Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Finished Mammen Coat

I am very pleased with how this coat turned out!  The embroidery was fun to do, and not that difficult.  It's all stem stitch, just like the original, done in silk.  I used a combination of filament and spun silks as that's what I had on hand, sticking fairly close to the original colors.  This is the second project where I've been able to use mainly filament and I must say I really do like it.  The difference in sheen is remarkable.  I did find that I needed to keep my nails in better order when working with the threads and that thread conditioner of some sort helped (no idea if they used this in period on silk or not).

The pattern for the coat is loosely based on the Eura gown.  It's sort of a mash-up of the standard Turkish coat and the Eura gown really.  I can't say how accurate this is, but it's a plausible way to cut this style of kaftan for a woman, as it would continue to fit as the body changed shape during pregnancy and it fits much better over layers of clothing than the loose standard t-tunic style method of cutting I had used for my last coat.  Both of those garments are men's shirts anyway, which I am beginning to think would not have been used for cutting women's garments but more on that latter.  The pattern is comfortable, has a nice drape to it, and uses only 2 and a half yards of fabric with no waste (I can get a full length gown out of just over 3 yards of fabric with no waste at all as well).

I fully lined the coat with a silk and linen blend herringbone twill, sewing the lining in as I made the coat itself, the same way many 18th century garments are made.  This made it a lot easier to ensure that the lining and the exterior fabric matched up and draped the same way and will keep everything in order as I wear the coat.  It also meant I only had to sew any given seam once rather than twice, making the sewing much faster.  The neck and cuff edges were then stab stitched closed and the hem will be turned and stitched.

The only tiny issue with how this project turned out is that the sleeves are perhaps an inch or so too long.  Really this isn't so bad, since I will be wearing the coat over other clothing and as a warm layer the extra length is probably a good thing, it just makes the thing looks like a monkey coat on the dress form.  I need to remember to make this adjustment next time I make a coat though, once I do the cuff embroidery it's very difficult to adjust the sleeve length.

This coat is part of my effort to re-do my Viking kit, since I have shrunk out of my old kit and it wasn't up to my current standards anyway.  I've now got two linen Eura gowns to wear under the coat, and will be cutting out a new apron gown based on the Kostrup find.  I got a warp-weighted loom for my birthday last month and will be weaving some leg wraps for myself on it as soon as I can get it warped.  I have lots of veils and headwraps, and got proper shoes at Pennsic this year, and will be done with my naalbound mittens shortly, so I should be in good shape by the end of the year, barring any major disasters or huge new distractions.  At some point I will need to make a new wool overgown as my old one, which I loved, had a laundry disaster and went to live with a teeny tiny friend who fits into it.  I have something that will serve in the meantime but it's a blend and if I am working over the fire it gets a bit uncomfortable.


  1. I love the embroidery - you can really see the shine of the filament silk in some of the photos. Congrats on a beautiful project finished.

  2. I like a long sleeve myself, you can tuck your hands in at cold events. but then maybe you don't have that problem in america - I thought I was going to die of exposure one event we did at lindisfarne