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Kenneth D. King’s Kilim Carpet Coat: The Big Finish

In our last installment of the kilim carpet coat series, I will show you how I tackled the finishing, which was hand sewing. I used standard hand sewing needles and doubled thread to finish this piece.

First, the facings were smoothed into position, and hand-tacked, to the shoulder pad, around the armhole, and at the shoulder seam.

Next, the Hong Kong-finished edges of the facings were tacked to the insides of the jacket with a blind stitch, so they would stay in place over the life of the coat.

Here’s the underlap side.

And here is the fly front side.

The back lining was then fell-stitched to the neck seam.

Then the shoulder seams of the lining were fell-stitched to the front facing. Everything was then ready for the sleeve linings.

The sleeve linings were pinned into the armhole.

Everything was fell-stitched in place.

After installing the sleeve lining, I discovered I’d cut it a bit short (oops), so I needed to face the cuffs. I did this with a bias strip of the same wool as used on the facings.

The linings were pinned to this facing, and fell-stitched.


The inside of the coat was finished.

Some final hand sewing was required: The fly facing needed to be tacked to the carpet between the buttonholes.

With the addition of some mismatched antique silver buttons, the coat was complete.

Here is a detail shot…

… and me, modeling the coat (front view)!

These photos are by our photographer Jack Detusch, who manages to make me look good!

This is an interior shot.

The coat from the side allows you to see strings hanging off the front; those strings are the little tassels from the corners of the carpet.

And finally, here’s a view of the back of the…

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  1. User avater
    nu624 | | #1

    Absolutely stunning! Thank you, Kenneth, for sharing the construction details of this beautiful coat. I really like the addition of the blue wool facing on the cuffs.

  2. user-2338491 | | #2

    That is awesome!

  3. Stormee | | #3

    You and I are alike in that I love creating garments out of fabrics that are unusual and unconventional. Your jacket is beautiful and I love the fine detail that you do. Making it from the inside out. I have learned so much about sewing from you.

  4. User avater
    eatsallinsects | | #4

    OH, I was SO glad to see this article. I have been checking frequently to see if it was done!

  5. User avater
    2tango | | #5

    That is just sensational! I think I saw you on the subway with your tufted jacket on once which is also fantastic but this one oh my..... I think you should turn how you made this jacket into a class.

  6. User avater
    2tango | | #6

    Just noticed that you do have a class on Craftsy for this coat! I will have to check that out very soon.

  7. carlabernstein | | #7

    I hope your coat is keeping you warm in these frigid temperatures!

  8. Soucieville | | #8

    That is a neat coat, but would I expect less. Interesting boots as well. I would think the rug material would be stiff and not the warmest. So is it a "between seasons" type of coat. I'd love to hear what you think of this coat, after you have worn it for a bit. Next year ?

    I have made a few vests out of Tapestry material. I usually look for a lighter weight tapestry than a stiff heavy weave. Repairing my machine after mending my husband's coveralls, made me realize what my machine is capable of and what it is not. I am thinking of a corset type vest, made from tapestry material, for a niece.

    I do not think I have seen so much hand sewing since my wedding gown. A few years back.

    Thanks for the lessons.

  9. lei739 | | #9

    Absolutely fantastic coat! The step by step tutorial is a keeper. thanks.

    also, you know darned well you are cute and darling and it doesn't take a photographer to make you look good!

  10. Rabia | | #10

    Absolutely FABULOUS!!!!I want to just rip it right off your back for myself! I LOVE the way you made the V pattern on the back, and have the fringe along the bottom! Hot damn, what a great coat! There's a REASON why you are THE KING!

    Lilith M.

  11. user-3049124 | | #11

    I think I would love to try this but seriously doubt I could afford the carpets needed for this.

