I recently had the honor and privilege of making a friend’s vision come to life: M., who had saved up two large wool blankets for over twenty years, in hopes of one day having them made into a drover’s coat. M. and I exchanged some FB messages, I emailed him a quote, and he delivered me many pounds of heavy wool blanket. With some trepidation I cut into this vintage fabric to begin construction!
Thursday I grabbed a few pictures of the finished product (modeled by husband who is an inch shorter than client in arm and total height):
M. had several visions for the coat: he wanted the end fringe of the blankets to be used as much as possible at hem, sleeve hem, pocket, pocket flap, and cape. Now is the time for me to point out that the two blankets were different – you can really see this at the stripe near the knee. I am super-proud to say that with careful planning I made an entirely balanced coat – in other words the left side utilizes one blanket for the body, and the other blanket for patch, pocket detail, etc. – and vice versa. I also managed to wrap the wool fringe to curve around the cape such that it looks like it was woven there – and to place another stripe at the shoulder on the cape!
M. wanted antler tips for closures. I got to fiddle/figure out how to use those without the typical toggle closure, which M. didn’t care for. My solution was a bound buttonhole – time intensive, but really a solid, rustic choice. The wool was so very thick I chose to use the selvedge/woven edges for the lips of the (pseudo-) bound buttonhole, thus reducing bulk significantly. Finally – I found tips that were cut in half lengthwise so could be worn very flush to the coat front:
The collar and collar tab, sleeve tabs, and cape are all lined in a cotton the same color as the shell wool.
One of my favorite details: the cape and collar. The cape is fabulous: it looks like it is sewn to the coat, and it fits perfectly snugly with underarm straps for security. But the wearer can easily unfasten the cape if they don’t want to wear it:
I can’t express how wonderful it is to work with someone on their design – if their design is cohesive, and M.’s really was. I sew up other people’s designs rarely – because I like to make my own. However in M.’s case he had such a definite sense of what he wanted and I instantly grasped how handsome a garment it would make. Although the coat was a technical challenge – the wool in the blankets had warped, and had several very well-done repairs in thread – I learned a great deal while working on it.
The best part? I hand-delivered him the coat last night and he lit right up. “I am completely satisfied!” – a direct quote! And the garment suited him very well. It gives me great pleasure to make someone something they want – or have wanted, for years!
Second coat: one for my husband. This, part of my thirteenth anniversary gift for him, was constructed without him ever being aware I was making it (total score!). Waxed canvas, and lined with a matching grey liner with a semi-coarse, lovely finish. The effect is that of a rain slicker – except more breathable, and with a beautiful patina and long-lasting wear:
Grey-green shot cotton binding at neckline. Waxed canvas – such a beautiful finish – and, now that I’m used to it, a pleasure to sew (this coat was the first I’d made in this fabric; Nels’ was the second, and things went better there):
Top-stitching: about as near perfect as you can get (using single-needle tailoring):
Cuff tab – a triple-stitch for a heavier stitching line. Antique brass snaps I set myself. Kind of fun, actually!
The coat was constructed using Green Pepper’s Frenchglen (adding length to arm and hem as per Ralph’s usual adjustment); the pattern featured a side pocket embedded in the zippered patch pocket:
And a very special zipper pull tab – in a “bean” shape. I found one tab at Quilt Harbor in Aberdeen and knew I had to have it. But I couldn’t find another – not even online! A few weeks ago I ran across the second tab in Lady Lynn’s for $1.75! I was beyond excited. Because I am a huge nerd.
Ralph, who stands this way – his arms don’t rest at his sides. I discovered this about him a few garments ago and I may or may not call his posture, “Ape Arms”.
Something tells me I am just ramping up the coat and jacket sewing for the fall! Having all that heavy wool in my house during the hottest days of the year was… fun. “Fun”, she says, using “air dick quotes”. Next up: a brief snatch of air sewing an easy flannel car coat for my child – before diving into Halloween sewing, which ramped up so fast I was required to close orders before I could even update my Etsy shop or my website! Good lord.
Nels, male model. Adorable times One Hundred! You know. I made all the clothes pictured: the Finn hat, the Flyer Jacket, the skinny wool trousers (Banyan by Figgy’s), and the hooded pearl-snap shirt. AW YEAH. Hell I (arguably) even made the child. Yeah. Yeah I’m pretty awesome.
OK, so down to brass tacks: I have two new garments to show you, and two patterns to discuss. Across the internetz many (mostly)lady-bloggers are sewing up a batch of boy patterns. They are all PDF indie designs, have a wonderful size range of 3 months to sizze 16, and they are all featured on sale this week. I was honored to be asked to participate. August 26th I will be submitting my second entry. If you like what you see here, you might pee your pants on the 26th! No, really. It’s that good!Read More
I fell in love, instantly, with this semi-sheer little knit in “tomato and ivory” colorway. In between working for clients, it’s important to sew something that kind of warms my heart. So I did.
It’s also quite gratifying to make someone something and watch them snuggle right into it, and wear it all day long.
Stripe matching as per usual: LIKE A BOSS
Twin needle at the hem:
Next up: pattern testing three patterns for a blog tour (wonderful!), making a silk blouse for a client, and mapping out a drover’s coat for another client. Far less a “housewife” these days than a preoccupied, semi-bitchy tailor!
Look. Not all monsters are spooky, or creepy. Some are “cuddly”. In fact that was listed in the job description from this particular client!
The 100% cotton “teeth” lining the pocket opening:
Phoenix, who at a size 6 doesn’t quite fill out this size 14. It is pinched at the back with clothespins but as you can see, the bust is still too large. Still – she was a willing and available model. She wants to be paid. Thoughts?
I am so pleased with how this turned out – 100% accurate to the sketch I provided the client. It is not only gratifying I can sew what I can draw – it is practical.The client only pays once they’ve agreed to the garment’s sketch and price so at that point we are likely to both have a good experience. So far, the system has worked out well. I provide a 100% refund (no questions asked) and I am also pretty selective at which clients I take on.
As always, you can read a bit more about construction in the Flickr tagset.
Up next: a silk blouse, planning out a drover’s coat for a trade, and maybe even a project for my own family!Read More
Good news: I hung the most recent pieces of Phoenix’s in fiber art. I am very pleased with the results.
Here’s what’s funny about Phee’s pieces. They are all so good. It’s not really possible to pick a “best” so every now and then I just grab one (as in “Mutant Horse”) and then I scrimp and save to have them embroidered by another artisan (in this case, Nicole from Hoopla). It feels good to support another talented stitcher. It was also fun to swap stories with Nicole – you know, sharing our embroidery yarns. GET IT OH GOD I’M SORRY I’VE BEEN HANGING OUT WITH PUN-STERS
I am finally getting confident enough in my own embroidery skills I think I can just start stitching away the next time I feel inspired by someone’s work. I’ll probably want to have a few pieces ready – by Phee or Nels – for my upcoming vacation at the family cabin. If you want me to add a drawing of yours, or one you love, let me know! It’s a wonderfully meditative way to honor someone’s art.Read More