Drafting a Wedding Coat

I recently had the pleasure of working with a delightful bride and her mother. She had chosen a simple, yet dramatic, gown of heavy white silk crepe. With the fall wedding planned to take place outside in a vineyard, she envisioned a coat to compliment the gown.

I felt attempting to match fabrics was risky. Fortunately, as with most made-to-order gowns, the bride’s mom was able to order matching fabric from the bridal manufacturer. Fashion illustration isn’t my strength but this sketch shows the gown and accompanying coat.

Ordinarily I would start with body measurements to create a custom drafted pattern. Anyone who has done bridal work, knows how much measurements and the bustline can change depending on undergarments. Therefore, the coat needed to be drafted according to measurements taken over the fitted gown. After gown alterations were completed, I put the gown on a mannequin and started drafting the coat.

Here’s the finished pattern with princess seams moved into the armseye and neckline extending from shoulder to waistline. Long slim sleeves will be added. The skirt is quite flared to match the fullness of the gown.

I absolutely LOVE my cutting table. Covered in canvas, 60 inches wide with vertical grain lines in black, horizontal lines in red and diagonals in green. It makes doing layouts for long gowns so easy. It also worked well for aligning the veil.

The bride planned to wear this lovely heirloom veil of intricate lace which was a perfect compliment to the solid crepe gown. We noticed a few small tears in the veil and I felt that attempting to repair them would have resulted in noticeable stitches. The decision was made to back the entire veil with soft tulle. The underlying layer of new tulle would stabilize the fragile netting.

Working on ivory tulle on an ivory canvas background makes seeing your work next to impossible. I often do these projects over a layer of black canvas which makes the work much, much easier on the eyes. The detail of this lace was just amazing. Machine stitching would have been a disaster, so the supporting tulle was hand stitched in place, then trimmed away from the edge.

This fall was a crazy bridal season and I forgot to take process photos during the construction. I did receive these. Perfect for a late fall outdoor wedding. Congratulations! I loved working with you.

21 thoughts on “Drafting a Wedding Coat”

  1. Beautiful work and you always have such good ideas, for instance the black canvas under the ivory tulle and veil. We all benefit from your expertise, thank you.

  2. If men only knew what goes into creating a bridal outfit, even an outfit as simple as this one seems to be. . .

    1. Thank you. I agree that bridal gowns may look simple but once you get inside there is an enormous amount of internal structure. You were brave but I’m sure your daughter was delighted.

  3. Once again, I am speechless! This is so completely elegant! I always love seeing all the details… How does the coat close? Did you line it?

  4. Absolutely fantastic Mary, as always…working with lace is really difficult, but when you work exactly, the end result is stunning. And you know about that. Also very elegant to make such a long coat over the wedding dress. I’mm currently working on a long organza coat over a dress for a mother of the bride. Also very fun to do…all the french seams….Thanks for sharing your work. Greetings from Joke

  5. So very lovely! Thanks for sharing your process. I’m curious about the decision to move the princess seams from the shoulder to the armscye. Was there something about the design or the bride’s fitting characteristics that led you do this? Thanks.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I moved the princess seam into the armseye to have a cleaner, un-interrupted by seams look, across the upper chest area. It was a design choice.

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