Joseph's coat


Not of many colours, I'm not sure Jesus' earthly father had a technicolour dream coat. I could be wrong, but if he did, it wasn't mentioned in the Bible!

*Before you start reading this post, I should warn you there's a quite a few links in, just in case you want to pop over halfway through a paragraph. I know I'm not entertaining enough to keep your attention if you wanted to look at the fabric I'm talking about, while I'm talking about it!!!*

Back to the costumes for the Cwm Cynon Christmas story - our theatre performance of the nativity!

Time is marching on and whilst we're finishing up some of the trickier costumes, I thought it was time to share with you a revelation I've had whilst costume making.

Curtain fabric. Nope, not granny's old curtains dyed & cut up to make costumes, we're not in a primary school now....actual, good quality curtain fabric, used for making costumes. I wish I could send you all a sample of this fabric that I used so you could feel how smooth and soft and delicious it is!

Long story short, I found some plain curtain fabric on Terry's Fabrics. I chose this absolutely beautiful, strokeable Panama curtain fabric in the 'Linen' colour way. I didn't think it would go down too well choosing a bright pink for Joseph (for this show anyway!). It arrived rolled on a sturdy cardboard tube but even if it hadn't, I wouldn't have minded because despite being 100% cotton (ONE HUNDRED PERCENT COTTON!!!!) it creased very little. I know, because we scrunched it up, trying to crease it, to make it more historically accurate!!

Anyway, I digress. So I had 3m of it, and I was able to make Joseph's cloak from it, and one for a shepherd with the leftovers. I cut one rectangle 60" (the width of the fabric) by 35" ish, with a small rounded cut out for the back neckline. Next I cut another exactly the same, and then cut it in half down the length to make two front panels.

As you can see, I tried to rip the fabric down the grainline for a more 'authentic' look and it didn't tear too easily! You know what that means? A tight weave. I'm not sure if that's a compliment if you say it to someone, I'll try it with Dus. (Update, he said thanks, but looked insulted).

Personally I think a tight weave on fabric is great for things like curtains, upholstery, things that you really want to last. Some looser woven fabrics are still great quality, but I've had cheap fabric before which would tear as soon as you look at it, so I'll tell Dus that a tight weave is a good thing.

I digress, again. I cut two rectangles for sleeves, and then cut all the pieces again, but this time out of curtain lining. I chose curtain lining from Terry's fabrics too, firstly to save on having to have two companies ship to me (eco warrior that I am) and secondly, did you see the price?! How can you NOT line with this stuff? £2.99 a meter, and it's got a beautiful drape to it.

So then I got my band of merry needlewomen to baste each piece together with it's lining so we could treat them as one. We stitched the shoulders together, then stitched the sleeves onto the tunic shape, then stitched up the sleeve & side as one. Because Joseph was a pauper (sad face), he didn't get a hem, or turned under cuffs, neckline or fronts! Poor him. He does have lining though, and his cloak is very strokeable, so he can't complain fully.

Here's his cloak all sewn up, ready to be 'pauperified'. You can almost see how smooth the fabric is with the way the light reflects off of it. As curtains, this fabric would be stunning!

Next I took it back to the group where one of our number attached torn strips of 'rustic' looking fabric to the front. Hopefully none of the audience will notice that this is actually offcuts from one of the shepherds!

Here's his finished outer cloak. Hopefully Joseph will be taller than 5ft 1/2" and a lot wider on the shoulders!
It's got a beautiful weight to it, which helps it to hang straight down, none of this wishy, washy floaty up stuff like the angel's dress! The more I talk about this fabric, the more convinced I am it's the perfect curtain fabric, soft, smooth, sheeny, some weight to it. I may have to enlist my costume maker friends into helping me make some curtains for my living room!

See, that's almost a month's worth of trying to crease it, and all we've got is one small creased patch at the bottom!

I love that this is lined with curtain fabric, it makes the lining light, and gives the look of it being layered without the fuss of trying to have layers. We've got enough things to worry about for the performances without having to worry about what if we lose a layer or two!

We used curtain lining from Terry's Fabrics for some of the other costume parts too, so I'll be sure to let you know when I get to those! For now though, I'm not sure you could find a better curtain fabric supplier in the UK than Terry's. I was dealing with a gentleman called Ian, and he was so incredibly helpful, even by email (I hate the phone), and my fabric was despatched the same day.

I wonder if I asked nicely they'd let me have a rug from their massive selection? This is completely off topic, but look at this!!!!

On the extreme close up it looks like teddy bear fur. I wonder why they don't call it a Teddy Bear Fur Rug. Actually, I think I've already answered my own question there. Anyway, pop over and check out Terry's fabrics, they've got fabric, ready made curtains, bedding, rugs, blinds, cushions, homewares, etc! And if anyone fancies buying me that Sable Rug in Cream, I'll need the largest size, but will love you forever!!

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  1. A great idea to use curtain fabric! The robe looks wonderful, Samantha! This will be an amazing production and your all deserve and Oscar for costume design!! Seriously!!

  2. I think it fits you perfectly, you should play Joseph. That only gives you a couple of weeks to grow your beard though...


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