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Dec 6, 2013

Wool Tweed Peacoat UPDATE!



What can I say?  Wool tweed is both wonderful to work with and challenging.

My fabric, while quite sturdy and stable, is coarsely woven, which means it's prone to fraying.  I'm addressing this in a number of ways.  I've experimented with serging, pinking, and overcasting seam allowances -- all of these work (though I don't see myself pinking too often).





In the case of darts that must be sliced open (aka too bulky to press to one side), I whip-stitched the seam allowance down by hand.  Fortunately, hand stitches done in brown thread are invisible.



The greatest challenge so far is bulk.  Anything stitched and turned -- a pocket welt, for instance, must be carefully graded and trimmed.  But at the same time, because of the coarseness of the weave and its tendency to fray, I can't trim too close to the stitch line.  Thankfully, with steam and a wood clapper, I can very effectively press out most of the bulkiness.









I am trying to sew this project slowly and, frankly, I can only take so many hours of this kind of work.  Today I managed to finish both front single welt pockets and purchase my lining, a creamy coffee-brown silk twill from Mood.  My most productive day so far.



In other news, there is a new sewing machine in my life, but you'll have to wait till the weekend for more info on.

That's all for now, friends.  The days ahead will likely be all about donegal tweed, though I do have a few other things going on to help me stay sane. 

Have a great day, everybody!

20 comments:

  1. I've been working on the same coat for my husband for 1 year now and I only just got that far last night.

    I guess I'm just not into it especially considering winter lasts 3 days here.

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  2. I love your courage and determination you show in all your projects. Your work is outstanding. I don't understand why your not a sought after designer. You have great style.

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    1. I agree with what you said. Yes, indeed.

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  3. It's looking fabulous already. Did you pre-shrink the fabric at all?

    Spud.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I ran it through the dryer for about 45 minutes with a few damp towels.

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    2. Thank you, Peter. I've been somewhat obsessed with pre-shrinking fabric since my first sewing project (a wool crepe dress) shrunk beyond recognition after drycleaning :(

      I love your choice of lining by the way.

      Spud.

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    3. I would either dry clean the fabric or use a version of the "London Press" preshrinking method (dampening the fabric, letting it sit, and then ironing it). Putting wool in a dryer is not recommended.

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  4. I "finished" working on a wool tweed jacket, and it was rather a disaster. My long seams looked beautiful but the collar and jacket hems are bulky. Plus, the front of the short jacket decided to bow away from the body. I lined it with horsehair canvas too. Can you post a little more about the grading and how to reduce bulk using this fabric? It would be much appreciated, as I want to tackle this project again. Must.Have.Wool.Tweed.Jacket. Thanks! Here's the url for my jacket progress: http://costumingdiary.blogspot.com/2013/02/patterns-of-gilded-age-victorian-jacket.html

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    1. Artemisia, you might want to try an easier tailoring project -- perhaps something that isn't quite so fitted. My jacket, for example, as tailoring projects go, is relatively basic. Hang in there!

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  5. of course you needed another sewing machine!
    ...there's an empty space over in that corner...
    (grin)

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  6. It looks great so far and taking your time with it will really pay dividends. I'm curious about the pinking though and why you don't think you'll be doing it much? I'm wondering if it's because it's boring, or time consuming or because there are better alternatives? Or something else entirely? The lining looks lush-that will feel so nice to wear. Rachel :-)

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  7. Ruined a great pair of pants pinking in the crotch to reduce bulk. Yeah, not happy as it really isn't salvageable. Be careful when you do grab those shears!

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  8. Your coat is going to be so nice - I love Donegal tweed. Thanks for all your sewing tips, past and present. Another sewing machine? Why not ;-) Have a good weekend.

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  9. I can tell that this is going to be 100 per cent gorgeous when finished. I can see what beautiful work is going into it - and the silk is a perfect lining. I'm glad to see you using materials that are worthy of your work!

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  10. Well, it certainly looks like it's turning out just fine so far!

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  11. Pinking on loose woollens is not so bad on generous inlays hidden under the lining, but it's a disaster anywhere else. A wide serger stitch is very flat and it is probably the best choice.
    On cut-out pieces waiting to be sewn it's probably best to spray anti-fray stuff on them for handling, rather than bulking-up every edge with stitching that isn't needed' which is also liable to cause cockling in parts that need to stretch a little as they are worked.

    With tailoring its often necessary to forget the machines for a while and work on hand-sewing skills.

    You're going to be happy with his coat I think.

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  12. I once bought a mid-market wool blazer and decided to alter it to fit better. When I opened up the hem, I discovered the front had been block-fused. That didn't present any problems when inserting darts or side-seam shaping, and I understand that it's a technique widely used and recommended. Might it be have been useful in stabilizing your Donegal?

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  13. A few things I've learned from quilting are, to prevent fraying, shorten your stitch length and use silk thread. Silk thread is fine and leaves very little bulk in the seam. You can purchase it from Superior Threads, there is a lot of very important information on their website, well worth the time spent reading!!

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