Sunday, 5 April 2009

The inside story

Having completed the outer pockets, time now to sort out the inside pockets.

In making my coats to date I have strived for screen accuracy. However, this has only extended to their outward appearance, as for purely practical reasons, I have shied away from this on their insides.

Although I mastered welted pockets, I was terrified of having to do a welted pocket with the inherently flimsy lining material as a base. I was always worried it would sag badly, or at worst, stretch out of shape and rip or tear at the corners.

My solution was to go a little freeform. I had a nice Gant coat which had a curved triangular shape extended from the lapel to the underarm seam in a broad sweep. The internal pockets were then set in this area, giving them a strong base and support. 
Since there was no decent photographic reference of what the pockets should be like, besides no-one would see the inside of the coat, I thought it a compromise that I could easily replicate. Seen here is the interior of the Mk II coat, complete with special handy narrow pocket for pens or maybe a sonic screwdrivers.

This time round, since I have invested in the Alcantara fabric, I can’t let through anything less than complete and total screen accuracy for every aspect of the coat. This, for the first time, includes the inside pockets.

As I said, there is precious little photographic reference for the inside pockets, and we rarely get to see them in the series. Here is one of the few shots that does show the internal pockets.

The pockets show up as strips of orange. But what were they?
At the time this episode (New Earth) was screened, the coat was not yet on display anywhere, so there was no chance of studying the coat up-close.

When the coat was finally put on on display at Earl’s Court, it allowed for an unprecedented closer inspection. 

I took these cheeky pictures of the inside of the coat, and it is directly from these that I will base my pocket design on.

These shots reveal that: although the pockets are surrounded by lining, the body of the coat is extended and surrounds the welts top and bottom; the lower welts of the pockets have a flashing of orange Dupion fabric (as noted on the costume design display, where is describes it as ‘rust’); the back of the pocket is a mocca chocolate colour.

These shots also clearly show the self-striped navy silk lining, a fabric which, as far as I know, eluded every attempt to track it down. If anyone can help, get in touch!

After giving it a lot of thought, it suddenly dawned on me that I could easily create the look of what I needed, but yet still execute the pocket in the ‘safe’ way I had been doing up until now.
My solution was to still have my swash of body fabric which spanned across to the underarm seam, but instead of matching this shape with the lining, it would extend over the supported area, following the line of the screen-used coat.

I set about cutting the pattern as my original design. Seen here is the left hand side, with a sneaky sonic screwdriver pocket thrown in for good measure. The dotted line is the roll of the lapel, marked to ensure I did not extend over this, and to give myself some idea of how the pocket would sit.

I then set the lower welt in place, using some Dupion fabric I had accidentally got in the wrong colour (I was out buying fabric and saw some red fabric, forgetting that the coat has orange, despite the design saying ‘rust’). Since I am only doing the test coat for now it will do - I have some of the correct colour for the final version. Seen here is the welt sewn in place.

For the inside of the pocket, I used some of the brown moleskin I am using to make my test suit, as it fitted the bill perfectly.

Once I had set the pockets, I cut the lining to shape and offer it up so I could mark the level of the pocket. To give the lining support and strength around the pocket, plus to make the silk material less slippery and liable to skew out of shape while sewing, I ironed on an area of interfacing an inch bigger all round than the welt. Note that I cut this (as I now do will all my lining) with pinking sheers. This stops the lining fraying, and prevents the hard edge of interfacing show from the front. It just muddies the edge and disguises it.

I then sewed the lining above and below the pocket, leaving a gap in the stitching where it spanned the welt. I then cut the lining down the centre line of the pocket and carefully folded it back in on itself around the pocket, before topstitching it in place around the welt, leaving a 3 to 5mm gap. I had to keep my wits about me not to sew clean through the pocket and seal it up for good!
Seen here I am topstitching one of the pockets. Note next to it the lining is cut ready to go around sonic screwdriver pocket.

Here is the finished result just prior to pressing. This is from the right hand side of the coat, which will have just one single pocket.
I think it will all come together a bit betting once it is done in all the right fabric colours.

I then spent some time doing a little preliminary work on the collar and lapels, but left the main work on that for another day . . .

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