Tuesday 3 November 2015

Custom Frock Coats - fabric selection

Once in a while, amongst all the tweed jackets, Crombie coats and knitted waistcoats, I get the occasional commission that piques my interest and gives me the chance to be a bit more creative than usual.

I have already made one or two frock coats to patterns I use, but using cloth at the choice of the client, and these have inspired my latest commissions.

Since series 7b, the stylish lines of a simple frock coat have become very popular. Barely a month goes by without me getting one or two requests for a cashmere coat. If it wasn't for the lack of available fabric I'd be making it more often!

But this month had not one, but two serious enquires for Matt Smith style frock coat, each in starkly different tweed fabrics. By contrast, one client is in the UK, the other in the US.

Both were attacked by those simple lines, lack of outer pockets, and the fitted drape of a more thoughtfully cut garment.

My UK-based client wants his in a dark brown tweed - something with some texture and visual movement to it.

He has left it totally up to me to source the cloth so I sent him a choice of swatches from W Bills and a number of quality cloth houses in London's Soho.
He's gave me a brief for the lining, which I have already found a perfect match for - a jacquard weave in a silver paisley design but to make the coat a little bit special I also included some of the custom woven linings I have in stock.

Ultimately it was one of these he went for - I’ll keep it a surprise as to which.

My US-based client on the other hand has seen a very specific Shetland tweed from W Bills, and wants me to use that.

Before you jump to conclusions, it is not the Shetland tweed used to make Matt Smith’s jacket, but a dark steely-blue with a bold brown grid pattern.
W Bills
Shetland Tweeds

Sourcing the tweed from W Bills was easy for me, as I have contacts within the company. This way I was able to reserve the remaining 3.5 metres (just enough to make the frock coat) while I sent a swatch the US for approval.

For his lining he found a fabric in the US which he sent over to me to use. Unfortunately this proved to be unstable for lining the coat, so I sourced a very nice quality blue twill fabric.

Getting the cloth for the other coat was a little more tricky as the choice ended up being from one of the Soho fabric shops, which tend to only get one-off bolts which once gone cannot be restocked. With this in mind I was instructed to buy additional material to cover either a second coat or a pair of trousers and a waistcoat.
Luckily there was enough to cover everything my client wants, so that was a relief.

Once I had all the fabric I needed,  I turned attention to cutting and making-up.

Check back very soon to see how these two coats turned out.

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