Last winter sometime, the movie Pride & Prejudice & Zombies snuck through the theatres. I honestly don’t even remember hearing about it. But when we finally got around to watching it this summer, boy did we have a lot of fun! Fun frocks, ass kicking, undead, explosions… Syo, in particular, fell hard for the outfit Lizzie wears at the movie climax, which is quite excellent for dismembering zombies if I do say so myself.
Enter McCall’s 7493. Hello coat! While it’s not perfect, it’s a pretty good stab at the screen version. Up to and including that weird decorative dart on the upper front chest (See Instagram discussion here.)
I don’t think the collar is quite as long and drapy as it could be, nor is it attached in quite the same way. Whatevs.
Also, ah, if it’s my daughter who’s crazy for this outfit, why is it me I’m making the coat for?
Um, selfish. We’ll leave it at that. I can always make her one later. Also, she’s the same size as me right now other than height—all I’d have to do for hers would be make the skirt and sleeves shorter.
So there are some good things and some bad things to this pattern. I like the two piece sleeve, the shoulder seam that’s thrown to the back (an “authentic” touch that wouldn’t really matter since this is not a real historical costume, but makes me happy) and most of all that the amount of ease is minimal! So, um, make your actual size. I was actually fully prepared to cut a size 12 as per my bust measurement (or maybe just a 10 at the shoulders) until I remembered the outer fabric I was using is REALLY stretchy. So I did a 10 in everything, and it’s fine but only because of the stretch. After my usual fit alterations (petite, square shoulder, lengthen sleeve) I’m REALLY happy with the fit. Not something I have often said about costume patterns. If you’re looking to put together a historically accurate spencer or pelisse, this is probably not the right pattern, but if you just want something quick and fun, it’s fine.
The bad things are really the usual—costume grade construction. It’s designed to be lined, but just by cutting the same pattern pieces in lining, and while that might be period, the construction certainly isn’t. And, no facing pieces or anything. And the instructions for the lining would leave you with raw edges at the armscye sleeve. Not necessarily the end of the world, but definitely a bit costume-grade, IMO. Not that I ever follow McCalls coat instructions.
My fabric of choice is a dark blue piled stretch cotton the strange powers that be at Fabricland saw fit to call “stretch velvet.” It’s a terrible excuse for velvet, but a perfectly lovely no-wale stretch corduroy. It is definitely heavier and less drapey than the movie fabric, which from the poster at the top looks like maybe a faux-suede or some kind of suit-weight fabric. For a Canadian Hallowe’en, though, heavier is good.
I couldn’t find a nice shiny dark blue brocade ANYTHING for the drapey collar, so after some brainstorming with my shop mates, I decided to try to make my own with soutache appliquéd onto a satin. Duchesse satin, actually, the heavy matte stuff. Not the best choices for a waterfall collar, I agree. But I do like the look. In hindsight a bemberg rayon might have done as well.
My soutache embroidery was inspired by this cute little spencer. If I’d had more soutache (and time) it would’ve been fun to go to town like this on the bodice as well. Maybe for another project.
All that soutache applique was both fun and terrifying to do. I’m kind of glad it was firmly in costume-land as it kept me from obsessing too much over perfection.
I did a lot of piping, although I wish I would’ve piped those back princess seams. I didn’t pipe the edge of the collar, in an attempt to preserve whatever nonexistent drape it might have, but since it still has no drape I kinda wish I’d done that too. It is currently pinned into place to secure the folds, and I’ll probably tack them down.
I bound my seams with bias binding, as well. When I could remember. I made bias-binding with the heavy satin I used for the lining/collar, overlocking one edge. This was a) fast and neat, and b) nicely finished the edge, which tends to fray on satin bias binding, because satin has intense fraying super-powers. Only the skirt is fully lined. I say “only” but the skirt has easily three times as much fabric as the top bit. Maybe five times. The skirt is lined in the same duchesse satin as the collar (minus embroidery). Goodbye project budget! It certainly would’ve been easier to attach the skirt neatly with a lining. As it is i bound the back seam and it took some unpicking and handstitching to get everything where it should be. The skirt is LONG, by the way. I took a full 2″ hem and it still brushes the floor if I’m in flat feet—and I’m 5’7″. If you are shorter, check the length and save yourself some fabric. 😉
I added 3″ in length to the sleeves, petite’d out 1/2″ through the armscye, and did a square shoulder adjustment by slashing and spreading the front bodice pieces where I guessed the shoulder line would be (not at the shoulder seam, mind you.) I’m pretty happy with all these changes—they are very much my usual adjustments.
The (lack of) ease works only because of the stretch fabric—if I’d used a non-stretch using my proper size would’ve been the way to go. Which is honestly pretty refreshing. I would stick with a 10 in the shoulders, though.
Here’s the best shot I got of Syo wearing it on Hallowe’en—I am such a terrible Hallowe’en photographer. As you can see it is far too long, but otherwise fits her very well. Really the whole thing deserves much better photos, but if I wait for those I’ll never blog at all. 😦
In other news, I may have purchased Redthreaded’s rather expensive single-size Regency long stays pattern for the costume as well… I could possibly have finagled something similar by extending the Sensibility Patterns short-stays pattern I have, but, easy won. I will discuss that costume item when/if I can get some decent photos. 😉
In any case, a fun Hallowe’en was had by all! (And very creepily, the weather this first week of November has been as lovely as the weather throughout October was terrible. This weekend it was verging on 20C—I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such warm temperatures in November.)