[cue Imperial March]

Hubby's Coat

Or other similarly foreboding music.

Last night I started, edging slowly, timidly, towards working on my hubby’s coat. This is the one I’ve been promising him, oh, at least since the spring. And he’s even whined about it, albeit intermittently.

In my defense, given the frustrations of my last project for him (WHICH HE DOESN”T WEAR!!!), I think a bit of heel-dragging on my part is understandable.

So, years and years ago, he bought a “trench coat*” from le chateau, the once-fabulous purveyor of all your goth gear needs.

Goth no longer being cool, apparently, they don’t sell that stuff anymore, but back in the day, man, that was the place to go.

The photo I just took has to be the single most unappealing I could have come up with—let me just say, it looks better on. And it was a staple of his leisure wardrobe for years. Sadly, aside from the stains which could probably be laundered out, at this point the fabric is full of snags, not to mention some melted holes from cigarette ash, and the whole thing is just not quite as smart-looking as it used to be. Which just isn’t acceptable.

Anyway, back in the spring I scored some great black coating at the thrift store, and my hubby pounced. He does this sometimes, gets a fabric stuck in his head. It HAD to be a replica of his coat. Regardless of the fact that this was a thick woolly coating, while the original was made of a thin, drapey suiting.

I wasn’t sure I would have enough (there were only 2m from the thrift-store find) so when Fabricland had a good sale, I picked up two more metres of Β black “Kashmir Jacketing” (which, as far as I can tell, has absolutely no cashmere in it, but anyway). I was pretty sure this was the same fabric as the thrift-store find.

Why do I even try to photograph black fabric? Suiting on the left, kashmir jacketing in the middle, "melton" on the right

I was wrong. I think the thrift-store find may actually be melton, the stuff Fabricland sells for $33/m and is unforgivably bad about marking down, at least until after all the good colours are gone.

Concerned that my blacks didn’t match, I went back and found a nice cheap poly twill suiting, similar in weight to the original jacket. Cheering myself, I bought three metres. It would be perfect, a much better match to the original. I proudly showed it to my husband.

He was not amused. His heart was set on melton.

Argh. Anyway, I suspect I can make it work, although it’s possible I’ll end up cutting the facings and maybe side-body pieces out of the other fabric.

M-Sewing/Lekala pattern 6066

So, next requirement was, of course, a pattern. I considered trying to draft one (I’m masochistic that way, or at least like to pretend I am) but some noodling around the interwebs turned up this pattern. Which is actually a Lekala pattern, if you should for some reason want the custom sizing. But the M-Sewing site had multiple sizes for download.

Anyway, although you probably can’t see it due to my crappy photography, this pattern has all the right details, aside from length. I had even printed it out and taped it together months ago, back in July.

Pattern work

Last night, I went and began the rest of the pattern alterations. Sleeve—lengthened. Waist—narrowed. Vent moved from side-back seam to centre back seam. Now all I need to do is lengthen the crap out of the pieces, and I’ll be ready for the muslin.

And then I need to start re-reading Sherry’s RTW Coat Sewalong. Cuz I am not going all-out couture for this thing.

Having looked at the construction of the original, though, I have to say I’m not impressed. “Lightly tailored” does not even begin to describe it. I’ve made dresses with more structure than this thing. Ok, I haven’t, but someone out there has. Light, thin shoulder pads and a bit of interfacing on the front facing and collar. That’s IT.

There is one issue with the original that worries me a tad—the facing tends to roll out. Hubs has expressed a STRONG DESIRE that the new version not do this. I will definitely read over Sherry’s tips on drafting the front facing, but if any of you have any thoughts on what causes this problem I’d love to hear them. (Is it just natural? it kind of “rolls” out where a lapel would, except of course this jacket doesn’t have a rolled lapel. Hmm.)

I’m thinking maybe I should bust out a blazer pattern for myself while I’m at it… it’s not as if I don’t have at least five pieces of fabric that want to become blazers (and at least as many patterns in the running). But we’ll maybe leave that for a future post…

*My husband often has a bit of his own language; I blame it on the ADHD that makes sure he never pays too much attention to anything, least of all words. For years he would de-thaw food for supper. And as far as he’s concerned any long black coat is a trench coat. I have been arguing that this particular garment, completely lacking in the authentic trench-coat details (gun-flap, epaulettes, belt), is more of a frock-coat, but not with any kind of measurable success. He also considers the little coats I made my nieces trench-coats as well.



Filed under Sewing

20 responses to “[cue Imperial March]

  1. My husband has a few strange words too. Took me a while to realize when he asked for aspirin he meant anything that would take pain away rather than specifically aspirin.

    I can’t believe he’s not wearing that shirt. Bah. So undeserving of your supreme tailoring skills. Hopefully the coat goes over better.

