February 1, 2021

Story of a coat

I just wanted to take you through a recently coat commission.

Polly came to me with a idea and fabric she'd bought on line. A beautiful cream and pale blue material that spoke to her, particularly as it had nettle fibers in its content. We met at the studio and worked through her coat design changing bits here and there and I took her measurements. Having agreed on the fee and that we were both happy with the plan the next step was to make up a calico toile to check fit and refine design lines. I gave Polly two options for her pockets, either as part of a curved or straight panel line in the front. She opted for the curved line.

Curved line over the bust and incorporating the pocket

Having drafted the pattern for the mock up I was also able to check what we could squeeze out of the limited piece of fabric she had. It was going to be tight and some of the facings and the cuffs were going to have to be pieced. We also need to find a lining, though we'd looked through my stash there wasn't quite the correct colour so the search was on.

This coat was going to be a special birthday gift to herself and she'd wanted to add some embroidery inside, a symbol of her own design, representing protection and strength. Polly is an artist so she'd sketched up her vision and my job was to recreate her marks in stitch and throw in a couple of pentagram's along the way. I do love the idea of hidden messages inside our clothing and have been asked to do it a few times.

Having found the correct lining it was all go and I was able to start making the coat, we had several fittings as the garment progresses. I probably have more fittings than necessary but I like to tweak the fit as we go along and did need to confirm things with Polly as they developed. The embroidery was done freemotion on my trusty Bernina on a silk organza and then hand applied in place.

The finishing touch was vintage mother of pearl buttons, odd ones of course with rouleau made from scraps as the loops. Again these were from my button box just waiting for the right project to come along.

I'm always over critical of my work and this keeps me striving to improve my skills but Polly was very happy with the finished coat, bouncing around the studio at a safe distance when she collected it.

Here's it is before it went of to its forever home.

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