Coats, Philosophical Musings

Will It Blend?

Will it blend?

And now you’re all “thanks for that, there goes my whole day.” The point was that my creative brain feels like a blender recently– I’m throwing all these ingredients in there and hitting “frappe.” Also I’m not sure my blender has a lid, nor do I have those cool safety glasses, but ah well. Creativity is a contact sport; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Things in my head right now: Coats (Duh) Largely double-breasted coats with a hint of military style. I really like the blending (oh there it is again) of styles– military mixed with whimsy, or bright color, or punk…

Via Yahoo Image Search– source unknown.


Jillian Lewis Trench

I am fascinated by the sculptural structures that can be created with just fabric and thread; particularly the work of Inaisce, and, of course, my hero, Alexander McQueen.


Alexander McQueen


Alexander McQueen


Alexander McQueen


Alexander McQueen





Also coats using riots of color or creative embellishments. Remembering that the details, while not always immediately noticeable, can be the thing that takes a garment from ordinary to special.


Via Simply Rebecca Studios; creator unknown




Balmain Summer 2010 collection


Red thread poetry dress by ruthrae, via Flickr



Jamie Avis Sharpie Coat


The question comes to me: Why coats? Why not dresses or, for that matter 2-dimensional art? Drawings and paintings?

I did not expect clothing to speak to me so deeply. I thought I was going to be a painter; make huge, meaningful canvases.

I have always had a deep interest in clothes, but it was a personalized interest, all wrapped up in my teen angst years. Defining what was “me” and what wasn’t; creating the self I was trying to become through the use of clothes. The clothes create the character, right? So dress as the person you wish you were. Turns out this means a lot more to me than I realized at the time.

In college I was an illustration major, and I got really into tattoo art, and body modification in general. I wrote my senior thesis on the evolution of tattoo art in America and it’s modern applications. There is something beautiful and deeply tribal about body modification– the way that it is both a quest of personal creation/evolution, AND a form of visual communication.  Over the years I have realized that the things that fascinated me in tattoos are not completely disparate from what interests me about fashion. We use tools like tattoos, hairstyle and clothing to speak, to identify,  to whisper incantations of what we are, think we are, or want to be.

These art forms are extremely dynamic– they exist actively in the world rather than in a gallery. They are constantly in flux, evolving. To work in the medium of fabric and fashion is a more interactive experience for me than I could achieve through more classical art forms. I feel like I am drawing inspiration up from myself, but I am also simultaneously having a conversation with the people who will eventually own, wear, and live in my pieces. I’m putting in little messages for them to decode and treasures for them to find.

This has been today’s philosophical diatribe. Can you tell I’m ramping up to apply for grad school?

Coats, Works in Progress

The Dream Coat (yes, THAT Dream)

To use the most-uttered statement in the world of WordPress–I’ve been remiss in my blogging.

I’ve been working. And taking pictures. But they have been just sitting on various devices, making rude faces at me, building up into a big ol’ guilt-mountain. UNTIL TODAY. Today, gentle reader, I have ventured into the wilds of Pekoe Sip House, where dude-bros discussing au pairs and Muy Thai rub elbows with white women in head-scarves doing dramatic chakra-blessings over their rooibos. I am not kidding. And it is only 8:30 am.

I have fueled myself with chai (with real milk, because I am going promptly to hell) and will now endeavor to sort out some of what I’ve been doing lately. I may need more chai.

A bit of foundation– feel free to skip this and go straight to pretty pictures. I’m in the process of building up a portfolio to apply to grad school, to continue to study the sartorial arts, or the artsy sartorials. One of those.  I’m building the crux of this portfolio around coats– sort of a conceptual bee I’ve had in my (shiny) bonnet for quite a while and have probably talked at you about before. Basically I have some ideas for pieces that are both art and garment, but it’s a lot of ideas in a lot of uncharted territory and I pretty much have no idea what I’m doing but I have faith it shall be, if not awesome, at least interesting.  So that’s the WHY of it.

I started with the Purple Scrappy Coat, which I still haven’t finished. It pretty much taught me just enough to know that I wanted to make the whole thing from scratch and have control over the shape and style of the coat. I may have control issues.

So I made the Piped Damask Coat to begin learning about that. I should mention that I am not, at this present moment, expecting to become a master tailor. Tailoring is an intense craft that, frankly, scares the shit out of me, so while I intend to pick up as much knowledge and skill as possible, please don’t mistake this for me being all “I’m a tailor now!” That’s like drawing a stick figure and then introducing yourself as an artist.  But I digress…

The newest project is inspired by The Sandman. That’s right, this guy:


Isn’t he just DREAMY?

(i’m sorry.)


If you don’t know the Sandman books, go read them all, right now, then come back. These books have been HUGELY influential in my life, and if I could pick ANY ONE LIVING, FAMOUS PERSON to be friends with, it would absolutely be Neil Gaiman. I have even drawn this wonderful alternate reality: It’s me and Neil drinking tea and discussing books and dogs and the magic of small things, all while taking a lovely jog, and we don’t spill a drop, no not a one.


Right. Fangirling over. I am so embarrassed.

I thought to myself, “If I were the Lord of Dreams, what would I wear?” so it’s the Dream Coat… no technicolor involved.

Here’s some of the first sketches.


Lots of doodle of pockets and sleeves…


Dream is pretty much tall, dark and handsome. Emphasis on dark. He’s a bit of a mope sometimes, but you love him anyway. He makes my inner goth very happy. He’s always in black, so I’m thinking black on black on black for the coat, clearly. However, his cloak is all flames on the inside, so I want to work in an element of that as well.

I picked a very nice Burda pattern as the base pattern to mock up a muslin in. I’m basically taking the shape and sleeves of this coat and altering the hell out of it.

Point A:


 I drafted a new collar, added a hood, lengthened and changed the sleeves, added inseam pockets, added pleats to the back and changed the hemline. Pray for me that it goes together alright at the end.ImageImage

Lots of alterations and bourbon went into this pattern.Image

It should be a lot closer to this now.

Point B:


Next– into the (fabric) breach! Stay tuned!