Patterning a Pattern

For the past few days, I’ve been perfecting the coat pattern.

My original concept involved using a real coat pattern of my own design, blown up by 1000% to match the size of the armature. But after working with the hardware cloth, I had a revelation… Since the armature sections are a repeat of a pattern/shape, and the natural world consists of an infinite variety of repeating patterns and shapes, why not bring this fact of nature—natural repetitive design—into the coat? So I ditched the “real coat” pattern and traced a single armature section to use as the main pattern repeat. This has worked wonderfully!

I will be cutting eight fabric pieces for the exterior and eight for the interior—all using the same pattern. Even the sleeves are a repeat of the pattern, making the dolman-type shape that I was seeking. If I decide to add any other elements, such as a collar, I will repeat the pattern in those too. Because the main coat sections match the size and shape of the armature sections (although cut a bit larger to accommodate ease for shrinkage in felting and seam sewing), the coat will be very well-tailored to fit the armature.

I traced around one section of the armature and used a postal Kraft paper for the resulting pattern template.

My next task was to cut a test coat out of ordinary fabric store felt, to get a sense of how the final coat would appear on the armature and to test the sleeve shaping and fitting.

Even though this test coat is not representing the final coat and all of its future detail and mass, it's giving a peek at the potential of the final coat and how it will physically express the massive regality of the earth's coat (the soil).

The above photo shows only the half of the test coat but this is the last view you will see of the coat shape while it’s on the armature—at least until it’s in place at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The rest of the “Earthly Coat” shape will be kept under wraps so it can make its big reveal at the installation. (That’s a tease to get you to visit it in person!)

My next step is to cut the actual coat material. Now that I know how much felt I need, it’s been ordered and is arriving shortly.


About wendyj-sagahill

I am a textile artist, designer, and author.
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