Until now I have resisted making a trench coat for myself, as belted waistlines don’t really suit me-and-my-short-waist-that-is-not-getting-any-smaller, but rummaging through some of my fabrics I found some stone coloured stretch twill, and thought I’d give a slim-line trench coat a go.
I thought I had a pattern somewhere for this one, circa 2000:
You know when sometimes things that you think are going to be relatively straightforward, just don’t end up that way? This was one of those times. Anyway – third toile later – I am finally onto the sleeve and collar draft, but here is the body so far:
As you can see I don’t believe in the concept of a ‘wearable muslin’! For me a toile is simply to check fit and design lines, so I draw all over them. Here you can see my outline of the storm flaps, pockets and buttons – these are all transferred to my pattern and the toile goes in the bin.
I was checking out trench coat designs online, and the history is quite interesting. Thomas Burberry developed a durable waterproof wool gabardine in 1880, and this was used in coats worn by soldiers in the Boer War, and later by exploreres such as Admunson, Shackleton and Mallory.
In 1901 Burberry submitted a design to the British War Office for an Officer’s raincoat which was subsequently adopted, and in 1914 the War Office commissioned Burberry to develop a practical and protective storm coat to be worn by the frontline soldiers in the trenches during WW1. Adding epaulettes, D-rings and straps and using a fine twill gabardine, it was soon nicknamed the trench coat. It is estimated half a million Burberry trench coats were produced from 1914-1918, and Aquascutum also produced trenchcoasts for the allied soldiers.
Civilians adopted the practical trenchcoat after the war, and the iconic Burberry check was patented in the 20’s and began to be used as a lining. During WW2 trench coats became a part of every enlisted soldier’s kit, and were also adopted by the US forces.