Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The Quilted Coat Finish

Photo heavy post.

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.
~J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Quilted Coat

All that angst. Years of worry and insecurity for nothing. This was a piece of cake. As Barrie wrote, it wasn't work at all because there was nothing I'd rather have done.

Quilted coat, front view

Here's the side view. DS wanted the sleeves to turn up like this. He says it will keep his hands warm when he walks the dog. I say, that's what gloves are for. Still, his choice.

Quilted coat, side view

And the back. We’re celebrating the finish at a Mexican restaurant. Fish tacos for lunch! While taking the photos, two people complimented him on his coat. Imagine that. 

Quilted coat, back view

DH and DS think this is my typically colorful design. I think I was very restrained. Each piece was placed, photographed and replaced to keep it from being too loud {ok, that's relative} and scatter colors appropriately. I stuck with indigo, navy, and dark browns, many of which had nautical themes. There are a number of whales, fish, boats, etc. but I discarded several juvenile prints. I added a mustard and a few olives but discarded brighter yellows and greens... and replaced some of the whites with pale yellow and tan. This has wiped out my browns and my small stash of Japanese indigos. They couldn't have gone to a better project

Now for general information.  

Once the top layer was ready, I laid each section on batting and backing and cut those parts to match. At the front I chickened out and left a bit more room. Not sure why. 

DS wanted a puffier coat so he didn't like flannel. I thought about buying Thermore but because lots of Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon cotton batting is lying around, I used that. There's enough challenges in this jacket without trying a new batting. However, this batting shrinks about 3% so it had to be pre-washed. That meant it had to be quilted first. Planning for that shrinkage, I added an extra inch all the way around as you can see in the photo above. That’s two extra inches. 

After much consideration, I sewed the shoulder dart like the Tamarack jacket sews its large bust dart. Layering and quilting a part that will not lie flat seemed odd, but I think this method will be more comfortable to wear. Another plus is that there won’t be a seam to finish. On the negative side, I had to do this before washing the pieces. 

I pinned liberally, then sewed all three layers together around the perimeters at a quarter-inch {and zig-zagged for good luck.} The next step was quilting in the ditch because the prints are crazy enough but it may see hard future usage as well as machine washes. I wanted every seam stabilized.

I washed all six pieces on warm and machine dried to maximize shrinkage. {Might as well give it the roughest treatment now since someone may do that later.} And look how much it shrunk. Fortunately, there was sufficient room to recut. BTW I put three color catchers in the wash but no colors bled. 

Before putting the jacket together, I not only cut the center fronts to the pattern edge, I cut an additional 5/8" off that seam because it will be bound rather than turned into an allowance. He liked the extra length so I left that and just cleaned up the edge.

I sewed the sleeves to the front and back and used Muna and Broad's directions for flat seams to give extra strength. The front seam was pressed to the sleeve and the back sleeve seam was pressed to the back. This meant there was less of a stack when I sewed the side seams together. Then I sewed the sides and bound with Hong Kong seams. {My HK binding is 1.25" wide and the flat seam binding was 1.25 or 1.5" I forget which.} In the photo on the right, I'm loosely catching those seams to the jacket just to keep it neat.

Flat seam on the left;
sewing the side with Hong Kong seams on the right.
Notice how the flat seams nest.

Here's another view of the raglan sleeve seams. Remember how I simplified the blocks when I got to the seam allowances? Can you even tell it's not the "real" block? It made less bulk in the seams. {If you look really carefully, you might see the extra sewing line from the flat seam.}

Detail of raglan sleeve

Because there's no interfacing, I was hesitant to make buttonholes and instead made loops. I've done this before but made the loops a bit too large this time both in length and width.

