Tutorial: Add a Sleeve Lining to the Robson Trench Coat

When I made my sister’s Robson Trench Coat, I decided to line the sleeves.  I did this so the coat would slide on and off a little easier.  It worked really well, and I recommend it for this pattern.
MJB Trench Coat

A couple notes on this tutorial.  First, this may not technically be the “right” way to line a sleeve. It’s simply what made sense to me, and it worked. Second, I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I was snapping these with my phone as I sewing late into the night. Finally, I’m going to refer to the sleeve lining as simply “lining” and the fashion fabric sleeve as “sleeve.”


    • Approximately 3/4 – 1 yard of lining fabric.  I used Bemberg  rayon, which is my favorite lining material.  But anything slippery should work.
    • You may also want to use wider bias tape to finish the armhole seam.  I picked up a package of the “Wide Single Fold” stuff.


1. Cut the lining fabric, using the pattern pieces for the sleeve.  BUT – this is important – cut the lining 1″ shorter than the main fabric.

2. Sew the sleeve, as directed by steps 21 and 22 in the pattern, EXCEPT don’t finish the seams or the sleeve hem with bias tape. DO do the topstitching and attach the sleeve tab.  STOP before hemming the cuff.

3. Sew the lining, and finish the seams. (I just pinked mine.)  Do not apply any bias tape, and topstitching is not needed.

4. Insert the sleeve into the lining, with right sides touching.Untitled

5. Line up the bottom edges of the lining and the sleeve, matching the seam lines, and pin.
sleeve lining

6. Sew the lining to the sleeve, using a 5/8″ seam allowance.

7. Pull the lining down over the sleeve, and then shove the lining back up inside in the sleeve. The wrong sides of the fabrics should now be touching, and the lining should be inside the sleeve.
sleeve lining
sleeve lining
sleeve lining

8. Turn the whole sleeve and lining unit inside out. Turn up the cuff your desired amount and press, making sure to smooth the lining back. (You should be pressing the seam allowance of the seam you just sewed up towards the sleeve cap.) Pin.

9. Sew the cuff. Do not catch the lining in this seam.


10. Set in the sleeve, ignoring the lining for now. I pushed my my lining down into my sleeve to keep it out of the way.

sleeve lining

Tip – baste your sleeves first, it makes it easier to set them in.

11. Pull the lining up, and line up the edge of the lining with the edge of the sleeve. (You will have to ease in the lining, just like the sleeve, to get everything to fit.)sleeve lining

12. Baste (or pin) the lining to the seam allowance of the sleeve, matching seam lines and notches. I highly recommend basting!
sleeve lining

13. Finish the armhole with bias tape. Make sure the bias tape fully encases the edge of the lining and the sleeve seam allowance.

NOTE: I started out with the bias tape I had used elsewhere on the coat.  But it was too narrow to easily fold over the bulky seam allowance. (This is a bulky seam because the front and back flaps are also sewn into the armhole.) I switched to the ‘Wide Single Fold’ bias instead, and it worked better for me.

Once the bias tape is sewn in, remove the basting if it shows, and now the lining is fully attached!

14. If you turn the sleeve inside out and smooth the lining down the sleeve, there will be a little excess lining that can be pressed into into jump hem.
MJB Trench Coat
And that’s it!   🙂


Hawthorn Facing Tutorial Part 2

As I’ve continued to work on my Hawthorn dress, I realized that if you follow my last tutorial on finishing the facing pieces, it might lead to some issues/confusion as you work through the subsequent steps in the pattern instructions.  (Guess that’s what I get for posting a tutorial late at night, and without thinking everything through. My apologies!!)  But I think I’ve worked it out, and so here’s Part Two of the tutorial …

I suggested that if you want to do a Hong Kong finish on the facings, it should be done before the facing is sewn to the bodice. Then I noticed in the pattern instructions that after you sew the skirt onto the bodice, you are told to finish all the facings – skirt and bodice – as a single unit.  (See page 31 of the instructions.)  Oops.  So what do you do if you already finished the bodice facing??  My answer:  You finish the center fronts of the skirt pieces with a Hong Kong finish, and then sew the bodice and skirt together.

1) Trim 1/4″ off the center front of skirt, after the interfacing is applied.

