Costumes and Performances by Tab Kimpton

A Tale of Two Doctors- Part 2, the pattern

Now onto the pattern! Some of these fabrics are really expensive so I needed to make sure the coat fit properly. This is the epic tale of scaling the pattern up to the commissioners size and constructing it in linen. I chose linen because I’d be using that as the support lining for the flimsier bits of fabric and would give me a good idea of fit and a great surface to write on!

I started with a burda 2471 and massacred it. I bought a bunch of these a few years back for a set of Full Metal Alchemist uniforms I made so I happen to have one cut to most men’s sizes. Here I’m working with a 38″ chest and someone about 5’8″.



I joined the seams up to create a back panel, moving the shoulder seam to a more normal place. To be honest it would have been easier to start from scratch but WHATEVER, let me have my weird ways.


I then split the back panel and removed a slither at the waist. I think it’s important that a man’s coat is tailored to show off his… assets.

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The magical world of pinning a concave curve to a convex one. The key seems to be to have the convex curved piece on the bottom and pin

the concave (one that curves in) on top, using many, many pins to gather it.


Ironing this is extremely satisfying. You can clip the seam to reduce the bulk but I think that weakens the seam and I didn’t want to risk fraying here.


This back is a tailors dream, seriously.

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The front piece is split into two sections following the curve of the armpit. This was drafted twice- once to get the curve and again to add the seam allowance properly.



All sewn together like a pretty maid. My ironing game was STRONG that day.


The front piece was drafted as one big piece including the bottom. It extends about 50cm.

(I work in both inches and cm when I sew because some men just want to watch the world burn. )

When it came to drafting the bottom skirt I used this amazing image from who also made a coat replica. Using the length width of 50cm and a waist width of 50cm I scaled the costume up, holding a ruler up to the screen and working out how wide each panel should be accordingly.

three sections finished-800


Here’s a rough guide for what worked for my measurements, good luck scaling your own!


Here’s the two back pieces.


The back piece is connected to the side back piece-


The back pieces are connected to the other back pieces-


The side front pieces are connected to the side back pieces-


The front pieces are connected to the side front pieces-


And they’re all connected to the waist! I decided at this point that when I made the final coat I would construct the coat the opposite way- adding all the bottoms to the tops then sewing vertically instead. This reduced seam bulk and stress on the waist in the final garment.



Adding the ‘appliqué’ back split to get an idea for placement.


Then onto the mannequin with you!


My mannequin has lady bumps so when I’m working with a jacket project I put one of my own jackets underneath to pad it out in the right places.


Here I’m drawing out where I want the opening of the coat to happen as well as the lapels. This coat was made to be worn open so I made a 15cm gap at the front so it sits in the right place. Oh fashion, you silly fool.


I then measured the top width of the collar to the centre back- this coat is 23cm. Then I borrowed some amazing stuff from again.

Fabric 6 jigsaw-pieces

This is his diagram to work out where the checks in the collar went, but I opened it up in photoshop and used it to make a template for the collar pattern, like so. DrWhoCoat259

The total length of the side should be 23cm long, print it out on A4 paper and voila!


Hotdamn we have a collar. I added some extra paper to the side to get the shape I wanted but I was onto a winner!




I did the same with the pockets and back panel, scaling it up to the coat measurements I now had.


A trick I use a lot is to just pin the pattern to the fabric and use it as a template to sew around. Really useful for doing perfect curves.


A pair of pinking shears to the edges and cut a hole in the one side. Here I’m using my flippymagic hook do-dad that is made of amazing.


Some ironing later and I have a perfect back panel, albeit with a hole on the back. This is just the mock up though so I’ll deal.


Same trick again on the pockets-


Look at how beautiful they are. LOOK AT THEM.


Collar on the fold to get it even.

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Here I’ve trimmed it down some because it was *slightly* too big.


The collar meets the lapel. NOW KISS.


Here the collar and lapel is just resting on top of the body of the jacket. In the final piece the chest and lapel will be one whole cut of fabric, but for patterning I think it’s much better to draft separately and join them when you have the final positions correct.


I’ve made two sets of the collar and lapels, these then get sewn together like the collar would be to the facing on the final jacket.

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Trim dem seam allowances down!


Flip inside out and press for the most satisfying moment of pattern drafting.


(My brown check jacket is being used as the shoulders for my mannequin)


The collar and lapel then gets sewn onto the body of the coat. This is when the project starts to look like- holy crap- the actual coat and everything gets a bit exciting. But hold your horses as it’s now time to enter the wonderful world of ARRG SLEEVES.


Sleeves are just better when someone other than me drafts them. I use a pattern for sleeves and everyone is grateful.

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Here’s the cuffs all lined up and ready to be sewn inside each other.


Sewing the outer seam of the cuff.


These then get turned the right way out and then sew to the base of the sleeve.

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Awwww yissss.


Now it’s time to use ALL YOUR PINS to set the sleeve into the shoulder. Some people baste/tack into place, I prefer the adjustablitly of a thousand pins of death.


Sleeve before pressing.


Sleeve after pressing.

Moral of the story- holy hot damn press your sleeves for the love of all things tailoring. A good tailor spends most of their time ironing the seams, not sewing them.


Adding the fake pocket- don’t worry it will be real on the final coat! Fake pockets are a nemesis of mine.

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And here’s the final mock up in linen! There’s no shoulder pads so I’m wearing the jacket underneath- also the commissioner has a couple of inches on me. This then got sent to the client where he gave feedback on the fit, drew important things like the elbows position and let me know of any other problems.

Next week we get down to construction!

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One Response

  1. holy freaking hell, that looks super great. I am a dude, but I make my fair share of costumes. Your sewing techniques really teach me a lot. Very well done. I am your newest fan.

    March 3, 2015 at 12:22 am

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