IMG_8271 Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t Brunel come in a coat?10.DOFDAsBestResinPorcelainBJDFashionDoll22Brunel22byKingdomDollYes, yes…Kingdom Doll’s beauty did..and a very lovely duster in burgundy silk at that. But understand that I was exploring coats along my own path, and while making Madison, I decided to play with the pattern a bit to see how far I could take it. As often is the case with my design methodology, the sketch just doesn’t always reveal the end game. That, and I’d rather spend time honing my sewing techniques rather than my sketching skills. IMG_8275 IMG_8280 IMG_8655 Especially with this project, since I’d been wanting to do a military-inspired coat along the lines of McQueen, Gaultier and Westwood. This design both simplified itself in its choice of fabrics and frippery – as it complicated itself with a jigsaw array of pattern pieces needed to deck the halls while I got my Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy on…blow your reveille, Puddings…Do you design it…or does it design you? IMG_8276 IMG_8278 IMG_8279 For a 16inch doll, the beauty that Brunel possesses seems almost like a MGB Convertible – that is, a lot of punch packed in a tight frame. I was amazed at the clean seamlines of the doll’s articulation, but her proportions seemed to toy with my sense of perspective. Don’t get me wrong, she is a very realistically proportioned doll, but when compared to the exaggerated features seen in other 16inch dolls, there was something almost diminutive about her. IMG_8282 IMG_8283 IMG_8286 IMG_8287 IMG_8294 So I took to the muslin, and mapped out an initial toile that would capture the elements of a military-style greatcoat and/or a classic trench coat. I knew I wanted gun/storm flaps, and the yoke flap in the back. You see, coats can be surprisingly deceptive in terms of construction – but when you remove all the shit and shingles, you have a basically simple jacket pattern. So the first thing I did was to get Brunel’s fit sorted – with her lovely proportions, the fit came like a dream… IMG_8295 IMG_8297 IMG_8299 IMG_8305 IMG_8306 IMG_8313 Once I had the fitted pattern, I extended the length to make my trench coat – and carefully measured and marked fit lines across the muslin. These lines are used to match up portions of the pattern, using abbreviated tailoring techniques that assist with adjustments and marking of pattern pieces. Mine didn’t match in many areas, but they really don’t have to as long as you keep a sense of what they represent, and use the lines to guide you through measuring adjustments. IMG_8312 IMG_8473 IMG_8706 IMG_8709 IMG_8710 As with Madison, I was taken with the idea of godets to expand the volume of the jacket, but keeping it’s tailoring relatively pristine. My original idea was to use silk chiffon and line the godet interior with ruffles, but listening to my former employer in my head saying, “you really need to edit,” I actually took the advice this time while examining the features of the contrasting metallic/silk organza with the silk tissue taffeta – there will be time to sort out how those colors would play – but for now, it was about getting the pattern down on paper. IMG_8711 IMG_8712 IMG_8715 IMG_8716 Epaulets, straps, pockets…you name it…this one was going to get them all…along with a wonderfully sculptural collar that could transform the magic and mystery of the neckline. Drama is needed here…plenty of drama… IMG_8717 IMG_8718 IMG_8719 IMG_8720 IMG_8721 IMG_8722 There was also to be a belt embedded into the seam in an asymmetrical fuss of design brilliance meant to dazzle you with my prowess, and blind you with my creativity. But, I forgot to cut and insert it in the final…and interestingly so, the fit didn’t really call for a belt…something in my inner arguing mind emerged triumphant – so there. IMG_8723 IMG_8724 IMG_8725 IMG_8727 IMG_8728 By the third toile…I had this pattern where I wanted it with only a few minor adjustments needed in the sleeves. Considering my near-breakdown over the Balenciaga drape in Cristal – this was a welcomed revelation… IMG_8729 IMG_8731 IMG_8732 IMG_8733 I also had to consider that the collar would change slightly when lined, making it a little smaller due to the seam allowance…so an ascot-style solution may or may not work… IMG_8734 IMG_8735 IMG_8736 The primary fabric was a tissue silk taffeta – it had some natural slubs in it, not unlike a dupioni…but make no mistake about it tissue nature. Now, you may think this would make it challenging to sew. No…not really – it sews well, presses better than other lightweights in its category, without leaving seam allowance marks…it’s durable, pliant – a damn fine fabric for this project. And you cannot beat the iridescent amethyst color coming from warp/weft yarns of blue and red – that’s right…not a single purple thread in the whole thing. What a play of light and color – one of the reasons I love the changeant (iridescent) fabrics… IMG_8739 IMG_8745 IMG_8746 The metallic/silk organza I bought in Barcelona – it was hand-painted with a floral motif, and then lightly embellished with embroidery floss and scattered beads. It’s a pretty fabric that paired nicely with the taffeta – and as many exotic silks (originating in India, and painted, embroidered and beaded in Barcelona), it imparts a spicy aroma when pressed with a steam iron, which I always found to be mildly erotic with these materials…but I digressIMG_8748 IMG_8749 IMG_8757 To make the pockets and other accoutrements, I would need bias strips of a gold dupioni, which would be used as a piping/trim. There was a great deal of fussing, pressing and cutting to make the versatile straps used as epaulets and other bondage-type decorations on my coat. But when that part was complete…I truly felt I was well on my way to a magnificent piece. IMG_8761 The buttons were made using jewelry separators and beads…and I can assure you it didn’t get carried away…


Well…just kidding…thanks, Bill!!!

