Sunday 21 November 2021

A major project, and a peacoat...

The beginning is always a good place to start, right?

It's 2018 and we've finally decided that our dark, cold, double fronted Victorian house with the concrete slab-bathroom-kitchen at the back is ready for a renovation.... How to choose an architect? Why not with a recommendation and that good vibes feeling at the first meeting. It worked for us.

Three years later, and we've been in our renovated house for 12 months now. Needless to say we love it. 

This afternoon we invited our architect over to play (yes there was champagne and card games, cause you know, it's been a long lockdown and we may have forgotten how grown ups are meant to socialise...) and I gave him this gift I'd made:

It's our house, in the form of a peacoat:

During the long winter lockdown of 2020 there were plenty of site meetings, on a concrete slab, under a frame, and we were freezing. The idea of a nice wool coat had already come to mind. I just needed to find the perfect materials.

If you were inclined towards stereotypes, you could imagine what "colours" a Melbourne architect wears: There's only one, and it's black. I pushed the boundaries a bit with this very dark grey. It's a pretty close match for the dark grey external trim of our house...

I got lucky with the main fabric. It's from SuperCheap and is one of their wool/cashmere fabrics. It's a  great feeling wool, a lovely coating weight without being as stiff as some wool melton, and instead of being a solid, flat grey it has that tiny check look to it.

Cause they really are super cheap fabrics I bought two wool cashmere coatings sight unseen. One, the charcoal grey was perfect for the coat. The other, called Thunder, was perfect for the hood lining. No-one wants a slippery satin lined hood right? There's enough of that left over for another coat another day.

The thunder wool is a much lighter grey with quite a greenish tone and was really just a light version of the green colour that's used for a large part of our house. It also had a slightly brushed face which made  it ideal for a snuggly hood lining.

The pattern is the Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat. A pattern that I've had in my stash since it was first released. My husband's never wanted one, and until recently my son had still fit in the Oliver + S School Days Coat (if you need me to link that one you've not been paying attention!).

I was itching to make it, and this seemed the ideal project. I gave away a bit of a clue in asking for my architect's measurements which he provided, in true style as a list titled "Anthony's dimensions". He fit squarely in the size M, but while I'd had him measure sleeve length, inseam, neck etc all as per the Thread Theory how to Measure a Man chart; the pattern only asked for chest and hip. I decided to be brave and just go with a straight medium and keep it a surprise

The coat is a combination of the two views throwing all the elements in the mix. I wanted pocket flaps and sleeve and shoulder tabs and the hood. Maybe this is where the project veered somewhat from the restrained you-can't-have-it-all-Shelley nature of the house renovation .

The lining was the real treat. With Lisa's help we digitised our house plans and turned them into a tileable repeat and then had Next State Print print them onto their satin polyester fabric in exactly that shade of green.

You'll have to take my word for the colour match as the sheen to the satin fabric means that if I hold it up to the green walls of the house there is no way a camera will happily photograph the two colours as the same. They look the same to the eye. Anyways, I've learned that building tolerances allow you to say that anything viewed from 1.5m with a bit of a squint is good enough!

To make the coat really warm I used wool quilt batting from Spotlight and quilted along the 10x10cm lines of the print tiles before cutting out the lining pieces for the body. The sleeves are just the wool coating and the satin polyester lining without quilting.

All of this was made much more fun by that birthday present to myself: My new sewing machine. Look at all that sewing space in the picture above. bliss!

The dining table has always been my sewing space. I can carry out my craft addiction but still feel like I'm part of my family. A sliding door means that the overlocker can come out and make a ton of noise and I can shut the dining room off from the living room. That's all the sewing space I need.

We were in and out of lockdowns throughout the year and sometimes I could have had the houseguest but not the ready made gift and then the gift was ready but the visitors were banned. Eventually we were getting close and I realised that, like every good building, I need my construction date to be recorded. Thankfully Kylie (of Kylie and the Machine) still had a spare Circa 2020 label in her personal stash that she could part with.

Earlier in the year when I had the wool in my hands and shops were open I'd zoomed over to Jimmy's Buttons where I'd found the perfect buttons. They were exactly the dark, marled grey I was after and even came in two sizes: large ones for the coat front and smaller one for the hood attachment and sleeve and shoulder tabs.

The pattern was great to sew: If you're so inclined there's a full sew along on the Thread Theory blog where it gets a tailoring treatment. This one is the fusible interfacing easy route. The only minor gripes were the minimal measurements (especialy compared to the detailed man measuring chart) on the pattern envelope and the lack of any extra lining length for the sleeves. I feel they should have a 1cm overhang at least, similar to the coat hem,

Otherwise I think it's a great pattern that can be a fairly simple sew as this one was, or it can be used as the base for a full on tailored affair.

It was a real struggle to photograph the coat. I needed a human shape to make it hang nicely. I had one that was too small and one that was too big, but it was neither of theirs to model. I think the kids were frankly surprised when I didn't insist on Anthony modelling it for me for a photograph - after all it's been the rule for them since birth!

Ever since finishing it I've been terribly nervous that the sleeve length would be too short. Just before wrapping it up to gift I got monkey-boy to try it on and when his arms fit the sleeves I relaxed! :)

I'm happy to say it looked absolutely perfect on Anthony!

Pattern: Thread Theory Goldstream peacoat
Size: M
Fabrics: Wool cashmere main and hood lining both from Supercheap fabrics.
Lining: Satin printed fabric from Next State Print
Buttons: Jimmy's Buttons
Shoulder pads from Spotlight
Label: Kylie and the Machine (out of print)
Amazing house design: Bloxas


  1. OMG this is an amazing make, the attention to details and the “squint” had me. It sounds so warm and perfect for Melbourne, would have like to have seen the recipient in it, just to showcase the pea coat better and to see his chuffed smiled.

  2. Wonderful coat, Shelley! I loved the house details tied to the coat design.

  3. What an amazing coat and gift - and so nice to get a peek into the beautiful renos too!


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