Tailoring Dummy

Winter field

Guess what? England is pretty bloody cold in November! That means I’ve got winter coats on my mind. I’ve never made myself an actual coat before and I’m excited about taking on the challenge, but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the tailoring possibilities – especially the vast range of interfacing products available and the many conflicting opinions about which ones you should use. I’ve had mixed results with fusible interfacing over the years and am thinking about giving it up entirely, but does that mean… pad stitching? Scary!


Ah yes, I did make that one jacket. In fact, I’m going to make my winter coat out of the same orange wool. How did I tailor it? Well… I committed a cardinal sin that would have Kenneth D. King and Susan Khalje spitting pins: I just interfaced the whole lot with iron-on interfacing and DIDN’T EVEN add shoulder support. I know, I know. Anyway somebody stole that jacket from the rack at my college, so the poor tailoring is their problem now. I hope they enjoy its stiff sleeves and flimsy facings! I’m not bitter, not at all.

jackets & coats

Since flicking through the tailoring chapter of Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques, I am feeling rather remorseful about my slapdash tailoring. But although I do want this coat to be really well made, I also want it to be made –  and that might mean taking a few tiny shortcuts.

There is a lot of information online about how to tailor a coat: Gertie used a combination of hair canvas and iron-on weft insertion (what??) interfacing for the Lady Grey Sew-Along; Rosie from DIY Couture made an amazingly cosy microfleece-interlined coat and Melissa of Fehr Trade recommended reading The Great Coat Sew-Along archives for tips. To make matters even more difficult, the coat I’ve designed has raglan sleeves – which throws quite a spanner into the shoulder support works!

Anyway, I’ve got a while to think about the options, as there are no specialist tailor shops in Oxford and I’d like to have a feel of a few different kinds of interfacing before making my mind up. I would be most grateful for any advice! Hopefully I’ll be able to get the coat finished before the English weather heats up again… in about five months. They did tell me that England was cold, but did I listen?


If you follow me on Instagram, you might be wondering what on earth this #bpSewvember is. Well, it’s a photo-a-day challenge all about sewing, created by Amanda of Bimble and Pimble. Each day in November has a prompt to encourage sewing people to share images of their work.


Here are a few of my photos. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, especially seeing what everyone else is up to. If you sew, you should join in. There’s still half a month left!

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