“The Kiss by Klimt” coat

Fabric: All scraps left over from some project or another
Pattern: Vogue 2338
Year: 1946 Notions: 3/4 yard of elastic. Does thread count? I went through a LOT of thread! Time to complete: 17-18 hours
First worn: February 2012
Wear again? Absolutely!!

Total Cost: F R E E

I honestly couldn’t tell you what thought process picked this piece of artwork and paired it with this pattern. Some things you just let happen and every once in a while magic happens : )

Here is the original piece of art:

The Kiss 1907-08

And here is what I started with:

My pile of inspiration

I have bags of literal scraps, silk scraps. I did a series of shows that we were lucky enough to be able to use gorgeous silks so I saved some of the bigger scraps thinking one day I’d do a fabulous silk crazy quilt. I saved those pieces for 7 years and yes, I finally DID make my quilt! But despite making an all silk quilt large enough to put on a queen sized bed I still had a considerable amount of pieces left. We separated the colors out so each color lives in its own little bag so when I need something like gold I can just pull out that bag, dig through and get what I need. That is why there is a pile of rumpled silk in the lower left corner : ) The rest are larger pieces left over from all kinds of things but the ONE piece that was pivotal to this piece is the gold silk crinkly mesh on top.

What I REALLY didn’t want to have was a fancy “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” coat. I wanted the translucence of the gold mesh while using the other silks for the squares that make up the cloak design in the painting. I didn’t have enough of the mesh to do the entire jacket so I knew a certain percentage of the coat had to be the other silks otherwise…no coat : )

I started out cutting 4″, 3″, 2″ and 1 1/2″ strips from each of the colors. Then I just got into a kind of zen “zone” patching pieces together. I laid the strips down over the actual pattern pieces because I didn’t want to cut ONE extra square and needed to make sure everything stayed on a straight grain. My routine became cut, piece, stitch, overlock, iron, repeat…about 1000 times. Each panel took about 2 hours to do and there are, effectively, 8 panels. The KEY thing was to NOT overthink the piecing! Doing something like this is easy to start micro-focusing so working 2 hours a night was a good thing, it let me step back and see what I had done without getting so caught up that I got tunnel vision.

Up close of the inside

Overlocking each seam was essential since these silks can ravel. I’ve got gold threads all over the sewing room and a couple of cats. I’m sure the whole process time-wise could have been cut down about 10% if I wasn’t constantly moving a cat off the ironing board or the cutting board.

Cat on cutting board : )

Despite the fact that this could also be “The Coat that Ate all My Spare Time this Week” I LOVE IT!!!

Me and my coat!

Would I do this again? Probably not : ) But now I have something amazing to wear should I ever go out again somewhere really nice.

Back view

There are a couple things that I would change about this, and probably will in the future. If anyone is interested in making this pattern be aware – it is really big! I would normally cut a 14 or 16 in a Vogue pattern so that’s what I did here. Next time I’ll cut a 10 or 12. The armholes hang very low, and I could put a couple small children under the body of the jacket like Mother Marshmallow in “The Nutcracker”. I could easily remove 15-20% of the fabric and be fine. The one thing I didn’t realize, though, was how cool it looked from the back until my daughter started snapping pics.

The back in motion

I wasn’t sure how brave I was going to be today, we first went to the park and library in town but ended up at my first choice for the shots, in front of the soon-to-open Neiman Marcus building. I really wanted to see how this would look in front of their gold glass windows and against that white, white marble. Being self-conscious to be so dressed up on this warm day (in hat and gloves!) I wasn’t relaxing as well as I needed to until a woman exclaimed “Oh, that background is absolutely perfect for your outfit! I’m an artist to this is just stunning!” My daughter went on to say “The outfit is inspired by a famous piece of art, can you guess what it is?” She couldn’t quite get it but she was close. I felt much better after that : )

The back full out : )

I love the whole outfit with the vintage wool hat, vintage leather above-the-elbow gloves, bakelite earrings, bracelets and belt buckle and purse. My daughter kept trying to straighten my seams which you can see are still crooked. She used to do a show where she had to wear seamed hose every night and finally had it with trying to keep the seams straight so she had them tattoo’d on! I’m beginning to think that isn’t such a bad idea… : )

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