carnivale – technically complex

This week the carnivale is hosted by the fashion-incubator.

Tell us about the most technically complex garment you have either owned or constructed, describing it’s unique features. Feel free to include photos if you have them.

Neat! I’ve actually been meaning to mention this project. Now maybe I can find out what Kathleen Fasanella thinks of it. Constructive criticism from anyone is welcome.

Though alive inside was probably the most labor intensive, problem ridden project I’ve ever undertaken, as far as making clothes goes I still haven’t talked about my most technically tricky project to date – my third year tailoring project.

The first challenge was trying to adapt my school blocks. Long time readers might remember this image from my school block rant on the old blog:


The menswear blocks were the most atrocious all of my school’s generally terrible blocks. This image shows the breadth of my adjustments – some measurements had change by as much as four inches. Lucky for me my boyfriend is a pretty decent size 38-40 so I had a real human being to fit on. I’ll spare you the three mangled muslins. I would have done more if it wasn’t so time-intensive.

Since the coat would fit him anyway, I also let him have his say in the design process too.

This was my original concept:
It’s a felted wool fall/winter jacket. It features casually placed pockets and can be buttoned or zipped. So there’s a dual closure. The collar can be a stand collar or a notched collar, depending on how high or low it is zipped or buttoned.

Involving Ray in the process changed things. He wanted a longer jacket, and back vents. There was extensive discussion of pocket placement. There were massively dramatic changes in every redraft.

The final, slightly imperfect results… please note that this mannequin is a little smaller than Ray and a lot shorter. It’s made of this gorgeous charcoal felted wool which sewed up like buttah.

Here it is zipped up all the way.

The back view. It has an inverted, topstitched pleat at the center back, as well as two, (2!) vents.

Here it is semi-buttoned. It has welt pockets and also working plackets on the cuff, that actually have functioning buttons. Why? I have no idea. The idea of a decorative closure that is non-functional gets to me, though I think in this case I may have missed the point.

With the collar up. Check out that sleeve. I was still struggling with the “sleeve cap ease” myth at the time. The sleeve went through more than several iterations. It looks better with an arm in it! This mannequin has no arms.

The lining. I sewed the entire thing by machine, though at the time I was still struggling with the “jump pleat myth” which is why it bags out the way it does. As you can see one of the vent-lining joinings is perfect, and the other one has a wee glitch.

Those functional cuffs! They’ve got their own little tricky lining maneuver too.

Close up for you to inspect my welt, my topstitching, and my buttons.

The one thing about this jacket I would change… I would have preferred it shorter. Also, there is a distinct need for a welt that goes through to the inside of the jacket, so Ray can access his pants pocket through his coat. The pockets could be moved up a touch too. Maybe a better idea for the cuffs. I would have used a more prominent topstitching thread and used a guide instead of just marking with chalk. I could have created a yoke style-line to emphasize the shoulders a little more.

I’m quite proud of it. Especially because Ray likes it so much he does wear it when he goes out. That’s the best. The fabric feels fabulous and I feel quite special when I’m on his arm!

8 thoughts on “carnivale – technically complex”

  1. that is incredibly amazing! I would wear that coat… even if it is menswear. now if only my boyfriend would let me dress him…

  2. what a fantastic jacket! i love the red topstitching, especially down the pleat in the back. it gives it that little bit ‘extra’ that makes it obviously custom. great great job — ray is one lucky guy. i hope he knows it. 🙂

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