Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How Much Bias Tape???

The coat sewing odyssey of 2013 has not finished people!  Rather, I have one more coat to go - this one:

Yes, I'm going to make the dress too - but I need to make the coat first!

The reason I started looking at 1940s coat patterns was because of a vintage dress I purchased back in May.  I thought it was black when I saw it online and the colour wasn't mentioned in the listing, and when it arrived it was actually dark navy blue.  Of course I wanted to wear it right away, even though it was winter, so I started to look at vintage 1940s coats.  Unfortunately none of the ones that were the right colour were long enough... and my dress hanging out below my coat is almost as bad as my petticoat hanging out from under my dress - total no-no!  So the only solution was to make my own coat.

Here is the dress that started it all:

It has an adorable peak-a-boo style front - the ruffly bits are bows!

And the print on the fabric is pretty special - its elephants with entwined trunks!

So with the pattern on the way, the hunt was on to find a lovely wool fabric to make it up in.  And I found the perfect thing at Gorgeous Fabrics (or course!)

They still have 8 yards available here

This fabric is the loveliest wool fabric I've worked with this year.  Its a flannel, and its thick and a little bit fluffy, and oh my goodness I bet its going to be warm!

Back to the pattern - this coat is actually a redingote.  This weird word started out in english as 'riding coat' and was somehow turned into 'redingote' by the French, and now thats the term we use to describe a lightweight coat open along the entire front to reveal a dress worn underneath it.  And because its a light coat, it isn't lined.

This is where the bias tape comes in.

Because the coat is unlined you can see all the seams... eeek!!!  To make them neat I need to bind them with bias tape.  With finer fabric I could sew the seam then bind both edges together, but because of the thickess of the fabric I was afraid this would make far too much bulk at each seam, so instead I have to do this:

Excuse the colour - by the time I got to this point it was quite late...

So as you can imagine, to bind each edge (apart from the arm hole seam and the hem) of each piece on a mid-calf length coat takes A LOT OF BIAS TAPE!  I bought 15 metres and ran out with the two side backs and the sleeves to go.  Thankfully I got more this morning.

I am going to do a tutorial on the method I use to get it neat and even.  It might seem a bit over-the-top but its worth it for a nice finish that everyone can see.  Look out for that soon, as well as photos of the finished black coat!


UPDATE: I've just been told by one of my Facebook peeps that this type of seam finish is called Hong Kong Seam Binding!!!  It has a name!!!  I googled a bit and found out that because of its labour intensive nature its only used on high-end clothing, and that its especially suitable for thick fabrics and summer garments that you don't want to line.  So there you go!!!


  1. How amazing is that print!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cant wait to see the coat finished!

    1. I know - its pretty special isn't it! When I saw it I knew I had to have it!!

  2. That gives a great finish! Love the dress too!!!

    1. I like my things to be just as pretty on the inside as they are on the outside :)