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.
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.
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.
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.