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A Pretty Blue Coat

I’m continually fascinated by the little touches that make a garment special – whether they’re pronounced or subtle they add up to give a layer of charm.

The other day I had the opportunity to look inside this charming pale blue wool coat and found wonderful details.

I love the horizontal darts at the back armscyes – anyone who’s ever done any fitting or pattern work is familiar with gaping armholes. We usually deal with them by shifting the fullness into shoulder darts, shoulder ease, or a princess seam.  Using darts is a more direct approach, and it’s something I’ve seen a couple of times recently (I saw the same treatment on a very chic Prada jacket).  I like the back waist darts, too. What a stylish way to work a little shaping into the center back seam.

Another nice touch; the front facings have been made from grosgrain ribbon.  Not only does it add another layer of texture, but it lightens things up – facings out of the wool would be have been all right, but this is a much lighter technique, literally and figuratively.

And notice the little bias band of print silk between the grosgrain facing and the lining – another nice bit of style and definition.  Without it, the grosgrain would have blended into the lining; with it, it’s much prettier.

And there’s some nice decorative stitching – around the collar, around the pocket flaps, at the cuffs, and along the center fronts.  Yes, it’s pretty to look at, but it keeps the layers of fabrics in place along those important defining edges.

I love the snaps, and the way they’re sewn on. 

Snaps have become such a great decorative element these days – here’s another simple-to-do treatment.  These snaps are pretty…

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  1. russellgibson | | #1

    Me a novice sewer but this garment very very nicely done

  2. 1jmh | | #2

    I've been sewing my clothing for some years now.
    This is the first time I have come across the horizontal back armhole darts.
    The waist darts are interesting too. Next time I hit a snag I sure will give them a try.

  3. Lizothelake | | #3

    Are those Press Studs covered with tiny circles of lining fabric gathered round the edge and secured to the wrong side, then an awl, knitting needle or stiletto used to begin an opening between the threads for the 'ball and socket' of the press stud to connect through? Then the press stud sewn in place.
    I know this has been described as a nice finishing touch in THREADS in the past, and I have done it for many years. At one time I had a stack of samples of Silk Scarves from a certain Bond Street, London, fashion and fabric store. They were especially nice for this; fine but strong, mostly small prints, and every colour under the sun. I could cut my circles, cover the press studs, and they would be totally comoflaugeed except on fabrics such as Gabardine.
    I have also seen the Ball part sewn between the garment and facing so the metal is totally concealed; just the ball emerges through a small eased opening, and another eased on the under part of the (left) front so the two parts can connect.

    Liz Powell

  4. Dressmakers_dummy | | #4

    Wow there are so many neat little techniques I will have to make note of them all for diffrent projects. What weight is the wool fabric and how wide is the grosgain ribbon?

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. PointPatou | | #5

    Very interesting. Thank you.

  6. User avater
    mjgreen | | #6

    I always look for articles written by you, as they are so full of information, that I find invaluable every day in my workroom. Thanks for all of your sharing & hope to see you next year for a French Jacket project.

    Jo Green

  7. denise | | #7

    susan you are always on time for me, i am just finishing of a wool coat for my granddaughter
    the stitching around the colar it looks like hand stitching.

    i have some left over wool felt very small amounts, so i am going to cut in long strips and plait it, not sure where i will use it yet may be on the cuffs,

    thank you showing this lovley blue coat

  8. JuliamaeSews | | #8

    Beautiful work, gorgeous coat, great article. But I think my sight must be failing, because to me that fabric is gray, not blue---it's definitely a beautiful gray. And I'm not the least bit color blind. Did the image editing possibly change the tint just a bit? The little details definitely set this coat apart as a handmade one. Wish I could sew that well.

  9. norieellen | | #9

    Thanks to Lizothelake I know a new term - I had not run across the term "press stud" before. I just called it a snap. This is a great technique and thanks for the description of how it's done.

  10. gremol | | #10

    I must be color blind too !! It shows up gray on my computer, not a pretty blue !! Still a nice coat though !!

  11. Lauraellene | | #11

    If I were making this for me, I would like very much to use some extra lining fabric for a scarf which I could use at the neck. I love putting extra details together like this.

