woven denim secret agent trench coat


Have you seen this yet? Mathew really has a passion for weaving, and it shows! Creating his woven Secret Agent Trench Coat was an adventure that took place over several weeks. It became an Instagram event as it unfolded. There was so much anticipation and excitement as everyone waited for the final coat to be revealed.

In order to create this amazing coat he cut many many strips of fabric, cut from selvage to selvage (these are not bias strips, for those of you who were wondering). Mathew is visiting today to tell us all about his creation, here he is.

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Howdy! Howdy! This is Mathew Boudreaux (AKA Mister Domestic), presently residing in the Pacific Northwest with my husband Aurelian, our 3-year-old daughter Helena, and two cats Jordan & Camden. I am originally from Houston, TX and have managed to live all over the country during my adult life, but finally settled down and call Camas, Washington home. During the day, I work in the pharmaceutical industry specializing in oncology, but am an artist by heart and have jokingly referred to myself as an artistic gypsy flowing from theater to modeling to photography to sewing.

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I had learned to sew as a kid, but never really got into it until we had our daughter. I thought it would be a great way to connect with her if I could make her cool clothes. Almost 40, I felt that my taste-level had arrived and that I could make some pretty neat-o digs, if only I could figure out how to do it. Before Helena could even crawl, my husband bought me a couple apparel sewing classes at Modern Domestic in Portland, which was the perfect jumpstart that I needed because I haven’t stopped since.

With this Woven Denim Secret Agent trench coat, it was a natural progression into finding answers to questions that I had about fabric. I’m very stream-of-consciousness when it comes to picking projects and I had recently become obsessed with fabric weaving (or meshwork). I started applying textile weaving techniques to fabric weaving and I thought that some of the plaids would look awesome in apparel. Since most woven fabric is four times the weight of the original fabric, I felt like a jacket was the most appropriate application and I immediately went to the Oliver + S website to see what they had. Lucky for me, they had this amazing Secret Agent Trench Coat that would be perfect!

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As I embarked on this project, I never even considered how much work was involved. It’s like, once I figured out how to do it, I just jumped right in without even thinking. The first thing was picking the fabric and I chose four colors from Art Gallery Fabrics’ Solid Smooth Denim: Cool Foliage, Frosted Sage, Adobe Clay and Nectarine Sunrise. The fabric is 4.5 oz, so I knew that the woven weight would be perfect for a coat. Once the fabric was picked, I sliced up one yard of each color into .75” inch strips. Next, I used a Clover Bias Tape Maker and iron to turn those strips into strips that folded in toward the center and were a little wider than .33”.

With the fabric preparation done, I needed to prepare the pattern pieces by tracing the main components onto cardboard and creating a diagonal cross-hatch pattern to ensure that the weaving was both symmetrical and precise. A friend of mine invented this needle specifically designed for weaving fabric called the WEFTY that I swear is the only reason that I’m able to weave like I do. After each panel was woven, I used either masking tape or packing tape to secure the edges before unpinning. Once unpinned, I retraced the pattern on the fabric, flipped it over to iron on fusible interfacing, and then I sewed along the pattern line and again at .25” inside of that line to fully secure each panel. Once the panels were complete, then I attached my denim needle and walking foot to my machine and followed the instructions on the Oliver + S pattern.

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The sewing was perfection. Having spent 100+ hours just weaving the panels, this pattern lived up to every thing I knew Oliver + S patterns to be. The pattern was easy to follow and everything matched up perfectly. With anyone who has kids, you quickly learn that sizes of clothing and patterns are often a crap shoot, so it was so super duper exciting to discover that the sizing was what I expected in a 4T, if not a little big (which is always a plus in kids clothing).

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The best part of the entire project was honestly being done. There was a point while I was working on it that I couldn’t see the finish line, but, with my daughter as inspiration and with a beaming smile on her face as she watched the progress of the coat, I kept plugging along and boy am I grateful that I did. As with anything that I make for her, she helped me make design decisions in the coat and this pattern allowed for that. Even though she’s a month shy of 3, she was able to tell me that she wanted patch pockets without the flap and a slit instead of a back kick-pleat. With the versatility of this pattern and some slight alterations, I can use this pattern to make a few different coats without any of them looking the same. This will definitely be my go-to coat pattern for as long as I can use it with Helena.

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With all said and done, this journey into answering questions about the application of fabric weaving into apparel far exceeded anything that I had in my head or my sketchbook, and Helena can expect many more pieces of woven clothing in the future. It’s my hope that others will get inspired by this and apply this technique to their projects in the future.

Thank you Mathew for stopping by to share your woven trench coat with us! We love your trench coat!

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36 Comments

  1. Jill J

    This is stunning! A true piece of art. What a lucky daughter!

  2. Camille

    ^^Agreed! I’d be more likely to display it in a museum than let a 4-year-old get her hands on it. 😉

  3. WOW!!
    That is stunning.

  4. Rachael

    It just so happens my niece is the little girl who this beautiful jacket belongs to! Mat is truly talented and Helena is such a lucky little girl not only bc she gets to wear his AMAZING creations but bc he is such a wondeful dad! As always Mat, GREAT job! Love you all bunches!

  5. Jeifner

    It is so wonderful Mathew! My favorite part might be the woven pockets that are so perfect they camouflage right into the jacket. That binding around them almost looks like it’s floating. Beautiful!!!

