Alice coat revelation

The historical costumers/re-enactors in the audience will probably laugh at me for this, but for the longest time I couldn’t figure out what was going with the shoulder seam on Alice’s coat. Most shoulder seams that I have seen are straight across the top of the shoulder; the seams in Alice’s coat slope diagonally from her neck DOWN HER BACK. I first assumed the normal horizontal seam was still there with some bizarre triangle piece draping backwards.

Me: What is going on here?


In doing some research on Napoleonic Era British naval uniforms, I borrowed Nora Waugh’s The Cut of Men’s Clothes from the library. Her book really is a fantastic resource for any sort of historical tailoring, ranging from Renaissance to Victorian, and I highly recommend it! I found a lot of Regency Era designs and I think I have a basic idea of how I want to draft my naval uniform (more to come later when I actually get started.)

I then came across this schematic for a Victorian era frock coat:

A revelation! From “The Cut of Men’s Clothes” by Norah Waugh.


Oh my glob*, you guys. Alice’s coat is based off a men’s Victorian frock coat, appropriate for her personality the era and in which the movie was set. That shoulder seam: an extension from the front panel with a sloping back panel. I think there is one more slim panel in the back to give the bodice a little more shaping and more volume for the skirt, as well as the collar adjustment, but it is definitely a similar style. Not that it really needs to be said, but kudos to Colleen Atwood for her attention to detail!

I’ll get around to this project…eventually…one of these days… after I finish reading Brandon Sanderson’s The Alloy of Law

(*Lumpy Space Princess. From the cartoon “Adventure Time,” which is unsuspectingly witty and addictive.)

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The Alice Coat: research

Back in 2008, the first images released from Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” were from the closing scene with Mia Wasikowska in an incredible blue coat, of which pictures can be found on Maggie’s costuming research site. People instantly recognized it as a Colleen Atwood design. I recognized it as a coat that I would like to wear.

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