Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


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12 Menswear Sewing Projects + 2 Blouses

You guys are such an inspiration!  Each day I begin the work day by checking out what you’ve been making and sharing on Instagram, via email (info@threadtheory.ca) or on Facebook.  Be it the fabric choice, the creative hacks, or the skilled stitching, your projects always allow me to see our old designs from a new perspective.

I’ve created a gallery for each pattern that you guys have been sewing of late.  Above you can see a couple ofexcellent Fairfield Button-ups (along with some VERY elegant Jedediah trousers!).  The aqua colored Fairfield and black Jeds are part of matching father and son outfits in honor of father’s day.  They were sewn by Belgian seamstress and milliner, Jo Chapeau.  The chambray Fairfield Button-up was sewn by Georgia for her partner James.  The fabric is a Robert Kauffman chambray (have you ever seen and felt these in person?  I love the depth and texture of the fabric.  It is so luxurious feeling while giving the overall appearance of a casual fabric choice.)

These two Strathcona Henleys could not look more different but they were sewn by the same person!  Esther sewed one men’s version featuring the Henley placket and long sleeves and then modified the pattern to create a women’s version which she has dubbed the Mariner’s Tee.  It looks as though there is orange striped piping around the neckline.  I love the attention to detail and the way she played with the stripes.

The Jedediah Pants and Jutland Pants are excellent skill building projects.  I never fail to feel pride and amazement each time I complete a trouser fly.  I think these talented sewists felt the same (judging by their Facebook messages, Instagram comments and emails!).  From top to bottom, left to right: 1.Jedediah Pants by Lindsay (@designbylindsay) 2. Jutland Shorts by Ben 3. Jedediah Shorts by The Drapery 4. Jutland Shorts by Isis.

The Finlayson Sweater, on the other hand, is a very quick make and is forgiving of all manner of stitching and fitting imperfections.  There is very little topstitching and the fit is boxy enough that you don’t have to worry about tweaking it much for a variety of body shapes.  Even though it is a simple design, it can still be made special by making an unusual fabric choice.  I love the color blocked sleeves and collar in the top photo (sewn by @lafamillecreative).  The French Terry used by Khadetjes for the Finlayson in the lower photos looks extremely cozy.  You can see some close up photos of the texture on her blog – it looks perfect for a chilly day like today!

Photos of Comox Trunks are some of my favorite to stumble upon because I get such a kick out of the wild prints many people select!  You would be hard pressed to find such colorful and cheery underwear in the shops!  The top pair has been sewn by @theunknownstar and the bottom pair (along with the matching thong) have been sewn by @superlousew.  I may have shared this couple’s set of undies on Instagram or the blog before but I can’t find evidence and I can’t resist spreading the concept of matching undies throughout the sewing world!

This Camas Blouse caught my eye the other day – it was sewn using a woven fabric with a beautiful cotton lace yoke.  I like how the lace yoke shows peeks of the main fabric through the gaps.  This lovely blouse was sewn by @lamuseauplacard.

Lastly, let’s not forget the Goldstream Peacoat!  Near the end of each summer progress shots of Goldstream Peacoats never fail to pop up on my Instagram feed.  These images, by @timetosew caught my eye due to the very precise basting and padstitching she has completed.  I have had the pieces cut out for a Pendleton Wool Goldstream for over a year now.  Since I have made so many Goldstream Peacoats over the last few years, I thought I would veer from the sewing process which I detail within the instruction booklet.  This process features very easy yet effective methods that are approachable even if it is your first coat project.  This time I’m going to use some of the tailoring tips from our Tailored Peacoat Series!  Obviously, I am a tad intimidated (this is why the project has sat for over a year in my WIP bag) but I am thankful for the inspiration from sewists like @timetosew who just buckle down and get stitching!  It’s time for me to do the same so Matt can finally replace his old ratty Goldstream that I made him years ago as an early sample from very cheap faux wool.

If you have a Thread Theory project on you sewing table, I would love to hear about it!  Send your questions, your ideas, your photos, and your stories to info@threadtheory.ca, message me on Facebook, or use #threadtheorydesigns.


