Carlton Coat Preparation and Cutting
I had spent a few weeks looking for the right wool for the coat and narrowed in on an olive/forest green wool blend tweed. This was my first time working with tweed, and the preparation of the buttonholes loomed already on my mind. I chose to do bound buttonholes on this coat as it will afford a little more material to work with as fabric is a looser weave than I am used to. I have also not made up my mind on whether to use a different color for the buttonholes or not. I will figure that out when I get to that part (and once the buttons arrive).
In addition, I went through a landslide of videos, blogs, and sew-a-longs that focused on canvas, pad stitching, linings, under-linings, hair canvas, domette, bound buttonholes, welt pockets and so many other things just to get comfortable with the journey of this coat.
Now for the tailoring decisions… It is a genuinely nice coat that a couple of folks at freesewing.org spent months in the making. I have made a full canvased coat before, so I knew what I was getting into… fully canvased, stabilized seams, hand pad stitching and the like. It’s worth the time as this is a coat I plan on having for an awfully long time.
Once I had the pattern printed, measured, taped together and cut apart, I made a muslin/mockup/toile or whatever you want to call it out of cheaper fabric. It is worth the effort and it is much better to find out any issues on fabric that is cheap instead of a $79/yard piece of fabric. Once the mockup is complete, make any pattern tweaks/changes, reprint if necessary and then layout your pieces for cutting. If you are making this coat, make sure you have accounted for the right number of pieces and know exactly where every piece is going to be cut from BEFORE you start cutting your final fabric(s). I ended up printing 2 copies of the first page of the pattern, which includes all the pieces on a small scale. I cut these out and measured out a scale 26″ wide piece of paper to work out the piece layout.
Pay attention to the marking for the tails as the full length of the tails has been shortened to save on pattern paper, the actual length to cut is printed on the tail(s) piece. This goes for the pocket linings as well.
Notes and things that I nearly overlooked on the first run at this pattern include: Remember to account for (and cut) facings for the coat. Cut 4 pieces for the belt and 4 pieces for the front pocket flaps (unless you are using lining for the inner side). Cut 2 of everything else except for the chest pocket flap and the inner pocket welt facing. For the chest pocket, consider cutting it on the bias to match the weave or pattern in the fabric.
As this was my first foray into a looser woven fabric, I serged all the edges whether I needed to or not… mostly for my own peace of mind. In hindsight, a thread color closer to the fabric would have been a better choice as there are sections (especially in the pockets) where the thread is visible.
If following along, make sure all the pattern markings have been transferred to the fabric using your favored method, be it chalk, basting thread, tailor tacks, disappearing markers, sharks with laser beams, etc.