I got the idea for this jacket when an elderly friend of mine gave me a present -- a mink stole. It was quite an old garment, dating back a good 50 years. You can see pictures of First Lady Mamie Eisenhower wearing an exactly similar fur. The segments of the stole were beginning to split along the main seams, and the collar was falling off.
I used an Exacto knife to finish splitting the seams apart. I also discarded the old lining and interlining, and detached the collar. The stole was transformed into four long strips of mink that curved like bracket markers. The “grain” of the mink ran from the center of each curve (the former center back of the stole) to each narrow tip. And each piece of mink curved slightly differently.
I made a newspaper pattern of the proposed jacket spread flat. By placing the center of each strip at the top of the shoulder, I was able to get all the mink to “run” downhill from shoulder to hem, front and back. It took a little seaming and clipping of it to get it to lie flat. The length of the fur strips determined the length of the jacket, and I used my favorite features in a coat: shawl collar, no fastenings, inset pockets.
Then I went to the Classic Elite outlet in Lowell with the fur collar, and bought an assortment of dark green yarns to go with it. And I bought some sturdy cotton cloth in the same shade of green. I cut the cloth to the newspaper pattern, and sewed the fur strips into position. Then I knitted strips of knitting to fit between the fur, beginning from the back hem, and heading up to the shoulder, over the top, and back down to the front hem. Each piece of knitting was sewn to the cloth and then to the fur -- my worry was that the old fur wouldn’t be strong enough to bear the weight of the entire garment at the seams. This was the most tiresome bit of the process -- all that hand-sewing!
I left space in the front side seams for pockets, and knitted the bands and shawl collar (shaped with short rows) in one long strip folded in half and sewn on. The sleeves are also knitted separately and seamed in. For the hem I cheated, and used my sewing machine to attach hem facing.I used silk coat lining from G Street Fabrics in Centerville, VA for the lining and pockets. The sleeves are unlined so far -- I have enough fabric, but the garment seems warm enough without sleeve linings.
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