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Your Goldstream Peacoat

I have great news!  This morning we will be receiving the keys to our brand new Thread Theory Studio!  Until now Matt and I have been operating Thread Theory out of our home. It has been wonderful working from home these last three years but it has becoming a bit less realistic since our menswear supply shop launch.  We have an ever increasing inventory to store and we have plans to hire someone to help me out with customer service in the future.  A professional space for Thread Theory is suddenly making much more sense!  I will introduce you to the new Thread Theory studio once it is all up and running but first I have a LOT of sanding, painting, building, packing and moving to do -starting this morning!  So in the meantime, let’s continue with Coat Sewing Month by featuring some more of your stunning Goldstream Peacoat projects!

 

The following selection of gorgeous coats hail from Instagram.  I hope that everyone can see these photos!  Please be sure to comment on the post if they are not showing up for you.

View this post on Instagram

This is what perseverance & determination gets you. Less than 2 years ago this young man started sewing with me, he's just finished this fabulous (slightly altered) @thread_theory Goldstream coat. He's off to Canada in February so wanted his peacoat to be more of a military coat, to keep him warm! I'm really proud of his achievements, he's made countless shirts, about 4 pairs of trousers, a jacket & a tailored 3 piece suit. He's also learnt fitting and a bit of pattern cutting. He now has clothes that fit him properly, it's not just a problem us ladies have with RTW! Just goes to show, you don't need to be scared of progressing your sewing! Take on new challenges, try & try again as it's only with practice that you're going to improve. Move away from the beginner patterns! #goldstreampeacoat #learntosew #threadtheory #proud #makemenswear #tailoring #coat

A post shared by Anne W (@compulsive_seamstress) on

As you can see, the Peacoat featured above has had some very inspired alterations done to the design.  The coat has been lengthened (quite easy to do with our “lengthen and shorten” lines) and single welt pockets have replaced the patch pockets.  We added patch pockets to the original design because I aimed to create a design that was approachable to first time coat sewers.  Every seam, pocket style and step in the instructions was created to be as approachable as possible.  If you prefer the classic look of single welt pockets on a Peacoat, they are quite simple to add!  In fact, I’ve written a tutorial for single welt pockets that features measurements and loads of photographs.  I’ve seen a number of people post about using this tutorial to add welt pockets to vests and coats.  Give it a try!

I featured this coat on the blog last week (it’s the blue one accented with a red scarf) but I really like this black and white photograph of it so I couldn’t resist including it again this week :).  Seeing the coat in black and white makes the design details really stand out.  Doesn’t that collar look dramatic?

This soft, snuggly and cozy looking Peacoat makes me want to wear it like a cocoon while I sip hot chocolate in a snow storm!  It is a great example of how fabric choice and less inner structure can really change the look of a Peacoat.  I have been reading about ‘soft tailoring’ and ‘hard tailoring’ recently.  Soft tailoring results in a garment that works with the body as a source of structure and hard tailoring results in a garment that contains all of the structure it needs for very crisp results.  Both types of tailoring are equally respected though many people personally prefer one over the other.  I think most wardrobes would benefit from one ‘soft’ and one ‘hard’ Peacoat – but maybe I’m biased because I have run out of people in my family to sew Goldstreams for and am now sewing a second one for Matt :P.

Lastly, here’s a beautiful detail shot to finish off this series of inspiring photos!  Plaid and epaulets are an ideal match.

 

Thanks for sharing your Goldstream Peacoats on Instagram!  Don’t forget to add #makemenswear and #goldstreampeacoat


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In Honor of Coat Sewing Month: New Fouled Anchor Buttons

Thread Theory Coat Sewing Supplies

Indie Sew was on the ball this January (as per usual!) and ushered in the first days of January with the proclamation that it is Coat Sewing Month!  As I’m sure is the case with many other sewists, coat sewing has been on my mind of late.  I have a new Goldstream Peacoat in the works for Matt and today is an exciting launch day that is very relevant to sewing coats.

