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Runway Sewn Your Way Challenge: Pamela Howard’s Inspiration

When Threads asked us to participate in this year’s Runway Sewn Your Way Challenge, I knew another jacket or coat would find its way into my wardrobe. Some of my favorite pieces to sew belong in the outerwear category, and I’m always looking for inspiration online. While scrolling through Pinterest, I came across outerwear from the Max Mara Spring/Summer 2021 runway show.

Pamela Howard's inspiration: a brown Max Mara coat
The main inspiration for the challenge was a toffee-colored coat from Max Mara. This version, or a similar one, appeared in the Max Mara Atelier Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear Collection, but many iterations of it have appeared in subsequent Max Mara collections.

I decided to dive into my existing fabric stash to see if there was something that would work, while drawing from a few “inspiration” pieces from the runway show. I’m hoping to gather fabric and patterns to create a garment I’ll love wearing.

Color and fabric

My first inspiration was the color. I searched for fabric that was the color of deep caramel or toffee, like the color of the inspiration coat—not easy to find. One day, while on the Emma One Sock fabric site, I discovered a fabulous medium-weight denim in that color. I was sooo happy and snapped up about 2 1/2 yards. Since it was 62-plus inches wide, I knew it would be enough for any jacket or coat I will make.

I also found a coordinating wool jersey remnant in my stash, which seems to be a great match. It is a leftover from separates I made back in 2004. Sometimes, it’s good to hold onto your scraps. They may come in handy.

The possible lining for the denim and wool jersey combo is a silk georgette geometric print.

Pamela Howard's inspiration includes three fabrics: two brown and one geometric print

One of the other fabric ideas under consideration is the same wool jersey paired with a flocked glen plaid.

Flocked glen plaid fabric and brown wool yardage, both options for the Runway Sewn Your Way challenge


Garment style options

I love the bomber jacket style collar on this white Max Mara jacket, as well as the two-piece, cape-style sleeves. I’m not sure yet on the length, but I will decide throughout the process of making my garment.

Pamela Howard's inspiration: Collar and sleeve inspiration from the Max Mara collection
The collar on this Max Mara bomber-style jacket is giving me ideas for my challenge garment. Photo: from the Max Mara Spring/Summer 2021 Collection.
Pamela Howard's inspiration: Model wears white, zip-front Max Mara bomber jacket with two-piece sleeves.
The two-piece sleeves on this same Max Mara jacket are intriguing. Photo: from the Max Mara Spring/Summer 2021 Runway show.

Several more inspiring Max Mara garments, including this long belted robe coat, give me additional sleeve ideas.

Model wears a long belted brown coat with long, two-piece sleeves.
The long, two-piece sleeves on a Max Mara long coat are yet another source of inspiration. Photo: from the Max Mara Spring/Summer 2021 Runway show.

Pattern inspiration

Since I want to make a coat instead of a jacket, I found a Burda Style pattern I like. I am an avid collector of Burda Style magazine with its inserted pattern “maps.” I don’t mind tracing the patterns in the size I want to make. Those patterns seem to fit me better than some of the other brands, and the adjustments I need to make are similar.

I’m going to work with pattern #101 from Burda Style March 2019. I like the clean lines and silhouette. It will allow me to add the features I want to use to create the look of the Max Mara inspiration garments. I’ve already created a partial test garment to try out sleeve and shoulder options, as shown in the main image.

Burda Style coat pattern #101 March 2019, Pamela Howard's inspiration for the Runway Sewn Your Way challenge


Most likely, I will make knit separates to go along with the coat. The color will be determined once the coat fabrics have been decided upon. Let’s see where the inspiration leads me.



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  1. betsyformpike | | #1

    Love to see how your creative mind works!

  2. User avater
    pamhoward | | #2

    Thank you so much!!

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