Friday, April 20, 2018

A Tale of Two Coats

I've had the Turkish Coat pattern from Folkwear for, oh, maybe 35 years. Chatting with some other weavers it seemed it was about time to actually make one up. And what does one do when making a pattern up for the first time? Weave a lot of fabrics:

Cotton fabrics

This is cotton, two lengths of striped fabric, one `11" wide x 12 yards, the other 8" wide x 8 yards, for the outer fabric in the coat. I came to these measurements by laying out the pattern pieces and measuring the finished length and width I would need for the out shell of the coat.

The painted warp fabric is for the back panel of the coat, and the narrow orange fabric is for trim.

I wove, washed, pressed, measured and cut out the coat. The directions call for stitching the layers together as pieces, and then sewing them all together into the final coat, and added the trim at the hem, cuffs, and front border. For this first version (the "muslin") I followed the directions.

Basting and stitching

These are the sections being stitched along the stripes (handy to have stripe-lines to follow!) to the lining, a resist dyed indigo cotton I purchased at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market a few years ago. It was somewhat of a pain to sew together all the stitched parts, and then stitch down all the inside seams, but the process was managed. I needed a bit more cloth for the sleeves, so I added some indigo-dyed strip woven Dogon cloth, and the inside fabric of the bands is a Guatemalan jaspe fabric, so in the end, I managed to make a World Coat for the first version:

Cotton Turkish coat

I'm quite happy with it, it fits and is comfortable, I like the look of it well enough, but...I could see that a few changes might make a coat I would like better! Thus began Turkish Coat 2.0. This one would be silk, all commercial yarns, not handspun, because I wanted to quickly implement the changes while they were fresh in my mind, not wait two years to spin all the yarn.

I changed the width and length of the outer fabric, one 11" again x 12 yards, but the second would be 4" x 12 yards: less waste, more use of selvedges in the final garment. I wove a striped outer layer, in black, and a bright lining an reds. I wove a back panel in painted warp, and some bright interior bands fabrics for the inside. In all, I wove 49+ yards of silk fabric, much of it very narrow, so it wove up quickly. This is the lining, 30/2 silk sett at 48 EPI:

Selvedge compression

This is the painted warp silk for the back panel (the outside fabric is 12/2 silk sett at 30):

silk

This coat was sewn differently: I basically sewed up the outside shell, and the lining separately, then put the lining inside and stitched the layers together. The hem bands, front bands and cuffs were sewn on last, and then they were stitched too:

T coat 2

I like this coat a lot, and it was much easier to make, despite having the Whole Coat to haul around while stitching the two layers together. Silk is heavy, this thing is all silk and very heavy, but kinda worth it:

silk coat

For those of you coming to Convergence in Reno this summer, this coat will be my entry in the Leader exhibit, so you'll be able to see it up close and in real life. I will be teaching knotted pile, nothing to do with this coat at all! But there you have it, the coat will represent me anyway.

I am not thrilled with how I pieced the back panel, but I can live with it:

Lamb Hidden Lives Back

Both coats have a pieced back panel and neither is to my liking, they just did not add that much to the overall look. Maybe next time no piecing?

Next time! There is the issue. Now that I have done one in cotton, and one in silk, I am planning the next version (of who knows how many?) This is how a series begins! One things leads to another, without initial intent I now have a new direction. The Next One will be handspun. Polwarth Silk wool awaits spinning for the outer fabrics, and a handspun silk lining. It will take me at least a year to spin, dye and weave the fabrics. I will follow the plan from T.Coat 2.0 for length and width of the panels to be woven, there will be stripes, because they make great stitching lines, and I think I will stick to the more subtle outside and wildly bright inside plan of the second coat.

Check back this time next year :). This is how an obsession begins.






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