Let me introduce to you the newest item in the Thread Theory shop: Fouled Anchor Buttons!

Thread Theory Peacoat Sewing-2

These incredibly detailed, especially strong buttons with a soft sheen were custom manufactured for me by a button carving company in Panama City.  They are made from Tagua Nuts (otherwise known as Corozo) which have been sustainably harvested by members of high altitude South American villages.  The nuts fall from the trees naturally and are collected from the ground which allows harvesting to have a very low environmental impact.  The work allows members of these communities to stay in their traditional locations rather than migrate to the cities to find income.

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Tagua nut buttons are often referred to as ‘vegetable ivory’ buttons in notions shops.  They are not commonly found in chain fabric stores but I have come across them a few times in boutique fabric or button stores.  If you have never handled a Tagua nut button in person, you are probably wondering how they differ in feel from plastic or wood buttons.  Tagua Nuts are incredibly dense which results in a button that has a satisfying weight to it (similar to the weight of a bone button).  Their density also means that they are especially strong – they won’t crack like plastic or wood buttons and they can be carved with awe-inspiring detail.

When choosing the button design I wanted a button that would nod to the historic use of a fouled anchor design on British and American navy Peacoats.  As you can see, the carving is very similar to the design used by the American Federal navy during the civil war:

Fouled Anchor Button Navy

 

These buttons include a shallow shank so that they will sit flush against your wool coat when buttoned.  They are a pure jet black so that they are not too flashy for menswear (or women’s coats for that matter) and will allow your fabric or coat design to be the main statement.

Thread Theory Buttons for Sonia-7

As far as high quality Corozo Buttons go, we were able to price these very reasonably.  I ordered a huge number of buttons so that we could make these as affordable as possible for you!  A boxed set of six 1″ buttons is $18 CAD.

I’m really thrilled with how these buttons turned out and I found the design and ordering process to be loads of fun!  I hope that you guys will love these buttons for your various coat projects as much as I do.  If feedback is enthusiastic I look forward to working with the same button manufacturer in the future – the combination of ethical manufacturing and the high quality buttons that result certainly gets me pretty excited about buttons!


 

Now, to continue on with this post all about sewing coats, here is a compendium of all things ‘coat’!

The latest Goldstream Peacoats sewn by you:

Parissy Goldstream Peacoat

A very dressy and classy Golstream with contrast epaulets and sleeve tabs on the blog Par Issy.

Goldstream Peacoat by ptitsmonstres

A beautifully customized and color coordinated royal blue Goldstream on the blog P’tits Monstres.  Check out the love message on the pocket flap lining!


 

Coat Making around the Internet

Coat celebrations over at Indie Sew:

 
Indie Sew Coat Month

Lots of sewing is taking place at Fancy Tiger Crafts this month:

Fancy Tiger Coat Sew-Along

Rachel of House of Pinheiro finished this Peacoat sew along last year – it is an excellent reference:

 

House of Pinheiro Coat Sew-Along

Of course, the Cascade Duffle Coat Sew-Along by Grainline Studio is a valuable series for anyone interested in sewing a coat:

Cascade Coat Sew-along Grainline Studio

Our Tailored Peacoat Series is a great way to delve deep into adding structure to your coat.  Pick and choose the elements that you feel you can achieve!

Tailored Peacoat Series


 

Coat Making in the Thread Theory shop:

Thread Theory Coat Sewing Supplies

Goldstream Peacoat Sewing Pattern: This features a slim fit and a simplified construction process making it an excellent ‘first coat’ pattern.

The Goldstream Peacoat Tailoring Supplies Kit: The materials included within this kit are suited to any double breasted coat pattern whether it be designed for men or women!

Wool Shoulder Pads: These shoulder pads add a modern amount of subtle structure to the shoulders – don’t worry, you won’t be left with bulky shoulders reminiscent of the 80’s! These pads are suited to both males or females.

Fouled Anchor Buttons: I don’t think these need any more glowing introduction than I already gave! 😛

Sleeve Heads: Sleeve heads help prevent the dimple common at the very top of the sleeve.  These are suitable for men’s and women’s coats

Bemberg Lining: This lining feels so dreamy!  The rich wine color pairs nicely with both brown or black wools.

