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Nov 3, 2013

Color Blocking on the Brain



I can't get this vintage blanket coat/jacket project off my mind, readers, so permit me to brainstorm a bit.

Here are a few of my challenges.  The blanket I'm trying to showcase, the one with the shell pattern, is not large -- it's a fragment really.  There's enough here for two fronts and part of the sleeves or back, maybe the facings, and that's about it.



The hem in my pattern does not run straight across (see below).  The wide border on the blanket, therefore, cannot work at the hem but rather needs to be elsewhere.



I thought about cutting the blanket lengthwise; I could use more of it that way.





I even sketched it. 



But that shell pattern doesn't look so great running vertical.  

So now I'm thinking of having the bold border run across the middle of the coat, with the shells above and an attached piece of the blue blanket below it.



I can change the pockets so that the flaps fall over the blue, like on that Kenzo coat I posted yesterday.  As for the sleeves, I'm not sure how I'll do them; a lot will depend on how much coat I can squeeze out of this blanket fragment. 



I would also like the collar to be made from it as I'm not fond of the look of solid blue lapels.



Michael and I both agree that the blue blanket and the shell-pattern blanket work together better than the shell pattern and the vibrant pine green.  The blue has clearly visible beige threads running through it, giving it a more faded look similar to that of the patterned blanket.  (It's also genuinely faded.)  I will use the green blanket for something else. 



To paraphrase Barbie, colorblocking is hard.

A closing question:  I've already run all my blankets through the dryer with a damp towel for about 40 minutes to kill anything that might have been living in them and to pre-shrink the wool a bit  (the latter probably unnecessary since these old blankets have likely been washed many times before).

The Japanese pattern book suggests very little in the way of interfacing: just the collar and the facings.  Given that the wool is so thick (and I want some drape) is there any reason to interface anything else?  I can see interfacing the hem to stabilize it, and maybe the corners of the pockets, but to interface the fronts, as one would a wool blazer, seems like too much for fabric this heavy.  Thoughts? 

Thank you for allowing to me to get some of these coat issues off my chest, friends.  It looks like November is going to be outerwear month.

Have a great day, everybody!

28 comments:

  1. I wonder if the front might look good in the shell print with the back a solid color? Then there might be enough for the collar. The collar from the back in the shell print would still look good I think. Also for interfacing maybe a soft pre-washed flannel? It would have to be sewn in but it might give just enough support and yet keep the soft qualities of the vintage blanket.

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    1. Since the wide border doesn't work as the hem (since the hem isn't cut straight across), there isn't enough width of the shell pattern alone to use as the front(s). I like the flannel idea!

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    2. Twue...although the curve is gentle and steam shaping the hem might enable the bottom stripe to curve a bit. Claire Schaeffer's books have a lot of information on steam shaping, which is easy (and fun) to do with wool.

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  2. I wasn't sure at first but I'm liking where you're going with this. Thinking about structure, I remember camp blankets to be heavy and over time your coat might get droopy. I'd use some basic tailoring on the shoulder, chest and across the back.

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  3. Although heavy, blankets don't have a crisp hand, I'd interface the lapels and stabilize the shoulder seams. I like your second look the best.

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  4. I like your first sketch best, with the sleeves part blocked as well as a plain back. Looking forward to seeing more updates.

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  5. I really like the sketch with the bottom section running up and down the front panel. Is there any way you can cut this section off and piece it together with the shells running horizontally? I think that would look fantastic and the plain collar then looks like it is framing your face. I am sure whatever you choose will be amazing! Good luck.

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  6. The pattern on the shell blanket is really too large to use it on the upper jacket and the lapels. Too mish mashy. Maybe the pattern at the bottom, (Could the hem line be straightened?) and then the shells on the lapels (woo, a poet!) would stand out against the solid blue background,

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  7. Peter -- I do think this needs some structure at the top -- everything hangs from the shoulders and you are a thin sort of guy, so I vote for putting hair canvas in the front edges and in the chest - you could do one bit honkin' piece that curves toward the armscye (like a princess seam, if you follow me) and an extra piece in the chest/shoulder area. Even though the fabric is thick and heavy, it needs some structural support, I think; otherwise, I feel it will start to pull down and end up looking like a topcoat/pajama top.

