Rusty Old Pirate Coat

Rusty Old Pirate Coat


I am a “men’s medium,” yet also a an “extra-large girl.” Being tall, I was getting sick of wearing men’s coats, so I decided to start revising women’s. This is the first.

It’s psychologically hard to cut leather, because it is skin, after all, and the coat was very nice just as it was. I cut a few inches off the bottom, and used that to extend the sleeves. I removed the attached belt, and used it to belt the new cuffs to disguise the join.

Finding more leather-covered buttons wasn’t a problem, because you can cover anything with leather. I started with some of my mother’s old clip-on earrings, and made a place on the sleeve to clip them on (an ear?), thinking I could clip on different earrings whenever I wanted. Unfortunately, I lost an earring on the coat’s maiden voyage, and had no other earrings of the same form. I covered a sea shell with leather instead, and this time I sewed both “buttons” on.

I like working with leather, in spite of the fact it’s very difficult to pierce; you bleed, but not too much. It reminds me of working with clay, only the leather has a little more mind of its own.

While explaining this coat to another mother waiting outside the kindergarten door, she said, “Oh well, you sew.” I was a touch sensitive, or she was a touch dismissive — as if real women with educations and jobs didn’t have time to pick up such dead arts, as if sewing, as a traditional female part of the division of labour, was unworthy. But would a man be ashamed of building a shed on the weekend?

In high school, I had exactly as much sewing education as I had woodworking. Needle and thread isn’t much different from hammer and nail, frankly. It’s all just stuff, after all. I must admit to practicing a few more of the traditional female arts in my own household’s division of labour; I was better at giving birth and my husband is better at getting paid for what he does. But we’re both non-stereotypical; he’s stopped getting nervous when I fix the plumbing.

I’ve got enough paintings that I have no wall space for. I’ll hang a little art on my back now and then

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