completely assembled and ready to go. Before we sew anything together, fold up your coat hem up 2″ and press (there are notches along the hem indicating the fold line). You will notice that part of the hem is a little bit narrower; this is to reduce bulk. The hem at this narrower part should be 5/8″/16mm wide.
Press the sleeve hems up 1 3/4″ as well.
You’ll notice in my beige sample that I added additional interfacing where I intended to sew on my closures, and along the seams of the coat. This step is optional, but if you’d like to make sure the edges of your coat don’t stretch over time, sewing in a little stay tape or applying extra interfacing or fusible stay tape to the seams isn’t a bad idea.
Onto assembly: lay your coat lining on top of your coat body with right sides together. Pin together around the perimeter of the coat. The facing will line up with the corner of the coat body where the hem gets narrower. Start sewing at the circle mark indicated on the inside corner of the facing. If you want nice corners, use a short stitch length and sew a little 45 degree angle right at the corner for 2 or 3 stitches before turning the coat all the way around (a great tip from Jen at Grainline).
View B: Sew all around the perimeter of the coat, and stop sewing at the circle mark on the facing on the other side.
View A: switch to a zipper foot. Sew directly on top of the stitching from when you installed your zipper and placket so that everything stays nice and even. Stop sewing a few inches above the hem on the side with the zipper placket
All views: to sew the hem, line up the corner of the lining with the corner of the coat. Match the side seams of lining and coat body. Pin into place and sew along the bottom hem, on both sides, but leave an 8″ gap around the center of the coat. This is where we will pull everything right side out later (bagging a lining is generally done through the sleeve but I find it easier to do this way).
The corner around the facing is a little awkward but will look like this. The lining is a little shorter than the coat so it is pulling the hem forward. This will be resolved later when we press in the lining pleat.
The corner around the zipper placket on View A will look like this. Again, this little weird fabric pulling situation will be resolved later when the hem is pressed up and the lining is pressed into a pleat.
It was hard to photograph the entire coat, but it will essentially look like this once you’ve sewn around the perimeter.
Now to deal with that janky corner around the facing. Right now your facing should be sewn to your coat front, and the lining sewn to the coat hem with this weird little area in between where nothing quite matches up.
In order to get this to turn neatly in on itself in a moment, you need to clip along the facing and coat, starting at the corner where the hem widens, to the circle mark where you started sewing. Do not cut into your stitch line.
Now trim all the corners down and grade your seams. Remember, grade the seams that are not laying against the body of the coat.
Before we turn the coat inside out, we need to attach the coat sleeve to the lining sleeve. This is the part that feels weird, but trust me, it will flip inside out like magic if you get it right.
Lay your coat down so that the coat sleeve and its corresponding sleeve lining are facing you.
We want to join these two sleeves together. Unfold your coat hem and fold up your lining hem. Line them up so that the top and bottom sleeve seams match up. Make sure your sleeves aren’t twisted!
Slide the coat sleeve over the folded-up hem of the lining and pin into place, again making sure that the correct seams are matching up.
At your machine, sew the lining and coat sleeve opening together. Repeat on the other side. It looks a little crazy, but trust me, you’re about to see some magic.
Your coat and lining sleeves should now be holding hands.
Here comes the fun part! From the opening we left along the back hem, reach inside the coat and start pulling it outside the opening.
It doesn’t feel like it should work, but if you’ve sewn your sleeves together properly, everything should sort of unfold in an immensely satisfying way.
Once it’s entirely pulled out, reach inside with your point turner and make sure all your corners are in place.
Before we press it into place, we need to do a little more work. Reach inside and pull out the seam allowances of your collar. We need to sew the facing and coat body together along the collar seam so that the collar stays in place.
It’s a little fiddly so don’t worry about sewing along the seam allowance, you basically just want to tack the facing and coat together here so it doesn’t shift on you later.
You may also want to tack your coat and lining together under the armpit using a thread chain. I didn’t bother on my coats because flannel-backed lining “clings” to wool and doesn’t slip, but if you’re using bemberg or silk, this will help anchor your lining into place. Here is a great tutorial from Susan Khalje on how to make a thread chain. Sew this chain at the armscye seam of lining and coat so they’re linked together.
To keep your hem crisp and prevent it from falling down, it helps to tack your coat hem down on the inside. To do this, pull the hem out of your opening. Match up the coat hem seam allowance and the side seam allowances.
Now hand tack the seam allowances together; this will anchor your hem in place.
Pull everything right side out again. Now it’s time to give everything a very thorough pressing. Take your time with your press cloth and go over all of your seams, making sure your corners are straight and even. The collar for View A needs a little love and tenderness. Press it into shape along a tailor’s ham.
With the hem flipped up, you will now have a little extra length on the lining around the hems. Press this into a pleat.
You will notice a weird little area where the facing and hem meet. If your fabric is not super thick, you can tuck the seam allowance of the facing under and then press the lining pleat into place. If your wool is quite thick, you may find it helpful to trim off a little wedge of the seam allowance along the hem (top right). Once you’ve tucked and prodded this corner into place, hand stitch it down and press (bottom right).
The corner along the zipper placket of View A is a little different but the principle is the same. Simply tuck and fold the seam allowance of the hem up and under the folded pleat of the hem. Press and handstitch into place.
If you’re making View B, topstitch 1/4″ from the edge around the sides and collar of the coat in one continuous line.
View A does not require any topstitching. Simply make sure it is pressed well at all the corners.
If you’re making View B, now is the time to sew on your closures. I prefer the concealed sew-in snaps. It is possible to sew them in without going through both layers of coat, and you can reach inside your coat if necessary to pull your needle through. You can also add regular buttons and buttonholes at this stage.
Once you are sure everything has been tacked down on the inside, the facing corners have been handstitched and the corners are crisp and pressed, its time to stitch the lining closed. Press the lining hem under so that it matches the pleat on the sewn portion of the hem, and slipstitch into place.
And…. You’re done! I hope you’ve enjoyed making your coats. Please use the #clarecoat hashtag so I can see all the beautiful things you make!
And that’s a wrap on the first sew along with Sew News of 2017! Thanks so much, Heather!