November 02, 2021
It is the third and final day of the 503 Poiret Cocoon Coat Sew Along and we will finish the coat by adding the lining, hemming the sleeves giving them a professional finish, and learn a couple of tricks using a length of chain to weight the hem and add some ribbon to create a hem finish that Poiret actually used himself.
Check out Day One and Day Two of the Sew Along to see what we have already done in making this fabulous coat! Today we are going to add the lining and finish the edges.
Linings have a way of making a garment even more special and the the Poriet Cocoon Coat is the perfect piece for learning how to add a simple yet beautiful lining. Do not shy away from adding a lining just because it seems complicated. It is not. If you have avoided adding linings to your sewing project, give this one a try.
There are times when you may opt to not use a lining. If using a fabric like a brocade, cross weave, or damask that is equally beautiful on both sides, then consider going sans lining, and let the fabric show it's entire beauty. However, linings are often a pleasure to wear. There is nothing more decadent than easily slipping in and out of a garment that feels and looks amazing. This coat design really does beg for a lining, because of the way it drapes and dips in the back, allowing for a beautiful lining to peek out. There is something intriguing about catching the glimpse of a lining that adds an unexpected twist to a garment.
Linings have the added benefit of easily and cleanly encasing the raw edges of all kinds of garments. However, adding a bound edge (bias strip) can allow for not only a clean finish but another excuse for a pop of color or for an interesting eye-catching effect. Of course, simply finishing the hem with a turned under edged finished is fine too if you are not using a lining.
I will be adding a ribbon detail to the hem of the coat. The ribbon serves a functional purpose as well as adding a finishing detail. Adding ribbon to a turned edge to finish the hem works well too. Simply stitch a ribbon to the raw edge of the hem and hand stitch to the lining.
Note: Use the 1/2-inch (13mm) seam allowance for turning the hem edges on this coat. Using a wider hem with not allow the fabric to lay flat along the curves.
Preparing the Coat and the Lining
Inspect the raw edges of the coat and lining before assembling them. Be sure to clean up any stray threads. Check to be sure the dart points have been tied off.
Clip the seam allowance along the curve of each sleeve and trim the sleeve seam allowances by approximately half. Depending on the fabric, simply make a clean trim or use pinking sheers. Clipping and trim the excess seam allowance will allow the sleeve seam fabric to release as intended. Press the seam allowances open or towards the back of the coat.
Repeat doing the same for the lining. Because my lining fabric is delicate I trimmed the seam allowance using a straight cut.
Pining the Lining to the Coat
With right sides together, line up the coat body with the lining, matching the notches and the seams allowances. Go ahead and slip the sleeve lining into the coat sleeves just ensure they do not accidentally get caught in the stitching.
Once you start matching the notches, you may need to to remove the pins and realign, which is the kind of adjustment you should expect to make with a garment with long curved shaped edges. I found this to be the case for me between notches 8 and 9.
Even though the bottom hem between both notch 9’s is not stitched for turning purposes, align and pin anyway, to ensure correct alignment. This may prove beneficial when using a slippery fabric like silk which can wiggle around.
Hint: Remember to pin within the seam allowance if using delicate fabrics, because pins often leave visible pin holes on silk and velvet. Use more pins to ensure all stays put if using slippery fabrics.
Tip: When machine stitching layers of fabric, especially if a slippery fabric is one of the layers, it helps for the stable fabric to lay on the feed dogs of the sewing machine. This makes sense when linings are often slippery. If both fabric layers are slippery, then using a removable or tare-away stabilizing material is highly recommended. Practice with a sample of both slippery layers of fabric sandwiched between a top and bottom pieces of stabilizing material to see how beautifully it helps.
Tip: Use a new sharp needle and stitching slowly will yield the best results.
Adding a Lining WITHOUT a Piped Edge Neckband:
Stitch the coat body and lining together as you normally would on the 1/2inch seam allowance. Begin with a back-stitch at one of notches labeled 9 at the bottom hem, stitching around the entire outer edge of the coat, ending the stitching at the second notch 9 with a back-stitch. Remember do not to stitch up the seam allowance between the notches labeled 9. There should be a gap or opening at the very bottom of the hem, which will allow for turning the coat and lining right side out.
Carefully press the seam allowances towards the lining.
Tip: If you are not accustomed to using a ironing cloth, consider investing in an inexpensive 1/2-yard (46cm) of silk organza in white or cream. Keeping an ironing cloth handy is an undervalued and sometimes life saver of a tool that helps to prevent damaging or scorching fine or delicate fabrics. The sheer quality of using either white or cream silk organza, will allow you to see through to your project while pressing. Even with the organza folded, creating a double layer, will allow you to see through to your work well enough.
