Out lovely new pattern Bianca is so quick and easy to make up, but during the workshops we run one of the issues that crops up constantly is how to sew across the back of the neck with the overlocker.
So I thought I would create this tutorial to help you sew your own Bianca Coat with an overlocker. This tutorial focuses on the method we use in the workshop constructing and edging with an overlocker, (you will need a normal machine for some bits – but not many!)
Of course you can also use a normal machine to construct the coat as well and then either leave the edges raw or finish them with a different stitch, zigzag or mock overlock would look great.
This is what you’ll need:
2.5m of fabric
Matching or contrasting overlocker threads
Matching or contrasting threads on your sewing machine
I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to patterns and I really like mine to lay flat on the fabric so I iron them first. Sounds daft I know, but just set your iron to a low temperature with no steam and give them the once over. Simple! And it allows the pattern pieces to sit flat allowing you to cut more accurately too.
To make following the layplan a little easier I usually cut off enough fabric for the front piece first.
**Make sure that you have enough fabric
overall before cutting anything!!**
Then I fold over just enough fabric to create a double layer for the back piece to sit on the fold. Measure both ends of the folded over section to make sure it is parallel to the selvedge, otherwise the back panel will be ‘off grain’.
Lay out the rest of the pattern pieces, pin and cut them out.
Remember to transfer all the pattern markings onto your fabric. The notches I mark with a small – I mean SMALL snip. You can use chalk or marker pen to mark in the small dots at the neckline.
Neaten the edges of the pocket pieces – but leave the edges with the notches unfinished.
You can see from the image that there is a slight slope to the outer edges of the pocket pieces. The wider edge is at the bottom. So this should help to get the pockets the correct way up if you are using a patterned fabric.
This video show a neat way to overlock around corners.
Lay the pocket pieces onto the right side of the coat fronts aligning the notches on the side seam and pocket.
Sew around the front edge and bottom of the pocket making sure to leave the top edge open otherwise you will have a patch – not a pocket! (I can’t tell you how many times I have done this myself!)
Baste the edges together at the side seams to hold the pockets in place.
Staystitch around the collar and neckline on the coat fronts, pivoting at the small dot.
You only need to sew 2 or 3 cm either side of the dot.
Place the coat fronts with the WRONG SIDES together and sew down the centre back of the collar.
Snip in towards the dot, making sure not to cut through your stitching.
Attaching the collar can be a little confusing so I place the coat back with the right side up in front of me…
…then place the coat fronts on top of the back, also with the right sides up.
Then I fold down the collar so the back necklines match up and flip out the shoulder seams so the shoulder points line up.
The snips into the front neckline will open out so the base of the snips should now sit on top of the small dots on the corners of the back neck and shoulder line.
Here is a quick video to show you what I mean.
Only use the bare minimum of pins to hold the corners in place. Pins and overlockers DO NOT go together and the best way is to use your fingers as pins and hold in place small sections of fabric as you sew.
You can now sew along the first shoulder line, over the snip and corner, across the back neck, over the second snip and corner and finish along the second shoulder all in one seam.
So you should get a corner that looks a bit like this.
If you do get a little hole you can always go back over it again either with the overlocker or on the sewing machine.
That is the tricky bit done!
It is easier to hem the sleeve now while it’s flat so zip across the cuff with the overlocker or sewing machine.
The sleeves sew in flat, which means the notch at the sleeve head matches up with the shoulder seam and the single and double notches on the sleeve match up with those on the back and front of the coat.
Sew across the sleeve head easing the fabric in as you go.
With the right sides of the coat together match up the cuff, armhole seam and hem. You can clip or pin these together to hold them in place.
To help with the bulkiness at the armhole seam, push one seam one way and the other in the opposite direction. This will help the machine or overlocker sew over the bulk of the seams.
Sew all the way from cuff to hem, sewing across the armhole seams.
Now the construction of the coat is complete you can either leave it raw edged or sew all the way around the edge with the overlocker or an alternative stitch on the sewing machine.
We have lots of fabric and colour combinations used in our workshops and I have to say that a contrasting thread around the edge provides a real ‘pop’ of colour and can look amazing!
But I’ve just stuck to grey!