How to Buy the Right Size Chore Coat


I love having my photo taken! Here I’m wearing a size medium. Usually I wear a large, so that’s why it’s a little tight on my massive delts. Or are those gluts?

We’ll start taking orders for the Lost Art Press chore coat at noon (Eastern time) on Monday, Feb. 19. There are lots of important things to know about our chore coat, so we want to give you detailed information so that you can decide if this jacket is for you.

  1. We have ordered enough fabric for about 300 jackets. The price will be $185 delivered in the United States. For this first run, we are going to ship only to the United States so we can exterminate all the bugs in our system. I promise there are bugs.
  2. The price of $185 might seem high to some of you. Actually, it’s ridiculously low for this jacket. And this is the lowest price we’ll ever offer it. The fabric is soft and strong. The craftsmanship and the stitching is superb (from Portland, Ore.). And the design is 100-percent Tom Bonamici. Tom is a woodworker and designer who loves this coat form as much as I do. You’ll never find a better-tailored example.
  3. We are not a clothing company. We are making this coat the way we make furniture. Custom buttons. Custom embroidered label. Lots of handwork. So we want to discourage the unfortunate activity of customers who use clothing companies like a virtual dressing room. We will accept returns on the coat for 30 days. After that, we will accept returns only for a defect in the making.
  4. The jackets will be stitched in March 2018. We are ordering each jacket based on what you order. This is short-run, custom stuff.
  5. As a result, we can only afford to offer a limited number of sizes. If this run is a success, we might be able to expand the sizes we offer in the future.
  6. This is important: Before you order, you need to measure one of your favorite garments and compare it with our chart below to figure out what size is right for you. These jackets run a little lean, but they aren’t “mustache wax hipster lean.” I usually wear a size large, and I easily fit into a size medium for the photos for this jacket.

I know we cannot please everyone with this jacket. I also know that I do not want to run a clothing empire. As a result, we’re going to offer the sizes we can with the quality that makes us happy. I have said many times that I want to be buried with my Lie-Nielsen No. 8. Know that I’ll be wearing this jacket as I clutch my jointer plane.

So let’s get started. This is going to be fun.


Grab Your Favorite Garment
Don’t be intimidated. As a woodworker, you are eminently qualified to take a few measurements. It’s critical to measure a garment that you already own before you order your work coat. Take a heavy overshirt or light jacket (unlined, please), button or zip it up, lay it down flat on a flat surface and take the four measurements below.


SLEEVE: Measure from the shoulder seam to the end of the cuff.

SHOULDER-SHOULDER: Measure from shoulder seam to shoulder seam.

PIT-PIT: Measure from the armpit to the armpit. Don’t inhale.

LENGTH: Measure from the collar seam to the bottom back hem.

Now, think critically. Do you like how your garment fits? How do you layer other clothes with it, and how do you think you’ll wear your work coat? Chris likes to fit a sweater under his work coat, while Tom usually wears it with only a light shirt underneath and layers over the top. Compare your results to the chart (below) showing the measurements of our work coat, and make an educated decision.


LAP Chore Coat Sizing

A Note on Fit
Garments have to have a base pattern of “something-or-another.” We chose a “regular” fit, akin to a pair of Levi 501s – not too tight, not too loose. If you usually buy your clothes at Walmart, this is going to feel slimmer than normal. If you usually buy from Zara, then this will feel like a circus tent. The lesson? Measure and compare! Our base pattern was taken from a vintage 1960s-era French chore coat, and we tweaked it until we liked it.

A Note on Extended Sizes
If, after measuring and comparing as described above, you learn that you’re too big or small to fit this coat, please don’t order one anyway and hope that it will magically work out. If you’re tempted to email and ask why we’re not producing a XXXL Extra Short, or a Super Tall Super Skinny size, just know that we’re a tiny company with limited bandwidth.

Any time another size is added to a garment run, it adds a disproportionate amount of cost and complexity. So we’re starting with five sizes that are in the middle of the usual spectrum. And honestly, it’s unlikely we’ll get to doing “tall” sizes or “short” sizes anytime soon – the cost of pattern adjustments and inventorying unusual sizes is just beyond our means.

— Christopher Schwarz & Tom Bonamici

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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40 Responses to How to Buy the Right Size Chore Coat

  1. Joe P says:

    are the arms single or double gusset?

  2. I’m really sorry for taking all those pictures of you during that 6-Board Chest class Chris. I did not know how you felt about being photographed at the time. I can do better. Peace -Aaron

  3. Torton says:

    Honestly, this feels like a very good deal on this coat. Clothes made by fairly paid employees in the US are hard to come by. Congrats on making such an attractive piece. Looking forward to ordering this and wearing it once my Pointer Brand chore coat wears out — or maybe as a my “dress” chore coat…

    • Mike Ramsey says:

      I agree. I bought a pair of Danner boots made in Portland and the were darn near $400 but I’ll probably never need to replace them, just have them re-soled occasionally.

      • Bo says:

        My Danner boots fell apart in about 5 years but I consider that a reasonable lifetime for a quality boot.

