One thing that continues to perplex me is why pattern instructions don’t explain all the steps needed to achieve a high quality garment. In the case of coats, the Big 4 barely mention interfacing, let alone taping roll lines, hair canvas and padstitching or any of the many other tailoring tricks. Last year I did tons of research to try to figure out the right amount of tailoring to make a RTW level coat, without spending a thousand years doing it. Using fusible tailored techniques seemed like a great option, and indeed it did give a really solid result.
The other technique I used last time and am repeating again is block interfacing. Normally when you interface a pattern piece, you use the tissue piece to cut out a piece of interfacing, and then fuse the interfacing to the main fabric. The problem is, it’s really hard to do this accurately, and interfacing often shrinks a bit when it’s pressed, so the result can be wonky. The alternative is to do block interfacing where you interface a larger piece of fabric first, and then cut the pattern piece out of it.
Last year I interfaced the entire 4 yard length of fabric first… and that was incredibly hard. I have a Singer Press which helps enormously because it presses a much larger area than an iron, but it’s very hard to run a continual piece of fabric through it because it hits the back hinge of the press. So this time I took a new approach: I first rough cut the fabric around the pattern piece (leaving a good 2 – 3 inches all around it), then rough cut the interfacing, and fused them. The good side to this: much easier to handle through the press. The bad side: I totally lost track of the grainline! Doh! With no visible grainline and no reference to the selvedge, well, it’s gone. Hopefully this doesn’t turn out to be a disaster, but time will tell. Learn from my mistakes, people.
As chance would have it, I interfaced the pocket tabs first, placing them between two press cloths to protect the press from little bits of interfacing.
Aaaaaand that was a fail. The press cloth left a mark on the cashmere – you can faintly see the grid in the image below.
So, I decided to first trim down the interfacing a lot, and then fuse, which means I don’t have to use a press cloth. I could have found a piece of organza but I was being lazy (STOP BEING LAZY WHEN YOU’RE MAKING A COAT, SILLY!). Luckily, it worked. One tip: after you do the interfacing, make sure you place the pattern pieces totally flat (I put mine on the floor), because if you leave them at any kind of angle it will “set” in to the wool as the piece cools.
Then, on to cutting it out without the benefit of a grainline.
One of the nice things about using interfaced pieces is you can then scrawl on them to your heart’s content. This is the side back.
So, now I just have to cut all the other pieces, and then I have the *next* interfacing step. Stay tuned for more inevitable blunders!