The Treasure Hunt Coat



My first project of 2019, is one that was on my mind for the majority of 2018!  For me, sewing is as much about the hunt for the components of any project, as it is about the process of putting it all together.  I found this fabric last March, so I've been hunting for the rest of the components for several months before I cut into it.  I love searching through both old and new patterns, online fabric stores for new fabrics, thrift stores for old fabrics, and antique stores for notions.   When I have all of the components, then I will often go to consignment shops for the perfect purse, necklace or footwear to make the whole outfit.   I especially love it when I can find the components second hand because I know that there is a history behind them, and I imagine who the previous owner was and what they were thinking of making.


I found this blue wool plaid last March at our Idea Store- a reuse recycle store that I wrote about here.  It was a large piece, and I suspected that it was handwoven because at the end of the piece, it had some pink yarns.  We have a group of spinners and weavers in our community, and they make some amazingly beautiful pieces.  Then, when I was cutting it, I found a hand-written note, confirming my suspicions that it was made by a person, not a mill!  The note said "Coat Length", so I was glad to know that the original maker had intended it would end up being a coat.  I felt a bit humbled, and thought- "Whoa- this is an amazing piece of fabric, and I better not mess it up!" What an honor to make something from a piece of cloth that someone else had put a lot of time and undoubtedly love into creating it!  So, I did my best to do justice to the piece, taking my time to make it.


At some point, I also picked up this pattern, Butterick 3260 at the IDEA store, and decided it would be a good choice with the simple lines, making the plaids easy to match.  This said the copyright was 2001, so it had sufficiently aged.  I did a full bust adjustment so that the coat wouldn't hike up in the front.  And then I lengthened the body by 3" and also lengthened the pockets by 3", as I wanted them to be able to hold a lot!



Even though it was a super simple design, making this coat was a workout! This fabric is heavy, and just moving it around while sewing was no easy task.  I serged all of the edges, and left good sized seam allowances because I don't want this fabric to fray out at the seams.  I interfaced the pockets, front facing, and upper back to help them keep their shape.   I broke a few needles in the sewing process, and ended up using a denim needle which worked pretty good.


The most important thing to do with a fabric like this is to make sure that your plaids match, both up and down.  So, in placing the pocket, I ignored whatever markings were on the pattern, and placed the plaids to that they matched.  I also matched the plaids at the sleeve notches, so that when my arms are at rest, the plaids match all the way across the front and back.  You need some more fabric this way, as you need to move the pattern pieces to where the plaid works, but it's worth the effort and extra fabric.


The buttons are vintage buttons that were still on the cards and said "Made in Japan". It looks like they were hand painted because I could see bits of another color in a few places. The shanks are actual leather pieces.  I've never seen such a sturdy shank!  I hemmed and hawed about whether to make bound buttonholes, and in the end decided to not do it, as the thickness of so many layers of this already incredibly thick fabric would be difficult.  I could barely get certain sections underneath my presser foot as it was!  I did interface and use a stabilizer on the machine made buttonholes, as well as treated them with fray check, to try to minimize fraying in this loosely woven fabric. We will see how they hold up.  I probably won't button it most of the time anyway, unless it's really windy outside. 


I had cut both layers of the hood out of the wool fabric, but then decided that it would be just a little too thick to lay correctly.  So, I decided to use a lining fabric for the hood instead.   For the lining, I used a fleece backed knit that I got from Fabric Mart.  It was super light and a little sheer.  I really didn't have any idea of what to do with it when I originally got it, but I thought that the color was perfect for the this coat, so I went with it.  I'm glad I did, as it worked surprisingly well.  The Malden Mills outlet website describes it as odor resistant and made from recycled materials. 
I think I'm going to pick up some more of these fleeces for lining coats!


Here's a view of the back.  The sleeves are quite generous in width, which means that I can wear a jacket or sweater underneath.  That's one thing that drives me crazy about many coats available today- they don't have adequate sleeve ease for multiple layers in the winter. 



 The scarf and purse were my treats to complete the look!  I really wanted something bright that will brighten up bleak winter days, so I went with this vibrant purple neoprene crossbody bag. 



I finally got my photographer back from Madagascar- my daughter!  She won't be home for long, but we're enjoying having her home while we can.


