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FriedaFauve
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« on: December 06, 2013, 09:30:31 AM »

I'm making up a paletot for the winter months ahead from a pattern I have in an old theatrical pattern book (taken form an original, I think it's pretty accurate) that doesn't have any construction explanations.  Hopefully somebody will be able to direct me to the right way to make it up!

Question 1:  How should the buttons be put on?  Should the edges overlap for buttons and buttonholes?  Another pattern in the book shows a separate 'tab' on one side onto which the buttons are applied, so there is no overlap and the buttons rest almost in the center of the two front panels.  I think I like that look better - would that be appropriate?
Question 2:  Would the pieces be flat faced? I'm planning on quilting silk to use as a lining and wool gaberdine as a fashion fabric, and I would prefer not to have raw edges flipping around even if they're stitched down.
Question 3:  How, and where, is fur sewn on?  I have a big old fur coat that isn't really functioning as a coat anymore that I want to use for trim.  I was thinking a broad band on the bottom and a few inches for cuffs (coat sleeves.) How should fur be applied - sewing it on right sides together and flipping it down like normal trim, or what?

I'll probably have a lot more questions, but these are the ones that seem most pressing.  Thanks!
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2013, 11:30:40 AM »

I've never worked with skins or fur, so I'm not helpful on #3, but:

1: You can do the tabs, or a functional overlap, or butted edges with hooks/eyes to the waist.
2: Lined coats are different from dresses in several ways, and one of those is the option of a lining that is wrong-sides-together with the outer fabric, so no seams "flop" on the inside; when installing the sleeve, do not catch the lining of the sleeve in the seam. Rather, when you're finished setting the sleeve, tuck the seam allowance of the sleeve lining to the wrong side, and just fell it to the body lining, for a smooth, easy-on, easy-off glide through the armscye.

Do be sure to fit a test of the coat over your period clothing, to be sure you have adequate wearing ease in the coat.
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FriedaFauve
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 05:45:29 AM »

Thank you! I just finished the body and I'm working on the sleeves and another question came up.

Because of how stiff the quilted lining is, (thin silk quilted onto muslin and batting n the top half,) the side seams sort of stick out because of how bulky they are.  Does anybody have any recommendations about how to get them to lie flatter?  I might put some wide fur trim on the hem to weight it down, but I'd like to be able to re-do it with different trim at some point.
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 10:22:27 AM »

A good pressing is useful, as can be "herringbone" stitching to hold the seam allowances flat. It's a stitch you'll find flattening the seams of wool petticoats as well. Here's an example of the stitch: http://www.sccmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/basic-herringbone-stitch.jpg

However, instead of being worked on plain cloth as for embroidery, the A-D portion of the stitch is made on the seam allowance (some bit away from the cut edges), and the C-B portion is just past the cut edge, in the main fabric.
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Liana W.
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 10:36:03 AM »

I can't help on how wide to make your fur pieces or where to put them, but I can give advice on working with fur, based on working with shearling, rabbit, and some goat (think a smooth-haired dog coat) on leather projects:

Fur has grain. Plan your pieces accordingly. You can use the grain of the fur to your advantage to hide piecing.

Cut from the back, carefully, with a sharp knife. You want to cut only the skin, not the fur itself.  Even if your fur is short and doesn't seem to have much grain (like shearling), you still want to cut it this way. Some people do use shears, but carefully, so they don't cut the fur, but I prefer using a knife.  If you have really thick fur, it may try to hold your pieces together after cutting through the skin.   Grin

Circling back to the grain issue, depending on your fur, you may find that the fur will completely hide the cut edge where the hairs hang over, and looks fairly thin/bald on the other edge.  

Leather doesn't ravel, so hemming isn't strictly necessary. But if you do want to turn under a hem or in a seam allowance the fur is causing you bulk issues, you can carefully shave it out of the seam allowance with an electric beard trimmer or sharp scissors.

For machine-sewing, test with strap material first, use a leather or denim needle, and use paper under or on top of the hair.

For hand-sewing, do not wax your thread, or polish your thread after waxing with paper. You really don't want it sticky. If possible, sew so that you are coming out of the skin from the back, kind of with the hair. You'll still end up with some hairs caught in your stitches, but not as badly as if you were coming in with your needle through the fur then the skin.

Fur will hide a lot of imperfect sewing, once combed/brushed/eased out of the stitches.

If you need to join two pieces, and the fur is thick enough, you can just butt the edges up and use a baseball stitch.

Check your library for "The Art of Hand-Sewing Leather" by Al Stohlman. A lot of leatherworkers will also have copies. He has a section on sewing shearling and fur.

If the skin seems weak, and you need to join pieces or want to be able to remove the fur for re-trimming later, consider sewing the fur to a fabric backing, then through the fabric only onto the garment.

Take a look at how the coat that's going to become fur trim was constructed. It will probably give you an idea of what works for that particular fur.

For fur trim, I wouldn't turn under the edges if I could avoid it - I'd sew it down in place with whip stitches over the edges. You want the grain to go from your head to your feet, like on an animal. If the fur coverage on the "head" edges of your pieces around the hem and cuffs is thin, an alternative to turning the edge under, which may not be a good effect depending on the hairs, is to cover that with some additional fabric-ish trim.

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FriedaFauve
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 06:07:18 PM »

Oh wow, such a wealth of information! Thank you so much!  I've tried to put as many of your suggestions into use, although with the limited yardage of my poor cannibalized fur coat I'm not able to do some of the grain-related piecing.  But the fur is very forgiving and I think it will turn out pretty well!
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