Press the 1/2 inch (13mm) seam allowance under in the open hem area (between the 9 notches) for the coat body (and the lining to the wrong side). This step will provide you with a clean and correct turned under edge ahead of time for finishing the hem by hand.
Now, turn the coat right side out and press slightly rolling the coat edge in towards the lining.
Adding a Lining WITH a Piped Edge Neckband:
If using piping, first stitch main fabric and lining together at the collar with a machine-baste stitch. Then make a second pass of stitching using a zipper foot to allow you to get close to the piping on the neckband for a snug finish. Refer to the photos in Adding a Lining WITHOUT a Piped Edge Neckband (above).
Begin stitching at one of notches labeled 9 at the bottom hem, using a regular presser foot to baste the layers together along the 1/2 inch (13mm) seam allowance, stitching around the entire outer edge of the coat, ending the basting at the second notch 9. Since we are basting back-stitching is not necessary. Remember not to stitch up the seam allowance between the notches labeled 9. There should be a gap or opening at the very bottom of the hem, which will allow for turning the coat and lining right side out.
For the final stitching, change to a zipper foot, to allow you to stitch close to the piping.
Note: Because the piping is sandwiched between the lining, and the neckband, plus the coat fabric, you will not be able to see the edge of the piping when stitching close to the piping with the zipper foot. This why keeping everything properly aligned on the 1/2 inch (13mm) seam allowance is important.
Hint: Hand baste close to the piping to help create a guideline for the final stitching with the zipper foot if you feel the need.
Sewing blindly with piping, is a bit tricky and basting (whether by hand or on the machine) allows for a first pass that can be then be adjusted when stitching again with assistance of the zipper foot. If you have a mishap, don’t worry. If the piping does get caught in the stitching, the needle can be moved away from the piping and you can re-stitch. If the stitching is not close enough to the piping, then the needle can be moved closer and re-stitch. Once the correct stitching is made, then the incorrect stitching can then be removed.
Take your time stitching around the angled bottom edges of the neckband. Check to be sure the lining and the coat align properly, look for puckering or any caught stitching that may have accidentally occurred. Once again, if the first pass is not perfect re-stitch where needed. Remember, sewing in sections is perfectly acceptable. You can see by my stitching below, how I had to adjust my positioning to make the stitching align close to the piping.
Carefully press the seam allowances to wards the lining.
Press the 1/2 inch (13mm) seam allowance under in the open hem area for the coat body and the lining to the wrong side. This step will provide you with a clean and correct turn under edge ahead of time for finishing the hem by hand.
Now, Turn the coat right side out and press slightly rolling the coat edge in towards the lining.
Adding a Decorative Ribbon to the Hem
This is an optional step, but one you should consider, because it can serve a functional purpose as well as adding a finishing detail. Depending on the drape of the lining fabric, and because of the cut of the bottom of the coat, the lining can sometimes fall away from the bottom edge. For this reason the ribbon helps to support the lining and provides a stable place to add a few hand stitches to tack the lining to the coat. If after trying on your coat you find that your fabric does this, hand stitch the inner edge of the ribbon through all the layers, taking tiny invisible stitches through to the outer layer.
Hint: Ribbon wider than 1 inch (2.5cm) may be tricky to get to lay flat along the curves of the coat, so we recommend a ribbon less than 1" wide. The weight of the ribbon is also be a factor. Thick or stiff ribbon generally is not as pliable and light-weight ribbon. For this reason grosgrain ribbon is not recommended. Bias tape or bias ribbon can be used, as well Petersham. I am using a 1-1/2 inch (3.8cm ) silk bias ribbon from Hannah Silks. Even though my ribbon is a bit wide it lays nicely along the curved edge of the hem without problem.
The ribbon can be added when finishing a turned edge too.
Note: Hand wash and air dry your ribbon before using. Not all ribbon should be laundered. Pay attention when you purchase your ribbon if it can be laundered. Press ribbon on low heat to ready for applying.
The instructions tell you to begin at the center back of the lining hem with a slight overlap, lay the ribbon on the seamed edge of the lining with the edge of the ribbon along the seam line. Pin or baste the ribbon in place around the inside edge of the entire coat, but only to the lining and seam allowances (not the coat body fabric). At the center back hem, overlap the ends of the ribbon, folding under the raw edges to create a finished overlap.
Because I do not have enough ribbon to go all the way around the inside of the coat, I decided to only apply the ribbon running along the bottom of the hem. I begin and end the ribbon close to the bottom edge of the neckband. For this reason I did not start with overlapping the ribbon at the center back.
