Last Swing Coat Progress Report

Hi Readers! This will be my last progress report post for the Burda 08/2009 swing coat which I’ve spent most of my November free time working on. After putting the main coat pieces together, it’s time to attach the collar and facing to the coat. I found that there are so many ways to attached collar and facing to a coat, some instructions advise sewing the upper collar and lapel facing as a unit and then stitches the whole thing to the coat. Other instructions suggest sewing the upper and under collars as a unit, attaching this to the coat then machines in the lapel. I decided to follow the instructions given in the 70s Basic Tailoring book by a publisher called ‘Time Life’ (which is mostly similar to the instructions in Vintage Couture Tailoring and reviewed in my earlier post) where the facings are attached to the lapels first.

Firstly I sew the two lapel facing pieces onto the lapel but before that I trimmed the lapel’s seam allowances from 5/8” to 4/8” to allow for turn of cloth. Actually I should have allowed a wider seam allowance on the facing pieces but I only remembered it just as I was ready to sew the lapel facings, so trimming the lapel seam allowances was my only choice.


Trimming the lapel’s seam allowance to 1/2″

The lapel facing was thread basted to the facing (see the pale blue threads in the photo below).  I didn’t think thread basting is worth the effort but I’m liking it a lot now. Comparing the time spent on thread basting and pinning, I’d think thread basting doesn’t take much longer and it produces more accurate result.


Basting the lapel facing to the lapel – blue thread is the basting line

After attaching the lapel facings, pressed and turned, I put the coat on the dress form and basted the lapel and facing together with basting stitches (like oversized pad stitches). This will allow the lapel facing to roll over the lapel. Then the facing was catch-stitched to the coat’s silk organza underlining.


Basting the lapel with the facing rolled out

Moving onto the bound buttonhole openings at the facing, I used four pins to mark the buttonhole positions and attached a silk organza patch to each buttonhole locations, cut, turned and pressed. It was quite tricky to slip stitch the facing to the back of the buttonholes as the fabric is rather thick. Luckily the fabric’s texture hides most of the untidiness.


Marking the bound buttonhole locations on the facing


Stitching the silk organza onto the facing


The buttonhole windows after turning and pressing


The facing slip stitched to the buttonholes’ backside

You’re probably wondering why the silk ribbon is hanging off the lapel in the photo above. I purposely left the ribbon unstitched as I wasn’t sure how much fabric will be taken up by the turn of cloth so I gathered it would be easier if I stitched the ribbon after the lapel is pressed and finished. The silk ribbon was sewn using tiny slip stitches with matching colour silk thread. While sewing the ribbon, I pulled it quite taut to make sure that it doesn’t bunch up or ripple.


Stitching the silk riobbon in place


Slip stitching the inner edge of the ribbon

I should mention that I panicked last week as my silk ribbon isn’t long enough to cover the whole length of the coat fronts and it’s out of stock in the shop (imagine my sad face!). After a lot of deliberation, I decided to use the ribbon anyway and used a small bow and button to finished the ribbon’s ends. I also let the coat hang on the dress form before hemming, surely a lot of the excess fabric which is on the bias (mostly at the side seam) was trimmed to get an even hem.


The catch-stitched hem and small bow at the end of the ribbon

Ok, let’s attach the collar to the coat. The under collar was first basted then sewn to the coat’s neckline by machine. I panicked (again!) because I thought one of the lapel is longer than the other. Luckily after checking, the collar / lapel unit looked even (phew…). The coat was once again put on the dress stand where I basted the upper and under collars together to allow for (guess what) turn of cloth.


Collar basted and stitched to the coat


Checking collar / lapel to make sure they’re even


Pressing the collar / neckline seam open

The neckline and under collar’s seam allowances were pressed open over wood using the point presser ( I don’t have a wood seams stick). The upper collar’s seam allowance was then turned under and basted. Next the back facing was attached and pressed under along the stitching line. Lastly, the facing was slip stitched to the upper collar.


Using point presser / clapper to press open the back facing seams

Turning in the facing


Turning in the back facing to prepare for slip-stitching


The finished collar / lapel unit

Now I just need to stitch the lining together and attach it to the coat! I learnt a lot while making this coat and I’m already thinking of what to make after this. Weather hasn’t been great lately but I’m hoping that I can take some finished photos this weekend. Wish me luck!

21 thoughts on “Last Swing Coat Progress Report

  1. I can’t wait to see the finished result! I only hand-basted my last formal dress, so I have a new appreciation for all the hand stitching that has gone in to your coat – to a beautiful result! (And I love the fabric you chose.)

  2. I have so enjoyed these progress reports on your beautiful coat. I’m excited to see it all finished. Your solution to not having enough ribbon is brilliant!

  3. Pingback: Burda 08/2009 Swing Coat Completed | sosewlovely

  4. wow reading through all this, you have done such a great job! i really cant wait until i have the time to try all this for myself. i think i will really enjoy the whole process. you have truley done a great job!

  5. Pingback: Progris riport « craftylittlebugger

  6. my goodness it’s so gorgeous it hurts. I love nothing more than insider action shots of tailored garments in process – this is no exception! Makes me wish it was closer to winter here so I can start on another tailoring project… :)

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