Teamwork makes the dream (pea coat) work!
I have purchased all materials, patterns, workshops, etc. myself. All opinions are my own.
The story of this Goldstream Peacoat really started back in late September, when I had a few hours to kill and got the current issue of Burda. The men’s pattern in that issue was a peacoat, that looked intriguing. I had been itching to make a coat, but since I had just invested in an expensive RTW coat for myself the previous winter, I didn’t want to make one for myself.
On the other hand, my husband didn’t have a decent winter coat at all. Consequently, the gears started turning and I proposed the idea of making a coat for him. He was very excited about this and we spent the rest of the evening researching different coat patterns. He had some very defined criteria: it had to be double-breasted, with a removable hood, above-the-knee length, and weatherproof. In addition, I wanted the pattern to be well-reviewed and with good instructions (since I had never sewn outerwear before).
We compared the aforementioned Burda Cabanjacke, the Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat, an older Burda coat pattern, the Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat, the Waffle Patterns Tosti Jacket, and Vogue 8940.
Eventually, we settled on the Goldstream Peacoat, because it ticked almost all of our combined boxes. The instructions and pattern drafting were very highly rated and the only change we would have to make to satisfy my husband’s criteria was to lengthen the coat body.
Fabrics & Notions
A trip to Zuleeg
In terms of fabric, I had recently found out about Zuleeg, a semi-local fabric manufacturer, who had recently released a line of “German Tweed”. These fabrics are wholly made in Germany (even the sheep are raised here), which seems to be quite rare these days!
Zuleeg opens their doors to private customers once a month and as luck would have it, their “open house” was just coming up. We took the opportunity and made the 2.5 hour trip to Helmbrechts to pet some fabric and see if these tweeds would be suitable for the coat.
At the public sale, they had a large selection of fabrics, organized by summer vs. winter fabrics. Most of them had at least some wool content, but there were also many 100% wool fabrics to choose from. The prices were very good, especially considering the quality. However, we couldn’t find the German tweeds and had to ask the sales assistant twice before she knew what we were asking about, which was a bit strange, considering these seem to be the flagship product. Eventually, we were shown into an office room with swatches of the tweeds.
In the end, we picked up some of the German tweed in a medium brown and black herringbone pattern for the coat outer and a wool plaid in orange hues for the body lining. Of course I couldn’t resist and also got a couple of fabrics for myself…
The rest of the ingredients
Now that we had selected the outer and body lining fabrics, we still needed a slippery sleeve lining fabric, interfacing and interlining fabrics, and buttons.
For the sleeve lining, we ordered a chocolate brown viscose satin from William Gee. In addition, we settled on two types of sew-in tailor’s canvas (one for the whole coat front and one for smaller pieces like the collar), also from William Gee.
To add warmth, I picked Vlieseline V280, a polyester batting meant for adding warmth to heavier clothing. Additionally, I came across a climate membrane, to increase water- and wind-proofing of the coat.
Finally, we got the buttons at a traveling fabric market that had come to town a week after our trip to Zuleeg.
Getting to work on the Goldstream Peacoat
In order to prep the fabrics, I couldn’t just chuck them in the washer and dryer, since the main fabrics were dry clean only. After some research, I decided to pre-shrink the outer, body lining, and canvas by placing a damp pressing cloth over the fabric and then pressing it in sections with lots of additional steam from the iron. My husband offered to actually perform the work and followed the instructions to the letter. In total, this process took several hours.
Meanwhile, I got to work sewing up a test coat for fitting and to get a feel for how the coat is put together. I made a handful of adjustments (lengthening the sleeves and the hem, adding a vent in the center back, and taking in the waist just a smidge) and then we got to work cutting the pattern pieces out of the various materials. In total, we had 72 pieces to cut out of the seven fabrics, so this also was a lengthy process. We even developed a spreadsheet to keep track of what to cut out of which fabric how many times, and what we had already completed.
Interfacing and Membrane
The next step was to apply the interfacing to the coat fronts, hood, undercollar, front facings, back yoke facing, and pockets. We did this by pad-stitching them together by hand. I researched the appropriate techniques and then we split the work. We took special care when working on the coat front and undercollar, using twill tape to reinforce and shape the creaseline, so that the lapel and collar would sit properly when the coat is worn. I especially recommend Laurie Kurutz’s mini-series on shaping the collar to learn more about these techniques.
After the interfacing was applied, I basted the membrane to the outer fabric. I also decided to quilt the lining fabrics and interlining together. For the plaid fabric, I just picked some of the plaid lines to follow while quilting and for the sleeve linings, I used a diamond pattern.
Getting back on the sewing machine
At this point, all the individual pieces were finally prepared and it was time to actually put the coat together! I followed the detailed pattern instructions and everything actually went together quite smoothly. I think part of the reason for that was the fabric. The woolens were a dream to sew and press and the although the viscose satin was very slippery and shifty, it was pretty easy to handle once I had quilted it to the Vlieseline. The other part of the reason for my success, I think, was due to the fact that I hand-basted a lot of the trickier parts before machine-sewing them. I don’t have a record of doing this, but we had spent so many hours hand-stitching the interfacing on, that it felt quite natural to pick up the needle again.
I also really enjoyed hand-sewing the hems, a step I had been dreading before I started working on the coat. I loved watching the ladder stitches form under my hands and become invisible.
The only part that really caused me some trouble was the vent. The instructions that I had originally found and used to draft the vent just did not seem to make sense anymore when it came to sewing it up. For a while, I was quite worried that it wouldn’t be salvageable at all. After some more research, I found a different tutorial on drafting and sewing a lined vent that really helped me put it together. I had to trim some of the pieces I had already cut and mostly sewn together, but in the end, it turned out pretty good.
Finally, it was time to apply the buttonholes. Thanks to a tip from my favorite sewing podcast, Sewing Out Loud, I tried out putting tear-away stabilizer (intended for machine embroidery) underneath the piece when stitching the buttonholes. I’m really glad I tried this trick out, because every time I forgot to use the stabilizer, the buttonholes just turned out absolutely awful, if at all. With the stabilizer, my machine was able to stitch beautiful buttonholes through the many layers of fabric (two layers of the tweed, a layer of membrane, and two layers of canvas interfacing).
We did decide to use counter-buttons when sewing on the buttons to increase their durability, so we had actually sewn on the buttons a while ago, before putting the outer and lining together. My husband initially wanted all eight buttons to be functional (as opposed to having one column of buttons be purely decorative, as is usual for a double-breasted coat). When stitching the buttonholes, we realized that one of the buttonholes would have be where the interior slip pocket was, so we had to change plans and rip out that column of buttons and make them decorative after all. But since I had sewn them on using counter-buttons on the inside, I also had to open the hem back up, to get those buttons out from between the outer and lining ?.
Conclusion: A Successful Goldstream Peacoat
It’s been two weeks now since we finished this Goldstream Peacoat — and 2.5 months since we started working on it! It took up almost all of our free time for two months, but we’re both really pleased with the result. He’s been wearing it every day and he says it’s comfortable and warm.
I’m happy with the craftsmanship I was able to produce. The seams are neat, the points are decently sharp, the topstitching is even. There are a couple of spots I wasn’t able to get like I wanted (e.g. one of the collar notches is a bit off and you can see a bit of the raw edge peeking out), but overall, I’ll call this a success.
I would definitely recommend the Goldstream Peacoat sewing pattern to anyone looking to make a men’s coat. It’s a classic style and the instructions are easy to follow — even if you haven’t made outerwear before.