Wool Suitings & Coatings
by Shannon Gifford
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  • Wool Suitings & Coatings

    Coating is a medium-weight wool or wool blend fabric that is used to make outerwear. Some coatings are also perfect for suit jackets, pants and skirts, as well. These fabrics are buttery-soft, warm, and come in beautiful colors and elegant neutrals. A beautiful coat is a joy to wear, and these fabrics will add to your joy!

    Pretreatment:

    Dry cleaning is recommended.

    Needles and Thread:

    Universal needles, size 80/12, or sharps (currently packaged as "quilting"needles), size 75/11 Use cotton, cotton/poly, or all polyester thread for these fabrics. For decorative effects, use a thicker thread (such as topstitching thread) or two strands of embroidery thread run through the needle at the same time.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    Standard straight seams, medium length (2.5) are suitable for most seams in coatings. For topstitching, lengthen the stitch to 3.5 or longer, so the threads will be visible. Hem with hand or machine stitching, whichever you prefer for your project. Seam finishes can range from bindings, fold-over braids, piped edges, seam tape, or serging with a 3 thread balanced seam. A full lining in your garment will eliminate the need for seam finishes.

    Interfacing:

    A weft-insertion fusible, such as whisper weft, is a good choice for tailored items. Cut this interfacing with the grain if you want structure in the garment, or on the bias if you want a softer effect. If you prefer a sew-in interfacing, use washed cotton muslin. Or, if you want a warmth layer, use a layer of cotton flannel that has been washed three times in hot water to prevent future shrinkage.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    Coats, jackets, skirts, cardigans, pants

    Creative possibilities:

    Some wool coatings will felt nicely, for an even more cushiony feel. If you choose to do this, purchase additional yardage to accommodate the shrinkage. Pretest by washing a small sample, at least 10 inches square, to see if you like the results. Wash in hot water and dry in a hot dryer. This causes the fibers to pack together more densely; in some cases, it will eliminate ravelling and/or the need to line a garment.

    Additional Tips:

    Wool can be beautifully shaped with your iron and steam. In areas that require easing, run a row of machine basting and draw it up to the required smaller length. Take the fabric to the iron and steam out the wrinkles. It's almost like magic!

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