Pea Coat Sew-Along: Back Assembly

Pea Coat Sew-Along: Back Assembly

Hello Sew-alongers

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Today’s post will cover the back assembly. The post is divided by: techniques overview followed by step-by-step pictures to accompany the pattern instructions. Friday I will cover back lining assembly and Sunday we will sew the sleeves. (Covering steps 9-22, 35-37 & 23-29). For the next steps go over to Meg as she will take you over front assembly, lining assembly and collar.

Bias Binding (Hong Kong finish)

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How to apply bias binding by machine without a bias foot. I’m using a 3.5 cm bias strip.

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Step one: Place your bias strip along the edge of the seam allowance. Right sides facing wrong side of the fabric.biasbinding4

Step two: Stitch the bias strip using a 7mm. Don’t stitch on the pre-folded line as you need enough “turn of the cloth”.

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If you aren’t using ready made bias, press the unseen edge of the binding over by 1cm (3/8 in).

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Step three: Fold the bias strip over along the stitching line. Press down.

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Step four:Turn the back piece over and fold the bias strip to cover the stitching line. Stitch along the edge of the binding.

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Final step: Press your bound seams before sewing the back pieces together.

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Trimming and reducing bulk

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The whole nature of sewing a coat involves areas of intensive concentration of material. Seam allowances on collars, facings etc will need trimming or layering to improve the quality of the finish.  Here are some of the How-to’s for the most used techniques. Further on the sew-along I will be just referring to those processes without detailed step by step pictures.

Trimming: Cut both sides of the seam allowance down to half of the original width.

Layering (Grading): You should trim one seam allowance more than the other to give a staggered edge. The wider seam allowance is the one next to the garment.

Clipping Vs Notching: While clipping will allow inward curves to open up and lie flat, notching will do the same for outward curves to reduce bulk. Clip into the seam allowance every 0.5-1cm.

Pro Tip: Use pinking shears to trim and clip curves while finishing a curve seam at the same time.

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Topstitching. 

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This step requires time and patience because your stitching will be showing on the outside. You don’t need to fret if isn’t perfect. Try your best. To improve your success rate grab a scrap of material and try different stitch lengths until you are satisfied with the look.

The presser foot must always be level. Position the edge of the coat under the presser food. Fold a scrap of the coat fabric and insert it under the back of your presser foot, beyond the needle. Hold the thread tails as you begin stitching. Don’t backstitch. Use the fingers of one hand to keep your fabric in front of and behind the needle smooth and taut. Use your other hand to steer the fabric. Sew a few inches ,stop with the needle down in the fabric, lift up the presser foot to resolve the fabric. Continue sewing as mentioned above.  To prevent the stitches from getting smaller at bulky intersecting seams, the presser foot needs to be levelled.  You will spot your foot slight tilting upwards. Stop with your needle down and raise your foot. Fold a piece of fabric behind it and resume stitching.

Ready for the back assembly?

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*I have changed the order of construction where I sewn all the steps and seams first leaving the triangle and topstitching last. I though it was faster that way. For the sew-along pictures I arranged the steps as the instructions.

The pattern instructions have us sewing the back seam first than encasing them separately with bias. I personally prefer encasing the seams first. (Step 13)

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Step 9: Sew back sections (already encased in the bias) together at the centre back, finishing at the small circle.

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Press seams open.

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Step 14:

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Pin back triangle to the back, matching the dot and notches.

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Stitch each side from the edge to the circle.

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Making sure the stitching meets at the end.

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Press.

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Step 15: Topstitch back along the seams.

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On the previous post we have prepared our back belts.

Step 19. On outside, pin back belt sections to side edges of the back, matching the symbols. Baste in place.

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Step 20: Pin side back sections to the side edge of the back.

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Sew. Press the seams towards the back. Grade your seams.

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Encase raw edges of the close seam allowance with binding.

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Always PRESS PRESS PRESS. Every step of the way!

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Step 21: Topstitch back along seams, continuing across back belts.

Note for areas of the coat not cover by me: I’m the type of person that live with hands in coat pockets. To make them stronger I choose to bind them.

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I choose to finish my front coat seams by pinking them.

Housekeeping: All posts are now preschedule. I’m on honeymoon break right now so If you have any question please ask Meg. I won’t be able to reply till October 19.

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  • Thank you for this great post with so much helpful advice! Especially the topstitching trick with putting a piece of fabric under the presser foot for keeping it level is great, I didn’t know about that!

  • Looks great! It’s really coming together. What’s up with the fabric pattern on the right shoulder and back tie?

    • Hi Allie, my fabric has stripes and checks so I’m using that as design feature. It will become clear as you see it together. I love adding interesting details

  • Great work as always thank you for the tips

  • Not sewing along right now, but saving this for my next coat-making sesh 🙂 Can’t wait to see your finished one.

  • Just finished my back, also using a buffalo plaid but it’s large red and black checks. I opted for faux leather sleeves and made the back “V” in faux leather.

    Has anyone considered lg snaps behind the buttons instead of button holes?

    Looking forward to seeing everyone’s done.