My Deer & Doe ‘Luzerne Trench Coat’ Makers Diary – Part 4 : Collar and Facings

“Mom, I’ve spilt my drink all over the floor”… “Mom, can you make me a sandwich?”… “Mom, there’s a wasp in the lounge!” … Oh the joys of trying to sew when the kids are off school for the summer!

But sew I do. We’ve agreed that Mommy can sew in the morning and we’ll do stuff together in the afternoon. I can’t sew in the evening as a rule, my brain just doesn’t work. In fairness, it doesn’t always fully function in the daytime either but, slurping coffee, it stands somewhat of a better chance!

So back to sewing my Trench Coat!

I left off last time with just needing to bind the side seams and topstitch the waist seam of the coat shell, so that’s what I do first. The binding goes well but topstitching the waist seam less so. My machine doesn’t like bulky seams; I faff around with foot pressure and wedge my trusty piece of folded card under the back of my foot to try and level it out as it attempts to ‘hump the bridges’ but this still results in skipped stitches. Out with the seam ripper and I re-sew parts. It takes longer than I can bear and I leave it at the stage of not being totally perfect…there are no longer skipped stitches but the stitching line is fractionally further offset from the waist seam than I’d like. Yes, I admit it, I’m a finicky fusspot! But I’m trying to learn to settle for ‘good enough’ when it’s not critical so I leave it at that. That night though I order a proper Seam Jack/Hump Jumper thingy. (I got mine from Jaycotts, see here) I’m not sure how much better that will work but, for a few quid, it’s got to be worth a try, right? If you’ve got any further tips, I’d love to hear them!

Next it’s the collar and the large facing. But before I talk about constructing that, can we just take a moment to look at the coat at the stage before the facing goes on!? I love it! I’m fascinated with the ‘guts’ of a garment … and this is the most ‘constructed’ thing I’ve sewn to date.

But I finally drag my eyes away from admiring the work so far and crack on!

I’ve sewn a fair few collars in my time (and, indeed, I’ve a whole blog post dedicated to them here) so it poses no problems. But just to clarify, as again Deer & Does’ instructions are pared back, you only need to interface one of each of the collar and collar stand. Trim your corners and ‘pink’ or notch and trim your seams. When it comes to topstitching the collar, start at upper centre and sew round to bottom centre. Then remove your work and sew again in the opposite direction from top centre back round to meet your stitches at the bottom. In my experience, this makes it less likely that the fabric on your non-interfaced collar part doesn’t drag as you sew; it’s also worthwhile basting the bottom of the collar stand before topstitching the upper part of that for the same reason.

Then on to the interfacing, which I sew together and then bias bind the outer edges.

It’s lunch time. Keeping up my end of the bargain with the kids, it’s time to stop for today.

The next morning, I’m back at my sewing table before it’s barely light outside. The husband has left ridiculously early to attend a conference up country so I make the most of the quiet before the kids wake. Holding a steaming coffee in both hands, I peer at the next instruction, No 4-10. Here you are instructed to pin the facing to the jacket, right sides together, sandwiching the collar in between. Okey dokey. But then, 4-11 says to sew the facing on “1 1/8” away from the bottom edge, pivot 90 degrees and keep sewing 1 1/8” from the skirt edge. Notch the seam allowances and turn the facing to the inside of the jacket.” Looking at the adjacent graphic, either I’m reading this wrong or something has got lost in translation. More coffee is slurped.

In the end, I decide what the instructions are telling me to do, and indeed what the adjacent graphic appears to show, is that, yes, initially you’re to sew from the skirt bottom at 1 1/8” then after the pivot point you reduce to a regular 5/8” seam allowance to sew around the front and neckline of the coat, only switching back to the 1 1/8” at the pivot point where you sew the second front hem allowance.

So that’s what I do. Once the facing is flipped to the inside will the facing buttonhole ‘windows’ match up with the back of the bound buttonholes!? They do! Happy that everything seems to align as it should, I then edgestitch with regular thread along the neckline and front panels to hold everything in place. The instructions actually tell you to ‘topstitch’ here. This immediately makes me think to use topstitching thread and to sew slightly further away from the edge but again, looking at the graphic, I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be a simple functional row of stitches and not a feature, so edgestitching it is.

The kids are up and it’s time to make breakfast. Once I’m satisfied they’re fully fed and watered and capable of entertaining themselves for a bit, I’m straight back to my sewing like a woman possessed. I slipstitch the facing in place around the buttonholes…

I’m so happy with them!!!

I then spend a lot of time basting the facing in place internally along the front princess seams, back yoke and armholes. In fact I go so far as to use Wonder Tape here as well to hold everything in place ready for topstching from the outside. (The armholes you simply baste, no need to topstitch here ;-))

So now all that’s left to do is the hemming, sleeves, belt and belt loops…what could possibly go wrong!?

Famous ‘last words’!? Hopefully not … and I plan to have next post up by Sunday, kids permitting.

Until then, happy Sewing

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6 thoughts on “My Deer & Doe ‘Luzerne Trench Coat’ Makers Diary – Part 4 : Collar and Facings

  1. Hi Sarah. I’m so enjoying seeing this all come together. Looking forward to the first modelling ! Thanks for sharing the journey. Rosie.

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  2. Oh my, those are some tasty buttonholes!!! It’s coming together brilliantly, but I can see the confusion with the facing instructions. I had to read it a couple of times and look at your photo for it to make sense. Good luck with the rest of it!

    Liked by 1 person

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