Sewing your coat should take only 1/2 an hour at the most, provided you have followed the precautions I suggested last week. If not, you will, like me, find yourself fighting for every inch. First, I had a regular needle in the machine with upholstery thread, which resulted in the machine knotting the seam and jamming. Then, I failed to adjust the bobbin, which again resulted in the machine knotting the seam and jamming. Last, I didn't set the pressure foot properly, which resulted in the the machine clogging from the sherpa, knotting the seam and jamming.
Sewing on top of the sherpa will present its own unique challenge. Even if your pressure foot isn't too tight against the fabric, your foot can get caught in the fur, and the fur can get caught in the sewing action, causing it to jam. Depending on the design of your foot, this may or may not happen. If it does, the solution is quite simple.
Because I'm cheap, I will get copier paper, and put the edge along the sewing edge of the fabric, and sew the fabric. This of course sews the paper to your fabric. But, the paper is easily removed, because the sewing action creates a perforation that allows you to tear the paper away. The paper sold for this purpose is called "stablizer," and comes plain, with a sticky side, wash away, all for different applications or purposes. If you sew vinyl, for instance, it will sometimes stick to the metal sewing plate. I have had success using copier paper.
Outside of the sherpa, and remembering to sew a 1/4" seam allowance, follow the directions for everything else, remembering that the collar and cuffs are contrasts.
Once sewn you will notice something's not quite right.
Remember to adjust your pressure foot for thicker fabric
Does your bobbin carriage need to be adjusted for the thicker thread?
Copier paper works as a good stablizer when sewing difficult fabric.
The collar is too light and floats, and the bottom of the coat doesn't keep its shape. This is because there is no hem. Simplicity sometimes reminds me of those home decor shows that redo a room in two days with paper plates on the ceiling, and tooth paste to decorate the lampshade. Creative but--how do you live with it.
Yes, you have a coat--but.... There are several very simple solutions for this also.
The fabric is too thick for a hem. But, most sewing machines today have very nice decorative stitching which should work fine with upholstery thread. It is true that you do not need the thread for strength, as you are not holding heavy pieces together, but, you will find the thicker thread is proportioned better for decorating something as large and bulky as a coat. Choose a pattern that comes to the edge of the coat like a blanket stitch, and sew all the ends.
Sewing a decorative border
Purchasing a trim can be expensive, but is an option. For a winter coat, I think you will find more interesting options among home decor trims, than the fashion, because of size. Also, don't forget you can always make your own. Grosgrain ribbon is a good place to start, then, braiding some hemp and gluing or sewing it onto the grosgrain could be a fun addition. Or, run the hemp in wavy, or circular patterns along the ribbon. I say hemp rope or cord, because its cheap, and would look nice in contrast to the bonded sherpa, but this is an area you can have a lot of fun with, and experiment. The possibilities are endless.
If you choose to glue, I suggest fabri-tac glue used in a well ventilated area. If you sew it on, I suggest a long zigzag stitch to tack the cord.
As you can tell, this is the option I went with. My machine has only one decorative stitch, and that's a zigzag, so I opted to hand stitch. If I had to do it over again, I would have gone with a thinner yarn, but the whole process took no more than an hour. I used a circular upholstery needle with a large eye.
I used the circular upholstery needle because when sewing with thicker fabrics, you need to apply greater pressure to the needle. With a straight needle, the pressure needed to go through the fabric has, believe it or not, caused the needle eye to go through my finger. Yes, this can be prevented by using a thimble, but then you're spearing the thing out the other end, ready to pierce through knees, elbows and other unsuspecting extremities.
The circular needle allows you to control the force and direction of the needle point a little better. The blanket stitch is simple and an good skill to learn, as its use pops up in a number of crafts.
There is a helpful youtube instructional video, and I also included a wikihow link on "How to do a blanket stitch." http://www.wikihow.com/Sew-Blanket-Stitch
You will notice the length of my vertical stitch is longer than both demonstrations. Length is up to you, but don't go longer than an inch. Long or short for the vertical stitch, you will not want to go any longer than 1/2" or 3/4" for the horizontal stitch.
You will find the added weight of the edging makes a difference in how the collar lays, and in fact, how the whole coat sits on you.
Thank you for joining me today, next week we will sew a winter coat with upholstery fabric using pattern B 5093 This coat took a little longer to make, about two hours from cutting to finish, but, it can be done in half a day, even for the most deliberate sewer.
Until then, please consider accessorizing you fashions with finely crafted, handmade, american made jewelry by For, Women of Substance.