Monday, October 5, 2015

Bonnie Cashin: Mohair Coat Pattern & How to Make It



This bold and beautiful mohair coat by Bonnie Cashin for Sills looks as stylish today as it did when it was made in the late 60's. It's possible to copy and sew this rather simply constructed design to create a Cashin style coat to wear this winter. I first shared this colorful Cashin coat in an earlier post. This time I'll show how to draft a copy and show details used to construct it.





What gives this version of Cashin's Noh coat a fun and contemporary look is the wide, open collar that can be worn in many ways. It shows both sides of this cloth: one is fuzzy yellow and oranges, the other is smooth pink and reds.

The wide collar shawl collar in this oversized plaid create a dramatic graphic look, however any solid wool (or fleece for that matter) with subtle weight and drape could be used.  Details for this unlined coat include, edges bound with suede trim and a leather covered large hook and bar at the neck in front to hold the coat closed.  There is a pocket in the side seam that is sewn to the coat body.  Unline many other Cashin coats, this onet does not have buttons or her signature twist locks as closures.

I used the following process to develop a scale draft of the coat pattern:

draft:  The first step in drafting a pattern copy is to lay the coat flat and make a quick sketch of the shape on grid paper using pencil.  I sketched and measured one side starting with the center line (center front or center back).  To start, I located the center front line.  Sometimes I find that placing a yard stick along this 'line' will help with measuring.  For this coat, I measured the following:

width: sleeves from center front or back: to wrists along top fold, and sleeves from center front or back: to wrists at underarm side seam, chest front and back: from center to underarm, hips front and back: from center to side seam,  hem front and back: width from center to side seam

length: full length from shoulder fold near neckline down to hem, full length from shoulder fold at true shoulder down to hem. and distance from wrist to hem level (this will help to establish the sleeve angle)

sleeves: width of sleeve at underarm and at wrist opening

pocket: length of 'slot' opening, width and height of pocket shape

hood: center back length from neckline to tip, full length of front edge from side to side at neckline

These measurements resulted in the pattern draft to scale shown here:



The most notable element here is that the shoulder line is not a seam, but rather a fold. I position both front and back on this line, so the back view is upside down.

The front piece is simple, with wide sleeve and straight side seams.

The back is more narrow that the front and has a center back seam.  The front is wider, which will be allow for the center front overlap.  The side seam pocket is cut in one with the back panel.  This will be sewn directly to the front panel around the curved edges.  The front panel will have the fabric turned under where the pocket opening is placed on the side seam.

The collar is cut on the bias. One thing to notice is that the center front of this collar is not at the front edge of this collar. Instead it is set back, creating the deep 'label' effect.

Here are additional views showing details:

This first slide shows the neckline of the coat with the collar opened flat.

This view shows how the collar is positioned in the neckline with short 'lapels' at each wide corner.



slide above: the outstretched sleeve shows the shaping of the body and underarm curve. The front closure placement is also shown under collar.  Also notice the size of the collar lapels.  Pocket stitching is barely visible in the mohair texture.



The pocket is applied to the inside front and stitched around the edge. Both the inside and outer views are shown here.  On the fuzzy side, the hand opening can be seen.

This unlined coat is sewn using flat fell and open seam allowances with edges turned under and stitched in place.  This creates stitch lines on the fabric face.



The outer edges are bound with suede trim. It is applied by sewing strips of suede along one edge, then turning and sewing again catching the edge down in the 'ditch'.  On this coat, the suede was sewn to the smooth 'red' side, the rolled around and sewn down on the fuzzy 'yellow' side.



This is a close up view showing how the suede looks from the fuzzy good side of the coat, with a seam line that runs along the edge of this binding.



More on Bonnie Cashin

Brass Twist Locks

Turn Locks on Leather

UCLA Library: Digital Collection, Bonnie Cashin: undated fashion and costume photos

Bonnie Cashin: my Pinterest board on the designer

1949 Coat Patent

1961 Knit Dress and Girdle

1966 Coat

Pattern Draft for Leather and Canvas Coat




3 comments:

Pamela said...

Thank you for this fabulous post which I have added to my Pinterest board - https://www.pinterest.com/mrscrumpet/cashin-fashion/ -I can't tell you how much I appreciate the detailed schematic and construction close-ups. I have a small collection of Cashion coats, suits, dresses and ensembles from which I fully intend to derive patterns. Thank you for the inspiration. Pamela

Pamela said...

Thank you for this fabulous post which I have added to my Pinterest board - https://www.pinterest.com/mrscrumpet/cashin-fashion/ -I can't tell you how much I appreciate the detailed schematic and construction close-ups. I have a small collection of Cashion coats, suits, dresses and ensembles from which I fully intend to derive patterns. Thank you for the inspiration. Pamela

Jen O said...

Thank you for the nice comment. Looking forward to seeing your Cashin project in the future! p.s. I'm now following your Pinterest board too.

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