One Savile Row: This visually stunning book is all about Gieves & Hawkes of Savile Row and is absolutely chock full of the most beautiful coats I have ever seen!

 


 

Lastly, here is how I will be involved in Coat Month – I will be tucked away in my sewing room working on this:

Thread Theory Peacoat Sewing-1

This is a picture from mid December…I am farther along on the coat making process but not by much!  I hope to have Matt’s Goldstream Peacoat finished by the end of January.  Thanks, Indiesew, for encouraging me to get sewing this month!

Please check out the new Fouled Anchor Buttons and consider adding them to your current favorite coat or to your future coat project – you can find them in the shop here.


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In the Wild: Switching Seasons

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With the seasons changing both in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, I think it’s the perfect time to show off some of the inspiring projects you have made with our two current top-selling patterns!  Since we launched our big inventory clear out sale earlier this week, the Strathcona Henley and the Goldstream Peacoat have been flying off the shelves faster than any other pattern.

The Strathcona Henley is a great option for Spring in the Northern hemisphere because it can be sewn into a breathable cotton tee to layer under sweaters or it can be made into a light Henley sweater to wear over its t-shirt variation.  Perfect for days that fluctuate between chilly rain showers and glorious sunshine!

1 & 2 The Monthly Stitch – Helen Cloke  | 3 Lily Sage & Co | 4 Wardrobe Ecology | 5 Le Papillon | 6 Wardrobe Histology

Right this moment is a great time for those of you in the Southern hemisphere to start on your winter Goldstream Peacoat.  There is still lots of time to perfect each tailoring step before you will need the cozy coat for the winter.  Sewing the Goldstream is a great way to challenge yourself a little if you have got stuck in a rut of sewing quick and easy projects.  Sometimes it is nice to slow down the pace and really enjoy the process of sewing!

1, 2 & 3 English Girl at Home | 4, 5 & 6 JoChapeau

Thank you for sharing your sewing projects with us!  And thank you for the overwhelming response to our inventory clear out sale – our shelves are starting to look much more manageable.  Many Parkland Wardrobe Builders, individual sewing patterns and all sorts of tools are currently winging their way around the world to your sewing tables!


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In the Wild: Cool Weather (Nicole’s Post)

In the wild banner - smallYou won’t believe me after seeing this picture, but it has been wet, wet, wet and cold here for the last… three weeks? Let’s just say the weather is really challenging my car-free plans and that I frequently have to remind myself “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothes.”. I’d love to show proof of the sideways rain I biked in today, but I didn’t think to stop and take a picture 🙂

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Last Sunday, however, was gorgeous- a last chance to get to the Pumpkin Fest (Hay Rides! Popcorn! Hay Bale Maze! All the Classics!), mow the lawn (nope), plant bulbs (nope) and otherwise spend time soaking up Vitamin D. I am firmly under the impression that after this one gorgeous day, I won’t see the sun for six months. Someone please disabuse me of this notion.

Fortunately, I actually like inclement weather, especially wet because it means I can pull out my wooly sweaters, my multitude of Newcastle Cardigans, and all my fuzzy head and hand cozies. It looks like there are some readers out there who feel the same way!

First up is a classic Goldstream Peacoat, apparently made for a top secret spy-man (look at those shifty eyes peering over the collar!

collage goldstreamThis was made by Annie Laure who was kind enough to send some images. She used the french instruction, donc c’est bien special! Maybe I should do a whole post in french to celebrate- but though I am a fluent speaker of french, my french writing comes across like a four year old. Far too awkward to expose myself like that on a public forum.

We’ve had a couple lighter weight sweaters shared as well, like this great grey Newcastle by Emma. I love this fabric it looks so luxurious yet casual:

grey newcastle

Next is Matt’s Mom! She has a lovely new Finlayson to cozy up in during the storms we’re having. It looks almost like the fabric I used for mine!

matts momAnd speaking of women wearing patterns designed for men (glad to know I’m not the only one who’s used Thread Theory patterns as much for myself as for a man), here is a fantastic adaptation of a Strathcona Tee by Roni Arbel of Wardrobe Histology:

roni

I love the cuff bands, and the fact that it looks like it was photographed in a castle! I have an idea! What if you all sent pictures of Thread Theory projects in exotic locales? Then this would truly be: In. The. Wild!


