Oh, I should update you on my not-buying-fabric! It has been going well. I haven't bought fabric, nor any other sewing material since I decided not to in January.
I went to a fabric swap at the end of January and got rid of a lot of fabric that I had no use for. I brought some fabric back, but only about 1/6 as much as I got rid of, so overall that definitely counts as getting rid of fabric rather than getting new fabric. I have a bit more space in my room now, and I'm no longer tripping over boxes of extra fabric that don't fit into the filing cabinets! I still have a few pieces of fabric that I will probably not use, so I look forward to the next fabric swap, whenever that may be.
I started this coat sometime last winter, I don't remember exactly when.
I originally intended for it to be plain and simple, but then in my search for reference pictures I found several with shoulder capes, and decided I wanted them.
|Coat, c. 1800. Germany.|
|It has plait pockets!|
|I can't find the original source for this one|
so all I know is that it's from 1792.
I'd been meaning to make myself a spring/fall coat for several years. My old store bought one, besides being rather ill fitting and synthetic, was splitting at the seams in several places.
About a year and a half ago I bought some fine black corduroy (at one of the big sales that fabricville has a few times a year) which I intended for my new coat.
I made my pattern by tracing parts of my 1789 coat pattern and drawing on a lot of new stuff.
I cut the coat pieces in the black corduroy, cut the skirt lining in what I think is a cotton/linen blend, the sleeve and bodice area lining in rayon bemberg, the pockets in a plain woven black cotton, and the shoulder cape linings in a black cotton sateen. For the collar, pocket flaps, and front edges I used fusible interfacing.
Some of these were not good fabric choices. Bemberg is a bit troublesome to work with, and much better suited to modern coat lining techniques than historical ones. The coarse stuff I lined the skirts with isn't slippery at all, and so the front parts of the coat tend to stick to my pant legs and crawl forward when I'm walking, which is annoying. This may also be caused by the corduroy facing, which I think I made too wide.
I decided to machine sew most of the coat, mostly because the materials weren't great, but also because I wanted to get it finished quickly. (Which I did not do.)
|Pocket flaps and pocket bags.|
I was quite frustrated and I put the coat aside for some months. When I came back to it I re-read the plait pocket post again and it made perfect sense. (Presumably because I wasn't sleep deprived this time.) I sewed the plait pockets fairly successfully, but because of my failed attempt I had lost a bit of width in the lining fabric, so they aren't perfect. I had to tack some bits by hand to help them lie better.
In 18th century coats the front pieces are supposed to be lined before being sewn to the back pieces, and then the pleats can be pleated with the lining and outer fabric as one piece. But since I was machine sewing it in a not-so-historical order of operations this didn't happen, and my pleats aren't as happy as they could have been.
|My pockets. They ended up looking pretty nice from the outside.|
I picked them off and trimmed down the back portion of the neckhole, and re-attached them and they fit. I don't think I attached them in the best way though. In Costume Close Up the shoulder cape is attached to the cloak by just having the raw edge turned in and hand stitched down, but it's in wool and I can't do that with fray-y corduroy. I could perhaps have turned in the seam allowances of the neckhole area to make the capes finished all around, and then hand stitched those down.
As it is I sewed them all into the neck of the coat itself along with the collar, so that seam ended up being very thick and I had to do it by hand. All together it was 5 layers of corduroy, 2 of interfacing, and 2 of cotton sateen. I hand stitched the coat lining to the inside of this, after tacking the giant bulky seam allowance in a few places to help it stay put.
this booklet, but similar instructions can be found here. The only differences are that the booklet instructions have you wrap without a stick, and then insert a pin through the middle after a few wraps. And they also say to secure the wraps at the back with a different piece of thread that's waxed. I did it that way and I'm quite happy with how my buttons turned out.
This coat took 52 hours in total, but a good portion of that was fixing mistakes. So much for a quick machine sewn project.
|Portrait of Jacob Fox Willemsz, c. 1795|