Thanks so much for your many, many suggestions for rescuing my black and white graphic floral trench! I sewed in the sleeves and the lining, and I have to say, I’m feeling much better about it now. Of course, in typical Selfish Seamstress style, I ask your advice, and then stubbornly end up sticking to plan A. I don’t have any newer pictures of the coat in its current state, so I’ll just refresh your memory with the last photo:

I had actually tried some black topstitching along the back princess seams originally but already ripped it all out. There was something about the slightly broken topstitching lines running almost straight against the swirling, smooth black curves of the flowers that just wasn’t working.

Also, I had actually thought about black piping at the onset of the project, and thought about it again very seriously after so many of you suggested it. But for some reason it wasn’t jiving in my mind’s eye, and part of the reason for that was that I couldn’t get the image of the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum out of my head:

Something about those clean, minimalist edges was really taking over my brain when I thought about the various design elements of the coat. Or perhaps I had the mental vanity image of myself walking around in the Guggenheim in my coat and I wanted it to go well with the museum :) Even though my flowery fabric is far from the stark white walls of the Guggenheim, somehow I wanted my coat to look “Guggenheimy” – spare and minimalist and graceful. Black piping would certainly have made the coat cuter but I just couldn’t commit to cute. I also thought it might push the coat into Chico’s territory; nothing wrong with Chico’s- it’s just not my aesthetic. [Oddly enough, I just went to look at Chico’s website to make sure it was the store I was thinking of, and this was the coat that came up on their splash page:

… which is sort of reaffirming my decision not to go with piping. The model looks beyond thrilled though!]

But wait!  Before you all groan that I ask for your advice and them promptly ignore it and why should you waste your time on me at all, I did take your advice!  See?

That, my friends, is part of the lining of my coat before I installed it. I found half of a package of black bias tape (regular Wright’s single fold crap) in my sewing box.  I have no idea when I bought it, nor do I have any recollection of having used the first half of it.  But there it was, like a few yards of providence wrapped around a bit of cardboard. Ta-da! Nicely piped front facing and lining, thanks to your clever suggestion. I will appreciate having that snazzy extra detail tucked in on the inside.

And in keeping with my mental image of a Guggenheim Coat, I’m probably going to save my punches of color for scarves or shoes or little half gloves, and leave the coat pure and white.  I may even forego buttons and just opt for a sash, and perhaps a discreet snap or two. It’s getting close to done– more photos soon!

How about you?  What non-clothing aesthetics influence what you make? What inspires your design choices besides other garments?