Monday, October 1, 2012

Coat Sew-Along: The Design Inspiration

Hello, readers! I am back home from a wonderful time at the American Sewing Expo. And now it's sew-along time! (Reminder: you can join the sew-along by joining this Flickr group.) Today, I wanted to write about my design inspiration for Butterick 5824, as I think it will give a better perspective on the intended fit of the coat.

The whole reason I wanted to do a line of patterns was to recreate vintage silhouettes that are hard to find for the home seamstress. You know that rare and iconic vintage pattern you've always wanted but costs $200 and is only for sale in a bust size 30"? That's what I'm talking about. For me, one of those designs was the 50s Princess Coat.

The Princess Coat is a direct descendent of Dior's 1947 New Look, which was marked by sloping shoulders, a dropped armscye, a nipped waist, and long full skirts.

In the early 50s, this style of coat became known as a Princess Coat. (Designer Lilli Ann made some of the most gorgeous styles, in my opinion.) If you look closely at the examples below, you'll see some of the design details I was most inspired by: very full skirts, dramatic collars, fitted waists, and loose kimono sleeves.


Lilli Ann coat

source

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I used photographs of coats like these as I was designing Butterick 5824 and also sewing the blue sample coat that you see in the pattern photo. So I'm hoping that these visuals will also help you as you're fitting your coat. As you can see, the sleeve and underarm area is not meant to be fitted at all. You will have folds of fabric in this area, which is intentional. I know that moden fitting techniques have us believe that all drapes of fabric are "drag lines" and therefore bad. But in this case, it's part of the design. Dior even brought back this fit in several recent couture collections!


So there you have it, readers. I hope this was helpful! More sew-along posts coming at you all this month.

20 comments:

  1. This fall I have been looking to buy a new coat. Thank you for this article. Really :) I love all these cute designs and now have an better idea of what to look for. Maybe I will even be brave and make my own.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this information. I now have a better understanding of how I should look at my test garment as I fit.

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  3. This is really helpful - I was confused about the fit of the sleeves in the previous post, and I hadn't been able to see that detail in the pattern photo. (I haven't started my project yet, and don't yet have the actual pattern - I was even reconsidering doing it, but this post got me right back on track!) Now I might actually add even more volume to the sleeves, as in that amazing white Dior coat you posted. Thanks for this extra perspective!

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  4. Definitely helps and I just love learning about styles and inspiration behind designs :)
    I especially like that you added a piece with stripes since mine is going to be made out of corduroy and now I know what the sleeves will look like (though switch the directions). I'm really excited about this coat!!

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  5. Love it! I have my pattern and am gearing up to make my muslin. :D Can't wait to have a new coat. It's gets REALLY chilly in the Pacific NW!

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  6. Well I may not be joining in this sew-along, but your information and style tips are so great I will certainly be back for more and perhaps I will have the nerve to join in next time.

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  7. Thanks for the info on the sleeves... I notice this has been a point of confusion in the flickr group! The thought that 'all drapes of fabric are "drag lines" and therefore bad' appears to be more engrained in our psyche than I was willing to admit, even to myself. I'm sure those comments have laid a lot of sewist's minds at ease!

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    1. im especially at ease because i was wondering what on earth drag lines were and worrying over how i would fix mine lol. i finished my muslin but havent had time to psot pics in the flickr group to get pointers on the fit.

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  8. Thanks Gertie. This post is both educational and reassuring. The Dior shape is so 'figure of eight' - all rounded dropped shoulders and volume on the upper section, it is a little alien to our modern eyes. Also good to see the dramatically different looks achieved with a fluid versus stiffer fabric in these pics. Anyway, as a novice coat maker this is going to be fun, I am going to take my time and learn as much as I can. And no separate sleeves = two less things to worry about!

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  9. I saw those first few coats....omg......swoon! Just gorgeous!

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  10. Thank you for this post. I am glad that I held off on muslin round two, now I understand the sleeves and overall shape better.

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  11. The pattern picture of the your Butterick 5824 coat looks like it has wide lapels, whereas your sample coat looks more like a shawl collar. Is this a design change or just due to differences in fabric?

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    1. Both the sample and the pattern have a shawl collar, no lapels.

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  12. "The world's #1 marketplace for logo design, web design, and crowdsourced writing projects. Over 28,000 satisfied clients! - crowdSPRING"

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  13. I love that last dress! It looks SO 1830s!
    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://19thcenturypaperdolls.weebly.com/uploads/9/6/2/7/962723/3268122_orig.jpg&imgrefurl=http://19thcenturypaperdolls.weebly.com/1/category/antebellum/2.html&h=400&w=334&sz=28&tbnid=gSZTR-2Tw9L9IM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=75&zoom=1&usg=__DCp-_AyzxHtWifkjw-kZBq9ZekU=&docid=IJKj_IGYnWyemM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2QhrULewIKe60AHfuYCYDw&sqi=2&ved=0CDMQ9QEwAw&dur=17

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  14. I love this look through the fashion consciousness of the past... great point about the folds, and of course, it's a beautiful style. :-) I'm not participating in the sewalong, because I already have a great woolen coat - which needs some slight refashioning, and this post made me think about it from a different perspective. Thanks for that!

    (Also, I think you should remove lancer's comments; they're spam.)

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  15. I don't have time to sew. But why do I keep coming back to this blog? It is so gorgeous, that's why. I love these 50's type clothes...you are doing a good job, are a blog artist of sorts. And you have me opening up my sewing machine and looking for patterns. Lol.

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  16. I love those Dior pics at the end. I might have to do a short coat. :)

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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