15th September 2021
Behind the design
Designing The Pea Coat
Since the first lockdown I’ve been wearing a lot more trousers than skirts and I wanted an alternative to The Blazer to create a different look. I had been contemplating a casual, double breasted jacket for some time and I’ve always liked a mariner’s style jacket but I wanted to give it a more feminine edge.
First of all, I knew I’d like it to finish around the mid to lower hip, but with some shape in the the body. I also wanted slightly too long sleeves, although it’s simple enough to shorten these. I have an aversion to jacket sleeves finishing just on the cuff: I prefer bracelet length or a longer length. I thought I’d also like the option for a lined or unlined jacket that would work in canvas for spring /summer or Melton and other wools in autumn/winter.
Once I started designing and toiling I decided that princess seams would be most flattering, eradicating the need for darts. I could then line these seams up with the seams of the two-piece sleeve (required to curve slightly with the arm) for a clean look.
I’ve gone for a strong shoulder – there are a lot of these coming through in the designer collections. To accentuate this further and for more fluid fabrics, a small shoulder pad could be added. The sleeve has a cuffed option – this is two piece as the cuff is slightly flared.
Other details include the pockets that are in seam and accentuated with a pocket flap. This can be stitched down or not - with the very heavy Melton of the taupe coloured jacket it would have been very tricky to stitch this neatly.
At the back the princess seams each culminate with a vent, creating a flattering flap, this is topped with a half belt detail. This can be stitched into the seams or buttoned to the finished jacket.
I've chosen to position the buttons on the taupe jacket high as a fashion choice but this positioning is personal. The taupe fabric is an exceptionally heavy wool, for a lighter fabric I may put the buttons lower; its a question of trying the garment on and finding what's comfortable.
For the unlined Melton jacket I have chosen to fasten the jacket with oversized snap fasteners.
The unlined jacket is easier and quicker to make but I think lining the jacket is worth it for the winter months. For more on lining the jacket see here.
The Pea Coat is the result; I like it as much unbuttoned as buttoned up, for me this is important in a double-breasted style; I like the option of wearing my jackets undone.