Creating a Custom Leather Jacket for Mariska Hargitay

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Creating  a Custom Leather Jacket for Mariska Hargitay  (and SVU)

You might know that from time to time I create stagewear and wardrobe pieces… this is very different from the regular custom made work I do.  Usually, there are very tight time constraints.  Fittings can be hard to accomplish – for a bunch of reasons – time frame, deadlines , scheduling demands- if they can be had at all!
This custom leather jacket for Mariska Hargitay,  is an example of the changes that can happen under tight constraints.  Both in the fit and the Style.  This is a bit of an outlier for me and was a special challenge in such soft, delicate skins as the fine goat skin suede that was used in this project. This suede was also used in a very different project I  recently completed.
The point of custom made is that this type of re-work should not ever be needed,  this is why so much of the time is spent on fittings. The majority of the time involved in custom made is usually in the design, fitting and pattern-making stages. Getting every element of the design and pattern right before committing to cutting. It saves time on the construction when no guesswork or changes are needed- do it right the first time. This requires great preparation.
But with the constraints of time & scheduling that’s inherent in TV, the costume designer and I agreed to forego a fitting of the final jacket muslin on Mariska. Not something I like to do, but sometimes in costume work this happens.
So in the end this jacket required a bit of re-shaping and a little style change.  The jacket ended up a little fuller than wanted with excess forming diagonally between the armhole and the bust (shown with the chalk marking) and since the jacket is going to be worn open this streamlining was really important. Mariska decided  she did not like the cuffed long sleeve style so that was also changed.
With leather my  preference is to over-fit since the skins give – this particular suede gives even more than most skins, so the shaping required may not have shown up to the full extent needed even in the muslin that we passed on.
In the end, re-curving the second dart into a modified off-line princess seam, taking in the side back waist seams and shortening the sleeves, nicely stream-lined the jacket.

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