But what to make of it? Whenever I consider sewing something for me, I’m caught in the same dilemma: The intersection between the clothes that I look good in and the clothes that I’d like to wear tends to be perpetually empty. The things that make a coat look good on me are easily named: a straight cut and a notched collar. The things that make me like a coat were more difficult to define, but when I gave it a bit of thought I noticed that there are two things that I really care for. First of all, any coat that hopes to catch my interest should be really long - lower calf length at least, above ankle length is better. There’s no fun in wearing a coat if it doesn’t billow when you’re running for you life, or saving the world, or just walking down a hallway - the last scenario being the most likely in my life right now. And the second thing that distinguishes a just-so coat from a really great one are the buttons. They should be big, prominent, and extra points if they’re shiny. In other words: as far as coats are concerned, I want drama.
The above was about as far as I’d gotten in my analysis when I realised that I’d seen the perfect coat just days before - worn by actor John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness. It’s straight, lower calf length, double breasted (more buttons, yay) and as long as you don’t button it up completely the front passes for a notched collar.
As I soon found out Captain Jack’s coat is a loose interpretation of a WWII RAF officer’s coat. So the next step for me was to find out how the real deal looks, identify the distinguishing features and run with them. Thanks to an ebay auction for an original coat that featured some really great pictures, including an inside shot, I came up with this list of features that I’d like to keep:
- no side seams
- waist darts in front
- deep side pockets with flaps
- a belt that can either be closed or tucked to the back through two slits in the back side seams
- 10 buttons in front (5 on each side) running from a bit below the waist up to the shoulder
- 3 smaller buttons at each wrist
- a back vent that can be buttoned up
My fabric does not match the rather bluish gray of the original, and I’m going to use plain buttons, not regimental ones. And unlike the original, my coat will be fully lined. The original shows two vertical tucks in the back that add to the waist shaping. I’m not sure I’ll do those - I’ll try to get all waist shaping in the back done in the seams. I may also use more buttons for the back vent. The original has two buttons, but it is only mid-calf length, a longer coat may need more buttons to really close.
Of course this coat is pretty far from what is usually recommended for someone my size, but I really don’t care. If it turns out even remotely like I envision it right now, it’s going to be a lot of fun to wear, and that’s far more important to me.