So as I always love to do with my projects, I arranged the cut pieces to get a full picture of what my scope is…and it can be a bit overwhelming, but when it starts coming together, you do get a wonderful sense of renewed energy that surges with creativity… IMG_8738 IMG_8740 IMG_8741 IMG_8743 IMG_8744 Then it was time for the lining…and I have to say, it was really interesting looking at the contrasting looks of the lining v. the shell – I’ll make a note of it for future projects. I do like contrasting fabrics, colors and textures…so it thrilled me to see the soft violet with the brash gold – just symphonicIMG_8759 I wanted more emphasis around the collar, a textural quality to the hand-painted florals…so I added more beading to lift the color and richness. I decided to not carry the beading into the godets – it’s a lovely thought, but some details are just wasted when you can’t see them, no? The only other beading added would be the ‘insignia’ motifs cut out from the organza – this was a stretch, of course…but every military needs some form of ormolu or scrambled egg – and I was only happy to comply. IMG_8763 IMG_8765 Now…don’t misunderstand me – I was very pleased with everything on this project. That is with one exception – and there’s really no excuse, but I do suppose the gun flap and back yoke flap piping should have met at the underarm seam. Seeing as I had never done this before, it wasn’t until I saw the end result that it hit me, ‘…crap…that should have met there.’ But chalk it all up to the learning process and exploring themes outside my comfort zone – I’m still pretty damn pleased with this, if I do say so myself. IMG_8771's a inner pocket...don't ask - it isn't functional...

Yeah…it’s a inner pocket…don’t ask – it isn’t functional…

Seeing your vision from a handful of sketches…to the muslin…to the final – well, it’s pretty fucking incredible – and it is, without a doubt, one of the things I love so much in miniature sewing – the fussy fripptastic feeling of a fabric manipulated to make art. Even if it is just a little Purple Rain-ish…be thankful I didn’t include a Raspberry Beret.

I kept hearing After the Fire singing ‘Der Kommissar’ over and over in my head, and the colorful sarcasm seen in this austere military jacket just screamed, ‘Der Kommissar’…and so that’s what I present to you on this fine, spring day. Alles klar, Dame Kommissar?

Der Kommissar OOAK Glam Trench by Tom Courtney for Kingdom's Doll's Brunel

Der Kommissar  – OOAK Glam Trench by Tom Courtney for Kingdom’s Doll’s Brunel

Der Kommissar OOAK Glam Trench by Tom Courtney for Kingdom's Doll's Brunel - Sunglasses by Superdoll of London

Der Kommissar OOAK Glam Trench by Tom Courtney for Kingdom’s Doll’s Brunel – Sunglasses by Superdoll of London

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Alles klar?

16 Comments on “Alles Klar, Dame Kommissar?

  1. I have already told you one of the many reasons I would walk five hundred miles over burning hot coals to fetch you a cotton spool. Here’s another, just to make you cover your eyes and say “Shucks!” Or maybe something a bit less savory. I love the way you talk about colour. I have never seen it, yet for some reason I have a feeling for what it is. The way you described the colours in that coat were awesome and I could and can understand how gorgeous it is. Now that’s good writing, to make pictures with words. Thanks for that. 🙂

  2. Another Tour De Force from your mind and hands. Exceptional – especially on such a small scale. Though I had been following this on Facebook, seeing it all here, and reading about it is a much richer experience.
    When you wrote: “she is a very realistically proportioned doll, but when compared to the exaggerated features seen in other 16 inch dolls, there was something almost diminutive about her.” it blew me away.
    Why? Because I have been working on clothing for one of these beauties for a friend, and this is the most apt description I have ever come across.
    Thank You for sharing your latest adventure.

  3. Beautiful fabric, and beautiful work. I so want to go back to the silk shops in Rajasthan after seeing this.

  4. Stunning, stunning, stunning work!!!!! I haven’t even read the description yet, but I will later. Congrats to you Tommy, and the person that got this beautiful outfit!!!!!

  5. I just love over-the-top military inspired styles, especially a la Napoleonic era, and this is fabulous. And all those marvelous shapings and gores. Ohhh, if I were a doll, how I would love to be the doll to wear an ensemble like that! And the best possible color choices for it, too.

    You are a glutton for sewing punishment, and we love it that way, down to the smallest bit of braid and the trickiest flare of the collar. Thank you.

  6. Mon amour à la crème fraîche….
    As you were posting this wonderful sequence of photos, I was strolling thru your favorite city, landing at the Marché St. Pierre fabric district, telling a friend all about your work. To my surprise, this morning I realized you had posted your latest project 2 days ago, which is, tout à fait sublime. Actually the coat looks a tad more like Galliano for Dior with its over the top color story, tabs & godets. I like very much the more modern direction you have taken. The doll, by the way, is to die for. In Europe, the sketch is just to get you started on the journey, so I am happy you did not fall victim to feeling like you needed to stick to the original design. The markings on the toile are just to indicate the grain direction & don’t have to match up. And I am happy you edited out the ruffles & the embroidery in the godets. But I do LUV LUV LUV the drama of the collar. And, of course, I love the purity of the toile in white…though I’d love it in black as well. You’re working out of your comfort zone, true. But notice how it’s not so painful as you move your art forward!!!
    Très gros bises de Paris, ma biche. (That’s “biche,” which is French for “darling”!!!) Je pense bien à toi!!

    • I love your observations! And you’re right…the color is more Galliano. I’m so glad you liked this one…hair-pulling…but satisfying! Thank you!!!

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