Saturday, January 27, 2018

1888 Ulster Overcoat, Cut Down

Had a couple of cold weather events coming up where I would be able to use my 1890 impression and realized at the last minute that I didn't have a heavy coat suitable for out doors-ing for the period. And the Winter has been cold! So- I had this pattern in my stash for quite a while and decided to mock it up:

This is the Ageless Patterns 1888 Ulster Overcoat. It goes together great and is true to size but you do need to know what you are doing before attempting this one- there aren't many directions and you have to make your own facing pieces, etc., which isn't a big deal if you already know how a coat goes together. I did a short version:

Photo by Josh Wilson

This is handy for being in camp and working on gathering necessary materials in the woods, etc. The short length was a bit of an accident and make-it-work situation, though. Nearly every part of this is recycled materials from other projects.

The outer wool was salvaged from an ill fated 18th Century great coat I attempted more than 10 years ago that was never meant to be and sat in my scrap fabric bin since. This was as long as was possible which, like I said, turned out to be advantageous. It's made up of two old Italian military blankets, which makes it amazing for serious time outdoors, both from a warmth and moisture shield standpoint. The buttons are plain pewter, left over from the first coat I ever made. Maybe not the best choice for 1888 but they were handy and flowed well with the garment. If a better option comes available, they may get replaced.

The lining is what my friend Michael Ramsey described as the ugliest wool he had ever seen. I have never observed such a strong reaction to a piece of non synthetic fabric. There was enough for a suit, but he emphatically declared that such a thing would be an abomination. And he's probably right- it is horrid. An impulse ebay purchase immediately met with regret. But it IS real wool, thick, and insulating. So it became the lining and is working out great.

Finagling old bits to work with the new project

The top of the collar was a scrap of black corduroy with such a fine wale that it's almost velveteen and the pocket lining left over red striped cotton canvas that was also a bag for Amy and a mattress tick for me for camping. As the pattern is drawn, the collar sits with a gap in the middle, which seems fine for the period, but I will correct if I use this pattern again. It winds up looking like the collar on the lady's coat here:

Photo from the collection of Wendi Cox

Plenty of documentation for shorter overcoats during the later days of the 19th Century, including from one of my favorite artists, Jean Beraud:

But I have also had a heavy piece of black wool sitting around that I am looking forward to trying the full length version from. It will also double nicely as a dressing gown pattern.

Your's & c.

The Victorian Man

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Brian - impressive to make a coat like that from scratch.