Doing a final pressing worked wonders. In my SF Sewing Workshop days when I taught many tailoring classes, I would take my coat/jacket shell (once it was totally finished and ready to pop in the lining), to a tailor to do the final pressing. In those days, it cost $100...when that was a substantial pile of $$. The tailor had the equipment and skills to really put a final polish on my work. If you can find a skilled tailor in your area, it is not a bad idea...but is no substitute for doing the best pressing job you can as you go/sew. In a factory where upper end tailored jackets are made (Chanel, Ralph Lauren etc), the pressers/finishers are the highest paid workers. I did the final pressing myself. The trick is patience and a clapper (and a ham in the curved areas). Most of the pressing is done from the inside, though my fabric could be pressed from the right side without any harm...on dark colors and hard finished wools like gabardine or crepe, the fabric can get shiny, NOT a good thing. Along the seams, I pressed, using an up and down motion, pressing firmly. Then, while the fabric is warm and steamy, put the clapper on the seam (or on the hem as shown in photos below). The wood absorbs the heat, and builds in a flatness that cannot be achieved with an iron alone. One of my mentors, the divine sewing maven, Roberta Carr, used to say that you cannot sew well without a clapper and ham...and I agree, and would add a sleeve board to the list of essentials.
In the final pressing, I pressed in the hems and applied interfacing. In classic tailoring, this interfacing would be hair canvas and sewn in entirely by hand. I used a soft weft interfacing from my stash, cut on the bias and cut 1+ inch wider than my finished hem. The interfacing acts as a soft pad and support at the hem, and also will prevent the hand stitches from showing. I was amazed at how much better the hem became after fusing in the interfacing, and how much better the coat looked and hung once the interfacing was in, the hem sewn and the final pressing done.
I am SO loving working with wool again!
|The interfacing should cover the hemline by about 1/2" and extend into the body of the coat about 1/2" above the edge.|
|Do the firmest part of the pressing along the fold edge...the interfacing makes a pad so the ridge of the hem does not show. The edge does not have to have a sharp edge, but a stable firm edge, soft is OK.|
|Adding the interfacing to the sleeve. Working on a sleeve board makes it so much easier. I have marked the hemline with yellow chalk.|
|Sleeve hem pressed in place.|
|Using the clapper.|
|My clapper is long (a good thing), and has a pointer/presser, used to press open narrow trimmed enclosed seams, like on a collar or at the front edge of a garment, which makes the seam straight and consistent so you can press and favor to the inside.|
|Back view, finished shell...hems hand stitched in place.|
|Finished front view. The collar is basted in place.|
|Collar detail...the rolled collar effect will be hand sewn in place at the very end.|
|This is what the collar looks like when opened up.|
|Another peek at the collar|
|Lining shell ready to sew.|
Now, all I have to do is machine stitch the lining shell to the shell of the coat, trim, press, hand sew, open up the back side of the buttonholes, hand sew the collar, choose the buttons and....
Stay tuned. I won't finish the coat until I'm back from Paris, but it is VERY close!