Monday, June 29, 2009

Micro polyester. Macro pain in the ..

...didn't want to complete the title because I thought it might bring the wrong kind of browser here on a google search, but you get the drift.

I knew when I started this project that it would be a learning journey for me. And is has been. A big one. One with close calls between the scissors and the rubbish bin. I also knew that a muslin was a waste of time, that I would learn best by doing, and making mistakes, and unpicking and redoing and researching and getting help.

So now I offer you what I found out - by trial (many) and error (bags). Still, I love a challenge and I'm so glad I gave it a crack.

Once punctured there is a permanent hole.

Think through the implications of this:
- unpicking and resewing weakens the fabric
- no pinning except within the seam allowances (that goes for cutting out too)
- no fitting alterations that involve letting out the seams
- big stitch to keep the holes far apart -sew at around 3
- use tailors chalk to mark the fabric (not a tracing wheel, for obvious reasons)

The fabric has 2 sides with 2 different ways of sewing it! My fingers are on the bonded side.

The polyester side requires a moderately cool iron
- fabric scalds under steam leaving permanent wrinkles
- fusible interfacing needs to be high quality, low iron setting kind (I found exactly 10 seconds with the iron set at 1.5 gave the best results - by best I don't always mean good though)
- you can topstitch as normal, but I found I had to tighten off both top and bottom tension

The bonded side (waterproof coating) sticks to the presser foot
- use a walking foot or teflon foot or roller foot if sewing with right sides together - I tried winging it, the tension goes haywire if you use a normal foot. But as soon as I changed over to a walking foot - easy peasy! No problemo.

The waterproof coating bonds to the polyester so that there is no give - the fabric has no movement.
- doesn't turn corners well, the fabric has no give or stretch - try to keep to straight line styles.
- Ever wondered why this fabric is made up into ponchos? Wonder no more.
- Revere collars need a lot of stretch to attach through the back neck. Very difficult to get to sit correctly. Best plan is to stay stitch neck edges at 1.3 and then clip like crazy. (I will never ever sew a revere collar in this fabric again by the way, it was very very difficult)
- ordinary needle, ordinary thread work just fine.
- with an unlined coat, the coated side isn't slick enough to easily slide on. Lining recommended.

My advice overall? Wing now, cuss later.

Now that I know what I'm doing, things are coming together at a fair clop. Just have to attach the buttons (I checked, you can sew buttons with holes quite close together without ripping the fabric) and do the hems (which will have to machine stitched, of course, there are no fibres to attach hand stitches to) and then I'll start making Benjy's wet weather gear.

I'm so enjoying learning new things on this coat - like making my own belt with eyelets. I also love the top stitching and the pockets. They are such a cool retro feature.

I think this coat is going to do me proud in the sandpit.

Acknowlegements: thanks to Johanna for her comments on sewing this fabric. The tutorial from Gorgeous things for sewing leather was very helpful. This fabric is stronger than leather though, so it is more tolerant of puncture marks (thank goodness!)

If you have anything to add about sewing this fabric, I welcome your comments.

Coat - Burda 03-2009-115
Fabric - Micro polyester.


  1. There is a lot to learn on this coat! Good for you and,I think, you said that you enjoyed yourself! The belt, buckle, and eylets look great. I need to start a list of things to learn in the future!

  2. OMG. How full on. And am I to understand.... you did all this in the last 2 days? If the playcentre crew don't all immediately start doing the Wayne'n'Garth 'we're not worthy!' the moment you set foot in there wearing this thing, then I don't know what.
    I'M NOT WORTHY!!! ;o)

  3. It seemed like yesterday this coat was still in flat fabric stage, and now, look here! You sew so gosh darn fast even while (admitting to) making and unpicking so many mistakes.

    How do you do it?!!

    I bow down, I bow down!!

  4. You get better all the time. This coat is so impressive. That bright blue is a great defence against a grey day.

  5. Gawd, you are fast! Looking reeeally good, and I agree with all your conclusions about sewing this fabric. I got some holes too due to erroneous sewing, and at first I was like "oh now I have ruined it" but it hasn't bothered me once since then. The belt looks awesome, I am very fond of belted rain wear, it has such a classy vintage vibe.

  6. Looks great! After all that work you'd better make sure you keep well away from the Tui-style (ie Washable...yeah right) paints at PC ;-)

    I'm looking forward to getting the inside scoop on how to do the eyelets and the buckle - was pondering how to do them the other day.

    Hope all is well over the road.


  7. Sounds like you learned a ton making this coat, some of it the hard way. But the outcome was well worth it. It's wonderful.

  8. Oh, what a cheery color! Thanks for passing on all those tips. I'm not sure I'll ever tackle a project like this, but just in case.....

  9. That is one fabulous coat! And that BUCKLE! Is is vintage or just a very lucky find somewhere? Perfect finshing touch. Can't wait to see the coat finished. (At the speed you're going that should be early this afternoon.)

  10. I am so impressed, it's not funny. This raincoat is just fabulously stylish and I want it for myself.

  11. Great coat - love the buckle and belt on it. Well done for persisting!

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