View Full Version : Fabric Question for 2 Coats

06-02-2010, 01:15 PM
Hi guys!

Ok, so I have a question about a good type of fabric to use for 2 coats. Both coats are long trench coats, the first is a military"RAF Greatcoat" style coat, and the second is a pea coat style (black, knee-length coat). Now I know that these are made mostly out of wool, however, wool is expensive and hot, and I live in Atlanta and I'm wearing these in September.

Coat 1: http://media.photobucket.com/image/raf%20greatcoat/dralaneardley/RAFGreatcoat.jpg

Coat 2: http://thegloss.com/files/2007/11/kenneth-cole-reaction-pea-coat.jpg

So I'm looking for wool substitutes that will give the same type of look, but not the heat or eat my wallet so much. I've thought about felt but I'm worried about it pulling apart too easily and I know that it's also hot. Keep in mind that it's also the summer right now and winter suitings are hard to come by, or else I wouldn't be having as much of a problem finding these (I'm not a huge fan of buying fabric online just because I don't really trust things getting sent to me like that because knowing my luck it'll be way off).


06-02-2010, 07:31 PM
Unfortunately, there isn't anything that can mimic the look of an authentic wool coat of that kind. Peacoats particularly. The woolens those are made from is a thick coating wool, not a thin suiting, naturally. Wool blends can sometimes be lighter weight, but whatever issues you have with wool aren't solved by a wool blend.

Keep in mind that those coats are from countries/regions and occupations where they needed thick, warm coats, so either you suck it up and get the wool, or you accept that a lighter fabric is not going to look authentic. At least wool is a natural fiber, so technically it does breathe - better than a polyester. For full historical accuracy the coat would need to be lined, but if no one is going to see it or you don't care about historical accuracy, you can leave off the lining. That will help.

I have worn wool Jedi robes in Atlanta in August (DragonCon) before, so I can attest that as long as you're not planning on wearing a wool greatcoat outside for a day-long reenactment, you'll be fine. It won't hurt you, but it might be expensive. :) Unfortunately!

You are right about the felt. The way felt is made, it becomes unsuitable for garments (particularly coats) because the fibers aren't woven. There is no weave for the thread to grab, so it'll pull apart pretty easily.

06-03-2010, 03:31 AM
Just request or buy swatches / samples of fabric.

Unless you have speciality stores near you, it's almost impossible to find anything good at just Hobby Stores - they're filled with lots of synthetic crap and the occasional useful Home Dec fabric.

I agree that there is no substitute - if you want that look but it will be too hot out - make a cooling system.

Polyester or Poly-wool/acrylic/et cetera will be cheaper, but will also be like wearing saran wrap - heat will be trapped in much worse.

O, also, the wool NEEDS to be 20oz or MORE - any thinner and you will look wrinkly and cheap and crappy even if you spent a fortune.

06-03-2010, 05:49 AM
I'mma wearin' a poly-satin long sleeved ball gown. In Kansas. In Effin' July. I feel for ya, my friend.

I second the swatches; you have a fair amount of time to check out a few fabrics. And if you end up with wool, prescription strength deoderant and plastic ice packs are your friiiend.

07-17-2010, 10:51 AM
Unfortunately, the best and coolest (temp-wise) option for those jackets is going to be wool. Handy ways to keep cool are by drinking lots of water, keeping the jacket unbuttoned, and by soaking whatever neckwear you've got periodically. (It works, really. A damp cravat will keep you quite comfortable in hot weather, and will make you very uncomfortable in cold weather.)

That said, you don't have to spend $20-30 a yard. I recommend this site (http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/search/search.aspx?source=searchbox&keywords=wool+coating). They offer swatches, so you can see what you're getting before shelling out for a whole big piece.

Edit: For the peacoat you might be able to get away with heavy canvas and interfacing. It'll still be warm though.

07-17-2010, 05:42 PM
For serious wool coating I'd actually recommend this site (http://www.bblackandsons.com/index.php) (B. Black & Sons). Not bargain-basement stuff, but not as expensive as you might think, and the quality is outstanding. They have lots of melton (the most traditional and accurate cold-weather coating) and also a super variety of other woolens too, if you choose to go with something lighter after all.

07-26-2010, 08:41 PM
The best thing that I can suggest is to just look at fabric and find something that feels and looks good to you.