Whoop! Time to start putting these Clare Coats together. Today we will be focusing on assembling the front panel of View A, and I’ll be back tomorrow with instructions for View B. For today, make sure you have all your pieces cut and interfaced. Today we’ll be sewing the darts and installing the welt pockets.
Quick disclaimer: I shot the sewalong using two pink wool coat samples. One was interlined with a polka dot flannel so you’ll see a mix of both coats in this post; hopefully you won’t be confused. My camera also spazzed out trying to find a good white balance with these colours so please pardon me if the pink shifts a little from image to image.
To get started, let’s sew up those bust darts. If you have a hard time sewing them straight, pin the dart into place and then use a ruler and a marking tool to draw a line from the start to the tip of the dart.
Sew the darts on each side of the front bodice, starting from the outside and ending at the bust point. Tie off your loose ends at the bust point by hand so they don’t unravel – it’s not a good idea to back stitch on a dart for accuracy’s sake.
If your fabric is reasonably thin, you can press the dart down. However, coating fabrics tend to be quite thick. It’s better to snip them open as much as possible and then press them flat. The little bit you can’t snip open can just be pressed down.
To get a nicely shaped dart, press it from the right side on top of a tailors ham (use a press cloth). This will blend the dart tip into the body fabric.
Once both darts have been sewn, it’s time to move on to our welt pockets. If you haven’t already, carefully mark the location of your welts by drawing a rectangle around the circle markings indicated on your pattern piece. Then draw a line down the centre of the rectangle. Each corner should end in a little triangle wedge around 3/4″ long. These center lines will be cut later to make room for our pocket opening. If you have some chalk carbon paper, the easiest way to transfer the markings is with a tracing wheel.
Time to assemble your pocket welts. They should both be interfaced. Fold them wrong sides together and then sew each short end at 5/8″/19mm.
Trim the edges down to around 1/4″/10mm and snip off the corners at a 45 degree angle. Flip right side out, use a point turner to square the corners and press. You can also baste 1/4″ along the raw edge.
Next up, let’s sew our pocket linings. Place the pocket facing and pocket lining right sides together (you want the pocket lining that looks like a half moon). Sew along the length.
Grade the lining seam and press the seam towards the lining. Topstitch along the lining to secure it to the facing seam and trim off any odd corners peeping out. Press flat.
Pin both welts to your coat front so that the raw edge is lined up against the center line you marked earlier. Sew along the entire length of each welt. Backstitch at beginning and end.
Place the pockets facing face down on the right side of the coat with the raw edge butting up against the welt raw edge. Center the facing edge with the welt. Pin into place.
Sew the facing to the coat, 1/4″/6mm away from the edge. Do not sew past the length of the welt or the pocket opening you marked on the coat fabric below. Backstitch at the beginning and end. Repeat for both sides.
Right now the welt and pocket facing are attached to the coat, but we also need to sew down the other half of the pocket lining. Lay it face down on top of the welt so that its edges line up with the pocket facing. Sew it along the length of the welt, 1/4″/6mm from the edge, basically sewing on top of the stitching you made to fasten the welt to the coat.
Your stitch lines should be about 1/2″ apart. Cut along the center line you marked earlier to create the pocket opening in the coat front. As you snip the triangular lines going to the corners, make sure you cut right to the very edge of your stitching. This is what it will look like on the back side of the coat:
You can now flip the pockets inside the coat and the welt should fold over to the other side. You should have a nice, neat rectangular opening from the opening you cut. Ensure you have snipped far enough to the welt corner so that you get a perfect rectangular opening with no buckling. Everything should lay nice and flat.
On the wrong side it should look something like this. Pull your little triangles open and press them flat.
You can now fold the pocket facing over to line up with the pocket lining.
Pin your pockets together around the perimeter.
Make sure that little triangle wedge is lying flat and pin it into place.
Sew the pocket facing and lining together while also catching that little triangle wedge. To do this, switch to a zipper foot and place the pocket facing side down on your machine. Start at the outside edge and sew the facing and lining together, catching the triangle wedge as you sew as close to the edge of it as possible.
Sew around the perimeter of the pocket with a 5/8″ seam allowance. For extra pocket strength, sew the entire pocket closed a second time about 1/8″ away from the first line of stitching.
On the right side of the coat, press the welt pockets over and up.
Since these pockets will be under stress, it is important to tack the welts down securely so they won’t come undone as you stick your hands in them over the years. From the wrong side of the coat, hand sew the welts down using a sturdy “X stitch” by sewing all the way through the back and then catching the underside of the welt pocket with your needle. Some stitches will be sewn through your pocket facing. You must secure the entire length of each welt edge.
Make sure you can’t see those stitches from the outside!
I haven’t done this yet but one of my testers suggested using a chain stitch to sew the pocket linings together. Knock yourself out if you feel like it!
That’s it for today; we’ll sew up our side seams later this week!