The very first thing that struck me about this coat was the cuffs and pocket flaps. The pieces had been cut out, stitched around the cut edges, turned right-side out, and attached per usual. They looked – puffy. 18th century wool of this weight held a cut edge and so the raw edges didn’t need to be folded in. The wool on this coat held a cut edge, too, so I ripped out the top-stitching and seam on a pocket flap. I opened up and flattened the seam, marked where the folded edge had been, hand-stitched next to it, and trimmed off the old seam allowance. What a difference! Then I did the cuffs, too.
Concurrent with this, I worked on the buttons. The buttons that came on this coat were “antiqued”. The size and shape (profile) were okay, but the color -- not so much. Not a problem. Covered buttons are underrepresented in the hobby, anyway, AND I found a wool remnant in my heap o’ scraps that was a good match. I covered all thirty-eight buttons.
Pocket Flap and buttons before and after.
Cuffs, before and after.
Reducing the “puffiness” of the coat made a huge difference, so I top-stitched around the collar and down the front edges making for a crisper, flatter edge.
Top-stitched edges on the left, puffy edges, machine stitching on the right.
Then I stared at that collar. I’d never seen a banded one like that on a great coat, not that that meant anything. From the buttons that went all the way down the front to the large cuffs, I could tell that this coat was a mid-century design, so maybe the banded collar was mid-century, too. Now, at this period in time, a collar that stood up (like the one currently on the coat) was called a collar. If it folded over at all, it was called a cape. I thought adding a cape would change the lines of this coat enough that it wouldn’t look like Every. Single. Flying Canoe great coat out there. It would also update the coat to a more 1780’s silhouette.
Part 2 later if anyone is still reading ...
Obligatory disclaimer: No, Flying Canoe Traders doesn't know who I am and didn't give me the coat. The coat is entirely fine for may impressions, I just wanted to see if I could make it better.