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Coat pattern

just jane | Posted in General Sewing Info on

off-grainingDoes anyone have experience off-graining the front edge of a coat?


  1. NovaSkills | | #1

    This is done in fine ready-to-wear alot. I have cheated the grainline out up to 1/2 inch at bottom hemline. It seems that the heavier the fabric, the more off-graining is needed to get the intended result. I think Claire Schaefer's couture books cover this.

    The only cautions I can add are that horizontal stripes or bold checks/plaids could require a different strategy, and--more importantly--be sure that you aren't using off-graining to cover up skimpy bust dart shaping in the pattern. If there isn't enough cupping from bust shaping for your figure, nothing wants to hang on grain. Test by pinching out a tad more dart; if the problem fixes, change dart, then approach the grain question. It may now take less off-grain to get the proper look.

    Also remember to stay-stitch or otherwise stabilize the off-grain edge. Good luck!

    1. just jane | | #2

      Thanks for the information. I plan to add off-graining to the front edges of a coat to prevent the gap at the hem edge when buttoned and one is wearing it.

      1. Teaf5 | | #4

        The other suggestions are great, especially the ones about bust fitting and walking ease, but a very, very simple technique that saved me once was tugging up on the center front and replacing the collar/neckline slightly lower. 

        By adjusting how the coat hung from my neck and shoulders, I solved the gapping problem at the lower edge after I had finished the entire garment.  It was a last-minute adjustment that didn't take very long (I just picked out the collar seam, trimmed the garment, and stitched it back down in the new location) and solved an otherwise very annoying problem.

  2. Malindi | | #3

    I was introduced to adding walking ease by Sandra Betzina, and in her book "Power Sewing Step-by-Step" (page 14) she goes into a great deal of detail about center-front ease extensions and the amount to be added for bathrobes, coats, coatdresses, dresses without waist seam, and skirts, button and wrap styles. The length of the garment makes a difference to the amount to be added.

    Here are her recommendations for various coat lengths:

    Mid-thigh 3/4" (1.9 cm)
    Knee 1 1/4" (3.2 cm)
    Midcalf, no waist seam 2 1/2" (6.4 cm)
    Midcalf, with waist seam 1 1/4" (3.2 cm)
    Ankle 3" (7.6 cm)

    The pattern should be slashed from the hem to the neck sewing line (don't cut through the neck seam allowance, so you can form a hinge), and then spread the pieces the appropriate amount. Cut a strip of paper the required length and slip under the slash and tape or glue it into position.

    Remember, of course, that you have to add a similar amount to the facing, interfacing and the lining. This applies to sew-on facings; it doesn't work if it is a cut-on facing (i.e. folded edge), in which case, cut off the facing, add seam allowance and turn it into a sew-on facing.

    Sandra adds:

    Plaid and striped fabrics are handled a bit differently because the
    centre front must remain on grain. For these fabrics, slash the front pattern piece near the side seam, from the bottom of the hem to within 1/6" (3mm) of the armhole cutting line. Spread the pattern piece at the hem, tapering to the original cutting line at the armhole.

    While on the subject of coats, I suffer from 'buttonhole phobia', and so I cheat and make concealed buttonholes, using the lining material for the 'insert', and then tacking the edge at intervals with invisible stitches to avoid gaping. I have also used the 'add on' method as described in Threads recently. Anything to avoid doing bound or sewn (machine or hand) buttonholes!

    I hope you find this information useful. Good luck!

    1. SewNancy | | #5

      I just finished a coat that falls just above the knee. I offgrained it with the reccomended amounts. These are just extimates and if you are using heavy fabric you need to make it larger. My fabric is a heavey cashmere wool and I interlined the lining, so together I should have made it a bit wider. Roberta Carr gives an even better explanation in her Couture book, but she says that experience is needed to figure the right amount. It looks good, but when I walk I feel that it opens more than it should.

  3. WandaJ | | #6

    For those of us who don't know please tell us about 'off-graining.' Thank you

    1. just jane | | #7

      This is from Roberta Carra' book, 'Couture'

      A slit in a skirt or jacket or dress that looks like a wedge has been cut out when it should hang straight and closed.

      this happens because the edge of the opening is cut on the straight of grain.

      1. At the waist make a mark 1/2" out from the front edge of the pattern.

      2. Draw a straight line from the highest  point of the opening (near Neckline), passing through the 1/2" point at the waist and continuing to hem edge which could  be 1 1/2 to 2 or more inches.

      3. Draw a new center front line in from edge the same amount as  original pattern.

      4. Both right and left sides need  to be done .

      5. The facing is done exactly the same as the garment.

      6.. The amount to be adjusted  depends a lot on the weight of the fabric, interfacing,

      and length of garment.


      1. WandaJ | | #8

        Thank you for the information passed on from Roberta Carr's Couture Techniques.  In essence, the purpose of this alteration is to make a garment hand straight at the sides and closings, which can be determined (i.e., the incorrect hanging or closing) from the muslin?

        Now, one more question, which relates to the line from the neck area. Is that line supposed to start at the patterns designated neck area, or it to to be made from the waist's new extended marking?

        1. just jane | | #9

          The line is to start at the neck line, pass through the 1/2" extended mark and continue at an angle to hem. 

          1. WandaJ | | #10

            Thanks for your response. Now, this process does make more sense, and is easier to visualize.

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