Monday, August 23, 2010

Speaking of Coats...

I noticed that Vogue is retiring pattern number 1476, the Issey Miyake wrap coat, shirt and pants. It was first issued in 2001. I'm glad it stayed in Vogue's catalog for so long. When I first saw it, I fell in love with it, but wasn't doing a lot of sewing, so I didn't rush right out to buy it. I finally picked it up during a ClubBMV sale in 2008.

Judging from how often I see it being resold on eBay and other pattern sites, I'm guessing that a lot of people bought the pattern and later decided not to sew it. It's understandable when you consider that the coat requires about 5 yards of fabric. That can be quite an investment, especially if you wanted to make it out of wool.

Also, like many Miyake patterns, the pattern pieces and construction methods are unconventional. Vogue's Miyake patterns often remind me of puzzles or architectural constructions. Here's the cutting diagram from the 1476 instruction sheet:

Pieces 13 and 14 are taped together before cutting. This becomes the front, sleeve front and lower back sections of the coat. As you can see, it takes up almost the full width of the 54" or wider fabric. When I made this, I laid it out on the floor and checked my grain over and over before putting scissors to fabric.

Once I started to sew, I found it wasn't all that difficult, though I did have to read the instructions several times before and during each step. I find that when I sew the unusual Miyake garments, it helps to let go of what I know about traditional garment construction steps and operate with beginner's mind.

I made mine from a double-sided tweedy twill of unknown fiber content (probably poly) that I got in the clearance section of Fabricland. Knowing my fabric wasn't that expensive helped me get past any fear of mistakes. I love the way the reverse side gives the effect of a contrast collar and lining.

Even though it's unlined, this coat is very warm. And because it's such an unusual style, I see it as timeless.

Being such a dramatic piece, I expect to get comments when I wear it, and I do. Sometimes, they are complimentary, and sometimes they are, well... just comments. Let me add that I currently live in a conservative city where women my age don't typically have purple streaks in their hair or wear traffic stopping coats.

Last winter, I wore the coat while walking downtown. A conservatively dressed, elderly woman tapped me on the arm and said, "That's an interesting coat. You must be a foreigner." I just smiled.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome!! I wish I had known about double-faced wools at the time. I like how yours looks lined. It's gorgeous, thanks for showing it to me. You should add your picture to the Vintage Wiki entry for the pattern like I did.