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Special Interests - Groups & Societies => The American Plainsmen Society => Topic started by: LongWalker on December 06, 2017, 10:55:48 pm

Title: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: LongWalker on December 06, 2017, 10:55:48 pm
One of my great-greats was a farmer, small rancher, and occasional market gunner/blacksmith/gunsmith.  In one of the pictures of him my grandmother had, he was wearing a wool-lined canvas coat.  Typical box-cut, about 3/4 length (mid-thigh).  The coat still hung in the barn when I was a kid, so I know it was split up the back far enough to comfortably ride horseback.  And w-a-r-m! 

When I was a bit older, I wore a slightly later version of the same coat when bringing in stock on cold winter days, forking hay out for the stock, etc.  The canvas cut the wind, the wool kept me warm.  Well, it's about 14 degrees F here, with gusts up to maybe 30 mph: calmer than last night, but still cold as a . . . well, it is just plain cold, and winter isn't here yet. 

I'm thinking if I can find a pattern, I'll get myself a new coat made up this winter.  Anyone know of a source?

Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: Tascosa Joe on December 07, 2017, 09:06:32 am
Try James Country Mercantile at Liberty, MO.  Jean has lots of patterns.

Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: 1961MJS on December 08, 2017, 12:28:13 am

One of my daily wear winter coats is a brown wool canvas lined knee length double breasted coat from James Country Mercantile.  I've had it a few years, nice coats.


Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: Tsalagidave on December 11, 2017, 03:34:44 pm
If you are okay with spending some money, I know a very reputable maker in Arizona who will create a museum quality piece and he has the research to back up just about any pattern from the frontier era to the mid 20th century. 

This guy has done most of my gear and is top tier on museum quality authenticity.  It will be quality made from historically correct materials and patterns.  His name is Don Smith and I trust him so much I'd stake my reputation on his honesty.

If you are interested, please let me know.  It won't be cheap but it will be an heirloom piece that you will likely pass on to your kin.


Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: LongWalker on December 16, 2017, 09:11:16 am
Thanks for the replies guys!  I'm looking for winter project, in hope that it will provide enough incentive to get me off my tuchhus and finish the book I've been working on for a couple-three years.   ;D 

Dave, after several attempts and wasting enough money to buy a good rifle, I don't buy custom clothes from anyone who is too far away to visit for measurement and fittings.  One of my brothers once described me as looking like someone grafted a monkey's arms onto the body of a Neanderthal.  Perforce, in more than 30 years of doing living history I've become a passable tailor. 

Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: Tsalagidave on December 26, 2017, 03:54:05 am
Fair enough friend, I look forward to seeing pics of what you've come up with.


Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: LongWalker on March 11, 2018, 11:50:55 pm
Found a pattern--sorta.  Found an original that I can get access to in order to draft a pattern.  Wrong size, so then I'll have to use it to draft a new pattern, then make a muslin to check fit etc.  THEN I'll have a pattern I can use to make the actual coat.  But after knocking out a pair of beaded mocs recently, I find the idea of that much hand sewing to be a definite stumbling block. . . and I sold my sewing machine for tuition money 15 years ago. 

So while I'm waiting to go draft the pattern, I need to scrounge up a sewing machine.  And since the ones I like and have the most experience making garments on have been out of production for 50-60 years, I better plan on re-building a sewing machine (before making a pattern to make a pattern to make a coat). 

You know, there's a lot to be said for Thinsulate and Carhart. . .

Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: Oregon Bill on November 17, 2018, 10:16:31 am
Good luck, Longwalker. Sounds like a worthy project, but sometimes you can keep adding prequalifiers to the point the project gets farther and farther into the future. At least that's how it often works at my house!


Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: LongWalker on November 21, 2018, 10:53:41 am
Well, I got two sewing machines rebuilt, should finish timing them this weekend.  Got a rough-draft of the pattern and a bolt of muslin for mockups.  I located a torn-up example of a similar coat at a local auction, and got to see how they attached the lining (that one had shearling in the sleeves--how do you work wearing something like that?).  I'm now considering lining the body with sheerling and the sleeves with blanketing.  Scored a decent blanket for lining, either sleeves or the whole shebang. 

So, progress.  But slow!

Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: Oregon Bill on November 21, 2018, 01:16:18 pm
Excellent. Look forward to the progress. By the way, hat's off to anyone who can rebuild a sewing machine!

Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: Tsalagidave on November 21, 2018, 03:50:31 pm
Agreed.  The gear head side of me would love to see some pictures of one being fixed by someone who knows what they are doing.
Please post pictures.  I'd love to see them.


Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: LongWalker on December 02, 2018, 06:34:49 pm
Who says I know what I'm doing when it comes to sewing machine repairs?

Seriously, if you narrow it down to one brand (Singer), one type (round bobbin rather than shuttle bobbin), and one basic motor setup (belt drive), it isn't too hard.  Scrounge up three, and two of them just need cleaned up and tuned.  The third will do for parts, maybe. . . .

The cleaning is mostly just getting rid of the oil that has dried like lint-and-thread-reinforced lacquer.  If you use the "normal" chemicals for something like this (brake cleaner, engine cleaner, acetone, etc), you'll damage any paint or stencils.  Old-formula Break Free CLP works well, as do Kroil and Eezox, and they don't damage finishes.  Once you've got things moving, you can figure out what you're missing for parts.  If you pick the right machine, most of the small likely-to-be-AWOL parts are available.  You may have to clean/adjust the tensioner--dental floss works.  If there are problems with the motor or foot control, I just replace them (this is why I avoided machines with built-in motors). 

After a half-pint of oil and a couple rolls of paper towels, you're ready to start tuning.  This is mostly adjusting tension to get the stitches even and the tension (bobbin thread and spool thread) adjusted right.  It is even less exciting that it sounds.  Tweek the screw, sew a few inches, check it out, tweek the screw and try it again. 

Over the summer I accumulated a Monkey-Wards free-arm plastic-fantastic, a couple of Singer 15s, and a post-war Japanese clone of the Singer 15.  The Monkey-Wards took a few minutes to get working (helps if you thread them right).  One of the Singer 15s had a cracked body and became a parts machine, the other and the clone took a while (and most of the small parts from my parts machine) to get running.  In October I picked up a post-war Singer 99K.  The 99K took a couple hours but came with all the attachments (don't know what I'll do with them, but I have 'em!). 

I kept the Monkey-Wards machine for repairing and tailoring off-the-rack clothes, and the 99K for work.  Total cost for all 5 machines, shipping, and misc. parts/supplies, was probably around $120. 

On the good side, both machines I kept use the same needles.  One the down side, I wound up with machines that use different bobbins (Type 15 and Type 66).  Needles and bobbins are available as close as the nearest department store, as these are the most-common needles and bobbins around.  The Monkey-Wards will probably last a few years of heavy use.  If the 99K is kept lubed and cleaned it should last forever. 

I'll probably pick up another 15 and convert it to a hand-crank, for occasional use in specialized circumstances like working with multiple layers of heavy fabric, etc. 

Title: Re: Looking for a coat pattern
Post by: Oregon Bill on December 03, 2018, 10:32:59 am
Geez, mister, you could write a book or do a Youtube tutorial. I am impressed!
My dad gave away mom's Singer Featherweight after she died. Wish I had had it.