I spent most of today gearing up for my pea coat project.
Most of this involved perusing tailoring books and blogs (primarily Mainely Dad's), to figure out how I want to tackle this project. I'm trying to psych myself for what I fear could be a challenging week ahead.
I also inspected two old, soon-to-be-discarded coats Michael and I own, to see how they're put together. I love to examine commercially made clothing and I learn a lot about clothing construction in the process. I know there's a school of thought that says if you're going to aspire to nothing more than ready-to-wear techniques, buy ready-to-wear. I can understand that way of thinking but it isn't mine. Most of the ready-to-wear I've owned was decent and made to last -- maybe not decades, but certainly many years -- and I'd be happy to be able to create something as professionally finished. (Perhaps women's clothes are more flimsily constructed since women's fashion cycles are so much shorter, ergo the RTW standard is lower)
This German loden coat is Michael's. It's a melton wool topcoat and boy is it big, even when worn over a suit. And long.
A few design details:
Pulling up the polyester lining, you can see that the front interfacing is fused.
The corners of the pockets are reinforced with something that feels like Swedish tracing paper.
A piece of ribbon holds the pocket bag to the front seam -- a nice touch.
The armholes are reinforced with stay tape.
This topcoat isn't fancy and Michael plans to donate it to a coat drive this winter, but it's interesting to look inside it.
Coat #2 is something I bought from H&M in the days before I knew how to sew. Yes, I sometimes indulged in fast fashion.
It's a Size 36 -- normally my size -- but too long and boxy on me and way too stiffly constructed for comfort. I haven't worn it in years but Michael still dons it occasionally. I think it cost $100 which is not very much for a men's wool coat, but it was a bad choice in retrospect. It does have a lot of pockets and even a little inner tab to keep the back vent from flying open -- a nice touch.
The collar is cut like a men's trench coat collar.
Ill-fitting coats like these make me glad I can sew, but I also recognize that even lower-end men's ready-to-wear often has design details that are lacking in most men's outerwear sewing patterns. A good example is that the Japanese pea coat pattern includes no inside pockets and just two outside pockets, when most commercial pea coats have four. So if you are aware of these details and want them in your clothes, you have to draft and add them yourself.
I hope to start cutting my fabric tomorrow. I think I have all the supplies I need on hand already, except for buttons. The journey begins.
Readers, when you sew clothes do you aspire to haute couture quality or are you satisfied with a standard RTW-level of construction and flattered that someone might think you bought it at Target or Kohl's?
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!