NOTE: You may not need to do step one, but I did. To find out, pin the skirt to the bodice, right sides together, match up the notches and seams.  When I did that, I had 1/4″ of excess skirt fabric extending at the center front.  I trimmed it off because I wanted my finished edges be lined up.

2) Finish the skirt fronts, just like you did the bodice facing pieces.

3) Make sure your bodice facing is opened out away from the bodice.  Pin the skirt and bodice together, and sew.

4) Finish the waist seam. Then press it down toward the skirt.

5) Last, turn the facings back under and press.

Here’s how my fully finished facings look.

If you feel more comfortable following the pattern instructions, but still want nicely finished facings, just do the Hong Kong finish after the facings are installed, and the skirt is sewn to the bodice.  (Specifically, on page 31 of the instructions, substitute the Hong Kong finish for turning the outer edges of the facings under 1/4″ and stitching.)

Hope this makes sense!  If you have any questions, let me know.  🙂

Thoughts on the Hawthorn Collar & BonusTutorial: Finishing The Facing Edge

My Hawthorn dress is coming along nicely.  Tonight I spent some time working on the collar and facing.  I ran across an issue with the collar, that I know other people have had to.  If you sew it according to the pattern instructions, it comes up short.

Here’s what I mean.  If you sew it up as directed, the ends of the collar don’t quite reach the dots.  (I double checked that I had marked my bodice pieces correctly, and cut out the right pattern pieces.)
Ideally, the end of the collar should align with the corner of the bodice, as indicated by the pencil.  Look closely at the samples on Colette’s website, particularly the close up of the white dress, and you see where it should end.

So how to fix this?  It’s simple.  When you sew the interfaced and un-interfaced pieces of the collar together, sew the short sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance, instead of a 5/8″ seam allowance.  If you do, everything matches up!


Specifically, sew the short sides (in orange) with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Sew the long side (in yellow) with a 5/8″ seam allowance. Then trim the long edge down to 1/4″ and follow the rest of the instructions.
Hawthorn collar

Oh and a quick tip I learned in tailoring class — when sewing the two collar pieces together, sew with the interfaced piece facing up towards you.  The stretchier fabric (the un-interfaced piece) should be on the bottom touching the feed dogs.  I don’t fully understand the mechanics of this, but it does seem to work and the two pieces stay together better.  🙂

Now on to the tutorial….

You need to finish the outside edge of the facing unit.  I thought about serging mine, but I like pretty insides.  So, I did a Hong Kong finish instead.  If you want to try this too, do it  before you sew the facing onto the dress! [EDIT: You might want to wait to finish the facing until after you sew it to the dress and the skirt to the bodice are sewn together.  See my comments in Part Two of this Tutorial.]

What you will need:  Your completed facing unit and a 1″ wide bias strip that is long enough to go around the outside edge of the facing.

I made my own bias tape out of some light weight cotton lawn.  I suppose you could use store bought bias tape, but that stuff is thick and stiff, so I don’t recommend it.

Pin the bias tape to the facing, right sides together.

Stitch with a 1/8″ seam allowance.

This is how it will look after stitching.

Next fold the bias tape up and over and press it flat.

It should look like this after pressing.

Now fold the bias tape around and under the edge.  Press.

This is what it should look like from the front side.

Next stitch in the ditch all the way around the facing.  This will keep the bias tape in place.

Finally, trim the excess off the back.  (You don’t need to worry about the raw edge of the bias tape, it won’t ravel because it’s cut on the bias!  Pretty nifty, eh?)

And voila!  You have a nicely finished facing.

How To: Dart Manipulation

When I made my recent blue and white Sorbetto top, I altered the pattern by converting the bust darts into neckline pleats.  I mentioned I’d do a post showing how I used dart manipulation to do it.  And look, I’ve finally gotten around to it!  🙂

Blue Sorbetto

I added two little pleats on each side of the neck line.  I also removed the center pleat.

Since it’s easier to photograph, I made a miniature version of the pattern to illustrate the steps.**

1. Start with pattern piece.

2. Mark the bust point.  Here I marked it in red.  (It’s about 1/2 away from the tip of the dart.)  This is really important.  The trick to successful dart manipulation is to always use the bust point and not the end of the dart (or dart point) when moving darts around.

