Friday, December 11, 2015

The Flamingo Project - Part Two

After the success of the initial Flamingo Project, and how popular the 'Pink Pirate' came to be known, the DH wanted in  2010 an even better Pirate outfit. The DH  came to me saying he wanted a 1750-1780's style colonial style coat to go with his Pink Pirate look of the Flamingos.  My challenge was that he wants me to hide where the cables for his shoulder puppet runs.( If you like the DH's Drabbit,  Quizzik, you can find the rest of his family at The Imaginarium Galleries. )  Also the other challenge was that he wanted in 6 weeks! 

The coat pattern was based off of the POTC Jack sparrow coat, Simplicy 4923 . We added faux button binding, and 'closed' the front with small chains with hooks on them. (We later removed them due to a snagging issue with the brocade vest.)  The original pattern is unlined, however this pattern is lined like a proper suit coat. Lastly, all pockets are functional, and 2 welted breast pockets were added for him to keep his wallet, cell phone, and keys.  

This was the first major project for me to do the full abdomen adjustment.  It took a couple tries to figure out how much the DH needed, but once it was found everything went together accordingly.  The things that took the longest was appliqueing on the faux button closures, the trim around them, and the placement of the center front trim.  This had to be placed exactly 3/4" from the cut edge.  This allowed the trim not to get caught in the center front seam.   
Honestly if I was going to do this project again, I would start with a proper suit coat pattern as a base, and alter it so that it would make the coat.  The difficulties of shoe horn-ing the suit tailoring aspects into the pattern were a pain.  The biggest quibble I had with it was that Butterick makes a colonial jacket pattern that is unlined.  It includes alteration lines  above and below the elbow for adjustment, this pattern didn't.  This made the 'bend' in the arms hit much lower on the DH than necessary.  It works but he continually is 'hiking' up his sleeves so they sit properly in his elbow properly. The last quibble I had was the pattern had a gore-let to allow for the back of the coat to 'swish'.   When guys say they don't like to twirl... THEY LIE!  They simply say they like more ' Swish!'  in their coats.  I thought there would be more swish in this coat, and their wasn't.  

Fabric Used: 
  • Outer fabric: Medium magenta pink upholstery weight micro suede
  • Lining: Pale bubble gum pink Silky solid, made of polyester. Originally we wanted to get silk taffeta, but it was not found locally.  I found that I REALLY do not like using the silky solid for a lining.  It didn't have enough substance to it.  I should have simply gotten a suit lining, or even gotten pink cotton. Oh well live and learn.
  • Faux Button holes and Cuffs: Black floral brocade, same as vest. 
  • Trim: Plum/Magenta/black/ pink 3/4" wide trim goes down the front edge. Then a gold braid with pink strands of metallic thread woven in around the faux button holes. Then Pink Marbou feather trim on cuff edge, with a magenta and gold trim next to it. This is to hark back to the original Flamingo outfit with the gold on the pants, and cape. ( The marbou trim was later removed as it never quite fit with the over all look) 
  • Cravat: Ruffles are left over coat lining. The base is left over Cotton from shirt. The decorative pin is a flamingo button, and red/pink glass bead dangles made by my DH himself. 
  • Vest: Black floral brocade (matches cuffs and faux button holes) and lined with black Egyptian cotton.  Over time the brocade has caught onto things and shows wear and tear.
  • Shirt: White Kona Egyptian Cotton with 4 inch lace cuffs, Plum/Magenta/black/ pink 3/4" wide trim. More interfacing should have been placed in the collar because it looses it's body quickly.  I think in the future the shirts need to be properly starched.  IE the old fashion way.
  • Buttons: All match, and were special ordered (40 of them at 50% off yay!!!)
 Sewing Notes:
  • Front Panels: Couldn't start sewing until all the trims were purchased. As much as it was a pain in the back side, I feel it is best to add some of the decorations BEFORE you sew the garment together. There is nothing like lugging a heavy item as you are trying to satin stitch around a small applique when you could have just done it in the beginning when it was easier to move that one pattern piece around. Just keep in mind of the seam allowances. I almost made that mistake but caught it before I sewed it down. Both welted pockets are 9 inches deep.  This way it is deep enough that he won't loose items in there but not so deep that he has difficulty reaching coins and such.
  • The only irksome thing was that only AFTER I had the welted pockets on and looking nice did my DH decide that he wanted decorative gold trim on the pocket flaps. Thankfully what he wants can be hand sewn on after the coat is completed. Anoying but workable.
  •   Back Panel:  It was assembled and the trim was again matched around the neckline. When sewn together they matched up as if one whole piece of trim.  I still feel the CB needs more "oomph", but it looks good. Besides do I WANT people looking at my DH's backside?  

