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Dec 14, 2010

Return to Toggle Land

Friends, we're getting close to finished on this toggle coat but we're not there yet.

Yesterday I attached the sleeves without too many headaches.  I still have to hem, shorten the sleeves, add the toggle closures, and finish the armhole seam bindings.  As I think I said earlier, this coat isn't so much difficult as it is labor intensive -- there's always something else to do.  Closer to the finish line the coat is going to require major pet hair removal with one of those sticky lint rollers.  Gray wool and white dogs are a bad mix!

And speaking of dogs, what fun I had reading yesterday's comments about doggy fashion.  I do try to keep this blog as frou-frou free as possible and I appreciate your support.

As you know, I've been making my own bias tape with cotton sateen (I think it's sateen; it has a dull side and a shinier side), cut at roughly 1 1/2", and then folded over seam allowances that are roughly 1/4 to 1/3".  Some of it looks great, some not so great.  I get lazy.

Sometimes I'd stitch the binding along the primary seam (the one holding the fashion fabric together), which means that when the binding is folded over and stitched on the other side, there's no stitch line visible.  But sometimes either the seam allowance was a teensy bit wider or the binding stitch line a little narrow so you see the binding stitch and the primary seam stitch.  Does that make sense?

Here's an example of what I mean, from the inside of the sleeve.  (Who's going to see it?)

I finger press the binding as I'm working; I never used an iron since the bias is stretchy and the seam of varying width depending on how many layers of wool I am binding.  In the hood area, for example, there are places where I'm binding six or eight layers (since every layer is underlined).  Sometimes I used pins but usually not; I just folded as I moved along.

Either way the seam is bound and that's the point, after all.  I try not to obsess about these things.  The next time I will do it better.

Readers, I must take the dogs to the vet for their annual checkup so I'm a little pressed for time.  I think I'll have this done by tomorrow.  I hope so: it's cold here (and it snowed a bit last night) and I could sure use a nice toggle coat to keep me warm -- and fashionable!

Have a great day everybody!

Seam bindings: love 'em or hate 'em?


  1. What's there to obsess about? It looks good, no one will ever notice the seam line! I like binding it makes everthing tidy. I am finishing a quilt for my mom this Xmas. The final binding has to be done by hand. A cozy job while laying on the coach watching tv in the evenings.

  2. I've come to really appreciate seam binding, and also the "Continuous Bias Method" of making bias tape to DO the seam binding. Sometimes it's the easiest finish, honestly.

  3. I haven't gotten to the seam binding portion of my sewing education / adventure, but I can tell you from a jacket I got from Lululemon, that seam bindings are great.

  4. I told you a bias tape maker would have changed your life ;)

  5. This is exactly the way I bound the seams on the jean-jackets I made last summer! I found it helpful to press the tape back after running the first line of stitching attaching it---made it much easier to get it folded around the seam allowance smoothly. Then stitch from the same side as your first seam, so you can make sure your stitches line up how you like.

    We had two indoor siamese cats for a time, and my mother had a white husky. There was nowhere to escape the white hair, ever :)

  6. I think the seam binding looks really good inside the coat. I am planning on making a coat, and will try that. Speaking of dog hairs, we have a black dog, so house is full of black hairs.

  7. The binding looks great. :) Gotta love those bias tape makers.

  8. What bias tape makers? I cut it myself on the bias with a ruler!

  9. Oh Peter you are making this process too much like hard work for yourself. Because you have cut the seam binding on the bias it won't fray (as you know) so you only have to stich it to the "top" of your seam allowance, flip it over to the underside and stitch in the ditch. You don't need to fold it back on itself as if you were using bias binding. I think sometimes sewing terminology can be confusing - you are using bias STRIPS, not bias BINDINGS.
    BUT - it's looking fab, don't worry about a few wobbly lines on the inside. No one will notice!
    Can't wait to see the finished result

  10. I'm with Nikki on the way she makes bias binding. When I found that method a few years ago, I thought it was the cleverest thing I'd ever seen. So little work for so much binding!

    Yes, love your bound seams! The whole coat is going to look great!

  11. I thought that method (the Hong Kong finish, where one side is raw) is used only when the bound seam is then pressed to the side (with the raw edge on the underside).

    These seams are more three dimensional -- they're thicker.

  12. Three cats, two black, one black one likes to sleep on the ironing board. Fur!

    Also, life lesson learned:

    When you have two active young cats, never leave your tissue paper pattern hanging on the ironing board. Never. *looks sadly at the rips in the freshly ironed new vogue pattern*

  13. I know, Peter.
    Perhaps I phrased my reply incorrectly:
    "A bias tape maker would have changed your life." ;)

  14. Peter you need a binding plate! They screw to machine bed and feed the binding through the needle, sewing it on in one pass. I think there are two types, one for right angles and the other for curves. Gigi has done several blog posts on them.

  15. I love the way they look, but alas they are soooooooooo time intensive. Still its better than having a raw seam. And they are fabulous for jacket and coat insides. Can't wait to see the coat. Sounds and looks quite warm. Love the fabric you've picked too!

  16. Thanks, Sunni!

    Phyllis, you know I think I have an old Singer attachment that does just that -- or something like it. Maybe I should learn how to use it!

  17. your work is beautiful, and I enjoy reading your daily posts. Stay warm and keep sewing.

  18. Binding a seam may not take much longer than overlocking (serging) would, if you use a binding attachment on your machine. It folds the bias tape just right so you only stitch once from the top. It will catch the under side, because it's set up to do that. I love a bound seam, myself. So classy!

  19. I have tried a bias tape maker and also one of those machine attachments to put the tape on, neither with much success. So I would be with you Peter, doing it by hand. Maybe it just takes practice. Perhaps you can do all the practicing and then tell us all the tricks, hmm? Another video? I can't wait to see the finished coat, anyway. And thank you for helping me to finally understand the difference between a lining and an underlining. So much to learn. But the challenge is part of the attraction to sewing, isn't it?

  20. I am resigned to seam bindings. I use them for shoulder seams regularly, and on facings. And usually on waist seams on dresses. Other than that, well, I'm still french seaming.

    I swear I can now make a classic pair of jammies in my sleep, and I just finished a shirt while halfway into dreamland....

  21. You know, there's a good argument for not doing the lining this way, and not binding the seams: lining is always a lighter fabric than the coat (or should be anyway), it'll wear out sooner, you should be able to change it. It's impossible with this method. So your coat's life is now limited to the linings..


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