Progris riport three: a little help?

Simplicity 4670. It was all pretty smooth until the side panels went in.


Because of the shape, and the reinforced bias square corners it was tricky to get them to sit right. There was a lot to confuse me. Luckily a bit of steam stopped them from puckering and shaping oddly. Steam and catch-stitching. All the seam allowances are catch-stitched down. Time-consuming, sure, but totally worth it. It helps the bulk of mohair shell and cotton/silk underlining lie flatter and look more pressed than it is. I’ve read books and web pages advising against pressing mohair, but I’ve found that covering it with a bit of wool suiting before pressing works wonders. To bring the hairy pile back up, a blast of steam on the right side of the fabric does the trick – and no shrinking. For the record, my iron is set on a low ‘wool’ heat, but is pretty steamy.


The lining was also pretty smooth until I got to the side panels. I had sewn the back gussets to far up, and so the side panels wouldn’t reach to the corners, there was too little space. I couldn’t fudge it for fear of not being able to move my arms (this isn’t the most flexible of coat sleeves – pictures to come) so had to unpick the bottom sleeve edge and back gussets on both sides. Lesson learnt: listen to my inner brain commentary when it tells you this doesn’t look right.

Where it stands now, I’m in need of outside help. I appeal to anyone who might come by this blog. Common sense tells me I need to get some shoulder pads (raglan ones, as this is a kimono sleeve coat). The thing that puts me off is that the pattern doesn’t suggest them. Normally, I would do as I please, but these pattern instructions have been alarmingly thorough, for a commercial coat sewing pattern. I would have thought they’d mention it. I looked at Gertie’s sewalong for her Butterick pattern, and she seems to have omitted shoulder pads too. Is there a reason for this, or is it just personal preference?

The other thing that is causing me a headache is hemming. The pattern calls for bracelet length sleeves. I’m not sure this is wise, considering I have pretty big hands, but I like the shorter sleeve, and am pressing ahead with them.Simplicity wants me to hem the coat below my knee, but I’m not having it.

simplicity coat

See my (terrible quality Photo Booth) pictures below. Please excuse the kitchen bin. Light is scarce at this time of winter.

Photo on 2012-12-16 at 21.36 #2

My initial plans were for it to be a few inches below my hips, but this does not look good. Instead, I prefer slightly longer, but not to my knees. Am I being silly by ignoring the pattern envelope? This is a tricky shape of coat, and I’m wary of getting it very, very wrong.

Does anyone have any thoughts/advice on hemming and raglan shoulder pads? I could really use some help.


  1. […] are several construction posts, but since the last, I steamed straight ahead and didn’t stop to take photos. I wanted it […]

  2. Okay, as a fan of those A-line, bell-shaped vintage coats, here is my advice. Take it or leave it, of course. Shoulder pads were not used for this because they desired a dropped shoulder look seen on your pattern. However, in the photos of it on you, it clearly doesn’t need shoulder pads as your shoulders fill them guite well. I believe pads would give it a linebacker look.

    As to the length, this is where proportion comes in, the shorter length (left) changes the look of the coat compleatly and makes it resemble a Navy peacoat. The longer length (right) seems too heavy and overwhelming, especially if the sleeves are not going to be full length. I think the length pictured on the pattern would be best, right at the knee or one or two inches above. Also take note that you want it to hide the hems of your average dress/skirt. Good luck!

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