Selecting Coating Fabric, Lining and Interfacings!

3:00 PM

I used cashmere/wool blend for my Vogue 2873 Pea Coat.

When selecting fabrics for my coats, I always go with natural fibers.  Natural fibers take heat better.  And when tailoring a coat, pressing is just as essential as sewing.  Fabric that cooperates makes life easier, especially when you're settling in for the long-haul of coatmaking.  Natural fibers press and shape well, whereas synthetic fibers do not.  And also with as much high heat and steam as you will be applying during the process, you'd run the risk of scorching or melting your fabric.  Wool is always my go to fabric for coating.  But I also like different variations of wool coating.
Wool Melton that I used for Vogue 8776, is a great choice because of how resisitant it is to wind and rain.
A patterned tweed made a great choice for McCall's 5766.  It was a wool-blend, but it tailored really well.
More Difficult Fabrics...
Camel Hair Wool as used in Simplicity 1759, makes a beautiful coat.  But you have to pay special care when cutting and especially pressing.  That fabric is spongy and has a directional nap.  Meaning that it's best to cut out all of the pieces on a single layer and make sure that the grain is going down.  The best example I can think to explain the importance of this is corduroy.  When you brush your hand back and forth, you notice how the tone of the fabric changes.  Imagine if you were to cut out pieces in different directions?  That's why it's important to cut all of the pieces in the same direction.  And with pressing, you always have to use a pressing cloth.  And after the final press, steam and a fabric brush (I use an Evercare Lint Brush) will raise the nap back.
Like the Camel Hair, this Mohair/Wool/Acrylic blend  used for Vogue 1023, requires the same cutting and care.  
Things to remember:
  • Dark fabric is more likely to show over-pressing.  I've learned this from experience.
  • Mediumweight coating handles the best.  You'll be sharper notched collars and a crisp finish.
  • Textured fabrics will hide stitching imperfections.  We all strive for perfect stitch quality, but sometimes we flub.
  • Medium weaves, unlike looser tweeds  hold their shapes and don't ravel easily.
  • And unless you have really good steam iron and awesome pressing tools, I would stay away from worsted wools and gabardine.  The really don't press well.
Lining Fabrics!
Lining fabrics need to most importantly be durable.  For my coats, I usually select Bemberg Rayon, Acetate or Polyester.  As luxurious as silk is, it's really not a good choice for a coat.  A tailored jacket perhaps... but a coat that you'll be wearing often, no. 
On Vogue 1023, I used a crepe back satin that feels just as luxe as a silk charmeuse, but it's way more durable.  For a warmer coat, you can use a flannel back satin too.
For Vogue 2873, I used a Bemberg rayon.  Bemberg rayon are more absorbent than other synthetic lining fabrics.  They're more comfortable to wear in warmer climates and would be perfect for those who are making lighterweight Spring-style coats.
For McCall's 5766, these are the results of using an acetate lining.  Acetate is said to not be as durable as the Bemberg, but I've been wearing this coat for some years now and it still looks pristine.
A printed poly charmeuse lining for Vogue 8548.

For your lining color, you can choose a color that matches your coat fabric or a contrasting color.  Or you can be BOLD and choose a fun print!

Interfacings for Coatmaking!
For coatmaking, I use a lot of sew-in interfacings.  Most of all, I use hair canvas (on the left).  I use it to shape the undercollar, the lapels, the chest and hems.

I also use muslin as sew-in interfacing.  It's perfect for interfacing the front of coats and jackets and for backstays.  You can also use broadcloth.

Fusible interfacings are also used.  I use a lot of fusible interfacing to underline my coat fabric.  This is ONLY recommended if you're fabric needs to be stabilized, like an open weave.  Or to give the fabric a little more body.  Always test your interfacing against your fabric before fusing.

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12 comments

  1. i live in the midwest and would like to have this coat be my primary cold weather coat. the pattern i have chosen should fit my lifestyle well. but i am still in the process of hunting for my coat fabric. i will keep an eye out at my local Joann's and Hancock fabric stores (though i haven't had much luck at either for real wool). can you suggest any online sources for fabric?

    i am already stalking Mood Fabrics, Britex, B and J, Gorgeous Fabrics, and Emma One Sock. Any others that offer consistent quality coating fabric?

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  2. You have covered very useful things in this post. You're providing the back-bone for solid construction of the coat!

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  3. Love this sew-along, thanks for doing this for those of us who are beyond beginner but not quite advanced yet!

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  4. Erica,

    Thank you so much for these tutorials! I have been so looking for motivation to start my coat and I think you have helped push me along. I have my fabric (100% mid weight wool in a camel color) and I just found my pattern (brenna coat from Cali Faye's basic line) and I had a question about interfacing/hair canvas for the front of this coat. The front of this style is such a key feature that I do not want to mess it up. Would you recommend full hair canvas on fronts? It doesn't necessarily have a roll line so I am not sure what to do there. I suppose there is also the block fuse option. I definitely do not want it too floppy but no so stiff I could take somebodies eye out. ;) would love a little guidance here if you have the time. Thank you again

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    1. Interfacing is your preference. My gray coat has muslin for the interfacing on the fronts and muslin for the back stay. The coat I'm currently working on has all hair canvas interfacing. That's why I always suggest usingba tailoring book as a reference. And after you've made several coats and jackets, you'll learn what works for you no matter what the pattern says.

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    2. Interfacing is your preference. My gray coat has muslin for the interfacing on the fronts and muslin for the back stay. The coat I'm currently working on has all hair canvas interfacing. That's why I always suggest usingba tailoring book as a reference. And after you've made several coats and jackets, you'll learn what works for you no matter what the pattern says.

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    3. Thank you so much for getting back to me!

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  5. Thank you for your experience and willingness to share with everyone Erica B.

    How long does it take you to use all the techniques of tailoring or couture sewing to finish one of your coats? What about a "I have to have that dress or suit " ? Jo

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  6. It usually takes me about a week to complete a coat.

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