I have no idea what made me think that I needed a linen coat, also called a duster in other parts of the world. It doesn’t seem like a very practical garment but never mind. At least I had the sense to use a heavy linen, which doesn’t wrinkle as much as the thin stuff. I also mentally left the door open to turn the coat into a dress by making the front into the back with a CB seam, then recutting the neck, shoulders and armscyes/sleeves. The latter would make the dress a bit shorter than the coat is now, but there is plenty of length to play with. However, for the moment we have a coat and I am very happy with the way it looks.
As usual I didn’t bother to look for a pattern but took the elements I wanted from TNT patterns. Because a coat needs a little room in the shoulders to wear something underneath I opted for slightly dropped shoulders, but not too much as I wanted the coat to fit quite closely through the upper bodice. I used Vogue 8542, which has worked very well for me in the past, but is now OOP. The pattern is for knits, so in a woven the armscyes and sleeves are a little tighter than intended, but that is just what I was after. Loose enough to accommodate a top underneath, but not sloppy. With a long loose garment, a close fit in the shoulders is essential to avoid the huge all over look. I also snugged up the neckline for the same reason.
The body of the coat is my ever-trusty Tessuti Lily linen dress, although I squared up the hem, because a curved hem is more difficult when it comes to getting my motifs arranged nicely when printing. I put in pockets and added slits at the bottom of the side seams because it seemed a good idea for a coat.
Did I mention that I am really keen on block printing right now? And I still love a leaf print that I have already used a couple of times with great success. Read all about it in my previous post if you want to know more. But on to the coat.
The last two iterations of the leaf block print were pretty high contrast, black on white and black on natural.
This time I went for low contrast, medium grey leaves on a light mauve linen background. This helps a lot with the main drawback of block printing, variable coverage. It always depends on how well the block is inked and how evenly pressure has been applied, as to how perfect coverage will be with the individual motifs. Of course some of the charm of block prints comes precisely from the handmade look produced by these slight irregularities, but keeping them to a minimum is not a bad idea.
I print my garments with the shoulder seams sewn up and the sleeves set in in the flat. I don’t overlock the seam allowances until later, because that makes them thicker and they show up more when you print over them. Because the side seams are still open I can lay the garment out flat. This way I don’t need to worry about paint bleeding through to the layer below, and it is easy to arrange the prints nicely around the neck and armscyes, which is a critical area because it is close to the face and likely to be noticed if it is not done well.
Once the printing is finished the rest of the construction is easy. The pattern is very uncomplicated, certainly no lining and no shaping or fitting either because of the loose style. More details regarding the construction are on my PR review.
I am planning to wear this coat with grey basics, that means grey pants and grey tunics or tops. Luckily I have quite a variety of those, as I love grey and it is a good colour for me. I have also worn the coat a couple of times now and it doesn’t look in need of an iron. The thicker linen helps, as I have mentioned before, but the prints also seem to give the fabric a bit more stability. Always a bonus with linen. By the way, if your washing machine has a steam cycle, you can try putting linen garments through this to freshen them up. It kills bacteria, as in smell, which means garments do not need to be washed as often, and gives the linen a nice soft look that doesn’t require ironing. Win-win I would say.
And here are some more pics.
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