Saturday 9 October 2010

Inverness Cape -
construction is in the detail

Work has progressed really well with my Inverness Cape, and I now have all the individual parts made, ready for assembly.

The cape is made from essentially three pieces which are mirrored for left and right.

They are:
Front panels – with armhole allowance and outer pockets (see above, left)
Back panels – with bottom third split back (see above, right)
Wings – with faced leading edge (see right)

I have then made pattern adaptions to allow for linings and pockets, but basically that is it. Having said that though, it becomes quite critical how these part go together and how they then made the finished garment.

The complication is that I want the lining sewn integrally at each seam, but without any raw edges showing and without the need of extensive hand sewing (yes, I know I’m lazy, but it is possible). I also want to avoid visible top-stitching to disguise a bodged job, which just makes things look amateur.

To get it straight in my mind, I first made a little seam sample (what I am looking at is where the wing meets the body, I want the lining of each and the body of each to meet with a seam, which are sewn together, rather than having the lining floating across the join).

I achieve this with a single line of stitch by stacking the fabric in a particular order: (top to bottom)

Body fabric – face down
Body fabric – face up
Lining fabric – face down
Lining fabric – face up
I then do a single line of stitch to bind the four together. The top and bottom most layers are then flipped around and the enclosed seam is done! Simples.

The problem now is to implement this in practice, as it is necessary to sew the seams inside the cape where it would be impossible to get the fabric under the sewing machine – or so it would appear.

Ironically, the solution has come from an obtuse source.

When I was at college this time last year, each week my tutor showed us how to do a different part of making a shirt: cuffs one week; the placket the next. One of these was doing the yolk shoulder, which in every commercially bought pattern tells you to hand-stitch the final part to close it off. However, there is a secret way to machine the entire yolk so all the raw edges are concealed inside.

It is this that I have latched onto to make this part of the cape a reality.

Tune in again soon, and I’ll show you how it comes out.

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