Have you have ever wanted to alter a double cloth coat but weren’t sure where to start? I recently hemmed a coat made from a gorgeous wool double cloth and thought I’d share my experience.
Double cloth is basically two different layers of fabrics intertwined to form one heavier fabric which has a supple yet supportive hand to it. In other words, it is rarely lined because it handles so well on its own. It is mainly used for coats and jackets.
The fabrics can be different or they can be the same. In this case, the fabric is double-faced and it’s the same fabric on the inside as well as the outside.
Because the two layers are treated as one, the hems and seams are handled differently than other fabrics. Many coats and jackets are made reversible because of the construction.
This coat needed to be hemmed about 7 inches, so I first cut off 6 1/4 inches. Then I peeled the two layers apart about 3/4″. You can peel about 1/2″ using your fingers, but then you need a sharp razor blade to cut the fibers to peel more. It’s very easy to peel apart but for your first time, I recommend you practice on the part your scrap first.
After the layers are peeled apart, I stitched some 1/4″ organza ribbon on the outside layer to stay the hem and keep it from stretching. I also stitched the inside layer about 3/8″ from the edge. This helps to keep the fabric from stretching and also gives me a “lip” to fold. I trim about an eighth of an inch from the edge first because in this case, I wanted the inside layer to fold just slightly to the inside of the coat. Some double cloths are folded evenly.
I pressed the outside layer 3/8 inch to the inside, creating a nice smooth hemline. I folded the inside layer so that is landed slightly to the inside of the hemline and pinned.
The entire hem is then hand stitched in place, using 1/4 inch stitches.
Working with double cloth is a lot of work but especially if you like hand work, it’s very satisfying to do.