  2. Men, can’t live with them, can’t live without them…but at least they could speak a proper and understandable language πŸ™‚


  3. Michelle

    I’m not married and this is probably why (clearing throat) but I wouldn’t touch the coat until he wore the shirt and when he brought it up I’d hand him the shirt…….yup, that’s why I’m not married I’ll bet πŸ™‚

  4. Kudos to you for being mascochistic *ahem* WILLING to take this on! I’ve made many winter coats for my kids, but I’d have to have some seriously blingy incentive to get me to make one for DH! Re: the facings rolling: If you take care to interface the facings with an appropriate-weight interfacing and ensure they’re cut on the true grain of the fabric, they should not roll. I’ve not had one facing roll on the 12 or so (ankle long) winter dress coats I’ve made for my girls over the years. Your pattern looks perfect for the RTW tutorial – not to many fussy details – and it will be simpler to sew up the melton in a streamlined style. Just make sure you grade your seam allowances, and use a clapper to pound them flat! Good luck to you!

    • Thanks for the tips! I think I’d prefer to make a coat for him than the kids—he won’t outgrow it—but only IF he wears it.

      It’s a nice simple design—the trick will be to get the fit *just right* :).

  5. I’m sewing for my hubby right now too, but nothing so fraught with possibilities to disappoint. I have never understood how guys can have so many highly definite ideas about the clothes they will and will not wear, when they often don’t look like they care at all. Anyway, I hope to have much pent up selfishness when I finish.

    Not only does my husband invent strange words, but now our children think they are normal English. Keeps things interesting though.

    • Well, my husband has ALWAYS cared what he wore and how he looked (it’s kind of a problem, actually…). In some ways it makes me want to sew for him, because RTW shopping for him is such a pain, but it’s also worrisome because the thing has to look just right. *headdesk*

      I think the “de-thaw” word he may actually have learnt from his father…

  6. I’m getting a kinky Thorn Birds vibe off the original coat….This is going to be fun!

  7. I was thinking it looked more like Neo’s from the Matrix. In the imaginary land in which he poses for pictures, you should get your husband to fight giant robots.


  8. If you really wanted to recreate his original jacket, couldn’t you just take it apart? If he’s not wearing it, that is. If it fits him fine now, you won’t have to do any alterations!

    Granted, if you have a pattern that you’re happy with, maybe I should just shut my trap, eh? πŸ˜‰

    • Well, aren’t you just the smarty pants? Hmph. Here I’m going to all this work and you come up with a super simple solution… πŸ˜‰

      Well, battered as it is I’m not quite sure if Hubby is ready for me to take the original one apart. I could still do a rubbing or one of those non-destructive techniques… but with the pattern available for free it seems like less work to alter it than to make it from scratch.

      Key word being “seems”…

  9. I got a Neo from the Matrix vibe, also, and that’s definitely a frock coat. In fact, Simplicity had a pattern for one for Halloween once. It’s number 5386 — now out of print, but probably available on Ebay or Etsy. That might be my first go-to in recreating this coat….

    Also, if he liked your first two shirts, you could compare the coat pattern to that pattern and know which size would fit him best. Just an idea, though obviously the coat would have to be a bit larger to allow for wearing over clothing.

    • The first two shirts were vastly-oversized “poet shirts”—lots of gathering, dropped shoulders, etc. I wouldn’t even know where to start with comparing them. If I feel the need I’ll compare my pattern pieces to the original coat, but frankly I’m not tackling something like this without a muslin, anyway. Most of his fitting issues are fairly simple to correct when sewing, at least—narrower waist and long arms, thick neck. I haven’t even had to alter for sloping shoulder yet, which surprised me. I should double-check his back length, though, that isn’t much of an issue with shirts but I suspect his is a bit short (seeing as he’s 5′ 9″ and wears a 34″ inseam…)

  10. Hm, sewing for the man in one’s life… I made my boyfriend a coat last winter and he loves it but he doesn’t seem to wear his new jacket quite that much (which could also have something to do with the changing weather).

    About the facing: I agree with Tia Dia, and am I right in thinking that the original coat (which is definately a frock coat, not a trench coat, by the way. Although E actually thinks that something like a ‘Matrix coat’ is the style described with the word ‘trench coat’, so your husband isn’t alone in that.) is unlined? Facings in unlined coats a prone to roll because there’s nothing to keep their edges in place. I stitched the facings of E’s jacket down by hand to prevent this and when working with wool (suiting or coating) I would always insert a lining.
    By the way, be careful about using fabrics of hugely different weight in the body of the coat. It would be fine to use a much lighter fabric for facings, but I would try to get all the body pieces out of the same fabric.

  11. The “Matrix” references are definitely spot on. I won’t say that movie influenced my hubby’s style, so much as encapsulated just about everything he loved stylistically. Glad to know he’s not alone in his misapprehension ;).

    The original jacket is lined, but the interfacing in the facing is different from that in the front and probably a little stiffer (I didn’t even realize there was any in the front until I looked just now, it’s so soft.)

    The two coating fabrics are a pretty similar weight, although the melton is slightly heavier. I’m certainly going to try as hard as I can to get it all out of the one fabric.

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