I got up this morning determined to finish the coat. I’m heading to San Francisco on the 31st for a week-long sewing retreat with Sandra Betzina and I want to take the coat with me (to show off, of course, but also because it will be a good weight for the San Francisco early April weather).
First: figure out a way to carry the contrast band to the finished edge – I accomplished that by inserting precisely the right width of contrast fabric into the binding, carefully pinning it so it would align with the stripe, then stitching the full binding to the fronts. If you didn’t know that was a problem I had to solve, you’d never notice how I solved it. Second, add collar and contrast binding to right side (can’t see it in the image because it’s behind the folded down collar). No problems with that set of operations. Third, set in second sleeve, bind underarm and side seam, add wide binding to cuff. Done. Fourth: finish binding along the bottom including mitred corners at the fronts. Went fine.
Next: buttonholes. W-e-l-l that took some consideration. Because the collar is way too tall for me I realized (rather than cut it down two inches and rebind the top edge which I could do) I’ll probably wear the coat with the collar open and use a scarf if I need more warmth. So I didn’t want a button in the collar. I marked the location for the top button at the point where the collar folds. Then 6 1/2″ lower I marked the second (in line with the top of the pockets), and 6 1/2″ below that I added a third to keep the front closed. Bound button holes or machine stitched? I decided to stitch button holes (at least for now – I am seriously thinking about binding them – not a issue, the stitching will just stabilize the cut edge while I’m doing the binding). I checked the sewn button holes before cutting them open (I can always take out the stitching and restitch, but once cut that’s it!). All good.
Last, buttons: I had four buttons I picked up in Bali – actually they are “rounds” created by Jon Anderson the Polymer Clay artist we visited. I could visualize them as buttons so I drilled two holes in each when I got home. The colours are perfect for this fabric. I sewed the buttons on the outside at the same time sewing slightly smaller turquoise buttons on the reverse. Now I have a problem – the buttons are VERY difficult to button up – the buttons on both sides are large and there is no movement room. Because of their size I wasn’t able to build shanks for each side (I couldn’t get the needle through just one of the buttons without creating a very long thread shank) so they are relatively closely sewn. I’m thinking of taking them off and permanently sew the buttons on the main fabric to the button holes and putting large snaps underneath – one set of snaps would work for both sides of the coat.
For now, however, the coat is done and my sewing room tidied up.