  12. Snikwas | | #12

    I agree - the colour shows grey - not blue. This whole design (or what we can see of it) incorporates some innovative ideas - but too many all on one garment doesn't work well. I don't think the design fits the material which -to me - should look more tailored to really do it justice. I don't like the darts at all.
    Finally - to put all those features in one design - then to fasten with press studs - seems such a waste and cheapens the whole effect!

  13. starrsewsabit | | #13

    Wow! Cute coat. I always have wrinkles around the waist in my purchased clothes. The horizontal darts would be a great and stylish way to get the correct fit. Inside the garment for subtlety and outside for fun! Thank you--Thank you.

  14. sidneyfield | | #14

    Simply stunning! I really would like to see a picture of the entire coat. Is this an original design?

  15. sandrambrown | | #15

    On my computer, the coat's color looked like a pale blue; however, when I got down to where the snaps are shown, the fabric is a prettier, richer shade of blue. I'm thinking that this picture shows the true color of the coat.

    I loved all of the details on the coat, especially the horizontal back dart, which I had never heard of. I just wish we could have seen the full garment, front, back, and one side.

  16. gwtw1936 | | #16

    I believe the hand stitching that is shown is called a "pick stitch" or something like that. I was taught this for putting in a zip by hand for a couture finish.

  17. Neosha | | #17

    It is very interesting to look at designer clothes and see what makes them worth the money. I bought a CK summer dress last year on sale for $30 (originally $136). Here are the things that made it $136 to start with. Beautiful heavy linen. Single needle double stitching on 10 long pleats from neck/shoulder to hip. hem line has a 5 inch double band sewn on again with single needle double stitching. lined. pockets on each side seam. Invisible zipper in side seam. Armhole facing sewn on the outside.
    I am now trying to replicate these details in a summer dress I am making.

    In the tailoring class I took years ago, after choosing a pattern, we had to go shopping and compare low, middle and high priced garments of a similar style. I tried to make my black wool suit as much like the Armani one I examined as I could.

  18. Minnasews | | #18

    Very interesting. I live in Florida and particularly appreciate the grosgrain facing. I like using wools but with our weather, anything that lightens up the wool makes it more wearable. Bulky coats aren't good here...but I hate to give up wool. I like the hand stitching, too. The innovative use of darts is interesting and causes me to think of other unorthodox places that they might be helpful. It's fun to 'think out of the box'.

  19. Paws2 | | #19

    Oh My Gosh!!!!!! What a beautiful example of detailed workmenship that ,as you say , is not only lovely to look at but has a function as well! I have had a subscribtion to your magazine for awhile now and am learning sew much as well as reading your articles, such as this, and they keep getting better and better! Back to the coat, I will definitley use many of the couture finishing touches on my projects such as the wide gross grain ribbon facing and the basting detail edging the coat. I work in a fabric store and will suggest some of these ideas as I usually do from other articles. I will often tell my customers to go to your site for information and I let them know how wonderful your magazine really is! Please keep teaching and sharing your finds with us! Thanks again!!

  20. seniorseamtress | | #20
  21. seniorseamtress | | #21

    Senoirsewer.The color did not show-up blue on my computer. Also what kind of fabric was the coat make of? If it was wool,I would
    have used another shade of wool for the sleeve contract and
    a nicer lining fabric. Over the coat had some nice designer
    technique that that been around for ever. I have been sewing
    for ober 50 years and have used many of these techniques before. It is good to show these techniques to the younger

  22. thread_arts | | #22

    I never thought of sewing snaps on in a decorative way. It is refreshing to see silk contrasts in the facings. It would be lovely to have hand stitched details on all garments. too bad we don't always have the time to do it.

  23. Gaill | | #23

    Susan,the snap details on the pale blue coat were interesting but, I think your sample on the darker blue fabric would be much stronger than the simple cross stitch one on the light blue coat.

  24. gennevi | | #24

    I have been thinking about fitting darts and armscyes a lot recently. I have an overly high bust so on fitted garments, it creates a verticle crease across the sleeve which could be taken out with a dart but that could make the sleeve too tight if I reduced to fit the new armscye. I would appreciate any advice. I like those back waist darts on me because I need fitting in that area too.

