#MenditMay: Loving up a lining

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My generous friend India Flint gave me this coat. I would never have chosen it for myself, and if I had been the one to find it second hand, I would have been too scared to throw it in a dye pot.  India suffers from no such shyness (and there are good reasons for her confidence, of course!)  I love it.  It is a gorgeous fabric with wool content but cashmere too, and the edges have been picked out in a fine, shiny thread, by hand.

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I think India sewed a new button on, or moved the old one.  The thread looks like it met Eucalyptus at some stage, and is in two subtly different colours.  The coat is lined with silk.  It is like wearing a big snuggly hug.  I find I take it out when the day holds particular challenges, even on days when it might not be cold enough to wear it, because it has comfort factor. I took it on a very challenging hospital visit last year even though I never put it on!  I patted it on the long trip out and home again.

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The back has a wonderful set of resist marks from a nice rich dye pot.  In short, this coat is a treasure.  A treasure with  a history in which it has been loved and worn by other people, found by India in a suitably romantic location in the US, dyed and then gifted on to me!  And now, it needs a little love from me.

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The lining is coming away below the neck line.  Those two peaks are an interesting detail at the inside centre back.

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Clearly the armscyes were the most vulnerable place in the lining.  They  have been restitched by hand, in several different threads.

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This one has a thicker thread and a different, bolder stitching strategy.

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And, there is a label explaining that the garment has been made under fair labor standards.  I wondered whether this was a reference to union labor, or something else.  It took a little google-fu but in the end it turned out that this is a union label from the National Recovery Board for Coats and Suits, used 1938 to 1964.  This coat was made before I was born! According to my online source, ‘The National Labor Relations Act encouraged growth in stateside unions to create more jobs during the economic crisis of the ’30s. The Coat & Suit Industry union was born out of FDR’s New Deal Coalition.’ This label was used by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union and there is a wonderful online history which details some of their labels as well as so much more.

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And so, to mending it back into good shape so that it can go on keeping me warm and being its lovely, touchable and glorious self.




Filed under Natural dyeing, Sewing

18 responses to “#MenditMay: Loving up a lining

  1. What a wonderful coat and a fabulous history.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! What a famous coat…reminds me of the movie The Red Violin that follows the violin through many owners and stories of heartbreak and happiness. You are very lucky to be part of this coat’s story and it is very lucky to have found you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. norma

    Beautiful coat and story – I am inspired by it.


  4. Fabulous coat, India is such a treasure hope it gives it comfort for many more years, with a little help from you.


  5. Helen

    No wonder there had been mending on the lining. I’ve got coats only a fraction that old that need some stitching. I think your friend’s dye job was brilliant and I think you should not shy back from doing some as you have such great results and are equal to the task.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Helen, that is so kind of you! I enjoyed the process of reading other people’s mending on the inside of this coat… and can’t quite believe it is older than I am!


  6. Susan

    What a treasure to have with you on a difficult visit, like an old friend with you. Thank you for the history and for caring for it. Am going to send it on to the http://textileranger.com/. She who loves history and has a great blog. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a wonderful history, and for those of us in the textile world, having something from India Flint is as good as having something that belonged to Judy Garland or Elvis or somebody! 🙂


  8. SubmarineBells

    It’s a wonderful and fascinating thing, being able to find out the provenance of an old item that one has come across. I’ve seen other kinds of things tracked in that kind of way (e.g. tools, household goods, firearms, jewellery, decor items), but not clothing (…not that I recall, anyway). It’s amazing how much information can be gleaned from small details like manufacturing labels, stamps and so on, and I never cease to be fascinated by discoveries that can arise from such things. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Completely agree on the wonderfulness! This is another example of something I can’t imagine being possible prior to the internet, when the person who put that information up was a stranger in another country and all my wondering might have stopped in my own mind 🙂


  9. i’m late to the conversation but shall chip in anyway.

    the original button was shiny and hideous so i had replaced it with a favourite from my collection of pearlies…and some of that stitching on the interior may well have been mine also. i do lean towards sturdy threads…and big-eyed needles. so glad the coat has found such a good home.


    • That button is, as they say in the classics, a pearler! Just beautiful. And so is the rest of the coat… people do seem to feel the need to give it a pat or a stroke because it’s so touchable and glorious. I love that sense of collaboration of adding my stitches to those of hands unknown (and in this case, known too). Thank you so much for all your generosity 🙂


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