The Stadtmantel and the Woolly Jacket
utilise an innovative mix of knit and non-stretch materials.
The knit provides warmth and comfort. The non stretch materials create structure and durability.
The Stadtmantel is my most worn garment .
It started as a warm layer to be worn under a raincoat and emerged as an incredibly versatile garment in its own right. I wear mine from late September to April- as an “under it “ or an ”over it”
It is great for travelling because it is light and I especially love it because it doesn't look like I am about to go off and climb Mt.Everest.
It is for the City- this is why it is called STADT = City ,MANTEL = Coat.
It is warm and elegant; long enough to wear over most dresses; It looks good open or closed, or fastened with just a few strategic press studs.
The Woolly Jacket version for men is also very popular.
It is less stuffy and more comfortable than a “normal” jacket and more elegant than a cardigan. AND drum roll… the pockets are reinforced and usable.
This style looks great on most men and can be styled casually over a t-shirt or worn with a shirt and tie.
The thing these garments have in common is their construction.
The edges are reinforced with a stable cloth; the back facing is divided to allow for maximum flexibility within the body of the garments and the sleeves are lined with a bias cut lining.
My THING is Clothing as Design.
The Stadtmantel and Woolly Jacket illustrate my design process as a series of decisions.
I was trying to avoid lining a raincoat ( another story)
When I had the idea for a light warm layer.
I figured the raincoat could be worn in summer or winter with an optional warm layer, whereas a permanently lined raincoat would be limited to winter.
My favourite winter coat at the time needed replacing because the edges of the sleeves and pockets were worn out. In the perfect world * all parts of the garment should last as long as the other parts… the weakest link….
There are some fine traditions in tailoring to prolong the life of garments,by reinforcing areas that get wear and tear; like a band around the hem of woollen trousers to protect the material; or leather patches on elbows. There are good reasons for doing this; unless you like repairing clothing.**
For me Design ( capital D) is about making decisions… for whom; why; and can I make it better?
The third point was where I started.
Boiled wool is a wonderful material. It is warm and flexible, however it can stretch out and wear thin.
Some designers are happy to cut leave the edges of boiled wool unfinished***
This idea didn´t satisfy me. I didn't want the edges to be raw and I didn't want a double boiled wool facing because I imagined it to be too bulky… and expensive and mmmäähh…
It was fun to discover that a zig zag stitch could just disappear into the surface texture of boiled wool. Wool loves steam and I was happy to secure the hems with a wide zig zag.
However, there also needed to be a stable edge for buttons or fasteners because they easily rip off or gape if there isn't a good underlay.
The idea to finish the edges like blankets (with a wide bound edge) seemed like a good idea. I messed around with various prototypes until I came up with something that worked.
I chose a densely woven polyamide to reinforce the front edge of the first Stadtmantel.This made it strong enough to sew the press studs onto and created a non-fussy minimalist finish.
It was logical to use similar fabric on all of the edges that receive heavy wear: the edge of the pockets and the sleeve edges.
There are 3 main materials in these designs. Each fabric does it´s job.
The Knit for movement and warmth; a robust non-stretch for stability and a lining quality that lines.
I didn't want to line the body of the Stadtmantel because It didn't make sense to limit the stretch and there wasn't an elegant way to attach it at the front. Instead, I used a technique popularised in the 1960s for unlined jackets; a divided back facing that allows for movement.
It finishes the neck edge and gives some structure to the shoulders.
The sleeves are lined with a bias cut lining. This makes slipping in and out the coat easy and pleasurable.
These are the decisions I made 10 years ago.
The Stadtmantel and the Woolly Jacket have good bones and are a good starting point for similar garments in stretch fabric.
If you want to tag a Stadtmantel or Woolly jacket please use:
#stokxstadtmantel #stokxwoollyjacket and tag @stokxpatterns
*In the perfect world
This is one of my filters.
It is a way of seeing what might make sense in different circumstances.
** No judgement here! Your garment, your time, your choice.
***If you decide to make a garment and leave the facings and edges away you would still have a perfectly nice garment.. But that was too easy for me 10 years ago… I´ve mellowed.