|Abe's bench is pushing my hoops forward here,|
so the skirts look bigger than they are.
|Here you get a better idea of the proportions of the skirts|
to the rest of me, which I think are just about right. The skirt of
the paletot is blown open, though; hence the big gap.
I thought the finished look was pretty (here it what it looks like) and I realized I could most likely start with a pattern I had already fitted to myself. In fact, it's the pattern for the lining of the dress I'm wearing underneath the paletot in the picture above. (Long story short: the lining fit well, but I wasn't satisfied with the dress as a whole, so I am currently taking it apart and putting it back together, but that's a blog for another day.)
I actually started working on this ages ago--last summer, I think, when I had notions of going to the Remembrance Day celebrations in Gettysburg in November. Because of pandemic reasons, that was cancelled anyway, but it's just as well, because that attempt was a total failure. At that point, I didn't have the diagram above, and I was just going to kind of . . . wing it. I used the old mock-up and didn't do a new mockup, and I pulled out some wool blend polka-dotted fabric left over from a skirt (that may or may not end up in the back of my costume closet forevermore). The fabric was all wrong, using the old mock-up was a failure, and even though I put hours (and hours) of work into it, it was a failure. I tossed it aside.
And then I moved.
Almost as soon as I had unpacked my everyday clothes, I was itching to sew again. I had had a really rough month of it, with the massive stress of finding and buying a home for the first time and with health issues on top of that. It wasn't pretty, but once I had moved, an enormous weight was off of me, and I felt almost normal again. Because of the move, I hadn't done any sewing in probably a month and a half, and I just needed a creative outlet, so I dove right into the paletot.
I knew I had to start essentially from scratch because my previous effort wasn't salvageable. I believe this is when I found the diagram above. In any case, because I'd confused myself with the previous mock-up, I decided to go back to the under-bodice pattern for the blue dress. My plan was to start with that and use the diagram above to get the general shape of the pattern pieces. In order to turn the under-bodice pattern into a paletot, I would need to add the skirt, convert two darts (per side) into one and extend that dart into the skirt portion of the paletot, and draft the pagoda sleeves and cape.
And . . . it was not an immediate success. It fit okay in the shoulders and chest but not around the waist, and the skirt was way off. It folded over itself at the side but didn't reach all the way to the front. It was also quite long, though that wasn't much of a problem. It's easy enough to hack off a few inches at the bottom edge.
After much fiddling and pinning and repinning, I was able to get a shape that I was happy with, or at least happy enough to be getting on with. As for the sleeves, those were fairly easy. Some time ago, I found a good resource on how to draft sleeves, and it served me well here. As for the cape, it wasn't too difficult. As per the diagram, I just extended the lines of the bodice pattern outwards from the shoulder, decided how far down the front I wanted it to come, and drew in the shape I wanted. I had to modify the mockup a little bit to make the front angle deeper, but that was no problem.
Once I was satisfied that I was pretty close to where I wanted to be with the shapes, I cut out a second mock-up, this time from a navy blue cotton I'd bought for the lining. My plan was to save some fabric and time by making the mock-up out of lining fabric. As long as it wasn't too far off, I would simply take apart the blue cotton mockup and use it as lining.
Here are the pieces cut out of the blue fabric:
Here, I'm trying to figure out how to get the whole paletot out of less than two yards of the black wool fabric I bought for the project. The wool here folded in half lengthwise. I ended up having to piece the top of the front pieces at the shoulder, but since that is covered with the cape, it doesn't show.
Worth noting: I often use newspaper when drafting patterns. I have a ton of it, it's big, and I don't mind tossing it out if the pattern doesn't work out. More recently, I was turned on to the idea of using wrapping paper with a grid on the back. I got several rolls on steep discount after Christmas. The grid helps SO MUCH in drafting. Ten out of ten, would recommend.