Saturday, 21 November 2015

Trends: Basic Light Duster Coat & Sewing a Notched Collar

photo Ready3.jpg
Over a year ago I had big plans of making SS2015 -inspired flowy maxi vests and coats, but the winter in my then-home Toronto quickly killed my buzz. The days of sub-zero temperatures halting my sewing game are thankfully in the past!

In case you were wondering: The origin of the word duster is set in late 19th and early 20th century, when fine folks would wear a light canvas or linen coat over their clothing when horseback-riding, to protect from the trail dust (and, to look extra-classy). Even when cars came around, they first had open carriages so a duster was essential to keep your flair intact for arrival. It so happens that in Dubai, I'm surrounded by sand, so in reality, sort of walking around in trail dust all the time. Also just madly in love with anything ankle/midi-length.

This post focuses on sewing the notched collar. I won't bore anyone with the rest of the coat assembly since it was essentially the same as in this post - just adding the sleeves and finishing the under sleeve and side seams + hemming the coat.

Tutorials take a lot of time & effort to create, and I choose to make mine available for free. If you enjoy this guide, you can support me with a donation that feels right for you, here.

photo 0 Tools.jpg
Light fabric (I used crêpe), 3 m  |  Fabric marker  |  Scissors  |  Pins  |  Thread & sewing machine, needle

I. Here are the pieces you'll need. My measurements here resulted in a relatively narrow collar as you can see from the images of the ready garment. I would recommend checking out an existing blazer/coat you have for guidance on the width of the collar, as well as the size of the notch.

For the rest of the pieces not pictured here: The overall length of my coat ended up being  cm. The width of the back piece was 65 cm (for a loose fit to my EU 36/US 4 size), and the sleeve length I did was  cm.
photo 1 Cut pieces.jpg
II. Start with your shoulder seams - pin the back piece and the two front panels together right sides facing, and sew your seam.
photo 2 Pin shoulders.jpg
.. Once done, you'll have this. I've added some indicator here of the different sides of the collar in reference to the coat neckline, to clarify how we'll begin attaching the collar.
photo 3 Done shoulder seams.jpg
III. Place the two collar pieces together, right sides facing, and sew the sides marked in black in the image above.
photo 4 Pin collar3i5ze.jpg
Trim excess around the corners, turn right side out, and press.
photo 5 Sew and trim.jpg
IV. To start attaching the collar to the coat, pin one of the non-sewn sides to edge A in the image in step II above, right sides facing. Sew about 0,5 cm from the edge. Note that we're only working with one side of the collar for now - the other side will be attached to the lining later.
photo 6 Pin to neckline.jpg
You should then have this:
photo 7 Sewn first seam.jpg
V. To prepare for sewing part B of the collar to the coat part B, you need to notch the coat side to be able to pivot it:
photo 8 Notch.jpg
Once that's done, you should be able to pin part B of the collar to the coat (again, only the side of the collar you started working with, the other side will be attached to the lining). It will reach about half-way up part B on the coat. Stitch.
photo 9 Pin next seam.jpg
After this stitch, trim excess around the corner, turn right side out and gently push it out the corner, and you should have something looking like this on the reverse:
photo 10 After second seam on reverse.jpg
And after pressing, like this on the right side:
photo 10.1 After second seam on right side.jpg
VI. Moving on to the lining. To prepare, cut a small slit to the coat side again at the corner where you finished the latest seam (the bottom of the collar notch).
photo 11 Notch again.jpg
Take the lining and place it right side facing the right side of the coat. Pin the other side of the notch and all the way down the front of the coat, and sew. Trim excess around the corner, turn so your lining is on the reverse side of the coat, gently push out the corner, and press the seam.
photo 12 Pin lining.jpg
After you're done pressing, the collar should start taking shape on the right side!
photo 13 Lining sewn and pressed.jpg
VII. Moving on to the reverse side. At this point it will be much clearer what side needs to be attached where - The part B of the un-sewn side of the collar to the part of the lining before the 90 degree angle.
photo 14 Pin lining to collar on reverse.jpg
After completing that stitch, the only one remaining is the final bit of the lining, that needs to be attached to the collar, until the shoulder seam. Pin those together, sew, and press.
photo 15 Last lining seam to collar.jpg
VIII. That was the hardest part! For the remainder, I hand-stitched the lining to the shoulder seam, and folded the remaining un-sewn part of the collar on the reverse, to hand-stitch it to the back of the neck, concealing the seam allowances for a clean finish. I also hand-stitched the lining's long raw edge to each front panel so it doesn't fly around when worn.
photo 16 Done and pressed.jpg
IX. If you feel like it, you can add a finishing stitch to the edge of the entire collar. Here's a tip for doing perfectly straight edge-stitching if you don't have a guiding presser foot. Simply align the edge of the fabric with the right side of the center gap on your presser foot. The pressure of the foot as you drop it will trap the fabric against the gap, so it travels nicely in a straight line, and you get an even, clean stitch at an equal distance from the edge.
photo 17 Edge stitching.jpg
photo ready4.jpg photo Ready5.jpg photo Ready2.jpg photo Ready1.jpg



  1. Dubai and TO...and a love for DIY...we share so much in common. I once called Dubai home but since moved to TO...your blog is an absolute inspiration. Thank you for cataloging your DIY's.

    1. How cool! There's a lot I do miss about TO, especially Sky Dragon dim sum... and the King Textiles, obviously! Thanks for commenting:)


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