Having procrastinated as long as I possibly could on the new coat, I faced facts: I was going to have begin. First step: pre-shrink my camelhair fabric that was not inexpensive. Shrinking your wool before you sew it into a garment is way smarter than shrinking afterwards. Gertie speaks of the dryer method, which involves putting your beloved fabric in a hot dryer with a wet towel and letting it tumble for a long while. I have never tried this method, and frankly I am suspicious of it. It sounds like an excellent way to felt your wool, if you are going for that. I am not, so I was leary of putting my not-cheap fabric in a dryer and giving it a spin. Usually, I pre-shrink my wool by pressing it with with plenty of steam on my trusty old ironing board. But those prior projects involved wool skirts or dresses, not 6 1/2 yards of 60 inch wide fabric. That's a whole lot of fabric to press on a twelve inch wide ironing board.
So I took it to my local cleaners and ask the young guy manning the counter to steam press it, but not clean it. "You know, like a tablecloth." He nodded, and seemed to get it, so I left my precious fabric with him, and picked it back up five days later, neatly pressed and hanging on a hanger. They only charged me $ 7.49, so it was a major step forward for the great coat sew-along. : )
Second step: cutting out. The dreaded cutting out stage- arrgghhh! My first decision was whether to begin by cutting the garment fabric, the lining fabric, or the interfacing. One thing I noticed about the skirt portion of the pattern was that the lining was to be cut several inches shorter than the garment skirt. Normally, I just fold the extra length up and out of the way when cutting out the lining of skirt so as to not cut the skirt pattern pieces, but this skirt is a circle skirt - folding it up isn't practical. So I considered tracing the skirt pieces to specifically make the skirt lining pattern pieces, but this skirt consists of four different pattern pieces. I have neither the time nor the energy for that.
So I decided the garment pieces would be cut first, and the lining later, and I would actually cut the skirt pattern pieces shorter while cutting out the lining. This caused me a bit of distress because I like to have a pattern intact in case I ever use it again. But to alievate my concern and give myself permission to cut those skirt pieces shorter when I cut out the lining, I made a deal with myself that when the Butterick patterns go on sale again, I'll buy another Butterick 5824, so I'll have an intact pattern should I ever decide, however unlikely, to make this coat again.
THAT issue finally resolved, I decided to start by cutting out the interfacing first. Mostly because of laziness. The pattern only requires two pattern pieces, number 11 and 8, to be cut from interfacing. Plus, it makes more sense to me to cut the fusible interfacing first, fuse it to the garment fabric, and then cut out the pattern piece. In essence your interfaced piece becomes your pattern. This ensures that your interfacing and garment fabric perfectly match in shape and size. It makes no sense to me to cut your garment fabric, then cut the interfacing piece, and then try to match the two up when you fuse the two together.
Pattern piece number 11 is the skirt front facing. It is a rectangle, so rather than use the tissue pattern to cut it out, I just pulled out the rotary cutter and cut a rectangle of interfacing 6 7/8 inches wide by 29 inches long. Then I put the pattern piece on top of my interfacing and made my markings. That piece is on the far left:
In the middle is pattern piece number 8 which is the upper collar and front facing. The piece on the right is an optional step that Gertie offered here. The purpose of this extra interfacing is to support the undercollar. Because I was the kid that always did the extra credit homework at school, I knew I had to do this completely optional step. Plus, my camelhair wool really is pretty lightweight, so the extra support is probably warranted.
To cut this piece out, you have to draft your own pattern piece which follows the roll line of your collar. I followed Gertie's instructions, going so far as to move my laptop to my cutting table so I could refer to it step by step. I had to look at the photos several times, but I think I managed to draft the pattern successfully, and then I cut out my two fusible pieces as directed.
As this point, the only interfacing left to cut was 3 inch bias strips to be used on the coat's hem. I thought about going ahead and cutting these bias strips since I had the rotary cutter and mat out and ready to go, but I decided against it. I wasn't sure how many bias strips to cut (the pattern doesn't give the skirt's circumference) and I was pretty sure that if I went ahead and cut these bias strips now, I wouldn't be able to find them when it came time to actually apply them to the skirt. So I'll wait on that step.
Whew. That's enough for now. And all I managed was cutting three pattern pieces of interfacing. See why this is going to take me six months to make this coat???? : )