Hot! “The Kiss by Klimt” coat

Vogue 2338

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
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… : )

Author

Loran

Loran is a Bay Area designer, stitcher and suburban farm girl. Having done theater for years she's finally taking on her most demanding client (herself!) and fashioning a wardrobe from her huge stock of vintage patterns and fabrics, all while writing her daily tablesetting blog. Let's see if she can keep up with both : )

41 Comments

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  1. That is impressive. What a lot of work!

  2. You are a genius!!! That coat is a work of art in and of itself!! If you lived on the East coast I would bribe you with dinner just to see it in person. It’s absolutely wonderful and definitely captures the tone, texture and color of the original artwork.

    • Thank you Wanett! If you lived, or even visited the West Coast, I would be HAPPY to show it to you for fun, dinner would be a happy bonus : )

  3. Be careful, Neiman Marcus design department is liable to snatch you up and hold you for ransom, until you agree to sell your design to them. This is such a beautiful piece, and I’d say priceless! Defiantly cutting edge (pun intended) :)

  4. This is unbelievably awesome! I love that it is a such a great art object *and* wearable coat on its own, but when you put it next to the Klimt, you realize how well it channels the feel of that painting. Great work!

  5. Wow, that is the most beautiful jacket I have scene! It. Must be f a bulbous to wear. The fabric is amazing along wi the interpretation, I could see that on display here at the MET Fashion show.

  6. Wow, that is the most beautiful jacket I have scene! It. Must be fabulous to wear. The fabric is amazing along and your interpretation of the artwork is amazing. I could see that on display here at the MET Fashion show. Great job.

    • Yes, Krista, it is pretty fabulous to wear : ) I would attend a fashion show wearing it, if I lived out your way. I’ll just have to slip it on every now and then a swan about the house…

  7. Nice! You re one clever lady :)

  8. WOW! I recently made some 9-square patchwork cushions and got so tired of that simple process, I cannot even imagine how you did this. But the result speaks for itself – very, very beautiful.

  9. I am in awe! That is an absolutely amazing coat, I am so jealous of your creativity and skills!!!

  10. You always look stunning in your outfits and the photos are great. I look forward to your posts. The details too are well thought out. Seams no wonder women stopped wearing them!

    • Thanks Nan! I’m pretty impressed with some of your projects too, like your tailored jacket you’re working on. My grandmother trained with tailors in New York back in the late 20′s/early 30′s and actually *became* a certified tailor. She taught me the exact skills you’re practicing right now. And yeah, those seams…fun but a pain : )

  11. This is so excellent, I may cry!! DAng!!!, woman!! This a beautiful coat and photo set!

  12. The artwork is displayed during the movie “This Means War” with Reese Witherspoon. Saw it recently (loved it, BTW), and this artist and painting was her favorite. I agree the coat is a hit! Good work.

  13. This is so beautiful it’s insane! LOVE it, you did a really really great job!

  14. This is just all kinds of stunningly amazing gorgeousness!

  15. You are amazing! And not in a technicolor dream coat sort of way haha. Really, I’m blown away.

    • Thanks Lisette : ) I was actually really worried at one point I’d channel that show (one I don’t care much for) but I forged ahead. I’m glad the work that went into it is appreciated.

  16. Gorgeous! I wouldn’t even know where to begin (even though you graciously explained it). I’m in awe!

  17. A work of art itself! So inspiring, love the beautiful back view. I think you need the 15-20% extra fabric for the drama.

  18. WOW!!! This is awesome! I love Klimt, and your jacket is perfect! Great job!

  19. i have always loved that painting. What is so special about The KISS is that if you look closely, you see the woman’s toes curl up in pure pleasure. Looking at yout coat…makes my toes curl up! I always thought a robe/coat based on this incredible painting would be wonderful. Thank you for making it real for us to see…and sharing it. Heck, I’m jealous of your big ole orange cat who got to watch its creation

    • Thank you Gail! That big ole orange cat like sleeping on the pile of fabrics or the ironing board, wherever he could get my attention : ) Thank you, too, for the toes comment, that’s very sweet. The kitty’s name is Ashton and he’s “way famous”. He’ll also be featured on an outfit this year….we have plans afoot…

  20. This is the MOST AMAZING jacket I’ve ever seen! Fabulous job!! It’s absolutely beautiful!

  21. Oh wow that is fantastic! You have indeed created your own piece of art! You have to wear it to wander around art galleries and sip champagne and make nonsensical comments on paintings and people will know you are a true art mogul! My favourite thing from this week, I am in awe!

    • Thank you Ms. Sorbet : ) I would LOVE to wander around some art gallery, sipping champagne and making nonsensical comments! I may have an exhibit of my own this June so I can wear it there, thanks for the suggestion!!

  22. Gasping for air over here…this coat took my breath away! Your patchwork patience and artistic bravery is phenomenal.

    • Breathe, Najah…and thank you : ) I was REALLY wanting to make an obi belt like the last couple you made to go on my dress and match the coat but I was a little tired by the time I finished this. I still want to channel Najah one of these days so thank YOU for your inspiration as well.

      • Breathing normally again…thanks for the reminder ;-) There’s plenty of time for obis. I’m just honored to be on your list of channelees. Coincidentally, I’m starting a quilt next week, so your Klimt jacket fell into my line of sight at just the right time. There’s like six degrees of sewing inspiration going on here….love it!

  23. I can take a pic of the quilt I just made from the rest of the silk scraps and post it somewhere for you to see if that kind of thing will help inspire. It’s a crazy quilt but a more modern take on it since I just didn’t have the desire or patience to do all that futsy hand work. I love quilting, there’s something serene about the piecing process and when it all comes together…magic : )

  24. Absolutely amazing Loran, a real piece of art in itself, you are ah- ma-zing, your a attention to detail blows my mind.

  25. Ahhhmazing! That you had the vision to do this with scraps is out of this world. It truly looks fabulous and a perfect representation of the inspiration.

  26. Wow, such a lot of work – incredible.