Join me in my adventures as I write romance novels and sew vintage and contemporary fashion.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

1940's Plaid Coat

Presenting the pink and gray plaid 1940's jacket!

To be honest, when I started this project, I wasn't certain what I'd end up with. I'd ordered the fabric online and when it came, I loved it, but wasn't certain what to make with it. Then it dawned on me that 1940s coats were often made with large odd colored plaids. Perfect, because I had a large oddly-colored plaid. And...I have a pink fedora-type hat that matches the fabric.

The pattern is a size too small for me, but I thought that it might fit, given the boxiness of 1940s coats. I made a muslin and other than adding 1/2 inch across the back, it fit well. In fact, it's a bit roomy.
The fabric is very loosely woven wool, but I didn't underline it. I interlined the charmeuse lining with thick flannel and even though it seemed like I should stabilize the wool with batiste, I didn't. Four layers seemed like one layer too many. Luckily, the wool did very well without underlining.
This coat was another exercise in tailoring. This is the first vintage pattern I've encountered that suggested pad stitching the lapels. The directions were for the most part pretty terse and there wasn't a lot of directions given for techniques such as pad stitching, but I guess that's what sewing books, mothers and grandmothers were for back then.
I stabilized the hollow of the shoulder area with hair canvas
The lapels have a cool rounded shape that I really like.
I stabilized the sleeve tops, then put in sleeve heads (no photos, sorry) and 1/2 inch shoulder pads. True story--the first time I put on the coat, it made my head look small. I kept checking in different mirrors around the house to see if it was just an illusion. These shoulders take some getting used to.

I did my best to match the collar to the plaid in the back. One thing about pad stitching--the collar rolls beautifully. It's truly a well-tamed collar.

The pattern called for welt pockets, but this wool was totally unsuitable for welts. I'm sure there are people out there who could have welted these pockets, but after all that pad stitching and plaid matching, I decided to put in patch pockets. It would have killed me to watch my coat unravel before my eyes.

I started to sew the first pocket on by machine with top-stitching thread and got about two inches into my seam when I realized that it looked sucky. My tailoring book had instructions for applying patch pockets by hand, so that's what I did.
First you pin the pocket in place, then stitch 1/4 inch in from the edge.

After that you sew the edge to the coat, so you have  double seam. It makes for a very nice looking and nearly invisible pocket. I wasn't going for invisible, but I like it.
As you can see, I'm a sucker for big buttons.

After making the buttonholes by machine, I decided that they didn't look finished enough, so I bound them by hand using regular sewing thread rather than button twist.

I love the flannel interlining. The coat is heavy and warm. Here are a few outdoor shots.