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Another Wool Peacoat!

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One of our newest stockists, the Pendleton Woolen Mills Store, asked me to sew up a sample of the Goldstream Peacoat for display beside our patterns in their store.  They have a great selection of indie sewing patterns that are nicely curated so that all are compatable with Pendleton Wools.  Their walls are festooned with an inspiring selection of sewn up samples and I am proud that our Goldstream Peacoat will now join these ranks!

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Matt and I did a silly ‘nautical’ photo shoot at the park behind our house.  We had to squeeze it in before Matt headed off to work so we didn’t have time to go to one of the beaches or forests that represent our usual photo shoot stomping grounds.

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This Goldstream is sewn up using Pendleton Eco-wise wool in a midnight black colour (slightly off-black with a hint of navy blue).  The Pendleton Woolen Mill Store carries this wool in a rainbow of colours.  In case you are wondering what Eco-wise means, staff told me that there is much less water used in the production of these wools.  They are also certified to be an environmentally friendly fabric option.  Here is what Pendleton has to say about this sumptious wool (it is SERIOUSLY soft and dense):

Pendleton Eco-Wise wool fabric has been Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM by MBDC. Wool is an environmentally friendly and naturally renewable fiber. This fabric can be recycled or composted as a healthy additive to the soil. The ingredients and manufacturing process meet or exceed the sustainability criteria for this certification. Our goal is to manufacture wool in a way that leaves the smallest possible footprint on the earth.

You can order this fabric by phoning ((503) 535-5786) or emailing (WoolenMillStore@penwool.com) the store.

EcoWise fabric

I really like how stiff the collar turned out with this dense wool.  I didn’t purchase any special horse hair canvas or even stiffer interfacing, I just used what I had on hand (medium weight fusible) and sewed the coat as per the directions.

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It was tempting to delve into all the tailoring techniques I learned during the Tailored Peacoat Series, but due to time constraints and the fact that this peacoat would likely never actually be worn since it was destined to become a store sample, I refrained!  As a result, I had a little trouble setting in the sleeves since I am used to much spongier (and cheaper quality) wools or wool blends and am sadly lacking a tailors ham in the sewing studio…something that clearly needs to be remedied soon!  I’m hoping they have a tailors ham at the Pendleton Woolen Mills store and imagine a thorough iron with the ham as an aid will set the rumpled sleeve heads straight!

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I sewed a size Small with the optional slim-fit darts.  I made the interior pocket the exact size of Matt’s new wallet…just in case this jacket ever gets sent back across the border when Pendleton Woollen Mill Store doesn’t need it any longer :P.

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As a finishing touch for this coat, I picked up some PERFECT fouled anchor buttons from another Portland based sewing store (and also one of our stockists), Modern Domestic.  They give the peacoat such a classic and refined look!

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I used simple dark grey buttons instead of gold for the epaulets and sleeve tabs for fear of turning the jacket into something too flashy and costume-like.

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After all these dark navy and black peacoats I’ve sewn, I’m really itching to sew up this pattern in something a little more adventurous.  Matt was feeling brave and inspired while we were walking around the Woollen Mills Store while in Portland (on our U.S. trip a couple weeks ago) and actually requested a peacoat made up in one of the Pendleton Jacquards.  Can you imagine how awesome the Goldstream would look in something like this?:

Maize Spirit Charcoal 83114

This gorgeous wool is called Maize Spirit in the Charcoal colour-way.  Check it out and all the other amazing Jacquards on the Pendleton Woollen Mill Store website.

Maybe one day… (complete with leather buttons or toggles and leather elbow patches)!  In the meantime, I love the classic British navy look that I seem to be producing at alarming rates…seriously, I’ve sewn so many now that it takes me 3 short evenings of sewing to finish a peacoat!

