Recently I was playing with the idea of a circle in a garment. It’s nothing ground breaking as it is an idea that has been played with over and over again in numerous design. However, I wanted to try my own take on this idea and see what I can make out of it. This experiment was also going to form the basis of my mom’s coat. She is coming to visit me during Christmas (her first ever Christmas in UK) and I wanted to make her something warm to wear but at the same time, something stylish. After all, nothing is too good for my mom!
While playing with the shapes, I got fixated with Russian constructivist graphic design. I loved the strict geometrical shapes and the colour used and came up with this doodle.
I noticed how the triangles could be the lapels and how the rectangles could be the pockets. This concept immediately stuck to my mind and I began to trawl though my fabrics to see what I could use. To my surprise, I found a length of black wool fabric and some white Alcantara (a man-made suede) which fits in well with the colour scheme above. The soft texture of the wool and the smooth feel of the Alcantara would also lend some luxury to the design.
With the fabrics decided, I proceeded in cutting the pattern. All I have decided at that point was that it was going to be a loose-fitting coat. Then I remembered that I could use the pattern from my sister’s coat as the block because that coat pattern did not have any shaping in the side. This meant that I can trace the pattern out into a continuous piece, joining the side seams together. When this was done, I cut out a big circle and just placed them on top of the coat pattern. There was no set predetermined size when I cut out the circle. I just knew that it can’t be larger than the width of the pattern paper but I wanted it as big as possible.
While playing with the placement of the circles, I kept referring back to the picture I drew and thought about how the lapel and pockets would fit in. When the placement of the circle was perfect, I traced it onto the coat pattern and the end result was essentially a big circle on the coat.
Fast forward the pattern cutting bit, I proceeded in sewing the garment. I have never really sewn Alcantara before but it was so easy and I didn’t even need to get a leather needle.
It’s been a while since I spent a whole day pattern cutting and sewing but it was well worth it. Those packs of doughnuts also helped a lot! Thinking about it, I had circles in my mind.
The front of the garment looked like a loose translation of the picture I drew. Being so pedantic, it took ages to ensure that the white bit of the sleeve matched perfectly with the white circle. I knew that if I didn’t do that perfectly, it would haunt me everytime I see that sloppy work!
Strangely enough, the back almost looks like a completely different coat. And the funny thing is, with the circle enclosed around the body, you need to walk around the coat to actually see the continuity of the circle. Walking around in circles to see a circle!
I also used a quilted lining to make sure that my mom will stay warm in this coat without needing too many layers underneath.
I really liked how this coat turned out and how you can only see the circle when you open the coat and lay it flat. Mom has given her seal of approval and has even told me that her friend is green with envy as she also wants this coat.
I can’t wait to see mom in this. After all, this is the first coat I have ever made for my mom.