The idea in positioning the ribbon, is to only align and pin the bottom edge of the ribbon to the lining and the seam allowance underneath, while not catching the coat fabric in the pinning. Place your finger between the coat fabric and the seam allowance so you can feel the pin catch the seam allowance. If you are not sure, go ahead and pin the lining and the coat together at the outer edge and then place your fingers between the the lining and the coat fabric, then it will make sense. Notice the positioning on my fingers on the left hand.
See my thumb helping align and hold the ribbon to the lining and seam allowance underneath.
This is what the inside should look like ( the seam allowance between the lining and coat body fabric), with the ribbon pined to the lining and the seam allowance. You want to stitch the bottom edge of the ribbon to the seam allowance to provide to give it extra strength and stability.
Reaching between the outer fabric and the lining, hand stitch the ribbon to the lining and seam allowances along the outer edge first.
OR, I chose to machine stitch the bottom edge of the ribbon to the lining at the stitching line. I had to maneuver my work under the presser foot being careful that the bunched up fabric did not get caught in the stitching by accident. I took my time, sewing slowly, adjusting the fabric as I went.
Then using a steam iron, steam the ribbon as necessary to lay nicely along the curve of the coat hem edge. Stitch the inner (top) edge of the ribbon to the lining only. The bias silk ribbon I used rounded the curves without needing to use a steam iron. Pin ribbon to the lining and hand stitch in place.
Hint: In order to only pin the ribbon to the lining, I put a French curve or something flat with smooth edges between the lining and coat layer to help with pining. This helps to avoid catching the coat body fabric in the pining. Look closely at the photo below and you can see the French curve sandwiched between the coat body and the sheer lining.
Adding the Optional Weighted Chain
The hem of the Poiret Cocoon Coat will drape and hang even more beautifully if weighted. This is not an uncommon finishing hemming technique, but one often forgotten about. The pattern calls for a 24-inch (61cm) of chain, which can be purchased at any craft shop that sells jewelry supplies. The weight of chain should correspond to the weigh of the fabric that needs weighting. Just about any necklace or bracelet weight will work for light to mid-weight fabrics. Avoid a chain that is large enough to look lumpy when laying in the fold of the hem.
At the center back of the coat body hem opening, insert the chain weight into the fold of the pressed seam allowance, centering the chain on the center back seam.
Tip: Use a few tiny widely spaced (2-inches (5cm)) of hand stitches along the length of chain to secure and hold the chain in place.
Pin and hand stitch the seam allowances at the bottom edge of the ribbon using tiny stitching. Pin the pressed edge of the lining slightly above the pressed folded edge of the coat. Hand stitch the lining to the coat along the bottom edge of the ribbon. Catch the seam allowance of the coat hem and and a small amount of the ribbon/lining fabric, while avoiding catching the outer coat fabric in the stitching.
Finishing the Sleeve Hems
Learning to properly hem sleeves is a tailoring technique that can be used on any garment with lined sleeves. This techniques holds the lining in place and keeps it from being visible at the edge of the cuff, creating a lovely finish.
Turn and press the sleeve hems of both coat and lining to wrong side on the 1/2 inch (13mm). Apply the ribbon to the pressed (right side) edge of the lining, beginning and ending the ribbon with an overlap at the seam. Stitch the ribbon to the lining along both edges of the ribbon. You can do this by hand, but I had not problem using the sewing machine.
With the ribbon edge of the lining slightly above the folded raw edge of the coat sleeve, hand stitch the lining to the coat along the edge of the ribbon.
Adding the Button or Frog Closure
The loop-mate for the button was added in the last step on Day Two of the Sew Along. If using a button, sew it to the wearer’s left side of the coat as marked on the pattern piece. It is ok if you need to adjust the button placement to ensure it aligns with the button-loop... I did. Be sure the button slips smoothly through the loop and is secure at the same time. When adding the button, stitch through all the layers for a strong hold.
Tip: When sewing buttons to fabric with multiple or thick layers try using a heavier weight thread sometimes referred to as button twist.
If using a frog closure, add the ball side to the wearer’s left side of the coat front, as marked on the pattern for positioning. Sew the loop side of the frog at the point of the neckband as indicated on the pattern, adjusting if needed to make the frogs fit securely.
Note: Whether using a button or frog closure be sure the front overlap of the coat edge is aligned straight up and down, and not crooked.For an extra bit of closure security, you may want to add a snap or add ties to the opposite end of the neckband and the corresponding point on the lining to keep the underlap in place.
Often when I remake a design made by someone who actually made history, I wonder if the inspiration I had in making the garment some how got back to the originator? If so, I hope Paul Poiret where ever he may be, took pride in knowing that his iconic Cocoon Coat, is still being made and enjoyed by sewists. Make your own coat wearing history using the Folkwear 503 Poiret Cocoon Pattern soon!