It was a chat with a sewing friend that helped me push past uncertainty and continue with the coat. I told her my idea of using adhesive to stick down the interfacing strips, and she said “give it a try”. So I trimmed off the folded edges on the interfacing strips, cut pieces of iron-on adhesive and got pressing. It took two sessions to get it completely stuck, but it worked. I pressed up the hem and stitched it onto this homemade hemming tape with herringbone stitch.
Only then did I notice that the centre back panel had been sewn in inside out.
I considered unpicking, but the adhesive strip was well stuck and when I ripped a tiny bit off the fabric underneath looked different. The reverse of the wool isn’t really obvious, so I figured I’d have to live with it.
Next I needed to make the lining. I used the old lining as a base as it should match the original side-sleeves. The old backs were joined at a seam in the centre back, so I decided to do that as well. I added extra fabric so I could just pinch in the seam where it needed to be. For the fronts I added even more fabric so I could trim it to shape. I cut and sewed all the panels but for one front in case I’d got it wrong. Then I sewed them together and pinned the lining into the coat.
After a lot of fussing and making adjustments, I took the lining out again and unpicked the front piece. Using it as a pattern piece, I cut the other front. Then I sewed everything together and pinned it back inside the coat. All that was left was to hand sew it in place.
I did that a section at a time, taking things easy on my back and hands. I had to redo the wrists when I tried it on, as they hung down beyond the end of the wool hem, but that didn’t take long. When I tried it on the second time, I found I liked it best when the front bands crossed over. A search through my buttons revealed the perfect one:
I wasn’t too sure about sewing a buttonhole that included the lining, so I stitched on a press stud behind the button, adding a disc of the wool on the reverse of both sides to protect the lining.
And then it was done:
And for comparison… the original jacket:
I’m contemplating either embroidering or felting crane shapes onto the centre back panel and corresponding front sections to help to hide the fact that the back piece is inside out. If I do, I’m going to have to change the name to the Crane Coat. But for now the main thing I’m calling it is ‘finished’.