Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chimera Series: The Circus Coat

I bought Vogue 2232 years ago. It's a Geoffrey Beene jacket--or coat if you do the long version--with a cool angled hemline. I've considered doing any number of things with it, most of them quietly drapey and tasteful.

Then I saw The Tempest (the film, Julie Taymor, see Himself's take on it) at the film festival and, ooh, Trinculo's coat! See? Here? I abandoned the idea of a sensible rendition of this jacket; now I want a jester, circus, costume version. When will I wear it? Don't bother me with trivialities. Well, and there's always the Halloween parade.

Having a closer look at the Beene pattern and reviews of it, I realized that it may not be as distinctive as it looks. It appears to have a straight front, with angles only at the back. On the other hand, Vogue 8088, a Marcy Tilton jacket, is angled in front (see the line drawing?), is rumored to be easier to assemble, and comes in a wider variety of sizes. That may be the one to use, saving the Beene for something more conservative after all. Anyway, I've already sent off for a copy.

That vest version of 8088, from the pattern envelope, shows its potential for everything from tasteful to whacky. Yes, I'm looking at making the jacket, not the vest, but the vest photo has more of the festival vibe I'm looking for. I'm thinking of what C.S. Lewis said in The Horse And His Boy about your best clothes also being your most comfortable ones--that always made me imagine flowing, colorful celebration garments. I want one. Or two. Or three. I'm already thinking about a full costume--jacket, top, skirt or trousers. But let's focus on the jacket.

The first bit to think about is the fabric. Patterns and colors--that visual thing that I'm no good at. Contrasting primary colors? That has the risk of ending up with the Beachball Jacket. Contrasting pastels? That might be too pretty. My thoughts are drifting toward rich saturated violet, and blue, and green. When I went to Wikimedia Commons to for inspiration for those colors, I immediately changed that to jewel color names---amethyst and emerald and sapphire. Then, looking for specific examples, I found this photograph of foil-wrapped Easter eggs. I'm not too happy with the green, and the photo is drifting back toward pastels, but, yum.

Maybe the right background color would make it less pastel-pretty--a background color like the olive in that shoe there. And the pattern in the shoe provides some inspiration, too; I don't want plain simple color. I'm imagining pattern or texture or both, and probably not a print--I prefer fabric detailed in thread. Brocades, or stripes, or tapestry, or embroidery. And a colored, intensely colored, background. I keep buying fabrics with white backgrounds, and never using them.

So that's where I am. First chimera post. I can see that each project is likely to end up with more than one post, as my thoughts drift. And, of course, even more for the ones that actually come into existence. But I'll start here.

Costume Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Easter Egg Image: By Lotus Head. Wikimedia Commons.
8088 Pattern Line Drawing and Vest Photo: Marci Tilton/Vogue Patterns.
Silk Brocade Shoe Image: Wikimedia Commons.

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