New Season – New Inspiration

Yes, a new project has taken off… and once again it’s because I must be looking at too much French couture fashion! First it was Kim Jones at Dior. Then I fell down the rabbit hole of Hermès. Now it’s Givenchy, and the initial offering of their new designer Matthew Williams. You can see the whole Spring 2021 collection here.

So what exactly has caught my eye?

This coat! (if you can look past the ridiculous styling).

I love the simplicity of this look, and the metal closure immediately caught my attention. From what I’ve read, the metal elements in the new Givenchy clothes and accessories are inspired by the bridge of “Love Locks” in Paris.

Which is apparently being dismantled because it’s become too heavy!

Undeterred by these husky workmen, I remain inspired to run with it. Somehow, this coat triggers all sorts of influences that pull at me. Do any of you remember the Perry Ellis “Big Coat” of the 1980’s?

Oh, to swoop around in one of these!

Of course inspiration only goes so far. Eventually there has to be a plan to get from concept to reality. So here’s what’s developed so far.

Once again I’m going to be riffing of Closet Core’s Sienna Maker Jacket. Hopefully, Heather Lou will approve. (Can hacking a pattern over and over be sign of love? I hope so.)

Long version “A” looks like the perfect jumping off point. It’s a wrap coat that closes with hardware, so I’m pretty much half way to what I’ve envisioned. The other advantage is that I’ve already made the short version. So the fitting at the top half of the coat is already done, and that’s usually the most challenging part.

The big pockets will have to go, naturally. And speaking of pockets, I can’t say I’m in love with the welt pockets on the Givenchy coat. Maybe it’s just me, but they look kind of, dare I say, cheap; especially the way they sag open. I would expect something more structured on a coat that probably sells for between $3,500 and $4,000. Would you?

I’ve decided to go with a vertical double welt pocket, in hopes that it will visually lengthen the lines of the coat. I’m not a tall man, so I’ll take whatever illusion I can get. Something like this….

Here’s proof that I can find inspiration just about anywhere. Even at the book store for Juniors!

I’m going to be using a boiled wool fabric that I purchased sight unseen from Kashi at Metro Textiles. At the time he was running a 50% off sale. His description was something like, “boiled wool in Indian Teal with an interesting texture”. Classic Kashi!! At 50% off it was too good to pass up, so I jumped. I’m happy to report that it’s turned out to be a dream to work with, and I love the color. Win / Win.

Before going too far, I always like to make a practice pocket on a bit of scrap. I want to be sure that my plan is actually doable. Welt pockets are scary enough, I don’t need to wade into a potential disaster. A patch pocket can be picked off, but once that welt is slashed there’s no going back. The welts here are 3/8″ by 6″.

Reassured that the pockets can be made, I’m ready to move forward. File this under…Time well spent.

There will be plenty of tailoring geekery in the weeks to come, which I know my longtime readers have come to expect. I love making outerwear. It’s practical…It can be beautiful…and most of all, it’s supremely fun and satisfying. Hopefully, you’ll catch the outerwear bug!

Until next time, please stay safe and sew. It’s the best social distancing!


23 thoughts on “New Season – New Inspiration

  1. Hi! That is gorgeous fabric. I look forward to all your details. I was listening to one of Linda Lee’s talks and she mentioned adding a wedge on either side of the centre front when lengthening a coat for walking ease, so it doesn’t flare open below the hips. I’m sure you will know if you need this, but thought I might mention it as it would add to the swooping entrance you will make in this fabulous pattern hack. Greetings from New Brunswick!


  2. I’m really looking forward to hearing all your “tailoring geekery”! Also, I’m very curious about how you’ll add a lining. I’ve been wanting to make the Sienna jacket for awhile now and want to line it but not sure the best approach for that? Your fabric is fabulous and your choice of the vertical welt pocket is brilliant! And I know the final results will be too!


