Readers, I CANNOT believe how long it takes to make a pea coat. If I ever tell you I'm making another one of these, sit me down and talk some sense into me.
I was sure I'd be done with this coat by yesterday, but now, after a full day of sewing, I am still not done and it has to be photographed tomorrow. It's going to be a very early, very sew-y morning.
Have you seen this photo? I can't remember.
This was before I added the lining and facings. The main lining is cotton flannel.
I added not one, but two single welt inside pockets. I like to have a separate pocket for my wallet and my sunglasses.
There was way too much ease in the sleeves (a 4" difference between the sleeve measurement and the armhole measurement) and, as I've mentioned before, this fabric does NOT ease at all. When this happens I generally just intuitively chop some height off the too-high sleeve cap. (I also had to deepen the armhole a bit so that also ate up some of the extra sleeve.)
Yesterday morning it dawned on me that I had no suitable buttons, so I jumped onto a Citibike and hightailed it to C&C Button at 230 West 38th Street. I'm proud to say I was in and out in ten minutes. Fifteen dollars seems like a lot for a small bag of plastic buttons but I like my choice.
This pea coat has all sorts of cool details that take a lot of time to make, like cuff tabs (I think that's what they're called) and an oval neck shield piece that I ended up not adding.
Naturally, all these pieces have to be interfaced (with cotton shirting), sewn right sides together, turned, and then topstitched.
Today I added the sleeve lining (rayon Bemberg). It wasn't till I was about to insert the second sleeve lining that I realized -- in the nick of time -- that I'd sewn it together inside out, so I had to rip the seams, sew it together again, press it, and then insert it the right way. And trying to remember that the right-side-out sleeve lining will have the seam allowances on the outside (but facing the inside of the sleeve) is enough to make one's eyes cross.
Another time suck on this coat was making the buttonholes and sewing on the buttons. The coat was already so heavy by this point that I had a hard time supporting the fabric under the zigzagging buttonholer. In an ideal world I'd have had these done professionally but there wasn't time. Since the wrong side of the fabric is white canvas, when you cut through the buttonhole you see a lot of white fuzz. I'll have to take a brown magic marker to them and mark out the white as best I can.
The buttons all had to be attached with the lining turned up (since I didn't want to stitch through the inside pockets and I rarely do buttonholes by hand). I pasted small squares of thick wool on the underside of my fabric to back each button. Have I mentioned that, much like leather, any holes I make in this coated fabric remain visible if I rip a seam out? It's great practice for a leather project but a real pain in the a** right now.
There's more to tell but I think you get the point; this project is a bear.
Friends, I'm going to bed. I'll finish the hems tomorrow and that will be that. You'll get to see photos of the completed coat on Tuesday.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!