Marfy sew along 1756 Pt 3 - Pre-treating the fabrics

Marfy sew along 1756 Pt 3 - Pre-treating the fabrics

Regardless of the fabric you have chosen to use for the jacket, a certain level of pre-treating will be required.


If you are hand pad stitching....

A wool, woven boucle, thicker crepe or similar will work best.  You are looking to choose a fabric that has stable grains, a pliable nature and the body and strength to hold the tailored shape well.

A good wool can be molded with steam,  drape well  and have enough spring to hide pad stitching... 

( I wrote in depth about wool and boucle here in a previous post )

There are lots of ways to pre-treat wool, and every sewer has a slightly different I will link you to a few very good resources so you can choose one that works for you.

Of course, Carolyn of Diary of a sewing fanatic is the ultimate wool expert and wrote a wonderful article regarding this....and the many ways it can be done, so I send you her way first!

and the very knowledgeable Maris of Sew Maris wrote a great article for Craftsy.

Coletterie -  pre- treating wool 

Sewaholic - Wool coating

as well as a Artisan Square conversation thread.


If you are sewing with linen or cotton / silk lining

Coletterie - the prewash

Emma one sock - Linen




It is so important to pre-shrink hair canvas, for this jacket, a lightweight to medium weighted canvas will be perfect.  You want a women's softly tailored look rather than the men's more heavily tailored finish. 

I remember years ago a very experienced sewer telling me that in her early sewing days she had spent hours pre treating  all her fashion fabrics but forgot the day she got caught in the rain in her new wool jacket and all the hair canvas shrunk.... needless to say she had to throw that garment out.    It reminds me every time to just do it whether I really want to or not!......


So, generic non fusible hair canvas is strong and durable, I like to dunk it in warm water for a few minutes until its completely soaked, wring it out and steam the heck out of it with a very hot iron!

You can also spray it until it is wet and steam it heavily...either will work well.

If you have bought a pre tailored full front you can also spray and steam it.

If you are using a  fusible hair canvas double check that its been pre-shrunk.  I can only assume its already done, as I can't work out a way to do it at home without a iron and water!


Twill tapes

I love twill tape in tailoring, its used to shape the edges of the hair canvas and sharpen up the well as to teach the jacket where to roll on the roll line etc.

This is made from cotton and usually shrinks a minimal amount.  I like to soak it in warm water and steam it, although you can machine wash it if you prefer.



If you are using other underlinings like a silk organza or batiste just give them a nice hot steam with your iron, working slowly and methodically across every section.



I'll be talking in more detail about underlinings on Monday when we start working with the fashion fabric....but .....

Lay your hair canvas under your fashion fabric and feel if the hand and nature of the fabric has changed much.  Is it stiffer?  much heavier? has it changed the colour of your fabric?  does it drape less?  is your hair canvas to thick?  

You will only be tailoring the front panels and collar, so the sides and back of the jacket might need a little help in order for the entire jacket to hang in the same manner.

We will be adding some muslin support to the upper parts of the sides and back called stays but these are more like half linings than underlinings  (joined to make one)  You might find the whole panel of each piece will  benefit from a little extra help.

This can be achieved with a silk organza, muslin or very light weight batiste..

Try a sample of each under your fabric and compare the hair canvas to the different fabrics, it does not need to be exact, but it should feel and hang so that its similar.


Next week, we will be cutting out our fashion fabric, underlinings, hair canvas and muslin well as thread tracing and marking.

Lets take the week for that, as its a fairly involved stage.  

The following week (19 - 23 May) we will be constructing the front two panels, pad stitching and securing our twill tape.


Have a lovely weekend everyone!! 


I'll be around all weekend, just leave a comment if you need help  or send a email to  :-)

Marfy sew along Pt 2 - Sleeves.....and some adjustment options - elbow dart, one to two and two to three

Marfy sew along Pt 2 - Sleeves.....and some adjustment options - elbow dart, one to two and two to three

Marfy sew along 1756 Pt 1 - Pattern and muslin prep

Marfy sew along 1756 Pt 1 - Pattern and muslin prep