Edo Period Coat Restoration: The Quilted Lining (Stage 1)

Project 9, part 7 – Worth Doing Right (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 here)

All I’m saying is, it’s a good thing I have so many pins!

Welcome back to the Edo period coat restoration project! This is now officially the longest-running project on Mukashi no Sewing (in terms of number of posts), and there’s no end in sight haha. Part of the difficulty of working with antique textiles, as I may have mentioned before, is they often aren’t sturdy enough to be sewn on a machine at this stage in their life. (They may have been in the past, but time takes a toll!) As fibers age and weaken, being put through even gentle mechanical stress can cause them to to fray and tear. All that is to say, I’ve got a lot of hand-sewing in my future to finish this coat!

Pictured: the calm before the sewing storm…

One has to start somewhere, so after analyzing the construction of my coat it made the most sense to me to line the interior of the sleeves first, and then the body. So I measured out chunks (that’s the technical term) of lining for each sleeve, and cut them to fit! I have just over 2 yards of quilted lining, so to preserve as much as possible for the body of the coat I pieced out parts of the sleeve linings. Everything wonky will be covered by the silk lining in any case, so ensuring I have enough fabric is paramount!

Wait, machine sewing?! Wasn’t there just a paragraph about that a minute ago?

The raw edges of the quilted lining, being just quilting-style cotton and batting, aren’t particularly hard-wearing, so I was more than happy to take the mechanical assist from my trusty Featherweight and do a quick topstitch around the edges to stabilize them. Not only will it keep them from fraying, but also give the hand stitches something to hook onto to make the lining more secure in the long run.

Finn often sleeps at my feet while I sew. It’s really cute. ❤

I spent quite a few hours pinning and stitching the lining into just one sleeve, and I have only finished attaching the lining around the opening of the sleeve! Which begs the question – why take the time to do it this way?

I get asked this a lot, actually. I recently had to raise the hem on my hakama about 3/4 of an inch which involved picking out the original hemming I’d done, then pinning it that slight amount higher and re-sewing the hems (fortunately work that can be done on my machine). Why not just double up the original fold? Because it would make the pleats too bulky, which would affect the drape of the fabric and the way it moved during practice. The long-term detriment outweighed the short-term benefit of saving a little time on sewing.

It’s the same with most of the other things I do. If I value the outcome, it’s worth it to me to do it in what I consider to be the right way. It might be more expensive, or take more time, or be more irritating. But compromises always frustrate me more, in the end. Which is why I sit here before you, with miles more stitching to go, but also with a sense of pride for how the work is progressing!

I cannot overstate how difficult it was to ensure every stich only caught the inner lining, and doesn’t show on the outside!

One section down, many to go! Even if the time investment means I have to wait until next winter to wear my coat, I’m still happy with it – and confident that my work will last! So join me next time, as I continue work on lining my coat and catching up on back episodes of the Myths and Legends podcast! ❤

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