Well, this post was a looooong time in the making/ writing. I'm mostly referring to the making of the Peacoat (it was such a big project it deserves a capital letter!) but I could also be referring to actually writing this blog post because I did actually finish the coat months ago. For some reason it's taken a while to finally sit down and put it all down in writing.
I've already written about this coat in some 'progress' posts so I apologise if I repeat myself in anyway but here goes: final thoughts!
This project is most definitely my 'magnum opus'. The coat literally contains my blood, sweat and tears. It's not that the coat was really all that difficult to make. In fact I highly recommend the pattern! It's just that it took a lot out of me. Mostly because I nervous about making something for someone who wasn't my immediately family (I made this for my friend, Martin). What if he didn't think it was good enough?
The other factor that made it slightly harder for me was attempting to apply tailoring techniques with little experience and trying to substitute animal friendly fabrics. Both my friend and I are vegan. That means we don't eat meat/ dairy/ eggs. We also don't wear anything that comes from an animal. This means wool, horse-hair canvas and silk are out of the equation. Trying to find a substitute to make the shell of the coat was hard enough but then trying to find a substitute for horse hair canvas was nigh impossible!
At the beginning of this year I worked out a little plan of action and found some fabrics to work with. I went with a poly-gabardine fabric for the outer layer (from Calico Laine), a beautiful viscose for the lining (from Ditto fabrics), a fleece fabric for interlining which I sewed onto the lining pieces (from Pennine outdoor) and, in the end I choose a normal canvas fabric to act as a sort of horsehair/ interfacing which I picked up at my local fabric in Brighton.
Once I got all my fabrics together I promptly washed them all and then let them sit in the sewing room. Months went by and I procrastinated. I kept procrastinating until Easter when buckled down for some serious sewing sessions. I managed to sew up most of the outer shell and interline and sew all the lining pieces plus masses of hand sewing (which I enjoyed immensely - I was sat on the sofa with a vegan chocolate egg whilst Rob read to me. Bliss!) and I felt really proud of myself. It was literally almost finished and then I procrastinated some more until pretty much October when I got my ass in to gear once again to find some buttons and stitch them on and do all the hemming and top stitching etc. that was left.
It was literally the highlight of my year to see this finally finished. Honestly, there was a time when I considered jacking it all in and calling it a failure. Which is so insane because, as previously mentioned, the actual sewing part was not a problem when I was doing it. As I got closer and closer to finishing I just seemed to get progressively more self-deprecating about my skills and my abilities. Well, now it's finished I can finally say to myself - "Look girl, you made a coat and a pretty impressive coat at that. Stop being such a Debbie downer. You can do it so next time just DO IT!" (yes this is my internal monologue right now and I love it).
When Martin came round to pick it up I was incredibly nervous he wouldn't like it. He came round in the freezing cold without a jacket on so he could wear it straight away (cute, but this fact made more nervous)! I can safely say he loved it. Watching him leave wearing it made me happy, relieved and actually quite sad. I was sad because this coat has been in my house in some form or another for a year. It's been my project. My baby. My guilt. My teacher. My lesson. My joy and my sorrow. And then it left me.
I may be going over the top here but on my home page of this very blog (in case you haven't seen) I wrote "When it comes to sewing, our projects become our stories. Every thread is a word, every stitch is a sentence, and our needle writes the narrative together." This coat is part of my story, one in which I put my entire self in to and got a happy ending.
I'm really looking forward to making another peacoat but this time for Rob. In fact, I already have a fabric that I initially bought for Martin's version before we found the gabardine. But first, I'm going to make a coat for myself because of the four coats I've (since) made so far in my sewing life - none of them have been for me. I'm just too selfless for my own good!