  12. User avater
    SewingSadie | | #12

    Love the coat, doll!!! A real work of art, without a doubt. Kinda reminds me of the buffalo skin coats that Burray Olson made back in the 70's (I worked for him and used to enjoy decorating them with beaded rondells, fringe, feathers and beads. The lining was the buff hair.) I'm sure this gorgeous coat will last you a lifetime and will loosen up with wear and fit like a second skin to keep you warm. Thanks so much for sharing all your beautifully executed details, Kenneth!!! Stay warm, SewingSadie

  13. User avater
    user-933140 | | #13

    The coat is amazing! However, I doubt I would ever be able to sew one. It looks too difficult for an intermediate sewist. Thank you for all your inspiration.

  14. User avater
    chelosunny | | #14

    Well done. You must be so proud. Love that you kept the fringe. It adds to the authenticity. You may get a nickname out of this one.

  15. User avater
    Butterscotchchick | | #15

    Yes Kenneth! You did the most here! Fabuloussssssss! Werrrkkkkk!!

  16. KharminJ | | #16

    Beautiful, Kenneth! Thank you sharing your how-to's, and for your meticulous documentation :)
    Happy (and warm) New Year!

    To the reader who's concerned about the potential cost: make friends with people at your local resale shops! They may see too-well-worn-to-sell-as-a-carpet carpets that you can pick up for a (relative) song. Since it's pieced anyway, the fabric doesn't have to *start out* looking like perfect yard-goods...
    Happy hunting!

  17. Suellap | | #17

    Brilliant. Thanks Kenneth for the inspiration!

    If two carpets are hard to find then less expensive Belgian rugs might be useful. I plan to use one as that is all I have with a bog jacket pattern and insert hand knitted wool sleeves that have been felted for further warmth. I'll see if I can have and can use some of the rug left over pieces as cuffs to tie it all together.

  18. User avater
    Dori_A | | #18

    Fantastically awesome, Kenneth! So appreciate you sharing your process as you created another unique inspiring garment! Especially liked how you turned the ..oops.. into a great looking design detail.

  19. User avater
    kennethdking | | #19

    Thanks for all the kind words! This coat was indeed worth the effort, and I'm planning on enjoying it for years to come!

    About sewing machines: I have an old-school Bernina so it plowed through this fabric easily. But, if I were to have another machine, it would be a long-arm machine--it would have made all of the construction easier, as the arms on many household machines are way too short to accommodate the mass of this much carpet.

    To Soucieville: The coat is a bit stiff but no more than one made from boiled wool. It is indeed a between seasons coat, though--the weave is dense and the wind doesn't cut through, but since it's unlined, it isn't suited to these really frigid temperatures we're seeing this week!

    To user-933140: It appears more difficult than it actually is. Just go slow and steady, and you can do it. The class I teach on Craftsy (The Carefree fly-front coat) really covers the fundamentals on how to make this.

    To user-3049124: You don't necessarily have to use matching carpets for this. I just lucked out, that Susan Khalje and her husband Qadir were kind enough to give me a matched set. But I rather like the idea of using mis-matched carpets for a coat. Haunt the resale shops, and I'm sure you can find a couple of beautiful carpets, for not much money.

  20. User avater
    couture_academic | | #20

    Holy cannoli, that's brilliant! And with those turquoise boots??!! Uh huh.

    "Haunt the resale shops, and I'm sure you can find a couple of beautiful carpets, for not much money."

    I like this a lot. One of the most wonderful things to come from your work (for me anyways) is the way it changed my mind-set in regards to 'materials'. I love thrift shopping - I mean LOVE IT. Now, everywhere I go I see fabric; not clothes, carpets, duvets or sheets :P I'm going to go to my fav thrift shop (op shop here in Oz) this afternoon and see what I can scare up...saves money and boosts creativity - huh-zah :) Keep it up.

  21. User avater
    GalaxyGreeThings | | #21

    You did it again! You can do everything! Kenneth you? It looks very nice on you as well. My compliments!

  22. User avater
    kennethdking | | #22

    To Couture Academic: The turquoise boots came from the resale shop as well! I'm glad I helped youth open your eyes about materials, as this broadens the range of what one can create. Another advantage is that the materials you find on other venues enable you to make more individual pieces--the materials aren't currently on offer in the shops!

    And--recycling! Always a good thing, and historically what people did with materials, as they were far more dear in earlier times.

