Saturday, October 31, 2009

How I used hair canvas in my coat

It’s Friday evening almost 12.00 pm and the coat is finished and I’m quite happy with the result. Pictures later in the weekend during daylight and after some cleaning of my sewing room and some more general household chores that I didn’t do this week, as I used most of the time that I had apart from work for this coat. Now I’m waiting for DD to come home, just the time to write a post on how I used the hair canvas.

This technique is described in Kenneth King’s book Cool couture. A wonderful book that I have written about before. I greatly admire his clear style of writing and inspirational ideas.

Hair canvas is very stiff fabric and is used in classic tailoring (men’s jackets mostly I think). Because of the weight of the collar I thought it a good idea to interface the front of the coat with hair canvas, but this should not be in the seam allowances. I used this technique before in my weekender bag, and now for the first time in a garment. The hair canvas must have been in my collection for I think 20 years!

Cut the pattern pieces from the hair canvas and a cheap, thin fabric, including the seam allowances.
Pin the layers together and mark at the width of the seam allowance (this is different from what Kenneth King describes, he sews directly using the ruler on the sewing machine plate.)

Now sew with a serpentine stitch (or triple zigzag) 2 to 3 mm within the marked line.
Cut away the seam allowance plus 2 to 3 mm of the hair canvas. The extra gives some space for turn of cloth.
On the other side, cut away the  inside part of the cheap fabric. The only part that remains of that fabric is the seam allowance.
Pin the hair canvas to the garment fabric, with the side where you see only the seam allowance on top.
Baste the layers in the seam allowance. I did this by machine, mr. King does this by hand with a silk thread (there is a difference in couture sewing ;)
The outside where you see my red basting thread.
After sewing the dart, I catch-stitched it on the inside to the hair canvas.
Now you can sew the pattern piece as instructed in the pattern. No significant bulk added to the seam allowances.


  1. very helpful post! i am getting ready to make a winter coat--since it is the only garment people see me wearing during the Chicago winter months. i will keep this post marked IMPORTANT! thanks.

  2. That is a great technique. I have Cool Couture, and it is full of wonderful ideas. I am anxious to see your new, beautiful coat. You are so very talented. Thank you for sharing your garments with us.

  3. That is a much easier way than the traditional method of catchstitching the hair canvas to the fashion fabric, which I have done. There is nothing like using hair canvas in a coat.

  4. Very interesting. I must get his book :)

  5. Cool couture will be a must add to my sewing reference collection. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Would love to have you join the month of tops in April!

  7. Hi Sigrid! I purchased this book about a month ago and am going to be making another coat or two for this winter. So glad you made reference to this. There's so much good info in the book I would have missed it. Thanks so much for the extra pics of your work on your blog.