Esme has a much-loved yellow, summer coat. I bought for about £60 in Zara, a shop that usually stocks more a good range of yellow items. In fact if you like yellow it is the shop to shop in. I imagine in sunny Spain those dark-haired girls seek out true lemon to make their black clothes and denim jeans come to life.
Anyway a yellow summer coat is a wonderful thing, and I am always looking for nice yellow cloth for myself (more of that later). I love it that Esme wears a yellow coat like it is just an old thing – rather than reserved for “occasion wear”.
Esme has had this coat for two or three years and it has gone from pretty to pretty knackered. She has never washed or cleaned it and to my mind it is ready for throwing out. But she loves it dearly and will even wear it for parties (luckily in Peckham, in summer, grunge is still OK).
As I put the coat on Camilla you could see her lip curling. What are you putting on me? It’s disgusting! Well it won’t be long my dear Duchess, as Esme will want it to wear it later today. You can see the facings rolling out, the sagging pockets, the lack of any proper interfacing, the uneven hem. Please, fellow dressmakers and seamstresses, if any of these thing happen to your jackets and dresses realise it is the norm on RTW.
Anyway my task was to replicate said coat. In exactly the same shade of yellow, the same feel and texture, the exact viscose-linen twill fabric used by the manufacturer. Sorry, Esme, that is not going to happen. Despite searching committedly for fabric that might do I failed miserably. But Esme is a kind and reasonable girl. She agreed with me that a completely different colour, but more or less the right weight would do just fine.
So now we are on the hunt for something suitable.
In the meantime I made up a pattern. It was really a simple task as the coat only has one dart – under bust to hem (the only difficulty was seeing how the grain was arranged around the dart). I made a decision and we will see how it hangs. The sleeve was quite interesting as I have noticed that Zara have narrow, curved two piece sleeves on their jackets (I once altered a black suit for Bianca). So took an existing two piece fitted coat pattern, and made the upper sleeve narrower and more curved. I can use the existing under sleeve. This is to produce a fairly quick wearable toile you understand – I only have around 1 hour before I leave for work. Once it is made up and tried on we can see if it needs some refinement.