embroidered wool coat

I don’t know if this is a general habit for others, but often if I am working on a long/boring/difficult project I start to plan a nice/interesting project in my head and this project becomes the treat that I can look forward to.  So while I was plodding away with the Irish dance costume, wondering when it would all end….. I was planning to embroider this coat on the left below.

embroidered red coat

The coat is a nice quality wool, and in its day, it would have been a mid-range coat with a basic (ie not satin) lining, although the wool by contemporary standards is excellent.  It had the 80s shoulders (big), a generous cut in all (I think everyone wore big jumpers in the 80s too).  It didn’t sell for €20 didn’t sell for €10 and I bought it at €2.  I was never too sure on the colour as it was a dull rust red so I left it for a while until I figured what pattern to use for it.

I used simpliciy pattern 6733.   The cut is similar to the one I drafted last year, but the simplicity pattern has no darts, and a bit more generous in the cut, and I managed to squeeze it in.  The cut was quick enough – centre front and buttonholes and pockets carefully lined up and cut (and useful to have them all done) – back equally easy to line up.  The sleeves were a squeeze and I find this each time I recut a coat, so as long as I got 2cm past hem line, I could do a faced hem!  The collar was part cut from collar and I cut as short as I could so I would have sufficient fabric for a hood.

I dithered over the design.  Originally I was going to go with one colour only and do a grid of this motif, but it did look and feel a bit bland – a friend of mine suggested the scale of the design was insignificant got me thinking a bit more and I went searching for a another motif so with some other tiny scraps I did another test using this new motif, and loved it as the red and pink seemed to lift the colour and I could do some borders also.  I used motifs from embroideryonline.com.   Originally I was going to try and do a tiled design but once I did the finished the large motifs and placed the half motif I figured it looked a bit busy so left it.  The coat  has 2 borders – one in red, and the other in brown, and there are 8 large motifs around.  The sleeves just have the borders, and I used standard sewing thread for the embroidery.

embroidery  samples

final motifs for embroidered coat

Out of the left over fabric, I recut some back and side facings, and reused the lining, and also cut a hood.  I did not re-cut the lining as the cut was so similar to the coat itself, I just took it in a bit at sleeve head and sides.  I did use some gross-grain ribbon on the hem to give a make a bigger hem, and I like the way the ribbon looks on the inside – I also put my label on the lining with the original! (these are school labels – and I am finding them useful especially for knits so I know the back and front!).  The hang loop was reused.

 

 

The hood was a tighter cut, and I had tried to make it more dramatic originally, but when I tried it on I did not like the bigger hood at all, and as the idea of the hood for me is practical, the bigger hood has less weight and would probably blow off occasionally so I trimmed it and had to use some embroidered scraps in the edging.  I put poppers along so its not detachable.

embroidered coat with hood and without

Verdict- so delighted with the coat and wearing it loads.  This red, despite my original misgivings,  is a perfect shade, and the embroidery seems to ‘lift’ it.   It nicely replaced last years red coat which I did not wear that much as the red was a bit overwhelming for me.

I did a stall at a local market and sold some makes and last years red coat was sold.  It a great shade but too bright for me.   The stall was a bit of an experiment as sometimes donating back makes to the charity shop potentially increases their workload, and it could be interesting to find out what people think of the remakes directly.  I priced the makes at secondhand clothes prices – as charging labour time would have been unrealistic,and I wanted to clear the excess makes.  I see these makes as sample sews and considering doing a stall occasionally in the future as I like the making but sometimes I make more than I wear and and sometimes, I make for an experiment.

 

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McCalls 7520 – pauline trigere coat – remake a coat to a coat

McCalls 7520 - pauline trigere coat - remakea coat to a coat

When I saw this coat – I was so pleased as there is a lot of fabric, so I probably overlooked both the fabric quality and a few stains (the trims of leather in it seemed to have put the original owner of cleaning it!)  The original coat  very much of its time, with lapels and different fastenings, the lining was anchored, as opposed to bagged (it was curious to see all the hidden bits of sewing and detail).  I took the coat apart and brushed it well, and steamed the pieces heavily with the iron and laundered the lining (I had decided to reuse it, as it wasn’t too bad and I couldn’t find a shade like it easily).

When the pattern was laid out, as usual there was compromise, the front of the coat was nearly on the straight so I lost a bit of space there, as the button detail tab on top used up extra fabric space.  The full sleeve would not fit, so I would have to take a chance with a cuff.  I was sure everything would fit, but I completely forgot about the underarm section. This just about fitted, but then the pocket seam would be tight.  I had thought if there was enough fabric that I could make it the original length which is mid calf, but the more I thought about it, the less I liked it especially as there is only one button, so I decided on a finished length of 90cm/36″, as this length is good with trousers.  In the illustration, the coat looks shorter than it is, the actual length of the coat is about 30cm/12″ longer – mid-calf. In the end, I had to put a cuff on the sleeve to get the length, a small inset for the pocket recess, and shorten the coat overall.  

McCalls 7520 - pauline trigere coat - remakea coat to a coat


I interfaced all the sections, in the original coat, the fabric was supposed to drape so only the front was interfaced and the back interlined.   This coat is a wool cashmere mix (45% cashmere!) I don’t think it was best quality cashmere and for that matter, wool, and also the patch pockets had left marks on the front, so i was also wondering if it would clean up sufficiently for a public outing!


The sleeve heads were very uncooperative this time around (as opposed to the jacket), and I was progressively getting more and more suspicious of the ‘less than lovely’ quality of this fabric, to the point of I didn’t know who was having the attitude over ease, me or the fabric.  it was only when the coat was at the lining stage, I decided to try and match them once more and curved the point (the design element) on the rhs so it matched the other.  I don’t know how noticeable the difference is, but I suppose if I can see it, then it will always bug me.

It was only when the coat was finished I realised I could have and should have inserted the sleeves  in on the flat, and then sewn the sleeve seam and shoulder seam as one.  I wore the coat out to lunch to ‘road test’ it.  Its a nice warm coat and worked well with a black polo and jeans.   I am also considering taking the sleeve off and re-doing if it is going to get out more, and will wait till the marks on the front (where the pockets were) become less noticeable (or see if they will).  

McCalls 7520 - pauline trigere coat - remake coat to a coat


There was only one real issue and that was when we left the cafe, some big droplets of rain fell from the awning outside on to the coat and it soaked immediately and made the coat look very stained, the marks dried and disappeared off in 20 minutes but looked so so grubby when it was wet – and as it rains a lot here, I was wondering on the practicalities.  The coat was fine when it drizzled so I don’t know if somehow this coat was washed with detergent of some sort to make it so absorbent? or if this can happen anyway with camel shades …… coat is now resting in my wardrobe for a few weeks and I will steam it again to see if the pile lifts up from where the pockets were, if it does, then I think I will consider re-setting sleeves………..