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Long Coat Vent Lining ~ My Way

It’s sort of like pornography, I know it when I see it, but I don’t know what it is.

Marfy patterns do not have lining patterns so when it came to lining my coat I laid the back piece on the lining acetate. The center back is not on grain. Here’s how the pattern piece lay on the fabric:

Ruler Shows the Straight of Grain

I am used to making jackets, not coats. I am used to having the ease pleat be on the fold of the fabric. I am on my own.

So I cut the lining straight up the full width including the vent with 5/8 seam allowances and added width in the neckline, shoulder length and back length by just moving the pattern piece a bit as I was cutting.

Then: research and reading…where I got stuck and horribly confused! I was blaming my pitiful brain when, after a week’s misery and waking up thinking, “Oh, the vent is in the wrong direction”, I asked my pen pals and Els said: men’s vents open one way and women’s vents open the other way, unless you’re a woman driver and then the vent goes to the right so you can slide behind the steering wheel without the vent folding back under you. I’ll let her explain that. It would be a good post at The Sewing Divas someday.

But back to The Stitchery’s references which piled high but none addressed my particular problems with the coat. Most references just addressed jackets but a few mentioned that a fully lined long coat would have an unattached lining hem. OK.

So, here’s some of the more detailed references:

Timeless Tailoring, by Starr Hashiguchi

Star Hashiguchi Tailoring

Palmer Pletsch jacket books had the best pictures and easiest to follow instructions.

Palmer Pletsch version: Decided not to use

I also referenced more than 10 other books, but nothing was on point for a full lining of a raglan sleeved long coat with a deep center back vent. These were good ones: Men’s Custom Tailored Coats by Stanley Hostek, and Classic Tailoring Techniques: A Construction Guide for Men’s Wear by Roberto Cabrera.

From Mr Cabrera I picked up this great way to stay a deep fold in the center back. It’s a keeper.

Roberta Cabrero pleat stay stitched before applying the Strickland diagonal fold

I was still mulling over how I wanted to construct the lining over the vent area and didn’t want to use the cut out techniques of traditional jackets shown above. This wool coat comes to the top of the knee and the lining is medium weight, not heavy, so I was afraid that the methods shown above would result in a torn vent from simple wear and tear sooner or later.

Then I found Gertrude Strickland’s A Tailoring Manual but her written instructions were beyond my comprehension. Palmer Pletsch I can understand on a good day, Strickland, well see for yourself:

Strickland Fold moved over, underlap is minimal

from the prior page (129)

Lining The Vent and The Bottom of the Long Coat

Figure 84
If there is a vent in the coat at the back seam attache the upper lining in the same manner as in a long coat, except for the center back ease (1 1/2-inch-pleat) and around the vent at lower edge of lining.
a. The 3-inch ease at back was earlier basted in a 1 1/2-inch pleat down center back. Place pins the length of garment on either side of pleat to hold the lining into place.

OK, so-far-so good, except my ease is 5 inches deep and is based upon the depth of the vent.

Place a basting down the edge fold at the center back of garment and release the pleat.

OK, I’m getting really hazy already….

b.  1.  Measure the vent overlap “in inches” (her italics) on the garment being lined and baste from top to bottom edge of vent parallel to the folded edge.
2. Measure from the center back of the lining to the “right” the exact width of the vent width, “b”-1, and mark new fold edge. Transfer the center bacd pleat to the position marked to the right and baste the folded edge the full lining length.
3. the underneath folded edge “must” turn to the left on the inside of the lining.

  • end of page 129, on to page 130, shown above
  • I want to use this lining method and it made perfect sense in the picture. But I couldn’t process those instructions until I ripped out the wavy ease stitching a la Roberto Cabrera and draped it on the dressmaker’s form.

    Strickland fold straight up, offset to side by 2.5" put the fold line over the left shoulder - Looked to weird!

    This is exactly what I want but it puts the fold over way on the left shoulder at the neck edge. To weird! Two friends had coats with this lining type but were really busy and I didn’t want to bother them for more info so I centered the fold at the back neck and angled the fold down diagonally down the back to the vent opening.

    The blue line shows the true vertical and the red dash shows how the fold will go

    Blue line is center back, Red dash shows the fold will be on the diagonal from edge to top of vent opening

    The lining on the overlap will be hand stitched at the edge (even though the modern books say to machine stitch) and the lining on the underlap will be handstitched so that it lies just at the junction of the two. But before that stitching is done the hem will be put into the lining by a double fold.

    Folds separated at beginning of vent - Love This Treatment!!!

    This is what I wanted and somewhere in the back of my mind is a discussion of how to treat this ease fold but I couldn’t find it even after days of searching. Ahhhh, I wanted to have this stitched up and finished but am snowed in at the moment. There’s more photos at the Flikr album in the Lining a Long Coat set.

    If anyone knows what this is called or how it should properly be done, please let me know. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do when on your own!


    About Mary Beth

    I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

    9 responses »

    1. I didn’t understand a word of course but look forward to seeing it completed.

    2. MB, about your coat lining…if it looks good and functions, it has been done the “right” way! …and besides, everything you create is outstanding…always.

      Interestingly (or not, lol), I just did a version of Cabrera’s way to stay a deep fold on the latest shirt I designed. I learned the technique during my Tailoring Apprenticeship. My mentor called it “Span Stitching”, and on the shirt I used it to control the deep bias sleeve pleats 🙂

    3. Well, I don’t have a clue, but I’m sure that you’ve worked it out perfectly.

    4. Pingback: Orange Plaid Coat: Marfy 1877 Forties Adventure « The Stitchery

    5. Really helpful! I’m working on a vent now and the pix from the Palmer Pletsch book were just what I needed.

    6. I know this post is from a year and half ago; but I just discovered you blog today.
      I made a wool coat for my husband over Lent 2011, and I am still fussing with the vent lining.
      I made the Burda Pattern #8275 (the ONLY men’s coat pattern available on the planet; even absent in vintage!) and most of it is clear, but they give no help regarding the lining. This lining cut does not seem to go with the cut of the coat. I have vintage sewing books, and even Mrs. Picken does not address it in the Singer Books.
      So – I am just working around the vent the best I am able, and told my husband not to look at it while he is wearing the coat (A little humor; very little.)
      I have tried to come up with something online, but to no avail. So, I too apart my coat in the back to see how it was done. If it looks ok when you are finished, and you are not making it professionally for anyone, then you can be happy. I will continue to look – this kind of sewing isn’t taught anymore unless you go to ‘Couture College’ someplace.
      Your looks nice!

    7. Pingback: Less-Stress Lining Technique in Pictures « The Stitchery

    8. Very very helpful!!!


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