I'm feeling pretty good about the start of 2019- one pretty successful project completed!  My treasure hunt was fruitful!  Wishing you a great 2019 and many successful treasure hunts of your own!

Happy Sewing!

Ann

31 comments

  1. Oh Ann, your coat is gorgeous! Your fabric was such an amazing find, truly a treasure. You always inspire me to want to fire up my sewing machine. I feel very disconnected in the sewing world as of late with homeschooling my children and then relocating over the summer. I made some exercise shorts over the weekend using a Jalie swim shorts pattern. The are a tad too short to me, so a new pair is cut out from a different pattern, but sadly only half done as I ran out of matching thread. I need to peek at your past projects, I'm behind in my blog reading. Oh and I was just lamenting to someone the other day how I miss your SewBaby site, you can't find nice ribbing anywhere anymore. :( Happy New Year!!!!

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  2. Happy New Year to you too, Melissa! Where did you relocate to? The children grow up far too soon, so enjoy your homeschooling years!

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    1. We're still in Washington state, just a town 30 minutes north of where we were before. It's just a LOT of work moving and getting everything set up again.

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  3. Such a beautiful coat. The fabric was meant to be made into the coat you created. Great job! I love how you styled it with the pop of bright color. You look lovely!

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  4. I am sure the person who wove this fabric would be happy to see it turned into such a beautiful coat. You really showed it off to a T! I enjoyed reading about it very much, and the photos are lovely too.

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    1. Thanks, Kushami! I'm hoping that I'll be walking around town and the maker will see it!

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  5. The coat is beautiful. Your work inspires me.

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  6. What a beautiful coat! That fabric is truly a treasure, and your choice of pattern and your beautiful sewing (and matching) is spot on. Love the blue on you and with your purple accessories. Just lovely.

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    1. Thanks, Karla. I was wondering if the purple accessories were too much, but I really love the purse!

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  7. I agree with "kushami" that the person who lovingly wove this gorgeous woolen fabric would be thrilled to see the coat you turned it into and wear so well! The colours are vibrant and I agree with you that the pattern needed to be simple lines (love your three inches added to the length and the pockets!) You're inspiring to us all stepping into 2019 :)

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    1. Thank you, Kathleen! I definitely won't see another coat like it anywhere! Hope your 2019 is a good one!

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  8. Just one word,stunning.

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  9. those colors are fantastic on you, gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks, Beth! It is a combination of my favorite colors!

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  10. Wow, what a beautiful coat. So much fun to wear on a cold winter day. Most hand woven fabric are of such narrow widths, it takes extra effort to plan and sew a garment from them. I have a series of books (self published by the author) on garments for hand woven lengths of fabric. Though I don't have access to hand woven fabrics, the ideas in the books are great inspiration when I only have smaller size remnants. How wonderful to have your daughter home for a visit.

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    1. Thank you, Audrey! Those books sound very interesting! This piece wasn't narrow, so it makes me wonder. However, I do know that some of the weavers in town have floor model looms, which can make wide pieces. When I was first married, I took a couple of weaving classes sponsored by our park district, and they had about a dozen floor looms that we used in an old school building. Then the school district needed the building back and the looms had to go. I was able to house one of the looms in our sunroom at the time, but opted not to buy it, so they eventually found buyers for all of them. I kick myself for not buying it now, but at the time, I couldn't justify the space it took up!

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  11. Happy New Year Ann! Your coat is beautiful! The fabric you found is just extraordinary. I am working on my jacket and just switched to a denim needle due to bulkiness. You are so right, it helps so much! Enjoy time with your daughter, she is as lovely as you!

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa! I can't wait to see your jacket completed.

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  12. Happy New Year, Ann! Your coat is fabulous!

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  13. Your Jacket is lovely and so is the colour on you. Happy New Year Ann.

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  14. SUPER... deilig... fantastisk... Wunderbar... lovely :-)))
    Happy New Year.
    Viola

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  15. Beautiful and so well made. Love it

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  17. Ann, what a beautiful job you did! and I hope whoever wove the fabric will catch a glimpse of you wearing it, whether from heaven or around town. What a steal. When I send my handwovens to my children, I tell the post office dthat they are priceless when asked the value. ;) I love your accessories with it too! We need all the bright colors we can right now! Ahhhh...Champaign. My old stomping grounds. Thank you for sharing your success—keep inspiring us!

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