Giving a Coat Flare

And possibly also "Giving a Coat Flair".  You really can have both! See, it all started with this picture: I mean, what costume-obsessed person doesn't look at that and go, "WAAAAAAANT!" So being me, I thought, "This is not so unlike RH1013.  I have an RH1013 already cut out of red melton.  I'll just add to the skirts!" Now, RH1013 has a lower hem circumference of nearly 170" (that's 430 cm in modern).  This is not exactly a slim coat.  I mean, after all, it is based on a pattern draft from the 1910s for a "Ride Astride" coat — a coat that would allow a lady to ride a horse without showing her legs.  So those skirts are big enough to cover your arse AND the horse's! But no.  I wanted BIGGER! Well, what I wanted was a coat that fell into nice pleats in the back like the coats in the illustration at the top of this page. Did I cut new skirts?  No!  Because I learned a little something from all those years as a medieval reenactor.  (Shout out to my costume-obsessed friend, Katheryn Fontayne!) You see, when you cut a coat that has a bunch of triangular skirts, something interesting happens. You end up with all these pieces of scrap that are:
  1. Triangular
  2. The same waist to hem measurement as your skirt pieces
Brilliant, eh? I know! So here's what I did.  First, I found three triangular scraps that were long enough and wide enough to serve my purpose.  The center back one didn't have to be very wide at all as you will see.  The two side back ones had to be relatively the same size or able to be trimmed to the same size. (You can add more gores at the front and side seams too.  I just wanted all my flare to be in the back.) Trim your triangles so they're nice and straight on the sides (triangles above shown before trimming). Cut off the pointy tops.  You don't need them.  I cut at least 1" down from the top point.  This gives me enough room for my two 5/8" seam allowances to meet at the top.  Cutting off more is okay too, but you'll have to hand tack the top from inside the coat because it will be open. Mark the waistline on your unsewn garment pieces. Lay the top of the gore on your garment piece, aligning the edge where you want the gore with the gore edge.  Put the top of the gore at least 5/8" higher than the waistline mark. Put the needle on the record when the drumb... I mean, put the needle into your fabric 5/8" away from the aligned edges at the waistline mark. Sew the gore to the garment piece from the waistline mark to the bottom. Press the seam open. Sew the garment piece to its adjacent garment piece (in this case, the side back to the center back) from the waistline to the top. Press that seam open. Fold the gore in half widthwise as it lays in its space between the garment pieces. Sew the other (as yet unsewn) side of the gore to the adjacent garment piece. Press that seam open. Press the snot out of everything.  Use lots and lots and lots of steam. We now break for Kass to proselytize:

It really makes a vast difference if you press every seam as soon as you sew it.  You should always sew with your ironing board next to your sewing machine and your iron on and full of water to make lots of steam.  The results are astounding.  If you set up your ironing board and iron before you begin sewing, it won't even take that much more time.


We now return you to your regularly-scheduled tailoring blog: Now, from the right side of the fabric, bring the seams on either side of the gore to meet in the center.  This means the gore will be hidden behind the seams. Press until you just cannot press no more.  Then press again. The wrong side of your garment should look something like this.  You shouldn't have to press it again from the wrong side.  But honestly, you just cannot press too much.  So if you feel it, go for it.  Who am I to stop you?  Never let it be said that I stood in the way of someone with an iron and intention to press the snot out of something. If you followed my lead, you will have three gores — one at center back, and one at each of the side back seams — in your new coat skirts.  Of course you can make as many or as few as you like. My skirts are now 209" (530 cm) at the hem. What do you think?

More on this coat construction coming soon...

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