And now we finally come to what inspired the creation of this whole costume: the coat. Or, as Kate has dubbed it, the frock.
For a previous project I sourced a copy of Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 3, and was quite taken with her illustration of a loose kirtle. It looked comfortable. And I hadn't ventured into the English style in years.
I had a bolt of fabric picked out in a blue and light grey color - it was a polyester brocade and I found it on clearance years before and saved it for a special project. The first fabric I ordered to go with it was the blue linen that would become the base dress. But I was having problems matching the silvery color, plus the tan background wasn't khaki, or sand, or really tan, but a lighter version of taupe. It was worse than trying to match a red tone.
It a fit of desperation I actually went through the tubs and stacks of fabric and found the stuff pictured above. It was linen! It was already embroidered!
Kate had a small issue with the actual fabric design, and she was right. As it was the embroidered design would lend an Italian flair to the dresses. After browsing English fabric styles of the day we agreed that putting a geometric pattern on top would tone down the Italian feel.
It took longer than one might think to mark everything with a yardstick.
We were limited on the fabric available, and it was already cut into two pieces. At the time of purchase I had gotten several yards, and Kate separately purchased what was left on the bolt.
Good thing I was drafting my own pattern, right? That sounds impressive, but I was using a shirt yoke pattern to start with, and from there it was an angled line to the floor. Sleeve openings were taken from the mirror of the sleeves I'd already made. The neckline would be turned out to help form the collar. The back and sides would have pleats.
I was used to working in miniature, so drafting wasn't that bad. I wasn't concerned with down-to-the-inch accuracy. Matching the pattern and direction of fabric was the hard part. But, in the end I had a little extra to use for Ryan and Xander's outfit!
You'll notice above the ribbon embroidery isn't in place yet. I got a little excited to see if my pattern would work. Kate and I agreed we were using Ina Garten as inspiration for the collar.
The lining of the coat was done all in a low quality Dupioni silk I found at a retailer online. I ordered the general off white color, which turned out very nice.
After I got the ribbon sewn on, but before I ironed the garment Kate saw it and said it looked like a quilted bedspread. She wasn't wrong. I'm glad the iron helped. Construction of a fully lined coat isn't too much different than a lined vest, and as a sewist who started in the '90s I was familiar with those!
Stay tuned for posts about the coif, hat, and finally everything all together!
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!