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  8. I'm going to put my two cents worth in and say that I like your second sketch best.... But I'm fascinated to watch how this project goes regardless of how you choose to place the fabrics!

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  9. I liked the Kenzo coat the best when you posted various possibilities to inspire your own design.Could you manage to use the border for the sleeve hems and still get the upper fronts and collar/facing out of the shells? the lower front and entire back could be the blue blanket. Looking forward to seeing your vision.

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  10. #1, no question, in my mind anyway. You want to be able to look back at this creation years from now and still feel the jangle of Fall 2013, no? That's the one. Exciting:)

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  11. My favorite is the first sketch, but whatever you end up choosing will, no doubt, be fabulous. Not having quite enough fabric can be a pain, but sometimes the most incredible things happen because you have to get creative!

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  12. I also prefer the first sketch.
    And I think you'd be right to follow the book about the interfacing. The jacket you are going to make is a somewhat casual shape. It's a less tailored style so it doesn't require you interfacing the heck out of it. And, as you wrote, those wool blankets are pretty thick already, so why add more bulk? I would seriously consider interfacing around the pockets though because blankets are somewhat loosely woven and the drape can do strange things at such points

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  13. As long as everyone is opining. . . I think the Kenzo coat and idea of chopping the coat in half horizontally, looks like Humptey Dumptey, or at least like my recollection of images of an egg shaped man with belt around the middle separating two colors. Not terribly flattering. So if this color blocking craze is irresistible I would vote for the vertically arranged elements, or even just pattern on the inside collar as someone suggested. But all in all, I can't help but note that Saturday's post pictured the unquestionably "beautiful" green coat, and this one seems to be struggling with images that might or might not be successful. Clearly different strokes.

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  14. I love I the first sketch. I wonder if you made the sleeves blue, would you have enough shell fabric for the front and back?

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  15. Why don't you just have a straight hem instead of the slight curved one that is in the pattern? If that was how you originally had planned your design, then why not alter the pattern a bit?

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  16. As to interfacing, most blankets (including yours to judge from the last photo) are a lot more fluid and soft than most coating wools. You'd not be likely to ever see folds and wrinkles of the shape and texture in your last image here in a typical coating, so unless that's exactly what you like about these blankets, I'd imagine you'll be happier with the final garment if it's interlined completely with perhaps a light canvas, or at least supported in the shoulders, collar/facings and hem with something firmer than the blankets. I'd be looking at tailoring linens or horsehair... To quote the redoubtable Kenneth King, "Remember this: The fashion fabric is only along for the ride!"

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  17. You've got David Page Coffin commenting on your blog, Peter! You have arrived.

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  18. I love the Kenzo look, and although being a bit of a humpty dumpty myself i'd never cut a coat this way I think your slender figure will carry it off very well,, cut the sleves patterned to the front and plain to the back, it will be wonderful.

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  19. Please come to Australia and dress my husband who insists on white shirts, dull suits for business and juvenile tshirts on the weekend!!

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  20. I love your plans for this jacket, and I particularly like the top sketch for colorblocking with the printed pockets dropping down over the solid as in the Kenzo coat. This one is going to look great finished!

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  21. Have you thought about placing the half orange border on the chest-line and bicep lines?

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  22. Your fashion illustrations are terrific!
    How did you learn to draw with such panache?

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    1. I don't know. I was always "the creative one" in the family!

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  23. Be careful with the patterned blanket, your coat could look like a Hawaiian shirt!

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  24. You've got a diagonal element with those white shells in the blanket fabric, which you might want to take into account.

    For a subtle menswear version, see George Strait at the 2013 Country Music Awards.

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