Good morning, hoarders, pack rats, and clutterbugs!
Feeling fresh and alive after my week of decluttering (which continues, albeit offstage), I trotted over to the garment district yesterday in search of wool fabric for my toggle coat project, otherwise known as Vogue 8452, an OOP mens pattern from 1992.
Readers, I had forgotten that wool is in a entirely different price category than the fistful of nickles stuff I'm used to purchasing. I must have hit at least ten fabric stores, primarily on 38th and 39th Streets, and maybe I saw one thing less than $10/yd. I guess it makes sense when you consider that wool is made from living creatures who must eat, sleep, and occasionally redecorate. This costs money.
I'm inclined to embellish this shopping trip with excitement, mystery, and romance but it was actually quite cut and dry. After perusing many wool plaids, I decided that for reasons of practicality -- I'm not a fashion model after all -- the coat should be solid and dark. For me that means either gray or navy since I don't look good in camel or olive green.
I found a lovely, medium-weight charcoal gray at Nahir on 242 West 39th St. for $10/yd. He had an excellent selection, though nowhere near as good as Fabric For Less across the street (239 West 39th St.) -- marvelous mohair plaids for women -- but everything started at $16.99/yd. I checked out A.K. Fabric: mostly $25/yd. That's a lot when you consider that I needed three yards of fashion fabric and three yards of contrasting underlining fabric.
Originally I thought I'd line it with one of those quilted polyester linings one sees so often, but then, upon close examination of the pattern, I realized that the coat deserves something zippier, since one sees the underlining, especially inside the hood and around the neck (the coat itself is not lined). I decided to underline in a light-weight wool/cashmere blend I found at H&M fabrics at 248 West 35th St. (my favorite wreck-of-a-fabric store and the source of Cathy's much-heralded doubleknit houndstooth) also for $10 a yard.
So here they are -- gray wool (much darker in person):
And plaid wool:
I'm excited to get started. I'll need to finish the inside seams with seam binding. The cheap Wright's stuff is too stiff I think. What should I use? Can I cut bias from the underlining fabric (the lightweight plaid) or should I use something lighter still? So many questions.
I swung by C&C buttons at 230 West 38th St. to price toggles. They're not cheap, not the nice ones anyway. I'll need four complete sets. The leather part costs $3.50 each, and the horn (as opposed to plastic imitation) toggle costs $4 each. So for four...well you do the math; it adds up. But I've already sunk $60 into this project so I guess I should just go for it, right? I can always sell another sewing machine.
Meanwhile, friends, look what arrived yesterday evening...
This vintage Sixties luggage wasn't without its (ongoing) drama, as all three pieces have damaged feet (or are missing a foot or two).
The seller described these as being in excellent condition inside and out, which they clearly are not, not now. I contacted him through eBay and offered to send him photos of their condition. He claims that when he sent them (in a large box via UPS with no padding or packaging materials whatsoever, just loose in a large box) they were in excellent condition. (There were a few plastic foot fragments at the bottom of the box, but not enough to account for all the damage.) He asked what I wanted him to do and I've asked for a reimbursement of half the cost.
Will they suit their purpose -- storage, play -- as is? Yes, I suppose. But I wouldn't have bought them if I'd known the feet were damaged. And while the price was absurdly low as I was the sole bidder, the shipping was exorbitant, so I had the right to expect careful packaging, no? Anyway, we'll see how this resolves itself. I hate to be hard-nosed about it but as someone who has sold many, many fragile items on eBay, I would never ship something in a box with no packing peanuts, bubble wrap or something. It seems negligent.
Still, the luggage is fun and doesn't it make you want to spend the weekend in Paris with Cathy -- even Paris, Illinois? Alas, she'll be traveling alone.
Friends, that's it. I hope to prep my fabric today (the dryer/damp-towel pre-shrink) and then we'll see. This is all new to me as I've never underlined anything before or worked with wool of this weight and (I think) quality.
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!