The high desert of Northern New Mexico has inspired many artists including Georgia O’Keefe. I imagine her stepping out into that expansive landscape, painting satchel in hand, wearing her iconic clothes. In her minimal, curated wardrobe, this might just have been her favorite coat...the same one in many solid colors.
When Georgia found a garment she liked, it often became her basic which she repeated in a variety of colors. Her wrap coatdress, with the accent facing and collar, was one of those garments in her wardrobe. I am inspired and appreciating that sentiment as I explore my O'Keefe Pattern and various ways it is becoming a basic wardrobe piece. Designing options for any season: Long or short, collar? collarless? wool, linen or gauze? prints, solids or collaged?…How will we modify this garment design as the seasons change?
A sewing pattern is a ‘start’ …..waiting for us to tweek them with new ideas and details….so let’s walk through some of the ways to play with your O’Keefe design.
The SILHOUETTE: Shaping your Garment-
Consider your design options. Vary the hemlines: shorter in the front? longer in the back, shorter in front? Maybe a 3/4 or cropped? Full length coat? Maybe a dramatic diagonal hemline?
The garment BACK is full with lots of ease. The pattern includes ways to add or decrease the fullness in the back. The pattern back can also be cut on the bias. With lighter-weight fabrics, the bottom hem edge can be on the fold and the pattern piece cut out doubled. To do this, decide the finished garment length BEFORE you cut, so the folded edge is at your finished hemline. Once cut out…the fullness in the back can be controlled with added seams, or pleats held with hand-stitching, ties or buttons.
Collage & Piecing- Seeing the basic pieces as potential for collage often inspires my fabric combinations. Piecing fabric to make yardage is a wonderful way explore your design style as you begin to create an O’Keefe.
The white shirt is pieced with various textures and combines unexpected raw edges with clean finished lines. The combo of the fabrics with fabric pen drawn details, some hand stitching in a single black sewing thread and black elastic ties is eye-catching.
The House Fabric, by Miles Frode is in our fabric collection. The cotton weight fabric combined with a stripe sleeves and trim, forest green back and bold orange bits makes a playful coatdress or shirt version.
Inseam pockets are included in The O'Keefe Pattern and your combination might inspire more pocket ideas. The extra snaptape was the perfect trim for the oversized pocket placed on an angle on the linen version below.
There are 3 collar variations included: a stand collar, an accent collar (and front facing ) for a contrasting fabric, and a bias, v-neck shawl collar version. There is a neckline facing if you want to go collarless. The v-neck shape might be perfect for a lightweight garment with piping or a short band accent there.
For warmer garments, the stand collar can be bias, folded or scrunched down.
The Accent Collar above, is inspired by the pop of color we see in some of Georgia’s garments. The shawl collar can also be cut shorter (as shown in the pattern). The fit of the shawl collar on the neck edge is determined by 2 things: 1. The size that was cut out, AND the pressing you do to curve it before attaching it to the garment. Spend time here…perfecting your technique for personalizing a neck edge is worth it.
For my cropped versions, I cut the original shawl collar shape, played with it on the dressform wearing it, then cut the raw edge down for shorter, 1”-1 1/2” finished bands.
Stitching & Closures-
Hand and machine stitching can add finishing details to The O’Keefe. In the canvas version above, both were added to accent the printed front bands, and more black hand-stitching was added at the seams and to hold the pleats in back.
In contrast, on the sleeves of the white shirt, a single black thread in a running stitch was just enough. From snaptape or frogs to elastic loops or a whimsical collection of buttons ...let the overall feel of your garment suggest your choice of closures. A more classic approach might just call for bound buttonholes.
In the spirit of the artist, consider a bold color, accent facing, a single dramatic button or pin...or wrapping yourself with a vintage, concho belt.
Is that sage I smell? ...I would join Georgia now for a day of painting on the mesas she called home. Diane