Saturday, April 02, 2011
Those Damned Red Coats
These coats were bought for an adult production of "Hello Dolly" a few years ago. We had to futz with the sizing then, too, but not as much as now. The current production is being performed by kids in a middle school. A lot of them are under 5' and under 90 lbs. They don't make these coats in children's sizes, and the sizes they do make are rather larger than they should be.The left coat is a Medium, or so they say. The shoulders measure 19". Neck to waist is 18", chest is 46" and waist is 41". In pretty much any American sizing system, that would be an Extra Large. My job? To reduce the coat on the left to the size of the coat on the right, without cutting anything off.
So, we start by creating a side seam, because, in imitation of normal tailoring, the side seam in the jackets is set a couple of inches towards the back. I took a tuck from the wrist, up the sleeve and down the side, tapering out into a long dart in the skirt, as you can see in the coat on the right. Then, a tuck around and just above the waist, to bring the waist up 4". Then a dart in the back to bring the shoulders in, and a tuck up each side of the front to balance that. After that, a casing is applied to the back of the waist and elastic put through it to draw up any extra in the waist. Then, the sleeves need to be hemmed, and the excess fabric at the bottom of the front has to be folded up behind and hand stitched so that nothing shows on the outside.
Actually, the first thing to do was check the sleeves to make sure they were in right. Many of the coats arrived with the sleeves in backwards. These were made in Viet Nam.
The finished coat measures 16" in the shoulders, 14" neck to waist, 32" in the chest and 30" in the waist. The sleeves are 4" shorter, and 2" narrower.
Someday, we may have time to build a lot of small red coats for middle school actors, but, for now, this will have to do.