8 Quick Tips For Improving Jacket/Coat Making

8 Quick Tips For Improving Jacket/Coat Making

I’ve got a short but hopefully helpful post for you today in the form of 8 quick tips for improving jacket/coat making. As I was making my yellow shacket that you saw last week, I was thinking about the different techniques and time savers that I use as a matter of course and I thought why not share them all together in one post?

I have shared a reel on Instagram featuring these nuggets of information, but I know you don’t all follow me on there and I thought I could elaborate a little more in a blog post too. So let’s get going.

One: Baste more for accurate seams and less unpicking.

This is something I think that we all want to skip but lately, I’ve been basting a lot more and I’ve been reaching for my unpicker a lot less. And it only takes a minute or two to line everything up and run some basting stitches along. Seams shift a lot less too. Try it!

Two: Always clip into curved seams.

Kind of a no-brainer really, but also tempting to skip. Seams lie flatter when clipped or notched so it’s worth the effort.

Three: Press each seam as you go.

I can’t say this enough…pressing is so important for getting a professional look to your clothes. I can spot a badly pressed or not pressed seam a mile off :). Un-crisp edges look…well, unfinished.

Four: Use iron-on seam tape around armholes, necklines, collars etc.

My favourite is Vilene Formaband. At around a half inch (12mm) wide and with a reinforced stitch line going through it, it’s great for adding stability to areas on your garment that are susceptible to stress. It’s also good for general reinforcement of edges of pockets or fold lines on facings etc.

Five: For patch pockets add reinforcement at the corners.

Just a simple step to take but it’s going to help prevent pulling and weakening of the main coat fabric.

Six: On curved corners change to a smaller stitch size.

You can control the stitch line more easily if you take your stitch length smaller as you negotiate a tight curve. You could also change the setting on your sewing machine to have it stop with the needle down so that you can pivot by degrees and not have your fabric shift about as you sew.

Seven: Grade seams as you trim.

Taking the extra time to grade seams helps to reduce bulk on the facing, collar, pocket edges etc. I would trim one seam down to about half the width of the other. In the photo example, one layer is about 5mm and the other about 3mm.

Eight: Try to maintain proper ‘turn of cloth’

On collars, faced hems, front coat edges etc. you shouldn’t be able to see the edge seam. On collars, for instance, a well-drafted one should have two separate pattern pieces for the top and undercollar and the under-collar should be slightly narrower and shorter. Often the undercollar is cut on the bias and has a centre seam. When cut on the bias it allows you to slightly stretch the edges to fit the top collar and the collar will automatically want to roll nicely and curve around the neck without forcing it. The edge seams will also sit just underneath out of sight.

If I ever get a sewing pattern that has an undercollar cut on the straight grain, I’ll check the size compared to the top collar and I’ll go my own way and create a centre seam and cut it on the bias grain instead.

On a regular shirt collar, just trimming a scant 2mm (1/8″) from the edges will help with the ‘turn of cloth’.

Well, I hope this post will prove handy for you and that maybe you’ve learned something new?

As always thanks for stopping by for a read, and I’ll see you soon.

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  1. Heather Myers
    April 29, 2023 / 4:07 am

    Hi Diane, thanks for the tips! I have a question – do you have a favorite online button supplier (s)? I would like to find 2 more buttons to match La Mode #44350, size 13mms in burgundy. I’m on the last step of a baby cord berry colored shirt, have 6 oval buttons which match exactly and could use 2 more if I could find them. I suspect they are old since they are on the cards of 3 each in my button jar and cost only $1!! Thanks.😊

    • Diane
      April 29, 2023 / 11:15 am

      Glad you found them useful, Heather.
      Ooh yes, buttons. Well, I do have two favourite online places but both are UK based. I like Totallybuttons.com and an eBay shop called ‘Number-Sixty’. Both have great selections and give fast reliable service.

  2. Barkcloth
    April 29, 2023 / 11:28 am

    I learned something new, after sewing for 43 years!
    THANKS, Diane

    • Diane
      April 29, 2023 / 9:00 pm

      Wonderful! Glad it’s proved useful. And you’re welcome x

  3. Pat B
    April 29, 2023 / 12:26 pm

    Thanks Diane for this very explicit post. Excellent techniques to improve my sewing skills, of over 60 years!
    really appreciate your instructions and close up photos of each process.

    • Diane
      April 29, 2023 / 9:02 pm

      Thanks so much, Pat, I’m glad it’s been useful. I think we’re all continually learning with sewing aren’t we? 🙂

  4. Kathleen A McKenna
    April 29, 2023 / 1:56 pm

    So immensely helpful! I will definitely refer to this as I approach sewing my next jacket.

    • Diane
      April 29, 2023 / 8:59 pm

      That’s great! Thank you Kathleen.

  5. Jane
    April 29, 2023 / 4:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing your tips Diane – a couple of new ones for me to try. I always have a problem with the hem….. On my ready-to-wear coats, you can’t see the hem from the outside but on the coats I’ve made there is always a visible ridge. Do you have any idea how to prevent that? Thanks.

    • Diane
      April 29, 2023 / 8:58 pm

      Glad you enjoyed my round-up, thank you!
      Hems on coats can be rather unpredictable and I can’t lie, it is difficult to get that no-show look. I just took a look at my olive green Vikisews Emannuelle and I seem to have nothing showing on that, so yay!
      Here’s what I think…make sure you are interfacing the hem area with additional interfacing strips. When you hand sew just try to pick up threads from the interfacing and not the fabric. Sew the hem as you would a skirt with a blind hem so that the top edge of the fabric isn’t being overcast by stitches. When you press use steam and try to avoid pressing the actual ridge of the hem. If you can do most of the pressing before the lining is inserted, try sliding a bit of cardboard under the fabric edge to act as a barrier to the pressing action.
      Hope these tips help 🙂

      • Jane
        April 30, 2023 / 10:19 pm

        Thanks for taking the time to reply. I’ll definitely try the interfacing strips and avoiding pressing the actual ridge area – both new tips for me.

        • Diane
          May 1, 2023 / 1:42 pm

          You’re welcome 🙂

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