  6. I was hoping I’d see a post from you about this coat come across the blog! I was stunned the first time I saw it and continue to be amazed. Truly a beautiful and inspiring piece of work. What a lucky, lucky little girl.

  7. Tamara H.

    Wow! This is absolutely beautiful. What a talented eye and incredible patience. Thanks for sharing.

  8. A masterpiece of planning and execution. Looks like it has a lovely ‘pressable’, cosy texture and will be a joy to wear.

  9. Love everything about this coat & @misterdomestic’s incredible talent! Nice to hear more about his process.

  10. Beth

    OMG. Truly stunning and inspiring. What a piece of art and craftsmanship. Thanks for sharing! You are amazing 🙂

  11. Joen

    WOW! Fantastic

  12. Laura

    This is an incredible piece of artwork disguised as clothing! Amazing!

  13. Lynne Anderson

    This jacket is truly amazing. Congratulations. Thank you for sharing your design process with us. I can just imagine the magnificent quilts you could produce if you were a quilter.

  14. Sarvi

    This is unbelievably amazing! Every step of it is beautiful, Helena is one lucky little girl!

  15. What a fabulous coat. A total labour of love. It looks totally worth all the hard work. Well done on an amazing job and thanks so much for sharing it with us!

  16. Caitlin O'Connor

    That is one of the most inspiring projects I’ve seen! Beautiful work, Mathew, and what a wonderful gift! Perfect choice of pattern! I can’t wait to try this technique myself.

  17. Nicole

    Oh wow, I hope she gets to wear it lots, not just save if for best.
    What a clever clever sew.

  18. Anita T.

    Hello –
    Per your request in a previous post, I am offering my comments on the Iris van Herpen exhibition at the High Museum of Art Atlanta.
    Last week my spouse, 25-year-old granddaughter and I took a guest visiting from Ghent, Belgium (where my spouse has been studying music for the past 3 summers) to the High. We were especially interested in the exhibition “I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle” which significantly exceeded our expectations. (But that is another story.)
    I thought perhaps that our Belgian guest would also be interested in the van Herpen exhibition, given that she is from the Flemish part of Belgium and van Herpen is from The Netherlands. That exhibition also exceeded expectations. It was so well done! We initially viewed all of the pieces from both the front and back, which I found fascinating because in thinking back to the other “fashion” exhibitions I have visited lately (most notably last summer’s visit to the Fashion Museum in Bath, England), it is not always possible to see both the front and back of each piece.
    After seeing all of the pieces, we discovered an alcove where a video was playing and, fortunately for us, the video had just finished and was about to start again. In it van Herpen described her life, her process from idea to design to actual implementation, how she came to be noticed by haute couture, etc. I was impressed by how young she is and how articulate she was (in a second language, no less). After seeing the video, we went back and looked at all of the pieces again, focusing on those she had mentioned. I was amused by how drawn in we all were.
    Thanks so much for mentioning this exhibition in your post. It was the icing on the cake after seeing Eric Carle’s sketchbooks. Really, the High is a great museum.
    Anita Tinlin
    SKILLS Graphics (I am the person who made a small box out of an Oliver + S brochure at Quilt Market several years ago, not that I would imagine you could possibly remember that!)

    1. Hi Anita. Of course we remember that adorable box! Great to hear from you, and thanks for the report on the show.

  19. Maria Dias

    His work is fabulous!!!

  20. Lynn b

    Wow! Amazing and what a devoted father. Love it

  21. Zsuzsanna Matika

    Wow! I’m speechless!

  22. Helena

    Wow, that is just incredible. As I am also a Helena I wonder if Mat would make me one too…

  23. Elise

    WOW! Can you make me an adult version!!! This is amazing! So much talent and dedication.

  24. Mathew this is superb!!!. I’m so happy to see it here in sequence and read your description, I was really hoping you could be convinced to do a blog appearance!
    To make something that is kind of insane in it’s amount of work is exactly the kind of project I love, and the ONLY reason is to test yourself to see if it can be done.
    Many of us would have faded by the third hour of ironing bias strips! 🙂
    Bravo, truly brilliant and a gorgeous result.
    nice idea to take out the kick pleat since you were lining it – trying to line around the kick pleat is a real puzzle.

  25. Sarah

    This is amazing! I can’t imagine doing an entire garment using this technique, myself. Wouldn’t this be beautiful as an inset, though? Perhaps it could be done on the front panel of the Hide and Seek Tunic?

    What an amazing piece!

  26. this is an amazing piece of art!!! you have a very lucky daughter.

  27. BEST. COAT. EVER.

  28. Wow! Unbelievable! Truly inspired.

  29. Jen

    Matthew, your coat is beautiful and a masterpiece! How lucky is Helena to have such a clever dad?!

  30. Holy cow! That is incredible! What a fun idea and such a stunning coat! Definitely a work of love!

  31. Jenn

    I think this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen…

  32. Jayna

    Findnig this post. It’s just a big piece of luck for me.

  33. Carla

    Wow, what an amazing piece of wearable art and true labour of love.

  34. Sarah K

    That is a truly magnificent gift. A wearable work of art. Thank you for the fabulous eye candy.

  35. Barbara

    What talent! So wonderful that your process is shared here. Special projects are a challenge but you’ve certainly taken it over the top! Hope she gets to walk some runway with your creation. As all good things, it’s sewn with love! Hats off to you, big time!

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