Sunday, 29 September 2019

1880s Full Length Coat - TV560

Pattern: Truly Victorian #560 "1880s Late Bustle Coats."
Fabrics: Wool blend, mouse brown.
Cotton flannel interlining, chocolate brown.
Thin sateen (rust orange), and linen blend (oatmeal) for lining.
Collar and facings done in dark brown silk taffeta.

Measurements: This is a coat, an over-garment, so these numbers reflect the measurements to be taken over your clothes.
Chest: 44"
Waist: 35-37" (The coat is only lightly fitted with darts, giving it lots of ease in the torso)
Hip: <55" (Again, lots of built-in ease)
Length (base of throat to hem, front): 52"
Shoulders: 20" across.

This is only the second time I've worked with this pattern, and it's the first time making the full length version. The pattern comes with two collar variations, and two sleeve variations. I chose the turned-down lapel version with the one-piece bell sleeves. I also went with the asymmetrical buttoning shown on the pattern cover art, rather than doing a double-breasted look.

It is a great pattern! All the pieces go together well, the pattern sizing is true and reliable. Because it's so simple, it also lends itself to alterations and being a jumping off point for other garments. I added pockets to this one, hidden in the side seams =)

It's a lot of work...
As simple and straight forward as this design is, making the full length version comes out to be a lot of work. Cutting out the pieces, for one, will take up much of the time, especially if you end up using a 45" wide fabric. If you do, you will have to cut your pieces single layer rather than double.

Another issue that is always a pain with long, heavy garments like this is stretch. Depending on the type of fabrics you're using, the fabric might stretch itself when hanging (especially the lining). Because of this, you really need a dress form to hang the garment on so you can make sure the lining hasn't stretched and bagged down past the outer fabric.

For example, I ended up having to trim off a good inch of my cotton flannel interlining, because when hanging down it stretched itself more than the outer wool did, and started to become baggy and lumpy behind the wool.

For the facings, I did the top portions in dark brown silk that would end up showing as the lapels, and on the collar. I also used this same silk to face the sleeves 4" deep. While I love the weight and feel of the rust orange sateen lining, I didn't want it visible anywhere.

I also did the rest of the facing down the front in the outer fabric, but just on the right-hand side (the overlapped side). I omitted the facing on the left-hand side to remove thickness from the front and decrease weight (anything to decrease weight! The coat is heavy enough as it is). That side is not visible during wear, so the facing is unnecessary.

(Above) The rest of the lining on the fronts and sides is a thin sateen in rust orange. In order to keep down the thickness, I chose to cover the unfinished edge of the facing with some black lace, rather than turn the facing under and top-stitch, or create a seam there. This could be done with hem tape or petersham too. It's a good method for thick fabrics that don't press well.

Fitting over a bustle...
Because this garment is heavy, it isn't going to just rest over the bustle and into the curve of the back without some help. There is a thin belt made of strong grosgrain ribbon attached to the center back and side-back seams. I did this by "stitching in the ditch" with a matching thread by hand. The belt comes around the front with a large square hook that you can slip into several loops on the other side, adjusting for size.

Without the belt, the back of the coat would be pulled out away from the body by the bustle and have a less than flattering silhouette. Even when the coat is buttoned up, it would not sit well against the back without the belt, because the coat is not tightly fitted enough to provide that pull forward---and you want to put that much stress on the fabric anyway.

Possible changes for next time...
Depending on the fabric chosen for the coat, I think next time I make this I might try to decrease weight--and the extra work involved--by omitting the lining. I would do this by choosing something that can serve as the interlining and lining, such as a print cotton flannel or a satin-back flannel. The facings would still have to be done, of course.

Another possibility is choosing a fabric heavy enough that I could omit the interlining layer and just flat line the pieces with lining fabric. There would be seams visible inside, but I would bind them in that case.

And another time I do this with asymmetry in mind I think I'll make the front overlap a bit deeper so the asymmetry is more emphasized.


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