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Would you be brave enough to sew a Goldstream Peacoat in a print?  Or do you prefer the classic solid black or navy look?


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The Peacoat Mafia

Today I interrupt our Comox Trunks Sew-Along to bring you a rare insider’s photoshoot of the elusive and very dangerous PEACOAT MAFIA…
IMGP6746 Meet Will “The Grandfather” Whitehouse, Farrell “The Rosso” VanderRee, Clayton “The Boss” Whitehouse, and Matthew “Hitman” Meredith.  All are dangerously armed with Goldstream Peacoats…

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…And are not afraid to use them!

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The Peacoat Mafia couldn’t spare much time for a photo shoot – they interrupted things to make a deal:
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And things just about went down right in front of the camera!  Weapons were reached for from their concealed positions in the peacoat interior patch pockets…

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But I made them “an offer they couldn’t refuse” and things cooled down…
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I asked them to move closer together and crack a smile but Matthew “Hitman” lowered his shades and coldly whispered, “You talking to me?”

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With that, the mob turned their backs to scope out their next piece of work…
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And I escaped with my life only to become a “rat” by showing these photos to you!


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My Mom’s Peacoat Sewing Experience

If you were a little overwhelmed by all the handstitching involved in Dana’s Tailored Peacoat Series last week, never fear, you can still easily sew a Goldstream Peacoat if you are new to sewing outerwear and only have a limited time frame for sewing.  Here is my Mom to tell you about her experience sewing the Goldstream Peacoat!

A Peacoat … Sure I can! And even better … if I can, you can!

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Not one to resist a challenge, I agreed to sew Farrell a ‘Goldstream Peacoat’.  I had been happily enjoying the winter coat that Morgan had sewn for me.  I showed it off to many people who admired her skill and my luck at having a daughter who would take the time to make it for me.  My favourite comment was from a friend who said that wearing a wool coat hand made for me was like getting a hug from my daughter every time that I put it on!

With that in mind, I tackled a peacoat for Farrell.  I did so without the confidence I typically have when sewing. I have not sewn much in the way of men’s clothing before.  I can sew but I think of myself as someone who tackles projects.  Typically the projects are ones that require my logical math brain, such as puzzling out how to sew boat cushions, window coverings, or specialty pieces including windlass covers.  I decided to trust Morgan’s instructions to get me through the techniques required for this project with the bonus of her support only a phone call, text or email away.  Turns out I needed very little help!  Farrell is wearing his beautiful pea coat regularly and has made some strong hints that he would like a lighter spring version.

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I selected a very thick Melton wool fabric in a black/almost navy with a shiny backed tan coloured lining.  I also purchased a metre of horsehair interfacing so that I could play with laying out some panels on the front pieces.

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The cutting out went well.  I decided to sew an extra-large rather than the large as we wanted to make sure that Farrell would be comfortable wearing a heavy sweater (his Newcastle) underneath.  Turns out that was a good choice for him and the types of activities he does when wearing his coat.  He has lots of room in the jacket for movement and doesn’t feel stuffed inside it when he is wearing layers.

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I carefully followed all of the steps that were thoroughly described in the instructions, right down to the tailor tacking.

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Because of my inexperience with sewing clothing, some of the steps were hard for me to logic out.  Instead, I just followed them and then ended up being delighted each time that the pieces went together and the intent of the step became clear to me.  Only once did I text Morgan a question.  I needed to check to see if I was interpreting her instructions as she intended.  In my impatience to keep going on the jacket, I didn’t wait for the reply and proceeded anyways. With relief I did fine as trying to unpick a black thread on the heavy wool seam is a tough task.  My light duty sewing machine coped with the heavy layers well.  The only challenging seam was the one where I sewed the outer jacket to the lining with collar and a leather piece that I chose to add.  With a denim needle and some patience, I got through it. (My mom’s tip to use a denim needle for thick layers is a great one, have you tried this?  I had never done this until the other day and I found this improved the quality of my stitches when going through several layers of wool.)

