Catch Stitching

image My big project for this this year is the construction of Marfy 3219. I am sewing it in a herringbone tweed that has dark charcoal and a greenish tweed that seems to have a bit of navy and some flecks of gold. I truly thought it was gray until I laid it on my dining room table and it caught some sunlight. Whoa–this was NOT what I thought it was. It was a good thing I hadn’t ordered the blue paisley lining fabric I saw at B. Black & Sons!

Some of you may be wondering how I managed to not truly know what color my fabric was…I won it at the MIWW contest, and the lighting wasn’t very good…it seemed to be a dark charcoal gray. In fact, every photo looks black or gray, but it is clearly green in natural light!

That little revelation, along with my fear of cutting into my precious 2 yards of silk organza from Susan Khalje, caused a stall in my progress. I finally pulled out my pattern peices, and decided to draw them on the organza, experimenting with a pencil, as well as blue and white colored pencils. I was unsure if the pencil would even show up once the organza was next to my fabric, but it did, beautifully. In comparison, the blue and white pencil were not satisfactory.

imageThis step brought up some questions, if you have thoughts, please share! Namely, does one cut organza for every facing piece? I decided not to use organza for the collar band and facing, front facing, the pocket facings and the under collar.

Once finished , I cut it apart and then lay the organza on the wool, essentially using them for my pattern pieces. I decided to lay one organza piece on the folded fabric and cut around it, leaving as much margin as possible. With only 2.5 yards of wool to work with, I knew that it would be a tight fit, but I hoped that with the exact seam lines to guide me that it would be OK. The cutting went smoothly, so I moved on to catch stitching the silk to each peice of wool.

Again, there are questions that my trusty sewing book doesn’t answer…should the catch stitching thread match the fabric?  My decision was to use up some old thread, so it doesn’t  match my fabric. I can see it easily, and I reasoned that it will never show because the stitching will be in the seam allowance. Finally, with the entire coat lined, the catch stitching will not be visible  to anyone.

Because I used a traditional layout, I have to separate each wool piece and pin the second organza peice on the opposite side, while matching the grain lines and corners. It’s not difficult, but it would probably be easier to just cut everything individually. While it isn’t the most exciting part of sewing, catch stitching shows progress  and allows for plenty of stopping points.

For one of my breaks I visited my local Hancocks to check out lining and button options. Happily, I was successful in finding both. The lining is 100% polyester, but has a silk look. The right side has a rougher texture, and the wrong side is very slick and a little more muted. I think I may use the wrong side, but I’ll wait a bit before making my final decision. My buttons are an antique bronze colored metal, and while there weren’t enough at the store, they ordered the rest for me.

Underlined fabric, lining and buttons

I have spent close to 20 hours catch stitching already, however, after feeling the fabric and seeing how it acts with the organza attached, I have opted to cut a piece for the collar band as well. So, one more pattern piece to catch stitch, basting the stitching line on its facing, and I will be ready to start some machine sewing!

I still have several construction decisions to make, and some lining pieces to draft. The back of this coat has a yoke, but I’m not sure that I want the yoke in my lining, especially since I’m going to interline with lambs wool. Another decision is whether to attach a wool facing to the pocket lining so it doesn’t show if the pocket gapes at all during movement. And, I still have to order my horse canvas interfacing, as there is nothing but Pellon available in town.

It looks like bound buttonholes at next on the agenda…


3 thoughts on “Catch Stitching

  1. In answer to your question about the facings, etc. – it is your call whether to underline with the silk organza. I generally favor underlining everything unless there will be too much bulk. And often I am eliminating facings when sewing with true couture techniques. Coats, however, most often need their facings to work successfully, which takes some of the guesswork out of it.
    One thing which may make your work go a little faster – instead of catch stitching the silk organza onto the fashion fabric, you can just baste along the seam lines. Use Japanese basting thread, if you can, which is easily removable when your have the seams sewn together.
    This looks like a fun project!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen, thanks so much for the input! This is my first project with underlining, so I don’t have the experience of feeling the seam bulkyet, so I’m probably over thinking it, but there’a still a layer of lambswool to factor in too. I will try the basting idea if I decide to face any more pieces; I appreciate your comments. Happy sewing to you!


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