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Nov 24, 2013

Coat-ally Devoted to You!



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.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Have a great day, everybody!

36 comments:

  1. looks greatso far! I do like the buttons too =]

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  2. What machine did you use to do the buttonholes?

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    Replies
    1. My Singer 15-91 and my Singer buttonholer (using the largest keyhole buttonhole template).

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    2. I use a Kenmore 1410 with a buttonhole attachment that attaches to the base of the machine. Here's a pic of the plastic version:
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0ITVEXIGQYc/Tf935xsxMcI/AAAAAAAAUH4/1toRv1AVnqQ/s1600/IMG_7617.JPG

      Have you tried this model of buttonhole maker? I love it. I use the metal version. I think it would be better for heavier projects. Opinions?

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    3. I've never been able to un-stick the feed dogs of my Kenmore, so I can't use one. I'd love to try though!

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    4. Kroil. If it doesn't unstick feed dogs, nothing will.

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    5. I mean, not that I'm suggesting you *need* another buttonholer or sewing accessory but this one is truly awesome. They aren't hard to find on ebay. Just be sure your model of Kenmore is compatible with it and be sure to get the metal version with the face plate and all of the templates including eyehole and various sized keyhole templates.

      -- Aimee

      PS. I'm loving the finished peacoat pictures!

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  3. A terrific job! Can't wait to see it finished.

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  4. This is looking awesome. Impressive with the cord-worked buttonholes.

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    Replies
    1. Those are actually regular keyhole buttonholes made with my Singer attachment (the one with the templates). I circled around twice so the stitching is more raised.

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  5. Kudos to getting this almost completed!

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  6. It looks awesome! I feel your pea coat pain - I begun drafting my own pea coat last winter, put it on hiatus, and haven't touched it since. I'm afraid to go back to it, because it's so much work. Your project is inspiring me to maybe take it up again!

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  7. Peter, given the high quality of the work you do...of course it's going to take time.....
    It looks GREAT!

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  8. Looks like time well spent . . . Can hardly wait to see the finish!

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  9. This looks incredible, Peter, I love all the details and can't wait to see it on Tuesday. I finished my project yesterday and photographed my short sleeve holiday top outside this morning, it was 19 degrees! My 18 year old photographer was grumpy in her winter coat and gloves! Good luck with your hem and photographs.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lori. It's freezing here too but at least this is a coat! LOL

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  10. Sorry to see you rushing through this project. I've only sewn two jackets (both blazer-like) in my life, but I really like the process. I've been really jealous of everyone that's sewn a winter jacket this season. I want to get in on the action, but I really don't have a need for another jacket. Can't wait to see yours though.

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  11. It's really looking great. I love your button choice. Buttons can really make or break a coat, and these look perfect for your fabric. Looking forward to the big reveal.

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  12. all those details are definitely a time suck, but well worth it. i'm very jealous of those great looking buttonholes, all i can do on my machine are the regular bar tack ended type. the coat looks great, can't wait to see the finished product!

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  13. The coat looks great! I'm glad you used the Bemberg for the sleeve lining instead of the flannel.

    I have fabric for 2-3 coats, but have yet to work up the courage to start. Part of it is too many other unfinished projects already.

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  14. Wow, this really looks great! The buttonholes look particularly fabulous! I can't wait to see this!

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  15. It's a great coat Peter. Can't wait to see the finished product. Lane

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  16. It may be taking forever, but from the glimpses, it sure looks like it's going to be worth it.

    In my younger and broker days, I bought my buttons by going to a thrift store and buying old garments for almost no money and cutting off the buttons I wanted-- back then, it was cheaper, I don't know if that's still the case. I did get a lot of really great vintage buttons that way.

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  17. What a beautiful garment you've made, all the details that you say have been a 'bear' will be the the things you will love about it when you see it as an overall completed project. Well done, your patience will have been rewarded.

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  18. Almost there! I made a trench coat that was my pride and joy to wear--all the detail work forgotten in the pride of craftsmanship. Your coat looks good too, and I'll bet you wear it often with pride.

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  19. Beautiful, I like it.
    I don't remember where I read that the top stiching on the collar mut be like this
    http://www.sazzvintage.com/product/9396.html
    Somone said that this is the "pro" way to do it.
    I don't now if is true..

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  20. It looks great. I have a button phobia so I don't like any buttons, but I am sure the coat is going to be another one of your great pieces of work.

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  21. This is looking so nice, Peter. Perfect buttons. I love the welt pockets.

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  22. Give yourself a break! Awesome work and you are both sewing under a deadline, while blogging for the rest of us. It is an Amazon of a job to say the least. You will treasure this coat. We treasure how you keep us drooling over all of your projects. Thank you so much for sharing it all.

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  23. Beautiful sewing. I love those lapels. You got nice results stitching twice for raised keyholes. I wonder though, if stitching twice introduces the risk of the feed dogs skipping. Does it feel solid the second time around?

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    Replies
    1. The feed dogs are dropped with the Singer buttonholer, so there's no risk of that.

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  24. Holy moly! This project seems like it has so many fiddly little bits. But it will be worth it in the end!

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  25. Wow, you're making good progress. I'm working on the trench from the same book, but I have no time constraints. I decided against the neck protector thingy. If my neck needs to be protected, I'll wear a scarf.

    I love the inside pockets. I may add those to mine.

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  26. I’m lovin’ it! Your attention to detail is amazing, especially given the time constraints. The buttons are perfect and I really like how the buttonholes came out. You can take pride in the fact that you did them yourself instead of taking them to be done. Bravo! I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.

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  27. Excellent work on the pea coat, especially how you took the time to add the little details like the inside welt pockets, after all a man has to have pockets!! I totally feel your pain and anguish in making this garment. I also have made a pea coat from scratch, in this case a classic U. S. Navy style, but in denim. I knocked off a size 38 for a pattern, taking care to have no ease in the sleeve cap, and finally competing it after one muslin fitting. Turned out great, but the scoundrel who I did it for decided not to pay for it as well as a few other time consuming samples. Word to the wise, get payment before delivery!

    Finally, I still think your fabric is a pigment dyed canvas. That is canvas fabric that has a thick coating of dye on one side, the other side is more or less undyed. The advantage is that after several washes and dryings, all the abrasion associated with laundering will rub off the top layer of dye, and leave a soft, washed/bleached finish to the fabric. It's the look of old denim with much fewer washings.

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    Replies
    1. It's a little more vinyl-y than that, I think. Almost like a thin coating of latex.

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