  4. By the beard of Bespokus – that’s a pretty handsome jacket. Also apparently on point with the latest trends. Buck Mason is selling “felted chore coats” this season (

    • (PS – I thought you might appreciate that their chore coat is more expensive, and unlikely to be as thoughtfully designed to function as a chore coat…so yeah, your price is great).

  5. Micah says:

    I really think that you should use handsome models if you want to increase sales. 🙂

  6. hgordon4 says:

    Wait a minute… I thought you always said measuring was the surest way to screw up? Can’t I just send you some story sticks?

  7. Jonathan Schneider says:

    Too sad you don’t send them out the US😢

  8. luvwoodtools says:

    Hi Chris- A question.
    I’m a senior who unfortunately has developed an enormous girth ( waist @52 inches ). I have been searching for a proper shop coat and I love the one your creating. So, would the XXL size fit me? The other measurements all are moot if the waist doesn’t work. If you are unable to determine with the sparse info I’ve offered I’ll understand but I’ve been looking for nice shop attire for a long time.Thanks, Bill from Nashville.

  9. jayedcoins says:

    Well done! My better-half is a fashion design major, and when she was in the industry, her specialization was technical design, so this all rings very, very familiar. I say this as politely as possible, but anyone that wants to criticize this price tag for this coat needs to stop themselves and ask — do you know what is involved in taking a garment from idea to reality, as a one-off prototype? And then, do you know what is involved of taking that prototype and ramping up to even limited, uh, bespoke production? Probably not. This coat is cheap.

    And as you’ve noted by now, there is a lot of similarities between woodworking and garment technical design and construction, *especially* of the hand-made varieties on both sides.

    I realize it is a different ballgame because LAP proper isn’t a garment producer. But I am curious — would you ever be willing to publish the technical measurements and/or sketches for those that want to make their own? Or possibly sell them for a modest fee? While I’ve vehemently defended your price point, for someone that has the skills to make this on their own, this could be done at a discount, and it would allow hitting custom sizing that you understandably can’t produce, even on a smaller scale.

  10. Love the fact that this post is titled “How to Buy the Right Size Chore Coat”, but you’re pictured wearing a size too small.

  11. Neal Mangham says:

    I’ve been using old blue lab coats to ward off shavings, sawdust, and a variety of pigments. Given that a couple of those have labels that say “made in …” (By people being grotesquely underpaid), I have had qualms about buying a new one. This one calls to me softly, encouraging me to open my wallet ate the moths fly free!

  12. Adam Palmer says:

    The coat turned out great! I wish I could get one, but I’m just too big. There’s no percentage in making them to my size. Oh well. Luckily, your books all come in my size, especially the Roubo.

  13. adam says:

    do you know of the washing requirements or possible shrinking in the laundry problems? I am clueless to taking care of fabrics.

  14. Simon miller says:

    Over here in England, most workwear is pretty basic. I will probably buy a French “Bleu de Travail” not dissimilar but certainly no custom buttons, or embroidery, probably a fair bit cheaper but also probably made in Vietnam, so we’ll done for a sensible price for a U.S. Made coat. Better not get glue on it! I usually get cheap work trousers and shirts for Aldi or Lidl because I invariably need something to wear when working on the boat and get epoxy on them!

    • TC says:

      Simon, – about 75euros. Not a patch on this but you will look like a proper frenchman. I’m on my second but then I am ancient.

  15. Shane says:

    I was wondering if you are willing to ship to companies that will re-ship internationally or where I can pick it up in the USA? I like not far from the border in Canada.

  16. johncashman73 says:

    I overheat easily, and never need a coat in the shop — or outside. Any chance we can get a Lost Art Press tank top? Or a tube top — those should be easy to produce.

  17. Great looking equipment! I usually overheat so these are not for me but it’s always a pleasure to see a combination of great fabric and perfect stitching which is made to last.

  18. rons54 says:

    For those for whom the basic sizes don’t work, perhaps a local tailor or seamstress could be of assistance. I would find someone and discuss what you want done before before ordering however. The nice thing is that well made clothing is easy to alter or repair compared to the run of the mill stuff with poor quality thread that was designed to be cheap to manufacture.

    Seamstresses and tailors are a lot like woodworkers or blacksmiths, they can often do things that seem magic to the uninitiated.

  19. Tom Blamey says:

    Is this material pre-shrunk? Should we plan on some shrinkage when we order? Is this like the old Shrink-to-fit Levies?

  20. Mike says:

    Completely understand the non-standard size ranges. If I am an XS (not hipster but true XS), would a small shrink into a XS?

  21. SSteve says:

    I’m so torn. I’d love to have this, but I’m tall and thin. If I get something with long enough arms, it usually fits like a muumuu. Oh, well. I’ll go for a large and see what happens!

  22. Jay Froman says:

    My favorite chore coat was also made in Oregon, made of denim, and is approximately the same size as yours except the length is 3.5″ longer. It was also made by fairly paid individuals who reside in the State Penitentiary, but then they’re subsidized by the people of the state of Oregon….. Love your coat, love mine more except it doesn’t have the cool logo…… Keep up the good work. PS do you have an iron on logo available for sale???

  23. Today I tried to order one, but the XXL shows as “Sold Out”. Are you not making XXL ?

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