Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In the Trenches...

No matter what time a year you visit Paris, one thing is certain...there will always be cool days and it will always rain. For that reason, the trench coat is an eternal fashion basic in the City of Lights that never goes out of style.

The trench coat was originally designed by Burberry as an 'officers' coat for the British and French armies as far back as 1860. By World War I it was considered a necessity for the troops in the trenches. The flaps provided proper ventilation. The (raglan) sleeves allowed ease of movement and the epaulets were later added to hold the officer's gloves. The D rings were also added later, supposedly to hold grenades.

The original garment--cut from khaki gabardine--was double-breasted and decorated with 10 buttons, shoulder epaulets, front and back flaps, button down pockets and a tie belt. Today, trench coats are found in a wide variety of styles, colors and fabrics.

For this project I used a cotton fabric napkin I found for just 2€. I used the jacket pattern as the base, lengthened. The back is the same, however I extended the front by 3/4" beyond the CF line in order to create the double breasted style.

Next I place a bit of tracing paper over my draft and, while tracing off the shoulder line and part of the armhole and neckline, I drew the shape of the front yoke I wanted. I squared off this yoke then rounded off the lower front corner. You can also make a back yoke in the same manner, providing your fabric is thin (nylon, for example). However, for my cotton coat, I was afraid a back yoke would add too much bulk.

Add seam allowance to these pattern pieces. Then create a facing by tracing around the neckline of both the front and back as shown in the picture.

For the collar, make a rectangle measuring 3.5x1 inch. Set aside narrow lengths of fabric to make epaulets and belts.

For the front flap, turn under the left and bottom and glue down. Attach this piece to the front of the coat at the neckline and armhole.

Sew the coat along the shoulder seams and sew on the sleeve as shown in the jacket pattern (see pattern page). Stitch up the sides.

Prepare the collar. Fold under three sides leaving one long side to attach to the neckline of the coat. Baste in place.

Assemble the facings along the shoulder line.

Pin on top of the collar which has been basted onto the coat. Sew along the edges and the neckline.

Make epaulets (see safari jacket pattern), then glue in place atop the shoulder line. Measure and make small belts for the sleeves
as well as waist belt.

Place buttons equal distance from CF of doll. (I made these from polymer clay.)


Here is also a rain slicker, a simplified variation of the featured coat. It is a single breasted flared coat without collar. I've extended the front by 1/4 inch from the CF. I added more fullness by pivoting the side of the front and back coat pattern by 1/2 inch. Add seam allowance, create the facings and complete the coat as shown above.

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  1. j'adoooorre. Je me suis toujours demandé comment faire un trench pour mes Tonner dolls!!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Vanessa. The trick is to be patient with the details!

  3. this is really amazing! it inspired me to try one too I love all your patterns!

    1. Thank you Karin. Glad I could be of some inspiration. Come back as often as you like.


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