So here it is, my first venture into tailoring! Before we go on any further, yes tailoring is as difficult as it sounds but yes it is also super rewarding! I was really excited to sew my own tailored coat and intimidated at the same time. And I definitely had plenty of ‘first times’ in the making of this coat and learnt a lot of valuable tailoring tips…check them out below!
I bought this 100% wool fabric long before I thought of making this coat. I fell in love with the colour (I’m nuts about neutral) and texture. This was my first time working with 100% wool and it was just heaven! No more worrying about melting fabrics and it pressed so beautifully!
For the lining, I used BEMBERG lining, a type of rayon, that feels luxurious and presses well. I highly recommend spending a little more and getting Bemberg lining if you’re making a coat. Coats take a lot of time and work, it definitely deserves a high quality lining. I for once, will never go back to polyester lining.
I bought my first ‘difficult’ pattern, Burda 6875, I barely understood the instructions! Thankfully, my sewing teacher was super experienced in tailoring. I wouldn’t recommend this pattern if you are a beginner sewer and/or have never done tailoring before. The pattern itself is really nice and fits well but the instructions skipped a LOT of steps. Anyways, for the fit, I cut size 8. I’m quite petite at 163 cm and 53 kg so I had to shorten the pattern. I shortened the centre front and back by 1 cm for the top portion and 3 cm for the lower portion. I also shorted the sleeves and shoulders by 1 cm. The result was perfect.
I skipped the pocket flap and just made a normal welt pocket. Oh yeah, it was my first time sewing a welt pocket too..ugh. I need to do more practice on scrap fabric.
Ironing: I learnt so many new tips while making this coat. First of all, a good iron AND a slab of marble or other stone is a must! The heavier your iron, the better. The gold standard would be gravity feed iron but if you don’t have one, you can still get a professional press with the following tip. I just had a normal domestic iron but after each time I run my iron over a seam, I made sure to press a slab of quartz over the seam. I didn’t have marble but quartz works just fine. The idea is to set the seam after each press. Both marble and quartz have weight and cooling properties so they absorb the heat from the seam after a steam and sets the seam. Trust me, your seam will look professionally pressed. And make sure to add steam when you iron wool fabric.
Shoulder pads: Even if you have defined shoulders, a light padding is important to create a tailored, structured look. So do not skip on the shoulder pads! Also, the right shoulder pads are important. Look for thin, light ones. For example, these shoulder pads from wawak.com. Do not buy those big, chunky ones unless thats the look you are going for.
Sleeve heads: Aside from shoulder pads, sleeve heads are also super important for a tailored shoulder. You can buy them or make your own. My sewing teacher taught me how to make my own from my leftover wool fabric. (I’ll write a separate post about this)
There were so many other useful tailoring tips that I learnt but I think I’ll write a separate post for them. Soon!
pictures: Vancouver, by Alexandra G.
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