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The jacket turned out great! I meant to keep track of the time it took me but got carried away with the sewing and forgot to.  Once I set my mind to it, I just tackled a few pieces at a time and it was complete in approximately 20 hours of sewing. My confidence has been bolstered and I am ready for more sewing projects.  I think I will start on the Comox Trunks which are waiting for me.  I have my eye on an item of clothing yet to be released in the Alpine Collection.  Farrell has already been ‘living in’ the first sample that Morgan sewed in his size.  He has dropped some not so subtle hints about that too.

Thanks, Mom, for sharing your experience!  My dad looks very dapper in his Goldstream Peacoat!


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Tailored Peacoat Series: #7

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Day #1 – Tuesday, March 18th: Prepare Pattern, Cut Fabric, Mark Seam Lines

Day #2 – Wednesday, March 19th: Adjust Pockets, Apply Canvas and Interfacing

Day #3 – Thursday, March 20th: Sewing the Facing and Lining

Day #4 – Friday, March 21st: Sewing the Main Body Seams and Adding Shoulder Pads

Day #5 – Saturday, March 22nd: Creating the Collar

Day # 6 – Sunday, March 22nd: Inserting the Sleeves

Day #7: – Monday, March 23rd: The Finishing Touches

Today is the last day of the Tailored Peacoat Series!  Thanks for following along!  Today we are sewing the finishing steps and will have a finished peacoat to present by the end of the post.

Finishing

Topstitch the coat, starting at the edge of the facing along the bottom of the hem, and stopping at the mark for the top buttonhole and roll line.  Don’t backstitch, but pull the thread to the back of the coat and tie off.  Flip the coat and topstitch from roll line to roll line along the lapels and collar, then flip again and stitch from roll line to the end of the facing.  This way, you’re always stitching with the “right” side of the coat facing you.

I made buttonholes by hand, and also made a buttonhole on the right side of the coat and sewed a flat button underneath the top decorative button on the left side.  This button supports the underside front and keeps the coat hanging nicely.  Bonus points if you actually remember to button it when you wear the coat.

underside button

Remove all the basting threads and tailor tacks (there are a lot!!!).

Press the coat, working slowly and making sure edges are crisp and seams are flat.  Use a clapper to smash out any bulky spots.  It can take an hour to properly press a coat.

The finished coat! (Wahoo!  What gorgeous results after all of this hard work.  Congratulations, Dana!)

 Whew, and that’s the end!  Once again, thank you very much, Dana, for contributing this incredible series – what a resource for everyone planning to sew a Goldstream Peacoat!

As I said in previous posts, I have learned a lot of techniques (and have been reminded of a lot that I had learned in the past but have neglected to do!) during this series.  I’m really looking forward to trying out pad stitching and I will certainly be basting A LOT more than I did throughout the last pea coat sewing project!  I don’t know if I’ll have the patience to baste quite as much as Dana did but I really should just slow myself down and force myself to do it.  After all, if I am going to put hours and hours of work into sewing a coat for Matt (not to mention all the money for nice wool!), I would like the finished product to look as beautiful and last as long as Dana’s coat does and will.  Hmmm you just got a glimpse of the boxing match going on in my sewing room: too much excitement to see the finished product vs. the desire to create perfect, quality results.

Now that we are armed with all this knowledge and inspiration, we are completely ready to conquer our fears of tailoring and our habits of sewing only projects that provide immediate results.  It’s time to begin your big Goldstream Peacoat sewing project!  What did you think of this series?  Which tips and tricks do you think you will be using?

 


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Tailored Peacoat Series: #6

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Day #1 – Tuesday, March 18th: Prepare Pattern, Cut Fabric, Mark Seam Lines

Day #2 – Wednesday, March 19th: Adjust Pockets, Apply Canvas and Interfacing

Day #3 – Thursday, March 20th: Sewing the Facing and Lining

Day #4 – Friday, March 21st: Sewing the Main Body Seams and Adding Shoulder Pads

Day #5 – Saturday, March 22nd: Creating the Collar

Day # 6 – Sunday, March 22nd: Inserting the Sleeves

Day #7: – Monday, March 23rd: The Finishing Touches

Today is the last big sewing day for the Tailored Peacoat Series since tomorrow’s post will involve just finishing touches.  Get ready to insert your sleeves using a different method than our usual one (no gathering with this one!).