    1. It’s really not hard to add a lining. I’ll try to touch on it in one of the future posts. In a way it’s like making the jacket all over again, with some extra ease added here and there.


  3. I wish I lived somewhere cold! A winter coat is not suitable . . . shorts, yes. Anyway, I am looking forward to your adventures – as always – and enjoy every minute. You are an inspiration to us all. 😉


  4. Your pockets … remind me of a “pass-through” on an old and beloved secondhand coat. Looked like a straightforward vertical welt pocket. But the wearer could reach through the welt and lining into the inside of the coat OR just through the welt into a pocket between the outer wool and inner lining. I don’t recall if the lining opening was welted but I do recall that the coat was very heavy and very well made.

    Is this a familiar menswear feature?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to have a London Fog topcoat (unlined) with this feature behind an angled single welt. Basically, there was a normal, teardrop pocket bag behind the welt, but the top part of the bag, on the side opposite the welt, was a finished opening instead of having the front and back pocket pieces seamed together. Becuase the pocket was quite deep, nothing fell out, but you could go for your pants pocket just as easily. Very simple and convenient, but I don’t know how you’d do it on a lined, structured piece.


  5. Hi Duane, great to see your post and know you are well. I love Perry Ellis styles, and that IS really interesting textured wool. Great color too. Looking forward to another of your always interesting projects! I enjoyed your interview by Anne Whalley, btw.


  6. I like the vertical double welt pocket- I just put vertical single welt pockets in pants for a customer, as the pattern had no outside leg seam. Are you attaching the pocket to something in the inside construction to hold the weight of anything put into it? The pants pockets were sewed into the waistband at the top. Oh, and I guess you style well for your physique- I have seen pics of you in a lot of outfits, and had no idea you were “not tall”.


  7. I’m wondering if you know the weight of your GORGEOUS wool, and how you would “rate” different weights for ease of sewing? (I’ve had differing results in coat making- back in the day when no weight was provided, or I didn’t know to ask.) Love your wordy & educational posts. You know we tune in for the sewnerdy facts!


    1. I think wool is the most forgiving fiber to work with. I love it. Boiled wool is actually a knit, so there is the whole stretch issue to contend with. I’m going to be stabilizing all the seams with rayon seam binding to help prevent “sagging and bagging”. The fabric I’m working with is a mid weight, so not perfect for my cold climate. I’m going to line it with Kasha, which is a heavy flannel backed lining. That may, or may not do the trick. I hate being cold!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wool loves welt pockets. I learned how to make them on an Issey MIyake jacket (1664) and have always been grateful for the great instructions Vogue used to provide. And you made a practice one, so you won’t have to struggle with the turn of cloth questions.

    Very excited to see how this turns out (enjoying the process photos on IG)


  9. Beautiful fabric i love working with boiled wool (lighter weight instead of a heavier weight), it is so easy to shape and also has a wonderful drape, perfect for coats and jackets. I’m sure this will be one incredible knock off for far less then the cost of the original coat. I’m going to make a navy blue boiled wool coat over the holidays, simple design so i can toss it on over all my other clothing. I have all my tailoring supplies and lining sorted for the project. Good luck with your make


  10. Coats are so very satisfying to sew and they save a lot of money. They also last a lot of years, especially when made as well as yours. It’s definitely a fabulous way to pass the time during the pandemic.


  11. How do you deal with patterns that have excessive sizes. So time consuming. I know companies offer offer services to copy a size. But again time consuming. Love your work. Getting back to tailoring.


    1. Are you referring to multi sized patterns? I appreciate them, especially in the case of this coat, since I had to grade from one size at the shoulder to another at the waist. Of course, I always make a toile to make sure I’m on the right track.


      1. I do like the commercial pattern sizing. But others by designers not so much. Size 0-20 or some over 0-20 is way too too confusing and takes too long to transfer to my pattern paper. I have several people saying the same. Are you retired? Seems your lucky to have a lot of sewing time. Have a great day creating beautiful garments.


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