Sunday, February 21, 2010

Baby trench, part 1

Ok, more than one person is interested in my process, so here it is. I decided firstly that this is to be a coat for a small person - about Isabella's size (no self-interest in MY work, hehehe) so it will have the look of a traditional trench, but with simplified details. It will be single breasted rather than double, and will have a simple one piece collar instead of a collar with a stand.

I began by browsing a few of my old Burda WOFs to remind myself of the trench coat features. I decided to eliminate extra panel/princess seams for fear of making the garment too busy. Once I've made it up once I may revisit this decision if it looks too plain.

Next up was a sketch of what I intend to draft. Can we just say that sketching is not my forte and leave it at that? The only reason I spent as much time on this one as I did was because I knew I was bloggging it and my normal sketches are pretty much unrecognizable to anyone but me!

Finally getting to the fun bit! After checking my blocks I realised that the best block to use was one I didn't have - the flat overgarment block. It's a simple block which works well, so I began by drafting that. It's from my beloved Metric pattern Cutting for Childrenswear and Babywear by Winifred Aldrich. I have the 4th edition and I love love love it!

Now it gets interesting - turning that very simple block into a trench coat pattern. Here's the front pattern piece after I'd finished with it. From the block it was:
1) lengthened to about knee length
2) flared very slightly. Since it's such a small amount I just added it to the side seam then measured the new side seam and marked the length to match the original one. Then I drew the hem to meet that point. For more flare I'd slash and spread the pattern.
3) lowered at the neckline by 0.5cm. Just to make sure it doesn't strangle. The cross hatched bit is what was removed.
4) overlap to accomodate buttons was added to the CF. After this I folded the paper along this line and traced the neckline and part of the shoulder line to create a facing line.
5) details such as the front panel, belt loops, and pocket placement have been drawn on. This is partly to evaluate proportions as well as marking them for making up.

Apparently I didn't photograph the back. It had the same flare added, and a pleat at CB.

I wanted the sleeves to have a back seam so just drew it on the whole sleeve and traced it as two separate pieces, with added seam allowances. The hems were folded up before cutting so they have the shape needed when turned in. This back sleeve seam serves no functional purpose, it's just for decoration.

It's not a trench coat without a back flap, so here it is. I drew a line horizontally across the back pattern piece to line up with the bottom of the front flap and traced around it. I added a tiny bit of flare to it so the coat allows plenty of movement. Because the added flare is such a tiny amount I didn't bother doing it "properly". I just extended the bottom line 1cm and redrew the CB to meet it. The back will have a pleat in it and I want the panel to be slightly wider at it's base to allow the pleat to open a little.

I drafted a basic collar from Aldrich (to match the new neckline, not the block!), and belt, belt loops and pockets from measurements I made up to please myself.
Then I cut it out in a nice raincoat fabric I happened upon in Anne's last week (which is what inspired me to draft a trench in the first place).
Next installment: assembly begins! (Pattern pieces for the lining will be dealt with after the coat is assembled and ready to be lined. I can be organized and disciplined and get everything ready before diving in, but I want to see the coat made up now and the lining can WAIT!)


  1. Wow! I can't wait to see it! Thanks for sharing the drafting process. It's something I'd like to learn, but am currently a little afraid of. This makes it a little less scary!

  2. That is going to be really cute I think. You don't see trench's for toddlers very often, but I think you should. Very cute!

    And those sketches are totally great, they look very good. You have my professional opinion on it.