Greetings! In the Spring of 2008 I had my first chance to construct a 33rd Foot uniform from a kit supplied by Henry Cooke. It was also my first chance to work with Kochan-Phillips wool. Since there are some new members of the 33rd Foot planning to make their uniforms from Henry Cooke kits, I decided to document the entire process of making and fitting a coat. What I show here is in addition to the excellent documentation provided by Henry. This is offered as a collection of tips and tricks, culled from my last 25 years of making coats for the 33rd.
First, a word about my philosophy of consructing a uniform. My goal is to re-create the life and times of the common soldier of the War for Independence, not the life and times of the common tailor sitting crosslegged by a window. To that end, you will see many photos with a sewing machine in them. I use a machine for all the interior assembly seams, and marking the buttonholes. Anyone is welcome to do this in proper period fashion by back stitching the seams, and basting the buttonholes.
Above you see Recruit Joshua Holmes in the new uniform I made from the kit. In the following pages, I will take you through my journey of discovery how to work with the Kochan-Phillips wool and the Henry Cooke pattern. In some cases I will add my own techniques, or detail changes specific to the 33rd. I hope you will enjoy the benefit of my experience, as well as learn from the pitfalls of my mistakes!
I don't claim that this is the only way to make a coat. By some estimations this may not even be any way to make a coat. You are welcome to take what you need as useful and discard the rest, as long as you end up with a well fitted coat with hand finished details. If anyone has comments, criticisms, or advice, I would be pleased if you would send it to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org