Its a strange world we live in. I’s asked to make a pirate coat for a Captain Hook costume, and it winds up looking a lot like a Redcoat — the traditional villains of the American Revolution. Or the Tea Partiers of the last couple of election cycles.

Is what I choose to make (or what I’m commissioned to make) an emblem of a larger set of forces at work? what does it mean (if it means anything) that the coat of an infamous pirate (as I choose to interpret it) bears a striking resemblance to the forces of both imperialism and nationalism?

Parallel to that, I can imagine that some day in the decades to come, Star Wars: a New Hope will be performed on stage, and not just on the movie screen.  And some decades or centuries later, in a revival production, the theater critics will rave, “It’s amazing. They’ve dressed Darth Vader up like an American general, and all the rebels wear Vietnamese clothing, and all the storm troopers are dressed in GI camouflage….  It’s stunning.” How long will it be before the story of the Empire will be told in redcoats again?  The context of our science fiction tends to be forgotten, but so does our fantasy.


From a technical perspective, this coat is a substantial improvement over the last two that I’ve made.  I’ve figured out the structure of the sleeve, finally; so this involves considerably less flopping around trying to ease the sleeve, which a friend of mine says is the most terrifying instruction in sewing patterns yet.

I’m not going to be equipping a regiment any time soon, I promise you that.  Each of these coats is a few dozen hours of labor to get right in 80% of the details — and the 90% of the details and the 100% complete seem to take the last 95% of the effort.

I did purchase the fabric online, from Fabric.com. I was leery about doing that, given that I wouldn’t be able to touch or feel the fabric before I bought it, and I didn’t know that I was buying the right thing. But it turns out that it worked out just fine.

I need additional practice and guidance on applying trim and sewing buttons. On the one hand, sewing a button in place is just a button.  It shouldn’t be that hard.  So why is it so hard to line up the coat properly, and get them sewn in the right place?  Why?  I don’t know why, which is probably part of the reason why it’s so difficult.

I continue to not know how to use my buttonhole maker foot on my sewing machine. I’ve made quite a lot of button holes “for practice” at this point, but they always turn out ugly when I’m making them “for real”.  As a result, I’m inclined to avoid making them wherever possible.  This pattern doesn’t even include button holes except in the pants, and there I’d have to say that they’re mostly decoration rather than specifically useful.

I can just make the coat, right, and then send the customer a bag of buttons and trim for their local tailor to apply?

No, probably not. So, I need a better system, and some coaching.  Time to be an apprentice again, I guess.

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