This coat was a bespoke commission for a mother of the bride who wanted to keep warm on the day! She wanted a royal blue cashmere coat so we delivered it with a twist. The base fabric was purchased new but all the embellishments, beads, charms etc. and the lining were all leftovers from previous projects or treasure finds from old stash that we find when trawling charity shops and boot sales.
After preliminary sketches we began by taking measurements and constructing the coat, up to a point. In order to decorate it according to our proposal we needed to keep some areas accessible. We take some ideas for colour/shape etc. from the client but also insist we are allowed to let our creativity and experience guide the results, keeping the client in the loop if we feel things are moving too far from the original.
So, once we had reached a certain point we began to plot and assemble the decoration. As you can see from some of the images the first step was to paint the lace motifs and embroidered scraps. We enjoy doing it this way as it gives a more blended look than flat colours.
Care is taken to make sure the decoration will balance through the design so we plot it out beforehand using tailor’s chalk, in this case. Once we are happy with the amount and position of the decoration we began sprinkling stuff on the fabric. We used a combination of silk yarn, knitting yarn, painted lace and scraps and small pieces of embroidery cut from waste fabric. Some of the pieces we used were tiny
It pays to keep standing back from the piece and taking a breather. This way we can keep assessing how the progress is going. Our process is an organic thing. We are happy to undo or re-arrange and entire panel if we feel it’s not quite going according to the plan or the colours or weight of it aren’t quite right. We’ve been doing this for a while, though, so we are quite good at it by now!
We like to use a mixture of techniques and machines to create the embellishments. We also believe you can’t go wrong with a bit of hand sewing here and there.
For this piece we wanted the basic shape to be quite a classic and let the decoration make it stand out. However, we couldn’t resist adding a little design feature on the cuffs that raised it from the mainstream. The cuff band actually weaves in and out of the sleeve. You won’t see that on a high Street coat; indeed it is our opinion you won’t see the attention to detail present in our pieces in many places anywhere on the planet. Where possible we use ‘old school’ techniques like French seams and bound buttonholes in preference to various corner cutting methods that we think lower the standard of finish and wearability of so much of today’s clothing. Our pieces will stand the test of time from both an aesthetic and practical sense. That’s sustainability for you!
Most of our pieces are our own ideas and creations but we are more than happy to discuss a commission with you if you have a special idea or a dream garment that you have always wanted to own. All we ask is that you allow us to use as much material as possible that would otherwise go to landfill or be discarded.