Saturday, January 2, 2010

Relining the 1920's coat

One of my projects at the moment is working with David to reline an amazing 1920's naval coat.  We know that the coat belonged to a Mr. C.H. Dickens and that he got it in 1921 at Officer's Uniform Shop at the Brooklyn Naval Yard.  Here's what it says in the coat:

It's an amazing wool peacoat and the outside fabric is in remarkable condition for being 89 years old:

The collar buttons up very high so that if you are wearing a hat you will be completely covered except for the eye area.  It is made of a very warm wool.  Here's a view from the back:

Another amazing feature is that it has a sword pocket on the side of the coat.  We found a picture of a Naval Officer wearing the exact same coat:

The coat is in great condition EXCEPT for the lining--it's shredded, torn and falling out:

Here's a picture of the workmanship inside the coat lining for the inner pocket:


So the goal for January is to get this coat back in tip-top wearable shape by relining it, mending the pockets and putting new buttons on it.  It's definitely cold enough here to need it!



  1. What a fantastic coat...are you both sewists or when you say "working with David" does that mean you're fixing it up for him? Just boyfriend can't sew for beans!

  2. We both are learning to sew. David is amazing at looking at a garment and figuring out how it all went together and thinking of innovative ways to get the final desired look. It's amazing how he can visualize the pieces of a garment by just looking at it (I definitely can't do that) and he sews really well by hand and is looking forward to trying a few things out on the machine! So, it's been really fun to do this project together and brainstorm the best ways to go about relining the coat given it's little complexities!

  3. That's really excellent that it is a hobby you share. Good luck on the coat!

  4. Ah, honey, you're so good to me.
    Great posting. It'll be great to work on this project with you.

    I admire how much you've learned already, and how engrossed you are by your new hobby!

    It was fun looking up USN Chaplain C.H. Dickens last night. If that is who the coat belonged to, it'll be an honour to wear it: He sounded like a good man by all accounts.

    Regardless of whose it was, though, it's a great relic from a time when things were made to last. I'm glad you're sewing - it's a skill that should endure, and one that already brings you a lot of pleasure. I love all your inventive project ideas.

    Also, I'm just looking forward to wearing the coat - it's COLD out there!

  5. Hello, initially wandered over from Sew Retro and have now made it a regular drop in to see what new projects you are working on. What a beautiful coat! So nice to be able to reclaim things from the past and give them a new lease of life. And yes, you must be needing it at the moment. I'm only in London and it's freezing here, so what it's like in Scotland I dread to think! Looking forward to seeing what you do with the lining. Hopefully you'll be salvaging the label!

  6. Oh Yay! Someone else from the UK! Very exciting!.....yes, we are definitely planning to salvage the label. David's actually been doing tons of research on C.H. Dickens (or Curtis Hoyt Dickens) turns out he was a Navy Chaplain. so interesting....

  7. it's been really fun to do this project together and brainstorm the best ways to go about relining the coat given it's little complexities

    Work from home India

  8. It's actually a bridge coat - worn only by officers. Pea coats - for enlisted men, were also double-breasted with wide lapels, but short - usually coming only to the of the thigh.


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!