  • Sleeves: It took me nearly 2 hours to get one sleeve made right. The problem was 1) I, some how, sewed the cuff together wrong, but it took 15 minutes to fix that, but the biggest problem was that I had to figure out the order that things got sewn on. To make the cuff lay right on the sleeve it had to be basted on one way. Then the lining sewn on to it , then everything sewn together, and pressed. Once I got the first one done it took me an hour to make the 2nd one from pieces to full press. Then getting them in was tricky. I had to ease the sleeves in using an ease stitch, and in the mean time keep the lining from getting caught in it. The plan was, that once the regular lining was inserted I would hand stitch the sleeve lining into place. This way there were NO visible seam allowances in the coat.
  • Lining:The lining went together with no problem, however the DH got ansy for his coat. He wanted me to cut the breast pockets because he was worried it would take too long. When I told him I only needed maybe 1 more evening of sewing to complete it he quieted down. Also once he saw how nice the pockets were he quit his fussing.
  •  Hemming: The main coat was hemed 1", and the lining 2".    This let it hang smoothly, and more like a suit coat. The sleeve lining was finished being sewn in. This completed the coat. 
  • Cravat:  The Cravat was a headache of it's own.  Because the silky solid easily ravels the edge of the ruffled used had to be carefully finished before it was used to created the ruffles. Detailed directions on how I made the silly thing can be found here.  Trying to explain every details on it once was enough of a head ache. :) 
  • Shirt:  I missed the deadline on the shirt by 2 weeks, but we had a back up in the mean time. My previous versions of the pattern hung to his knees so I shortened the shirt by 4 inches.  That seemed to work much better. I did do a FAA on the shirt which helped. We had gone to Joanns to get some felt for another project, but cam home with a different 4 inch layered lace, and a sequined baby pink with iridescent trim for his cuffs. He wanted even more froo foo but anymore would have been too much.  After adding the lace and trim he began asking me how was he eat with such long cuff. I could only laugh and tell him, "This is why forks and spoons were invented. So you don't get your cuffs dirty." 
  • Special Note:  After talking to my dry cleaner. I got a 40% discount for a " cleaning" when I brought in the coat and did a simple steam press without any cleaning solution.  They did the same pressing as a tailored coat.  It was worth the money to get a good pressing on the coat. 

Customer's Response --

The DH has found the coat to be a little heavier than he expected. He jokingly called it "The Couch". Because of the fabric it is made from. He discovered that when the temperature is over 80 the coat is unwearable do to the heat. This posed a problem as the temperatures at Scarborough Faire typically start at  75 and can go up to 110 degrees.   This is why we began development of  Flamingo Phase 2.5.

As we walk around the ren faire's he has started to carry "Cheat sheets" he gets so many questions he is now just handing out cards that have how I made the coat on one side, and a photo and my contact info on the other. He said it saves him from repeating it over and over again. Also, he is being noticed by people all over. He radiates "pink-ness" and is easy to spot by alot of people. No one see's me 5 feet behind him but they see him like a beacon. Oh well, at least my work is noticed. 

After seeing photos of him in his outfit his work had him wear his pirate gear for several special events to promote a program they are doing.  

He has been wearing the coat 5-8 time a year since we made it in 2010 and how several years out it is showing wear and tear.  We are debating making a new one ( Flamingo  Phase 4) , or simply changing the vest and cuffs out. Right now I'm leaning toward doing a new coat, but we shall see what happens.