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09/04/2012 / thriftomancer

The Coat of Dr. Caligari: Prep

It seems like I’ve got another coat to make before I start on my new quilt, black and gray this time.

This is the subject before any sort of alteration. A nice, if shapeless, linen shirtdress. The tag says it’s from a Nordstrom collection, but origin hardly matters considering how radically I’m about to change it.

Caligari's coat - before

As it turns out, this shirtdress has more issues than any of the ones I’ve worked on thus far. They sleeves are short and cut too small so the armholes bind when you try to move; the single back panel is too narrow which exacerbates the garment’s restrictive nature, especially if you try to bring your arms in front of you; and right now it’s got an overall frumpiness due to the utter lack of shaping I mentioned earlier.

Fixing those issues is going to require several structural changes that fall into the category of ‘easy, but time-consuming.’ Really, I’ve got to completely and carefully (so seam-ripper only, no shears) dismantle the entire garment. I’ll save features that I intent to use later, like the rows of buttons and buttonholes down the front, but everything else needs to be opened up. Sleeves, collars, hems, side and shoulder seams, all gone. It’s coming apart.

Before all that though, I’ll do the truly easy bit and take off the pockets. (Why they always put patch pockets on shirtdresses is still a mystery. It’s not a flattering design at all.)

A short time later…

It’s apart. Stripped of everything but the shoulder seams.

Caligari's coat - deconstructed

Yes, I know I originally considered taking them out as well, but there’s really no point since they don’t interfere with the changes I’ll be making. Might as well leave them in and save myself some labor later.

Next I’ll be doing some rather… Approximate measuring to determine how much fabric to add to the back panel. For now though, it’s break time.

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