Alright Clare makers, today is the day your coat starts to look like an actual coat! We will be attaching the sleeves and doing a little bit of topstitching along the shoulder seams.
To get started, sew the darts on the back arms. Similar to the bust darts, you can cut them open and press them flat if your fabric is thick – the top tip can just be pressed down. Press them again from the outside on your tailor’s ham to smooth the dart tip into the fabric.
Once the darts have been sewn, pin the front and back sleeves together and sew the entire length. Press your seam open and repeat for the other sleeve.
Now it’s time to sew the sleeve to the coat. For those of you making View A, the next few photos only apply to your right arm.
With right sides together, line up your sleeve with the sleeve opening on your coat. Remember that the dart goes on the back of your arm, so the darted part of your two piece sleeve should be towards the back. Concentrate on getting the notches to match at the top shoulderand along the center sleeve seam. There are two in-between notches that I should have nixed in the final pattern – they match along the sew line, but not along the seam line so it’s a little confusing.
Pin the sleeve into place. Sew the sleeve and body together with the body facing up, and feed your twill tape along the seam as you go, catching it with your stitching. You can also sew the twill tape to your coat first and then sew it all together, but I think it’s quicker to just do it in one step.
A good habit to get into is trimming down your seam allowances whenever you can to reduce bulk. Anytime you have seam lines intersecting, trim the seam lines into a point like below.
Press the seam allowance towards the sleeve.
If you’re making View B, repeat for the other sleeve and skip down a few images until we get to the topstitching.
If you’re making View A, you’ll see that because of the asymmetrical zipper, there is nothing to sew the top third of your left sleeve to. Rather than getting caught up in the shoulder seam as on the right side, this portion of the sleeve will actually become the seam allowance. The flat, skinny seam allowance of the side panel should line up with a notch on your sleeve.
Stop sewing about 1″ away from the end of the seam. You want the edge to be loose so we can tuck it inside our zipper later.
This is kind of a funny joint, so in order to get the seam allowances in the right place, you need to snip into your seam allowance a few inches past the sleeve center seam. If you look int the photo below, you’ll see that by cutting that notch, the seam allowance on the left side can be pressed up, while the seam allowance on the right side can be pressed down. Press your seam accordingly.
Once your sleeves for both views have been attached, it’s time to topstitch the shoulder seam. This topstitching gives a nice visual effect and helps stabilize your shoulders. There is a circle marking on your sleeve pattern piece that indicates where this topstitching should end. It’s roughly 6-7″ down from the shoulder if you forgot to mark it. Just make sure the length is consistent one each sleeve. Use a little chalk to indicate where you need to end your topstitching.
Starting from the top of the shoulder, sew 3/8″ / 10mm away from the shoulder seam on the sleeve itself. Make sure you are sewing through the entire shoulder seam allowance as well; you are essentially anchoring it all together right now. As you approach you chalk line, angle your stitching into the seam and backstitch to secure. Repeat this step for front and back sleeves except for the front side of the left sleeve for View A. This seam will not be topstitched.
Here is what View A will look like after the sleeves have been attached:
Here is what View B will look like:
The final step for today is to press the shoulder seam running the length of your arm flat. Use a tailor’s ham, especially around the curved area of the shoulder. The heat and steam will help you press the sleeve into shape. Press from the wrong side first, and then lock the seam with a press from the right side of the coat as well.
And that’s it for today. We’ll resume Wednesday when we attach our collars.