The collar was quite a quandary. I definitely wanted one but knew there would be so many layers. I planned to use the Tamarack jacket method to bind all the way around after the collar was attached until I realized the top of the binding would be one way on the front but "the other side up" around the collar.  Martha Moore's method worked better for me. Basically, bind the jacket first then sew the collar "backwards." Put the top side of the collar against the inside of the back neck to machine stitch. Then hand stitch the underneath part of the collar to the outside of the neck. Martha is right; it's much neater {although it meant I had to unquilt the collar and re-quilt it after it was attached.}

There is a "wad" of layers where the collar and binding overlap but my machine handled it fine. And there would have been a wad with the other method. {My edge binding was cut 2.25" wide and sewn at 1/2". Single fold rather than the double fold I use on quilts. This binding was sewn with at a half-inch rather than the narrower binding I use on quilts.} 

Quilted coat - collar views

I didn't use patch pockets because I forgot to save enough material to match the pockets to the fronts. Instead I added them inside as a final step. I lined up the bottom with a horizontal quilting line on the outside and sewed that part by machine with the outside up so I could follow the previous quilting. Then I hand sewed the pocket sides invisibly... and told DS to be careful.

What Went Well
  1. Making a muslin. Oh, I didn't want to and oh, I'm glad I made two.
  2. Making a collar. I love them. 
  3. DS wanted a jacket that looked like a quilt so a single block was a good choice. 
  4. Taking lots of time to place each piece of fabric. 
  5. Altering the blocks near seam allowances to reduce bulk in the seams. 
What Could be Improved/Changed
  1. Flannel batting could be pre-washed, avoiding the "wash-each-piece-before-sewing-together" step. Or choose a batting that will not shrink such as Thermore.
  2. Consider interfacing instead of batting for the collar depending on the look desired.
  3. Quilt block seams should nest or use sashing to reduce the bulk. 
  4. Make button loops smaller and tighter. 
  5. Add side pockets. 
Quilting Specifics
Size: 42" chest 
Design: Raglan sleeved car coat
Economy-style block
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose Cotton
Thread: Superior blue cotton thread
Quilting: Stitch in the ditch with walking foot
Approximate yardage: IDK but guess 9.5 yds
The lining, binding, and pockets took all of a 4-yard piece I had on hand. 
The inner bindings were another half yard.

Previous posts:

Paramedic and author Kevin Hazzard wrote this engaging book about our first paramedics. In 70's Pittsburg, a group of undereducated Black men trained under an Austrian anesthesiologist to form the first emergency response team setting standards of emergency care world-wide. It was good to learn about a forgotten chapter in our history. 

Enjoy the day, Ann


Julierose said...

All I can say is WOW, Ann--what a lovely job!! I've only ever made a couple vests in my early quilting years...You deserve a gold star on this one for sure...nice work hugs, Julierose

Carolyn said...

That coat looks great! Thanks for sharing what went well and what could be improved.

Quiltdivajulie said...

HOLEE COW - you did an awesome, amazing, and really good job on this! SO many decisions . . . your son is one lucky guy!!!

Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

Amazing! I haven't done garment sewing in so long I am sure I wouldn't have had success like you did. And, if he is happy, that is definitely a bonus.

patty a. said...

The jacket turned out fantastic and it fits him so well! Great job!

Cathy said...

Oh, isn't that spectacular! Great job, mom!

I always wanted to make a crazy quilt coat. Back in the day I did make a long skirt of quilt blocks that buttoned down the front. I loved that thing.

Nann said...

Victory! The most important reaction was that DS likes it -- but the admiration of all of us quilters adds a few cherries to the top. Thanks for sharing the details and decisions of the process.

Pamela said...

This is absolutely fabulous! Thank you for all the details!

Robin said...

This turned out really wonderful. I'm so impressed. Thank you so much for going into detail about the construction of the jacket. And thanks for the links, I'll be referring back to this post numerous times. Tell your son he looks great in his new jacket and he's so lucky to have your for a mom. Just delightful!!

Kaja said...

This is most excellent! The coat is fantastic and your post has such helpful detail. Your son looks splendid.

Mystic Quilter said...

Gosh Ann, you certainly didn't hang around with this - can't believe it's all finished!! Congratulations on a fantastic finish, perfect block choice. Thank you for sharing the general information with us, the future makers of coats/jackets amongst will be very greatful, I for one will be taking note when I make a start on my jacket come Autumn.

Quayquilter said...

What an achievement. Well chosen colours. Now to make another one!