Saturday 21 March 2009

The Mk II - better tailoring

For the Mk II I took a bit more time to research better tailoring techniques, as although I am competent at using my sewing machine, I needed to know some of the proper methods of tailoring and tricks & tips to make it more professional.

One of my failings was my outer pockets. I had no idea of how to assemble them correctly.
My first attempt was a bit rubbish. I cut a slit in the coat and 'decorated' it with the pocket flap and pocket. As you will see, this was totally the wrong way to do it!

I went back to old fashioned basics and went to John Lewis and asked someone in their haberdashery department. I described what I wanted to do and the lady said 'Oh, welted pockets'. At last - I knew the NAME of what I was trying to do!
She found a book with some basic skills - amongst a lot of gingham and chintz.
It had welted pockets, but for sewing into lightweight dresses - but the seed of the idea was there.
Googling 'how to welted pockets' gave me a couple of real good step-by-step guides, the best of which is this one:

I have it a quick go on a scrap of fabric, and despite never having done one before, I turned out a very presentable welt. Even I was impressed. To be honest, it was daunting to do, but as long as you follow EVERY step and don't skip anything, they are real easy to do.

Another area I needed to brush up on was lapel construction.
One each notch of a lapel, there are four pieces of fabric meeting together. The question is what order are they best assembled in.
Again I quickly found I had previously chosen the wrong one!
I had sewed the collar together, and
 tried to set it into the coat. As you can see from this website, it is best to set one half into the coat, and sew the other half to the lapel, then bring them all together.

I also found a fantastic book on Amazon, which is a goldmine (if a little patronizing from time to time) for making jackets and coats:

This book is invaluable for some clever tricks to make things better. One worth knowing is a little trick of putting a pin in the lapel before sewing the edge together. The pin is put pointing towards the point of the lapel, creating a big wave in the material. This helps make the lapel bend down towards the body of the coat, helping prevent the lapels curing up which can look real amateur and unattractive.
Later in this blog I will go through and show how this is done . . . .

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