Do you remember that episode of The Great British Sewing Bee when Jade made that awesome vintage coat with 3/4 sleeves, cute collar and covered buttons? No? Just me? Well, from that moment on I had to have a coat like that. It was love.
So when I was raiding my friend Phoebe’s pattern stash in Melbourne the other week and found this beauty, I almost did a little happy dance on the spot. Or maybe I just muttered ‘Heck yes’ to myself. I’ll never tell.
Since then my insta sewists have informed me that this pattern has been reissued as Simplicity 1197, so you can get your hands on it if you are that way inclined.
As soon as I saw that pattern, my fabric stash flashed before my eyes and I knew exactly what I would use. This amazing yellow wool blanket for the outer and cotton sheet for the lining. Both vintage, both scored from op shops. Match made in heaven.
Then, to complete the holy trinity, I found these vintage green buttons at another op shop on Monday. Bigger than anything I had in my stash, I knew they would be ideal for the coat. But how cool would it be if I could cover them in the sheet fabric? Could I? A quick google told me that I could and here we are in cute button heaven.
And even though it was still stupid hot today (hello, autumn) at a balmy 34 degrees, I just tortured myself by sitting with a woolen blanket in my lap most of the day. Sweating it out, sewing this beast. Once I have an idea in my head, there’s no stopping me. I’m stubborn that way.
So, details. Every piece of the coat is vintage and scored from op shops, which I think is kind of special. As far as fit goes, it has its quirks. This pattern is for a 38 inch bust, which falls short of my 42 inches. But again, knowing how vintage patterns love their ease, I risked it and it’s completely fine. I love the fit actually. It’s quite possibly designed for a climate much colder than ours, therefore needing room for multiple layers. But since the most I’ll wear under this is a long sleeved t shirt, we’re all good there.
Can we talk pattern matching? Because I was pretty successful with the front and sleeves, but failed on the back. Oops.
See those raglan sleeves? They puzzled me at first, but I love them. They fit really well on my shoulders. I thought the darts were a bit weird, but they’ve grown on me. The only major change I made was to the length. If you look at the pattern illustration, it shows the coat hitting just above the knee – when I tried this baby on it was hitting about 10cms above my ankle. Um, what? Were women of the 60s amazing amazon women? I looked like I was wearing my dad’s dressing gown. So off came about 40cms. I could have made it shorter again, more just below waist level, but I’m happy enough with how it turned out.
Welt pockets. OMG. First time attempting those sneaky bastards. I was trying to follow the directions on the pattern, but because vintage patterns assume errrrrrybody knows how to sew, the instructions left me throwing them and saying all the swears. I had a little google and found some good tutorials, but I figured the best way to learn was to just jump in. Jumping in is hecking scary when it involves slashing your fabric. So they aren’t the best. But they’re in. And I learned something. Sort of.
The pattern calls for a lot of hand sewing. Basically the entire lining is hand stitched to the outer. LOL, no. I machine stitched it to the facings and then hand sewed the sleeves and hem. Again, sort of. I don’t really know what I’m doing and probably should have used a blind stitch, but I’m happy with how it turned out.
My machine refused to auto do the buttonholes due to the thickness of the fabric, so they’re a heady combo of machine hack job and hand sewn hack job. Also I think maybe the sleeves should be shorter? Are they in the ‘oops she cut her sleeves too short’ zone? They look in line with the illustration, but I’m not sure.
Thanks for reading such an epic post and sorry I look slightly drunk in most of the images today. Not sure what’s going on there. It has been an epic couple of weeks.