Between running a half marathon the same weekend, prepping for the DAT, trying to get my kids through the end of their school year (which is still yet to happen), and cramming dental shadowing hours into my already crazy schedule I forgot to share about the super cool coat I made my oldest son for his Junior prom that happened back in May.
The prom theme was “Masquerade Ball” (It was that or Under the Sea…or Knight of Enchantment..prom themes are known for their originality. AmIright?) so my son and his date thought it would be fun to take the prom theme literally and go to in costume, fancy costume.
It all started with a Clockwork droid costume and a ponytail. My son thought his hair looked colonial when he pulled it back into a ponytail and my kids are slightly obsessed with the Broadway musical Hamilton. So naturally he wanted to go to the Masquerade prom in a colonial type costume like the one I had made a couple years earlier for a Halloween costume.
He thought it would be simple, he’d just wear the coat from the Clockwork Droid costume I had made for my second to oldest son a couple years ago.
I had to explain that he could wear a costume to prom but it had to look and be nice so as to pass as formal wear. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I have to explain the rules of appropriate dress to a teenage boy.
I approached this project the same way I did the costume and started with a large men’s suit coat. I think this one was a 42 though I have no idea how sizing of those things works. For the prom coat I paid more attention to the structural details of the jacket, I wanted it to actually fit my son well. With the costume coat I just made some large darts down each side of the back which brought the shoulders in a bit and shortened the sleeves while creating that sort of fit-and-flare silhouette. On the prom coat I actually took the sleeves off, took it in a couple inches at the sides, and then made pleats at each shoulder. Instead of sewing down the pleats I tacked them down at the shoulders and the waist and pressed the shit out of them in hopes it would stay in place.
The back pleats gave the coat it’s colonial-esque shape and helped the previously giant suit coat fit my very thin teenager.
After I had the basic shape figured out I took the sleeves down in width and reattached them. It sounds pretty simple but that was probably the most difficult part of the whole remake, getting those dang sleeves back on in a way that didn’t look goofy. Remember, I took in the sides of the coat. I took in the sleeves too but it wasn’t by the same amount so they didn’t quite match up. At first I tried gathering the sleeves across the tops of the shoulders but that looked pretty funky. Plus there are about fifty layers of fabric, interfacing, and odd stuffing like material in the shoulder of suit coats. I had no idea there was so much in there until I opened up this coat. After two or three attempts I finally got one sleeve right. There was some random tucking and easing and more than a little luck involved. Then I had to get the other one to match it. Symmetry is a bitch sometimes.
Once the sleeves were reattached it was time for some trim. This, of course, was started the day before prom and finished day of. That’s just how I roll.
I got the good, expensive trim this go-round, like I said, I wanted this one to really look like a nice, fancy dress coat. On the costume coat I had glued the front bar trim on. It worked for a costume but the glue showed, that wouldn’t do for this. I did glue the ends of the thicker gold trim to prevent fraying but it’s all sewed down with straight stitches in yellow thread on the top and bottom of each bar. It surprised me how well the stitching blended in. I could have been a little more precise when sewing down the red ribbon trim but it’s not too noticeable on the finished coat.
We paired the coat with a grey vest and suit pants, dress loafers with tassels, a white button up, the ruffle collar I made for the Clockwork droid costume, and masks made by my son and his date.
My son’s prom date rented her dress from a costume shop. They looked awesome…but as we pulled up to the door of the country club they both hesitated to get out of the car. The girl said “I think I might be a little overdressed.” (She was the only girl at prom wearing a crinoline.) and the looks on their faces said “What did we get ourselves into?” It takes a fair amount of courage to go to prom in costume when in all likelihood no one else in your school will. For a few minutes their fun, creative idea was looking somewhat less appealing. I reassured them that they looked super cool and the outfits would be a hit but the teenagers still would not get out of the car until they confirmed via text that friends would be arriving in the next few minutes. Luckily I was not wrong and everyone was impressed with their unique and literal interpretation of the prom theme.