3. Redraw dart legs, so they reach the bust point. (Redrawn in red.)

4. Draw a line where you want the pleats to be.  Here, I drew it in green.

5. “Cut away the old, and cut on the new.”  This is what my pattern making teacher repeated over and over in class.  Cut the old dart away first, along the red lines.  Then, cut on the new green line, but stop just shy of the bust point so you have a hinge.

6. Close up the old dart and tape together.

7. Even out any excess at the side.  Here I cut off that bit extending from the green line under the armhole.

8. Now you have opened a space at the neckline for the pleats.  (This could also be made into a new dart, or even gathers.)  Here, I wanted to have two pleats, so I drew another green line.  (I also could have done this at step 4.)

9. Cut on the second green line.

10. Spread out the pieces, and tape in some more paper.

11. Smooth out the line across the top, and cut off the excess paper.

12. Mark the new pleat lines. (Marked here in purple)

13. When your pleats are folded and sewn they will look something like this.

Here’s a picture of what my actual pattern looked like before and after.





Here’s a closer shot.  The pencil is pointing at the closed up bust dart.

**Disclaimer: I really have no idea what I am doing. My experience and knowledge of pattern drafting is fairly limited. But this did work for me. Remember, whenever in doubt, make a muslin to test out any pattern changes. 🙂

Tutorial: Sewing Machine Cover

My sewing machine doesn’t have a cover.  When I sat down to sew today I noticed just how dusty my machine is getting.  So I decided it was time to make one.

To make a cover, you will need:  Fabric, tape measure, ruler, marking tool, and thread.

I used some left over scrap fabric from my ironing board cover.  I think I used about a yard.

1. Measure your sewing machine.

Measure the Height (Green Line) Length (Blue Line) and Width (Yellow Line) of your machine.  My measurements were 17 x 13 x 8.

Machine Cover Tutorial

Machine Cover Tutorial

2. Cut your fabric.

Add 1″ to each measurement (This will give you a 1/2″ seam allowance).

Cut 5 pieces, using the following measurements:

Top – Length x Width
Front and Back – Length x Height
2 Sides – Width x Height

Machine Cover Tutorial

The top drawing represents the size of my cover. The bottom squares represent the fabric pieces I cut.

**Note:  On my front and back pieces, I didn’t have a large enough piece of fabric to cut the size I needed.  So I simply sewed to rectangles together to get a big enough piece.

Measure and Cut.

Machine Cover Tutorial

3. Lay our your pieces.

Lay your pieces out as shown.  The top piece is placed in the center.
Machine Cover Tutorial

4.  Measure and mark 1/2″ at each corner of the top piece.
Machine Cover Tutorial
Machine Cover Tutorial

5.  Sew front and back pieces to the top piece.

Sew with right sides together.  Start and stop sewing at the 1/2 inch marks!

Machine Cover Tutorial


Machine Cover Tutorial


This is how it will look when you are done:
Machine Cover Tutorial

6. Sew side pieces to the top piece.

With right sides together pin side piece to the top.
Machine Cover Tutorial

Fold the seam allowance back and out of the way, so that you are only sewing the top and side piece together.

Machine Cover Tutorial

Fold the seam allowance (from the previously sewn seam) back, as indicated by the arrow.

Machine Cover Tutorial

Seam allowance is pinned out of the way.

Again, you will stop and start sewing at the 1/2 marks. This is how it should look after you sew the seam:

Machine Cover Tutorial

The seams should meet in the corner, 1/2″ from the edges

7.  Sew side seams.

You will now sew down the corner seams.
Machine Cover Tutorial

Align edges (marked with pink lines) and pin. At the top, fold the corner of the top piece back, so that it is out of the way.  See the pink arrow below.
Machine Cover Tutorial

Here’s a close up.  The seam I am going to sew is pinched between my fingers.
Machine Cover Tutorial

That little corner piece will naturally fold in and away as you pinch the edges together.
Machine Cover Tutorial

Sew.  This time start and stop sewing at the edges of the fabric.

8. Voila!  You have made your first corner.


Repeat three more times.

9. Hem the bottom and Enjoy a less dusty machine!