    To GalaxyGreeThings: I can do ALMOST everything. Cooking, not so much. I had to learn how to make coffee recently when my boyfriend and I were in Maui--there was no coffee cart 20 feet away from my front door, like there is here in New York!

  23. tzipi | | #23

    kenneth, you are amazing!!! never fail to impress me. Thank you for teaching the sewing community so many skills. Im in your Craftsy classes- now I have to get up the encourage to actually try and sew one of these coats>

  24. User avater
    maddie964 | | #24

    Kenneth, this truly is an unbelievable coat and I consider myself the luckiest seamstress to have seen it in person. One of my final projects while I was a student at SCAD was to take a garment, deconstruct it, and reconstruct it into a whole new garment with a whole new context (i.e. dress to pant or blouse to skirt). I turned a woman's pant suit into a jumpsuit. It wasn't wearable, but it was pretty damn creative. Wearable art of art to wear? I'll leave that up to you to decide :)

    Wonderful coat. You are an inspiration.

  25. User avater
    LuvThreadsMagazine | | #25

    THAT COAT!!!!!

    Senor King, you just outdid yourself (that's the equivalent of setting up a KOA campsite on Mars, and keeping it full).

    As for YOUR having to learn to make coffee - without sounding like a meddling out-of-towner, the phrase "boyfriend probation" comes to mind.

    Sign me,
    Nothing more than a helpful other

  26. User avater
    kennethdking | | #26

    To Maddie: I really enjoyed meeting you, and think you did a really swell job with your piece on me for your blog! Thanks for the kind words! Next time you're in My Fair City, you'll have to see the messenger bag I made (after the carpet bag) out of the remaining scraps of the carpet!

    To LuvThreadsMagazine: "Boyfriend Probation"--really funny! I'm going to show this post to my boyfriend, as I'm sure he'll get a kick out of it. By the way, he would have made coffee of he woke up first, but as I'm an early riser, I had to bite the bullet and learn. So we should go easy on him...

  27. SuzSews | | #27

    As always, your coat is gorgeous. A work of art. Thanks for changing my paradigm of what can be used as "fabric". Your photo shoot is fantastic, too.

  28. rkr4cds1 | | #28

    Mr King - I'm so pleased to read this final installment - a brilliant finish to a garment of unique materials. I'm the admirer-of-your-work who met you @ MDWY last Sunday and introduced myself: I recognized you by your stunning hair (I'm a cosmetologist...) and the jacket you were wearing. As I shook your hand I managed to touch the cuff cloth w/one finger—just because I couldn't resist. Sorry if that sounds stalker-ish!

    I said that I'd commented in this column (almost 2 years ago-Mar '12) on your great/intentional, non-abstract patterning of jeans slashing. I'm pleased to see how well slashed jeans looks with this coat, too.
    Thx again for being so gracious to a #1 fan!

  29. User avater
    kennethdking | | #29

    To rkr4cds1: Thanks for the kind words! It isn't often that I get recognized in airports, and it's a pleasant surprise when it happens.

    These jeans are a new pair, as the ones in the post have aged. They keep shredding, which is really beautiful, and I've had to darn some of the intersections together (using red thread so it's part of the process). Eventually they will completely disintegrate, so I started a new pair, to replace them when they go. These are that pair.

    All the best!

  30. user-1141523 | | #30
  31. user-1141523 | | #31

    Throws can be used in a similar way. Some are very loosely woven, so it's important to serge or zigzag edges as soon as they're cut. They can be lined as yours was, or unlined for a softer look. Be sure to use the fringes to best advantage!

  32. BlueWisteria | | #32

    Recycling Persian carpets into coats is like carving up a Rembrandt to wrap your lunch. They are not being made anymore in any significant quantity. Please have more respect for precious textiles. Persian carpets are works of art.

  33. User avater
    kennethdking | | #33

    To Blue Wisteria--you missed the two other earlier posts on the coat. I get it--you disapprove of me cutting into this matched set of carpets, and I respect your opinion.

    Please be sure to state your objection on the two other posts for the coat, so nobody will miss them, please?

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