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05/21/2012 / thriftomancer

It’s Alive!

Finally, my first patchwork coat is complete! They called me mad, said I went too far, but it ended up being quite comfortable.

Getting the coat to this point was a bit of an ordeal. Not a terribly difficult ordeal, just one with a lot of steps.

My first problem was with the hood and front hem. This coat’s hood is self-lining, which means it has a double thickness of fabric and doesn’t require a normal hem. The McCall’s pattern apparently calls for facing to cover the rough edge of the hood and make the front of the jacket presentable. In order to make a nice neckline I had to cobble together that facing from my left over fabric bits, extend the pattern all the way to the bottom edge of the coat, then attach it. I didn’t notice this until the hood was already attached and the whole coat nearly built.

Not a huge problem, it just took a little time to make and incorporate the piece. Unfortunately, once I had it done, I had run out of the thread I needed for topstitching and had to head out to the store for another spool.

I also had a small snafu with the darts on the back of the coat. In the normal pattern, they would have been at the bottom of a panel that was attached to a skirt/peplum and worked wonderfully. In this version, where there was no skirt, I had to improvise a shape for the bottom of the dart. My early attempts looked good at first, but proved awkward when the wearer was in motion. My solution was a dart running from higher on the wearer’s shoulder blades to the small of the back. That placement combined with topstitching only half way down the darts’ length, gave a vaguely bustle-esque look instead of the awkward points I kept getting before. Huzzah!

Beyond those snags, there were a few features that I was unsure about, namely the lengths of the sleeves and bottom hem. Instead of immediately sewing those down, I basted them more securely than normal and wore the coat about for a few days to try it out instead of wasting my good thread on durable stitching only to rip it out again. (I did end up staying with the lengths I originally worked out. The bottom hem falls about mid-calf and the sleeves are a nice 3/4-length.)

While the whole thing ended up more towards the ‘robe’ end of the spectrum than the ‘coat’ end, I think it’s an excellent result from my experiment and I’m sure I’ll be able to tweak the next versions sufficiently to get closer to the garment I was envisioning. I’m very happy with it and just wish I could get a better picture. (My dressmaker’s dummy is still and atrocious model.)

Green coat - front

Green coat - back


I like how it matches the lichens and moss on my deck.

As I said in the last post, it’s made of 100% repurposed linen from second-hand clothes and the design is a hybrid of 3 separate patterns. In that patchwork are the remains of 2 different men’s shirts, 3 pairs of pants, and a skirt. Almost my entire stash of green linen. It was so worth it.



Leave a Comment
  1. Maryanne / May 22 2012 2:16 am

    WOW, it’s fantastic! I especially love the hood and collar…..well done!

    • thriftomancer / May 22 2012 8:46 pm

      Domo! That hood’s my favorite part. The picture doesn’t really do it justice, but it’s huge! I seriously think I could fit a whole other head in there and still have room. Makes a wonderful sunshade. XD

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