Heraldic Sideless Surcoat (part 1)

For some time now I have wanted to construct a heraldic sideless surcoat made from wool.  Having recently finalized the design and submitted my arms for approval, this seemed like a great time to get started on this project.

I set out to draft a design that would represent my arms, but also work well as an item of clothing. After determining design, I was able to calculate the amount of red and blue wool that I would need for the project. What I didn’t realize at the time, was how difficult it would be to locate the correct colors in the same weight of wool. After purchasing 4 yards of a wool that ultimately would not work for this project, I finally found exactly what I needed at http://www.thewoolconnection.com

The next big decision related to construction. I generally finish hems, cuffs, and necklines by hand, but sew long seams on a machine. My previous exceptions to this guideline have been for ruffled veils, which I have sewn entirely by hand. As I began to work with this wool, cutting out pieces, I recognized that I would enjoy working with this fabric and that it would make a great project to sew entirely by hand.

The next dilemma to be solved involved adding the charges of my heraldic design. I needed to find a source for both white and golden-yellow wool. After significant hunting, it was apparent that finding either of these colors would be extremely difficult. At that point I decided to look for 100% wool felt. I was able to find a really nice dealer on www.etsy.com who sold generously sized wool felt squares in a wide range of beautiful colors.

Once I received the wool felt squares, I taped them to a wall and projected my two heraldic charges onto the fabric. This allowed me to adjust the size of the charges on my document camera and then easily trace the projected shapes onto the wool.

With the garment and charges cut out, I laid them out to begin the pinning process. After measuring and measuring to make certain that everything was straight, I whip-stitched the charges to the garment.

More to come…
~ Cristiana

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