  25. lovemysinger | | #25

    I applaud experimentation, but my knee-jerk reaction as I viewed the illustration was that this could be called "Oops!-fitting." The horizontal darts, in my opinion, are too "busy" and distract, rather than enhance the design of this garment. I believe fitting problems should be resolved in the pattern or muslin, before cutting the fashion fabric.

  26. KellynZ | | #26

    Thank you for sharing these pictures and details of this wonderful jacket. It is exactly what I needed to see as I am planning to sew a jacket much like this one and wanted to add these great type of details.

  27. User avater
    ustabahippie | | #27

    I wish I'd been reminded of the pick stitching around the edges before I donated my red wool coat because I couldn't get the edges flat enough! That would have been the solution. I must have had a senior moment when I forgot I could do that!

  28. SEWNYA | | #28

    Please tell us where to find grograin that is that wide! I would love to find it if I am going to apply some of your wonderful helps. Thanks.

  29. SusanKhalje | | #29

    I'm so glad you're enjoying the details in this coat - it belongs to the daughter of a sewing friend of mine, and it was a not-terribly-expensive off-the-rack coat. The color really is prettier than what shows up online - it was sort of robin's egg blue, and a medium-weight wool. And the sample snap I did used other fabric altogether.

    Certainly, the extra fabric shaped into those darts could have been dealt with in a number of ways, but I think this use was fun and lighthearted (not to mention a little bit unexpected), and it certainly worked to give the back the shaping it needed.

    Apologies again about the lack of a picture of the whole coat, but you'll just have to take my word for it that the rest of it is pretty straight-forward - knee-length, just a continuation downward of what you see.

  30. shirley97128 | | #30

    I like all the extra details you added on, makes it very special, but, I would have pressed all the seams flat. They look bulky, not finished, that detracts for me.

  31. JaniceK | | #31

    I love it! A woman after my own heart. You get so wrapped up in your excitement over the detail that you forget to show us the whole jacket. It sounds like something I've done myself. Great find, thanks for sharing.

  32. User avater
    kennethdking | | #32

    In regards to pressing those seams flat, this is a napped melton (or it looks like it), and giving the seams a hard press would put a great deal of shine on the fabric. Personally, I like the soft effect--makes the fabric look thicker and more cushiony, and is consistent with the soft color.

  33. llsews | | #33

    First undergarments I remember is the girdle! We wouldn't think of going out dressed up without one. Then the 60s brought us the garder belt, very sexy in those days, a laughing riot today. The "burning of the bra" which I couldn't go along with very well with a size 36 B (boy would I give a lot to see that size again). We went back to the push them up and out to the no breasts of the "twiggy" look. Now I'm in my 60s and no longer worry about the fashion of the day. I wear what I know looks good on my figure, and don't worry what others are doing and saying. Yea!!!

  34. User avater
    jokittens | | #34

    I love the idea of the horizontal darts in the back! Why didn't I think of that? I'll be utilizing that idea in my next jacket construction.

  35. pletcherjzu | | #35

    Alright,[url=http://www.office2010-key.eu/] Microsoft Office 2010[/url] i have microsoft office 2007[url=http://www.office-2010-key.org/office-2007-key] Office Enterprise 2007 Activation [/url] and microsoft office 2010.[url=http://www.windows7key.ca/] Windows 7 Activation Key[/url] So, whenever i open my old documents it[url=http://www.key-office-2010.us/discount-office-2007-key] Office Enterprise 2007 Key[/url] automatically uses 2010 word instead[url=http://www.microsoftoffice2007key.de/genuine-windows-7-key] Windows 7[/url] of word 2007 which it was.

  36. User avater
    LuvThreadsMagazine | | #36

    The coat exudes charm. Those details are inspiring; horizontal darts - who knew?

  37. User avater
    michellepaganini | | #37

    For the wide Grosgrain try http://www.britex.com. Last time I was there in person they had the best selection I've seen for size and color and I understand they will do mail order.

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