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A Tabula Rasa Trench Coat

In 2020, while confined to my house during the pandemic isolation, I decided to enter the Threads Challenge for members of Association of Sewing and Design Professionals.  The theme was to design and make a garment or ensemble that reflected one of the Four Elements: Earth, Wind, Water and Fire. 

My stash included a beautiful piece of brown and black silk plaid woven with a green and orange paisley border.  Wouldn’t it make an interesting Trench Coat representing the earth?  It seemed an inspired concept and my friend Sally, who is model size and a wearer of decadent garments, seemed the perfect muse.

Tabula Rasa jacket added to the Front Trench coat pattern.

Sally loves her Tabula Rasa Jackets.  When the square armhole is a favorite comfortable shape and a new design is desired, a pattern mash up (or pattern hack) is the answer.   So, I began with Sally’s trusted TRJ pattern and searched the internet for a trench coat pattern to provide the additional details.  I found all the details in the Ivy Trench, a Mood Sewciety free download pattern. After downloading the files, I printed the pages needed to create the pattern pieces for each detail: shields on the back and front shoulders, double breasted front lapel opening, collar stand, dramatic collar, tie belt and sleeve ties.

Accent pattern pieces that made my work easier.

The pattern pieces of the front trench were combined with the TRJ front pattern to create the altered pattern using the center fronts as my joining line.  The jacket length and body were determined by the border placement on the available fabric. The shields were altered to fit onto the TRJ square armhole shoulder shaping.

Lining and facings being constructed

The sewing was straightforward and there were no pauses for fittings because we were in isolation.  It was fun to watch this classic design come together in such a gorgeous fabric.  Classic leather buttons from stash completed the coat in a traditional style. 

To complete the ensemble, a Carpe Diem dress was pieced together using a dark green boucle remnant, an orange and green silk damask, and a wide velvet and wool trim. 

Placing the trim during construction.

The damask and trim had been purchased at the same time the plaid silk was acquired at Haberman’s Fabrics in Detroit.   Sally’s extensive button box contained the leaf shaped buttons that close the dress up the back.

It is a beautiful ensemble that made it to the challenge finals.  On Friday night it walked the runway on ASDP member model Margaret from the New England chapter. The fashion show was part of our first gathering since October of 2019.  Our members had seen this ensemble and the other finalists creations on zoom, but it was so much more fun to see them in person!

Have you done a Tabula Rasa Jacket or Carpe Diem pattern hack or mash up?  Try it out once your pattern fits well. Trench coats are a real fashion trend right now and the Mood pattern is certainly the right price.   Perhaps you could enter it in a contest or challenge.

Happy Sewing, RAE

Check out these posts to see some of Sally’s other Fit for Art creations!

Coat Stitched from a Quilt

Beautiful Carpe Diem Blouse

Sweet Cupcake Dress

Two Jackets from One Lining

Sew! Let’s Get Dressed Button Quandaries

1 thought on “A Tabula Rasa Trench Coat

  1. Never know what the Fit for Art ladies will dream up. That is what makes the patterns and site so fun!

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