A Fall and Winter Coat



1914 Advertisement. Art and Picture Collection, New York Public Library

Fall and even winter coats and jackets stay in the closet year ’round here on the windy far northern California coast. One of these days I will recreate a favorite long quilted nylon jacket. I will have to think about the fabric, it will probably not be nylon, but it must be warm and washable. It is a straight somewhat loose shape and I think I can just trace off the pattern. Maybe I will put pins in along the seamlines, cover with paper, rub over the paper with chalk or a pencil, then connect the pin marks with pencil lines. This jacket has a long zipper and a wide welt closing with snaps. The collar is a wide band around the neck with a snap closure. The length is about 2-3″ longer than the lower hip and it would also be great to have one that ends just above the knee for really cold and windy days. It is very difficult to find jackets like that anymore. Most fall at the hipbone.  I would like to make buttonholes rather than using snaps, so I thought I would review a few buttonhole  and tailoring resources so I can refer to them when making a jacket or coat.

One of my most treasured resources is a video clip of Mr. Pasquale, a tailor trained in Italy, working a buttonhole in a customer’s Harris tweed jacket.


The next video is by Sten Martin Jonnson. “Ease, gathering and drawing-in stitches.” The  gathering-in stitch that is used to stay the armholes is the last technique on this video, toward the end, about 4/5 of the way through.

Another treasured resource is Clarence Poulin’s Tailoring Suits the Professional Way. On page 103 and 104 he explains the gathering-in stitch that he uses to stay the edges of the armholes. He describes it it as “much like a buttonhole stitch, except that the needle is held pointing toward the left, the stitches being taken one behind the other toward the right. Figs. 108 to 11 demonstrate.” My sister learned to make buttonholes from a friend who learned to sew in Germany. She makes her buttonholes using this same method but the stitches are worked vertically over the cut edge of the buttonhole rather than horizontally as demonstrated by Sten Martin Jonnson and Clarence Poulin. My sister begins at the end of the keyhole, but holds it with the opening on her left. She works it as Jonnson, just making a loop and bringing the needle through the threads again. Clarence Poulin shows only the hand guided thread, and that’s the way to double check that you are forming the correct knot. It makes an interesting knot, much different from the Mr. Pasquale buttonhole which is more of a braided edge.


I would also like to include a couple of scans of my 1964 edition of  The Complete Book of Tailoring by Adele Margolis which appears to be a little different from the copy at Tailor and Cutter. On page 305 she describes how canvas should be removed and substituted with a strip of lining as when making bound buttonhole so I included page 297 where that is shown.






I must say I much prefer working the Mr. Pasquale buttonhole rather than the Adele Margolis buttonhole. I believe it is easier to work because the Z twist of the buttonhole twist thread prefers to coil to the right. With the Margolis buttonhole stitch the thread must be coiled to the left which is against the inclination of the twist. The result is a separate knot, perhaps more preferred in menswear by some. The Pasquale knot can be used for dress shirts as well as for jackets. The buttonhole stitch of my sister and her friend also works with the Z twist and produces a separate knot rather than a braided edge, but I would definitely suggest beeswax if you are practicing.

A lot of pearl cotton is an S twist so that might work for a substitute if working the Margolis stitch, but most silk buttonhole twist is Z twist.

I’d like to thank Jess of https://heycotton.wordpress.com/ who is working on a muslin for a man’s coat for sharing the link to Tailor and Cutter.

Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. (1914). Men And Woman Near A Fence, 1910s. Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-efdd-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

4 thoughts on “A Fall and Winter Coat

  1. Now I can see the differences in the ’64 edition! Quite a few changes for my copy dated ’78. I also checked my favorite book by her, ‘ The Encyclopedia of Sewing’ (’87), in which she has basically the same info as the ’78 edition. (However the Encyclopedia has a much longer section on bound buttonholes than my ‘Complete Guide to Tailoring’. If that’s of interest, I can scan it and link you once I get my scanner back. I’ve never made a bound buttonhole, so couldn’t tell you whether the additional info is something you would have seen in a number of other sources.)

    I said it before, but those two videos are very helpful. Thanks. Though I haven’t tried it on a buttonhole, I’ve already used the drawing-in stitch on the easing of the back sleeve seam and was very happy with the amount of control it gives. (That was on the last muslin fitting yesterday, and now I’m finally done with pattern adjustments!).

    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have found a couple of interesting bound buttonhole techniques going through my books at home and will write a short post about them soon. So glad to hear you are making progress on your muslin.


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