Sewing the Sleeves

I sewed the front seam of the sleeves, then used a strip of bias silk organza as a hem reinforcement, since I don’t have wigan (you can buy this bias cut sewn in interfacing here).

reinforce sleeve hem

Pocketing might have been a better choice.  The sleeve linings were cut with an extra 1 inch of seam allowance at the top of the sleeve (Dana added this extra seam allowance, this is not included as part of the Goldstream Peacoat pattern).

After the sleeves were hemmed and linings assembled, I sewed the seam allowances of the sleeve and lining together for a few inches at the elbow.  This keeps the linings from twisting inside the sleeve.

sew elbow seam allowances

Sew the lining at the hem with an ease pleat, and baste the sleeve and lining together about 3 inches below the top of the sleeve.

Setting in the Sleeves

I was taught to set coat sleeves using a different method than the gather-the-cap method almost every book, pattern, blog, etc, uses.  In fact, when I have to gather the sleeve cap (I’m looking at you, 1840’s men’s coats), I usually want to scream/cry/throw things.  If that method works for you, great, but I’ve always had trouble with it.

The sleeves have ¼” seam allowance (The Goldstream Peacoat pattern uses 5/8″ seam allowances but Dana has adjusted her pattern to include 1/4″).  Mark ¼” seam allowance on the armscye of the coat, either with tailor tacks when you cut the coat, or thread trace it now.   Pin the sleeve into the armscye, matching the notches.

pin sleeve

The pins don’t have to be close together, just enough so you can tell how the sleeve is hanging.  Don’t worry about extra ease in the sleeve right now.  Once the sleeve is pinned, check to see how the sleeve is hanging.  The sleeve ease is really well distributed in this pattern, so it should sit well, but feel free to move it around if you aren’t happy.  Next, baste the sleeves with matching thread, since this can stay in the finished coat. Use a fairly small running stitch.

baste sleeve

This is where you want to ease any wrinkles into the armscye; happily, most wool likes to ease, and using a small seam allowance makes it easier to control the fabric.  Check the hang of the sleeve again, and make sure there aren’t any big wrinkles or other unhappiness.  If you’re having problems, you can try pressing the seam, just don’t go more than an inch into the sleeve.  Hand sewing the sleeve into the armscye instead of machining it also gives you greater control.

Once the sleeves are sewn, baste around the armscye from the exterior of the coat, as close to the sleeve seam as possible and going through as many layers of canvas, shoulder pad, and lining as you can.

baste from exterior

You want to push all the seam allowances of the coat and sleeves towards the sleeves, and to hold all the layers in place.  Since there is extra ease in the lining, there might be a few folds when you baste the layers together, just make sure the lining isn’t pulling anywhere.  From the inside with the sleeve facing  you, backstitch through all the layers close to the stitch line using heavy thread.

Backstitch

I was able to go through the shoulder pad and catch the lining on the other side, but if your shoulder pads are thick you might have to do a second line of backstitching from the lining side, catching the shoulder pad to the lining.  Trim away the extra wool, canvas, lining, and shoulder pad; I usually leave only ¼ inch under the arm and taper to ½ inch at the top and sides of the armscye.  Sew a sleeve head in the armscye, starting at the front notch or sleeve seam and going around the top of the sleeve to the back sleeve seam.  Sleeve heads fill out the ease at the top of the sleeve and give a smooth look to the shoulder.  You can buy them or make your own; I used a bias strip of wool 2 inches wide, folded over about ½ inch and pressed.

sleeve head

 Fold the sleeve lining over ¼” and slip stitch in place, matching seams with the sleeve and just covering the backstitching.  Its perfectly acceptable to have small gathers in the lining around the top of the sleeve.  Lining rarely eases as nicely as wool.

stitch sleeve lining

See you tomorrow for the last day of our series!