pad stitched lapels–they took so long and look so pretty!
Since my first update about this project, I’ve been steadily working on the coat front pieces, trying to get a tiny bit of work in each day. It was a challenge over the weekend, as we were busy for most of it, but I did manage to squeeze in some sewing time and finished all the pad stitching on the lapels–but I’m so far behind right now! The other, secret project I mentioned in passing on Sunday, has been taking up all my free time. So sadly, the Lady Grey jacket is on the back burner this week.
I have been doing a lot of hand sewing on this, which is always gratifying. Basting the hair canvas pieces to the front and side front of the jacket with uneven basting. Taping the roll line with twill tape and securing it with catch stitches (one of my favorite stitches to work–yes, I really do get excited about doing these!). Beginning to pad stitch the lapel with tiny little diagonal stitches to help give the fabric some “memory” as to how it should lay. In retrospect, I think perhaps going with a textured fabric for my first tailoring project might not have been a bad idea–the varied surface is far more forgiving. Whereas with my smooth and thin gabardine you see every mistake, which has meant ripping out a few stitches here and there that cheekily decided to show on the right side (rather than just stay nicely hidden between the layers). But, it’s been a lesson both in patience and learning to take shallow “nips” of the fabric as I pad stitch. Thankfully, using a wool material means too that whatever little variations show through, can usually be steamed into submission!
I wanted to also show you a quick tutorial on how I made the buttons for my coat. The technique is inspired by instructions in Claire Schaeffer’s excellent book Couture Sewing Techniques (which I cannot recommend highly enough for anyone interested in fine/couture sewing), where I first encountered it, but have since found another tutorial on Craft Stylish. You can Ms. Schaeffer’s instructions for this button style on Google Books, but I also wanted to include my step-by-step version since I used a covered button for the center and that’s a few extra steps!
Gather your supplies: fabric scraps (coordinating or contrasting–try two different fabrics too!), a 1″ plastic ring (found in the home dec department of the fabric store), 5/8″ cover-able buttons with shanks, circle template, marking tool, thread to match, scissors, needle, awl.
Cut out two circles of fabric: 1-2″ and 1-1 1/8″.
Thread a needle and double the thread; knot. Gather around the outer edge of the smaller circle with running stitches.
Place covered button form in center and gather the circle to fit. Secure thread and knot. Secure the back cap onto the button form.
Repeat the gathering along the outer edge with the larger circle. Place ring in center of circle and gather to fit. Secure thread on back and knot. Steam the covered ring to help shrink the fabric and gathers. If you would like, you can do a series of running stitches around the inner edge of the ring to help define the raised edge, using a single thread. With this particular button, the covered button that is inserted in the center fits very well into the ring, so this step isn’t necessary. But for other button sizes, or a more defined edge, I recommend doing this.
Using the awl, gently work a hold in the center of the covered ring, being careful just to push the threads aside, not break them.
Insert the shank of the covered button through the hole on the ring, front to back. Using doubled thread secure the shank by sewing back and forth through it, securing in the back gathers of the covered ring.
Because the shank on the covered button forms I used was so short, it doesn’t show through to the back easily, which means I can’t use that shank to sew the button to my coat (though if the shank on your button is longer, you can skip this). So I added another circle of fabric to the back to cover up all the construction stitches and plan on adding a thread shank to the back when I sew it on.
I’d also recommend taking a look at this article on the Threads Magazine website on embellishing buttons. So even if you haven’t found the perfect buttons yet for your jacket (or any other project), there are plenty of alternative methods to creating some yourself!
If you’re making the Lady Grey jacket (or another sewing project that involves buttons!), what sort of buttons have you chosen?