Saturday, March 18, 2017

How to Tailor a Coat or Jacket with Fusible Interfacing

While I love a beautiful padstitched lapel, sometimes the circumstances call for other methods. With some fabrics, it's really hard to hide a stitch... for example, I'm currently working on a trench coat with a smooth cotton twill that would be difficult to padstich, but I still want beautifully curved collar and lapel. Or, perhaps I just want to move forward on a project, rather than spending hours with a needle and thread.

The method shown here is from Anna Zapp's book, "The Zapp Method of Couture Sewing," with modifications from my own experience.

The first step is to cut out your pattern pieces from your interfacing. Trace your original front jacket or coat pattern piece, and cut it on the roll line. Add 1/4 inch at the roll line to both new pieces. Remove the seam allowances. On the lapel piece, trim it by 1/4 inch at each side of the roll line, narrowing to nothing at the tip of the lapel.

Cut the lapel piece from heavy-medium weight fusible interfacing, ON THE BIAS. I used fusible horse hair canvas from Fashion Sewing Supply. Cut the body piece from medium weight fusible interfacing. Depending on how much structure you want in your jacket, this could be more horse hair canvas, or a lighter more flexible interfacing, such as weft interfacing.

Fuse the front body interfacing piece to the as you normally would, following the manufacturer's instructions for applying the interfacing.

For the lapel piece, start fusing at the roll line. The lapel piece should be a total of a 1/2 inch shorter at the roll line, so stretch it to fit the roll line of the body interfacing piece. Since it is cut on the bias, it should stretch to fit.

Fuse the roll line of the lapel piece into place wile holding it in its stretched position.

The interfacing should naturally want to curl. Continue fusing your lapel around a curved surface. Here I'm using the edge of my ironing board, with extra padding (which happens to be an old wool sweater).

Then apply twill tape at the roll line, if desired. Twill tape is usually cut 1/4 inch shorter than the roll line. This can be machine stitched, but I usually hand stitch it. 

Use steam to finish shaping the lapels.

For the under collar, a similar technique can be used. Use the under-collar pattern piece to cut your under collar interfacing from horse hair canvas, on the bias. Trim the seam allowances. Further trim the edges by about 1/4 where you want the collar to turn.

Stretch the interfacing along the approximate roll line, and fuse into place. Use the edge of your board or a sleeve roll so that the iron contacts the interfacing just on this line.

Continue to fuse the interfacing around a curved surface. When you are done, the collar should hold its curve by itself. Apply your collar-stand interfacing, if you are using this piece.

Finish shaping the under collar by curling it around your ham and pinning it in place. Apply liberal amounts of steam to perfect the shape.

And your collar and lapels are done, ready to be sewn into your coat!

These lapels were from my asymmetric zip coat. I'm currently working on a trench coat, and I think I'll be using fusible tailoring again, since I'm not fond of the idea of pad-stitching on a smooth twill. 

Have you tried tailoring with fusibles? Please share your experiences and tips in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this great tutorial. This is great time saver for those of us who haven't pad stitched for a few decades, but still appreciate a fine tailored look.