Me-Made Closet – 1900’s Winter Coat

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Hello everyone, I know this is a bit out of season but the other day I finally finished the winter coat that I started last winter. I thought that winter is coming and once school starts up again I won’t have time to finish it until the winter break and I need a coat before winter starts, etc. Anyways I basically finished my winter coat in August because I’ll be too busy to finish it before winter starts. The coat itself was inspired by coats of the Edwardian era as far as shape goes, however I did make some modern changes to the pattern. Like shortening it to be more practical for myself and dyeing the fabric a colour that appeals to my taste more than the dark colours of the era.

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The pattern that I used for the coat was the V8346 from Vogue patterns as a base but then I altered and switched out some pieces to make my coat. I started off with the shorter pattern from coat A and then swapped the collar from coat D.

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However I still made some alterations to the collar, as I wanted a sailor collar so I extended the pattern piece and squared it off.

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Also if you notice all the patterns from the V8346 are double breasted and my coat is not. For this all I did for this was fold the pattern piece over about an inch off the centre front cut line to make it button up the centre plainly. I don’t think these alterations of the pattern were too difficult or stressful which is perfect for a first coat-sewing project.

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Onto the fabric that I used; the wool I used was a wool-cashmere blend. So it is quite soft and has a good nape to it. There is no itchiness to the wool, not that that matters as it a winter coat that I made and is therefore lined. For the dyeing of the coat I went for the standard black bean dye. And the colour it gave to the wool is a very pale blue with a slight grey tone to it. This was exactly the colour I was after however it may change overtime slightly because I know that this is a fugitive dye That means that the colour may change overtime as the dye is not permanent, but I am okay with this as I have seen the black bean dye fade into a nice silvery colour on other fabrics which doesn’t bother me.

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I did not mordant the wool, as I was too afraid of shrinking it too much with doing both a mordant and dye bath. However it appears to not be too affected by the lack of mordant because the colour has not faded noticeably since it was initially dyed in January. I did however mordant the lining using both alum and iron. I think this did help as the kasha lining (a singing that is satin on one side and flannel on the other) did have a certain percentage of synthetic fibre.

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My initial plan for the lining was for it to be dyed with lac wood shavings, which usually give a burgundy colour. However because of the synthetic percentage the lining would turn into a Pepto Bismol pink (which I believe I have mentioned in a few other blog posts) which was not desirable. I tried other red dyes as well, such as madder and cochineal in order to get any sort of red colour. The lining remained pink. Then eventually I settled for plan B and dyed the lining with logwood shavings to make it purple. The end results are not quite what I wanted in the end but they are better than the pink.

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Both the wool and the lining are the biggest and heaviest pieces of cloth that I have ever dyed as solid pieces of fabric, never mind the fact that they were the biggest pieces that I have had to dye evenly. For dyeing the wool I had to upgrade from my regular dye pot and I wound up using a big plastic bin that I placed in the bathtub. I believe I left the wool to soak for two days checking it regularly to ensure an even dye. I did much of the same for the lining however I was able to dye it in my big pot. Overall I am pretty proud of the dye jobs I did. I had I few minor errors on the wool, which I managed to hide on the underside of the collar. I had a few more mishaps with the lining but I just cut those pieces as the sleeves so now no one will know unless they turn the whole coat inside out.

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As for the finishing’s of the coat I used button twist, shell buttons and a hook for the closure, and topstitching. I didn’t dye the silk twist myself because it made my life easier to just buy it. But I was am impressed at how well the colour matches as when I bought it I didn’t have a scrap of wool on me for reference, I purely eyeballed it! This was the first project I did with major tailored buttonholes and I was very nervous to do them because they were big and not subtle being in the centre of the coat. But I did some practicing before I did the final ones, which seemed to help. I wound up doing two layers of stitching by stitching around the buttonholes twice to hide the gaps but it was the pressing that really made the difference and made them look good.

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This coat was also the first time I did topstitching. I think it makes the coat look more professional and polished and it was surprisingly easy because it was a day that my sewing machine decided to cooperate on and I am hoping to add it to some future projects!

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I believe that takes us to the end of the coat. Now it is just time to wait until winter to be able to wear it but I am not too impatient about that as I am still enjoying the shorts wearing weather. Until next time!

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Adieu.

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