Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Wearable Muslin - McCalls 5816 Trench Coat

Okay this muslin was always going to be wearable. So I made it in black and I lined it in black and I used bias tape to finish the seam in So it is hard to photograph. I don't love this muslin but I learned a lot and I figure that has to be worth my next trench coat - the real deal - will be in a great stretch cotton-poly blend with rayon lining. Oh, and it will also be a different pattern - Vogue 8884 - with the trench coat features added. I've just got the next season of Call the Midwife, so I will be sewing and watching this weekend.

 McCall's 5816

Monday, March 24, 2014

A little about Trench Coats

So I am in the midst of making a trench coat. Actually, I am pretty much finished making my muslin, which I will finish and use as a wearable, unlined, short trench for the real deal, my brain is leaning toward a solid colour but my heart keeps throwing up prints. In the meantime, I've been reading up on trench coats:

Did you know that trench coats became popular when Thomas Burberry wanted a raincoat that looked professional and did its job (keeping the rain out)? 

Raincoat Rivalry in 1914Both Acquascutum and Burberry claim to have invented the tan cotton trench. Raincoat rivalries aside, we do know that this garment was originally bred for war. In fact many of its most distinctive features were created with the military man of WW1 in mind. Shoulder straps allowed epaulets to be attached; pockets were deep so that maps or letters from home could be hastily stuffed away, and D-rings on the belt allowed accoutrements like swords to be attached and retrieved at a moment’s notice. When the war was over the trench coat stayed behind, becoming a fashion perennial.

He invented the long coat design, with epaulets, in a new fabric he invented called 'gaberdine". (Actually, there is some dispute whether the design of the modern trench coat was originated by Burberry or Aquascutum, another company that also furnished trench coats during WWI. But there is no doubt, that Burberry's fabric made the trench coat popular and utilitarian.) 

In 1879, gaberdine was a new tight-weave, water resistant fabric that was perfect form Burberry's intent. Burberry used this fabric in his new long rain coat. Soon after, the British Army made an order and sent its army men off to war wearing them. Indeed the trench coat gets its name from trench warfare of the First World War. 

Many of the design features of the trench were to serve the military. The storm flap (or gun flap) provide an extra barrier again rain getting in.  After all, if you are out in the driving rain for an extended period, you need a barrier to keep rain from getting in through zippers and buttonholes. There is some suggestion that it also helped to keep the coat from showing early wear due tot he firing of the weapon (hence, the name "gun flap").  Another feature is the cape. It acts as a second layer around the shoulders where water falls and sits. Remember, the original trench coats weren't completely waterproof, they were simply made of the tight-weave gabardine, so it would be more resistant to water but the water would eventually soak through. 

After the war, the British army gave its surplus coats to civilians in need and a trend was born. Soon detectives and gangsters were wearing them on movie screens and they became a symbol of masculinity. Indeed, Humphrey Bogart's character, Sam Spade in Casablanca, wore a trench that appealed to many. Trench coats became an essential part of men's wardrobes.

Audrey Hepburn's character, Holly Golightly, wore a trench in Breakfast at Tiffany's and suddenly, trenches were accessible to women. 

Components of Traditional Trench Coats:

1. Collar and lapel

2. Button closure

3. Raglan Sleeves - a standard trench coat has raglan sleeves. Many today do not.

4. Storm or Gun Flap - This is the extra piece of fabric on the right shoulder which protects the jacket from rain - or the kickback of a military rifle.

5. Belt - it must have a belt to be a trench coat

6. Sleeve Tab (called loop in the pic below): should be closed with a button


Trench Coats in Movies:
Bogart, Davis, Hepburn, Ford, Reeves and Kate Middleton all in trenches...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

St Patrick's Day Jacket - Vogue 7975

This is my fourth jacket for the Fearless February/March Challenge. And I cheated a little. I used snaps instead of buttons.  It is an easy pattern but I had some difficulty with fitting it (and I still have to tweak it a little...)

Line Art
I chose view B but I added snaps (I need jackets to close) and I use grosgrain ribbon instead of fold over braid. Maybe next time.     

I made this in green corduroy from my stash. I bought the lining after I choose the fabric.
This is a classic Chanel jacket pattern from Vogue. I used grosgrain ribbon and snaps - in the interest of finishing this for St. Patrick's day...

My cat who always gets in the way when I am sewing. Happy St Patrick's Day!

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