My Big Bow Coat is really coming on now! In fact I only have the press-studs and buttons to sew on and it’s totally finished!
Before I do the big reveal I wanted to show you how I worked out the collar on this coat.
When I made my toile (which you can check out in this post) I realised just how wide the collar was and I was worried it would mean it would be a bit drafty around the neck as it was so open.
As I showed you in the last tutorial on making the welt pockets, the instructions are really difficult to interpret for this pattern and there is no reference to a whole extra bit of the coat and collar that helps it all sit in place and stops the drafts around the neck.
Here is how I managed to figure it all out. The text in italics is the original instructions.
We last left things after step 2, which was all about the welt.
Step 3 Sew bust dart on front. Press towards hem. Make and sew a counter pleat on back according to makers. Press.
The dart part is easy enough. For the pleat, it’s fairly easy too, the only extra thing that I did was to stitch the pleat on the inside folds to help them automatically sit in place.
Step 4 Sew side and shoulder seams of front and back. Press seam apart and serge.
Again, so far so easy.
Step 5 Sew together, pair wise, back and front neck facings. Press seams apart. Pin right sides together and sew neckline edge. Clip into curves, turn right side out, and press.
It gets a bit confusing here as on the actual pattern pieces they are called the upper back and upper front. You will have two sets of these pieces and one set should have interfacing on it.
When you sew them together (right sides facing) make sure they are offset slightly as shown below. This will mean when you press the seam allowances open you get a continuous curve once you trim off the little triangles that stick out.
Repeat this for both sets then sew them together (right sides facing) along the inner curve. Notch it out as show below.
Then turn around, so wrong sides are facing, and press in place. I also added a line of topstitching round the inner curve 0.5cm from the edge. I think it just adds a nice detail. (Not shown in picture).
The big bow is a massive feature in this coat and it’s fairly straightforward to make it. Steps 6 and 7 refer to making the actual bow and the only bit I would change is where the topstitching goes. The pattern says to do it 1cm from the fold but I think that’s too much, I’d do closer to 0.5cm.
Step 8 Top stitch the bow onto the right ride of the upper collar from the right side, aligning the marked lines. Sew the bow knot (belt-loop) to upper collar, aligning upper and lower edges. Sew upper collar to the neckline. Clip into curves and press seam apart.
I ignored the first part of this instruction. Attaching the bow at this stage just means it will get in the way. I sewed it on by hand once the collar was all on and finished.
Next I attached the upper collar (that’s the outside collar which will have the interfacing on it) to the main coat.
Step 9 Pin lower collar to collar placket right sides together. Insert vertical edge of front neck facing between them, matching notches along the lower edge. Sew together. Press seam toward the placket. Fix lower collar to facing along the lower edges.
This bit too me ages to work out and I think it might be easier to just see the pictures. The thing I started to realise after this step is that you have to see the collar as a 3D thing and that it just won’t lie flat at all.
The lower collar is the inside collar and as it’s shorter that the outside collar you have to attach it to the collar placket. The confusing bit is fitting the facing in-between that seam.
I recommend you pin the facing the inner collar to the facing along the lower edge and sew that first. Then pin the placket in place, which will sandwich the facing in the middle. Sew with the normal 1cm seam, press the seam allowance to the placket, and then top stitch again 0.5cm from the seam line. I think it’s the details of the topstitching that really add a nice touch.
Step 10 Sew lining the same way as the main fabric pieces. Turn seam allowance of the lining hem twice inside at the 1cm and topstitch. Sew lining to front band facing. Press seam allowances onto lining and serge. Sew lower collar to lining and to front band facing. Press seam into lining.
This step isn’t too bad either. As long as you take it one bit at a time. The mistake I made was to cut the front bodice-lining piece too large. I forgot to miss out the width of the front band facing. It does say that at the top of the instruction sheet, I just missed it.
I also topstitched on the lining 0.5cm from the seam line for another detail.
Step 11 Sew and press sleeve elbow seam. Make a decorative stitch at 1cm off the seam. Press hem of sleeve. Sew and press apart front sleeve seam. Make a gathering stitch along sleeve cap for ease. Sew sleeve into armhole, matching notches and adjusting ease. Sew in shoulder pads.
Again, I did the top stitch 0.5cm from the seam line. I also missed out the shoulder pads too but I’ll come back to that.
Step 12 Serge lower edge of garment. Press hem. Not too bad, there is a line along the bottom of the pattern at about 1” (3cm) from the bottom edge so I pressed the hem at this level.
Pin lining to facing and lower collar, with right sides together, sew facing and upper edge of collar.
This bit is tricky as there are quite a lot of layers to sew through.
So at this point you will have the outer coat that has the collar attached (the collar that has the interfacing attached to it) and the coat lining that has the inner collar (which also has the facing attached to it).
Sew lower edges of front band facing to from exactly along marked line of hem turn up.
You then have to attach them together starting at the hem on one side of the coat all the way up to the collar, along the top of the collar and then back down to the other side of the hem.
Trim corners. Turn coat out onto right side, straighten seams and press seams.
This bit is easy enough.
Put fixing stitch along collar and neckline connecting seam.
Here I put a line of topstitching along the top edge of the collar 0.5cm from the edge.
To put the second row of top stitching along the bottom edge of the collar, you need to hand tack the outer and inner collar together. I used red thread and stitched right in the seam line to make sure that everything was lined up correctly.
I then topstitched it from the outside of the coat but I managed to get all the lining caught up in it. So out it came and I had to do it again, making sure I pulled the lining out the way.
To finish off the collar I tried the coat on and got Ayaz to pin it in place before hand sewing it on.
Once I get the final few things finished off I’ll show you the coat in its full big bow and big collar glory!