As projects goes, this is the longest project I have ever undertaken. This is not because the design or pattern was complicated nor does it require an army of skilled technicians to sew it but simply, I was undecided on what I should make. Before I go on, let me explain the story behind this coat.
3 years ago (Yes! ‘Three”) I was out with a friend of mine when I made a detour and went to have a look at the fabrics in Berwick Street. As usual, this was in the bargain basement and I found a very beautiful forest green wool fabric. My friend, on the other hand, fell in love with this brown wool fabric and asked if I would make something for her with it. And there it began. Three years of indecisiveness, endless measurements and pattern cutting and shamefully, I was the cause of it. As clients goes, my friend is an ideal client. Someone who gives you free rein on the design (although she drew a line on frills), and has the patience of a saint.
Eventually, I stepped up my game….ok! ok! Eventually while speaking to my mom about it, she gave me a look of disgust for dragging this project on for so long so I did something about it. Besides, as inspiration goes, it suddenly came and I decided to just go with it.
Pattern cutting is a very strange and mysterious art. There are many ways to achieve a particular design and sometimes the simplest of ideas create the most amazing design. From my experience in experimental pattern cutting, proscrastination is your worst enemy. You can spend ages thinking about how you can achieve a particular problem but until you actually do it, you’re wasting your time. As experiments goes, a failure usually yields important lessons and most of the time for me, a possible solution for another problem.
Unlike most designers, I don’t start out with an illustration of how a piece of garment will look like. Far from it actually, as the design usually evolves from how I would play or manipulate a pattern or the fabric itself. It so happens from experience that I liked how a piece of fabric would drape from the intersecting point between the shoulder seam and the neck line. And from there, I decided to manipulate an existing coat block to create the drape that I wanted.
With the pattern all drawn, I preceded in cutting the fabric (luckily the moths has not got to it yet). By this time, I had already decided on the corresponding pieces and finishing, namely faux leather sleeves and faux leather binding around the edges. The task of sewing was actually pretty straight forward and easy.
I initially expected the drape to fall one way but was extremely excited when the drape fell in a different direction as well.
I really like the volume in the front of the coat and the shape the drape creates. What even surprised me was how easy the pattern was to make. I gave my sister a preview of this coat and she was trying to figure out how this pattern worked and when I showed her the coat laid out flat on the floor, she understood everything completely.
I know some of you must be thinking about the lining as well. Actually, there is no lining. I didn’t want the bulk to disrupt the flow of the drape so I just bound the edges with bias binding and left it at that.
I am meeting my friend today to pass her this coat and seeing her in it fills me with excitement. She has no idea what it looks like but I’m sure she will love it. She wanted something different and I promised her something interesting. And it only took 3 year in the making!