Tuesday 14 April 2009

Where do Time Lords keep their armies?

Previously I had not really paid much attention to the pattern for the sleeves, as I had lifted it directly from the Honest Dragon coat with little or no adaption. However, I had recently studied my pictures from Earl’s Court and had noticed that the backs of the sleeves are a lot fuller and less tailored than I had realized, although from the front they have the appearance of a snugger fit. I also noted that there was a slight amount of gathering in the lower back seam to create this extra fullness. (note in this picture how creased the back of the sleeves are)

I therefore adjusted the pattern by opening up the width of the upper sleeve on the rear descent of the sleeve head.

The photo below, if you look closely, shows the over-stitched sleeve hem; the over-stitched shoulder hem; the over-stitched back darts; and the two front tailoring darts.

For me, setting sleeves are one thing that I have never totally mastered - let me do a welted pocket anytime! I find it either sets in perfectly first time, or I have to reset it three or four times before I get it acceptable.
I did read up for the Mk III and found some tricks that did help me, with some success.

Once I have cut the sleeve, I sew the back seam first. This is then pressed flat, but with the seam allowance pressed facing towards the sleeve head (see picture right). I then run a line of top stitch along this seam, as I has noticed at close inspection that the original has this (see picture above).

I then sewed the front seam and pressed that out flat using a handy pressing roll (see picture left), which my tailoring book had recommended, a recommendation I can pass on; it stops you pressing over any previously pressed seams, which can damage or ruin the work you have already done, as well as being a more natural rounded shape to press against.

Now the first of my little tricks. I sew three parallel lines of stitching close to the edge of the seam along the sleeve head where it needs to be fitted in (see picture right). I make sure I use a strong polyester thread for this, rather than an easily breakable cotton, this is because I then tie the three threads together at each of the four ends and then carefully pull one set, gathering the sleeve head like the top of a curtain. I pull through around 5 to 6 inches across the 20 inches or so of stitch I have run.

This pulls in and shapes the sleeve head ready to be set in (see picture left). The spacing of the gathering is important; I need to gently gather it up from the front to the apex of the sleeve head to give the smoother fit, and then allow it to be more gathered and puckered going down the back. This will create the looser fitting effect I need.

I then pin the sleeve into the body of the coat starting with the apex of the sleeve head, paying careful attention to how it is pinned for the shaped section. Under the arm pit is where I can, using the ease of the fabric, loose or gain any mismatch of length of seam. I always test the sleeve for fit before sewing by trying it on. No matter how confident I am, the sleeve can drift a little during pinning, making it crease of hang badly when sewn.

This is one of the few parts of the assembly that I do pay particular attention to pinning before hand. I usually sew completely freehand, never bothering to pin. The times I have pinned extensively I have seen no great benefit or speed improvement. I now only pin to secure critical areas or where it is difficult to keep long unpinned seams running true, or where there is a trick that only pinning can provide.

When I first pinned the sleeve I did find the sleeve hole was not quite big enough, so after making sure I was doing the right thing, I pinned to a larger hole, sewed the sleeve, and kept the selvage from the seam. I then used this to work out what to abstract from the paper pattern. It is important to feed these alterations back to the pattern (I have done so a few times with this test coat), since this is why I am making this calico coat in the first place! I also marked on the upper sleeve pattern a big arrow point where it lined up with the shoulder seam. This will make it easier to set future sleeves using this pattern.

The apex of the shoulder is then shaped using a shoulder pad, the effect of which I slightly disperse by also sewing in a strip of thick fabric along the sleeve head. This lessens the visibility of the edge of the should pad.

Here is a good guide to sewing sleeve heads:

I then cut the lining using pinking sheers to reduce the amount of fraying. This is something I have only adopted recently and wished I had done long ago!
When I made the earlier coat I had straight-cut the linings, and within a few minutes of handling them, I had long threads of silk trailing in all directions. These would sometimes get caught and pulled, distorting the lining before it had even been sewed.
I can report that I had NONE of this by pinking the edges of the lining.

Setting the sleeve lining was relatively easy, once I had worked out while way round to sew them! Basically you need to have the lining tuned the opposite way from how you have the sleeve.

The sleeves done, it was time to have fun with lapels and collars . . . .

So, where DO Time Lords 
keep their armies?

Up their sleevies, of course!

1 comment:

  1. The fullness in the back of the sleeve is a result of sleeve pitch. Simply put, the angle and bend of the arm causes the creasing. It's entirely because of the fact that it's on a dummy.