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.
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.
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.
The lining is coming away below the neck line. Those two peaks are an interesting detail at the inside centre back.
Clearly the armscyes were the most vulnerable place in the lining. They have been restitched by hand, in several different threads.
This one has a thicker thread and a different, bolder stitching strategy.
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.
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.