Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Diary of a #vintagepledge Coat Challenge

*Warning: mammoth post, written as a diary while I experienced this make*
I have been thinking about a coat for a while now since my blog friend Christina made a duffle coat in January 2016. I had been toying with a coat pattern but was waiting for the right fabric at the right price to reveal itself for view A. A coat is a slow-burner even in sewing terms.

20th September 2016
While stuck in a traffic jam, I saw a couple of vintage patterns in a junk shop window. I committed this to memory and vowed to return for a closer look another day. I returned, bought the patterns, and picked up this huge piece of woven wool fabric for £30. Not cheap by any sense of the word but good value I thought and just right for a 1960's coat. It smells...

1st October 2016
I seriously thought about this pattern today by opening the packet to see if I had enough fabric. 'X@£*X%!' (insert your own expletive here) but on opening the envelope, I discovered the pattern was not marked. Bum!

I flicked through my pattern box and found Simplicity 7307 (1967) instead which is a marked pattern but still has the 1960's vibe. I felt happier instantly. My eyes were on view 1.

8th October 2016
My notions arrived from Minerva Crafts. A pop of green silky lining, interfacing to give the front and shoulders structure, thread, a hanging chain and self-covering buttons. I looked at it all together and decided I needed to make a toile for this amount of investment.

12th October 2106
Made a toile ('twahl') last night and today to add 2" to the bust. I used curtain lining and tacked it together. I tried it on with a sweater too and the armholes were still big enough which was my main worry. I also found the correct length by shortening. These fabric pieces will be my pattern cutting pieces.

16th October 2016
This bag represents 3 hours of cutting and pattern matching. The girls went to a ballet performance at the theatre with my dad so I spent three hours cutting and zig zaging each piece,that's woven wool for you. Nothing is actually joined to anything else yet. The lining remains uncut as my concentration waned...

20th October 2016
Tonight I sat and covered five buttons, three for the front and two for the belt on the back. Mmmm, a small job but very satisfying.

23rd October 2016
I had an hour joining the main pieces together. The toile making and the three hours of pattern matching while cutting out feels like it is really paying off today. Easy sewing with notches and patterns that matched. 

26th October 2016
Sleeves in today but they feel strange. On closer inspection I have inserted the sleeves at an angle. Unpick. Try again. Much better. Collar on as well which rolled like a dream. Haven't decided how to wear it yet. Also I pinned the belt in place and tried it on - yep, that short body of mine meant I had to move it up by 2 inches to stop it perching on my bottom. I didn't want the discomfort of sitting on two buttons either.

27th October 2016
The girls go for a play at a friends so I cut out the linings today.

2nd November 2016
I joined the linings last night. Let me introduce you, "Lining, coat, coat, lining. You two rub along together now and don't argue with each other!" They did at first, then they fell out over a kick pleat. Duh! I shortened the coat but not the lining pieces so the slit was in the wrong place. Time to stop today.

4th November 2016
Kick pleat adjustments to the lining were made today with a great deal of hand sewing to attach the hem and sleeve cuffs to the lining.  

5th November 2016
EEEEK! The front button holes - the make and break of any garment. 
Added buttons now I just need to add the hanging chain and my label... because I only add my label to the things I am very proud of and this is one of them.

6th November 2106
Put on said coat with boots and stride out into the winter air for some modelling on a pub car park just before Sunday Lunch. The front and back views... the hem needs some time to settle in...

The hands-in-my pockets view...

Hang on wait for it...

Tah dah!

I could have played it safe with a black lining but I love the pop of silky green. Total costs: Junk shop second hand fabric £30.00 + Minerva online shop for gubbings £26.00 = £56.00 ($70.00 US)

This one is going onto the #VintagePledge2016 Pin board. 
I love it but I will end with 'it still smells of a junk shop' so add a dry cleaning bill to that total!

Thanks for spending your valuable time here. 
Jo x


  1. I should think you are proud of it, it's beautiful! You are so clever. x

  2. It's wonderful! Well done and I love the silky green lining xx

  3. Dear Jo
    That was a labour of love which really paid off. It looks great and really suits you.
    Best wishes

  4. This is beautiful! You've inspired me to make a coat! X

    1. Looking forward to it Mrs Baldwin! I hope my post shows that you have to take your time...bit by bit it eventually gets there. Jo x

  5. Wow Jo this is amazing! Such beautiful fabric and a fabulous lining.

  6. Fantastic result, you should be proud. Not cheap though, terrible really how much it all does cost. To think that some people still think that people who make presents are doing so to save money.

    You look lovely in the coat, the colour really looks good on you. You are very clever.

  7. An interesting and helpful retelling of the coat's creation, Jo! I went through the coat making process when my mom made me a wool coat when I was a teen, so I can appreciate the time and effort you put into making your pretty coat. I hope you enjoy wearing it for many years. xx

  8. Green and blue was a very popular colour combination in the sixties. The design on the fabric reminds me of a Welsh tapestry. I love it. I think you did a great job.

  9. The coat looks great. I love that lining. I always think a bright lining makes a coat or jacket good choice.

  10. Oh Jo it looks fabulous on you, well done! I'd love to make a coat one day. Brilliant achievement and I loved reading the story behind it x

  11. It is fabulous Jo. Making a croat is the ultimate sewing accomplishment for me. I want to make one in bright yellow now.... alas, I shall stick to sock knitting. For now. You'll get great wear out of this coat and if the weather around you is anything like it is here (snow!), you'll wear it today. xx

  12. Wow, I am so impressed it looks stunning. Have you tried spraying with fabric freshener, that sometimes helps.

  13. Fabulous coat and colour and love the way it looks buttoned up and hanging loose. I can see you wearing this often over jeans as an everyday coat as well as for smart occasions. A classic make Jo -well done.

  14. I'm so impressed, it looks wonderful!

  15. You did an amazing job Jo. I love the fabric and the way you tell the story of this make.
    It's always nice to visit you here
    Jacquie xxxx

  16. Wow how clever is there anything you can't make? No, you have made some seriously good stuff all the years I have followed your blog x

  17. It's absolutely beautiful and so well made. It looks amazing!

  18. That looks amazing what a super job! Why does it smell though? I really love the colours it is so unique. xx

  19. This is great! The junk shop fabric is utterly perfect for this coat - it looks amazing. What you've spent is a bargain for such a quality coat, made to measure!

  20. Hi Jo I love your coat, it looks amazing. x

  21. I have been lucky enough to see this coat and try it on and believe me, if it fitted me, I would steal it. Well done Jo x

  22. Missed this post.... om my word Jo. This is beautiful, the colour and the lining are perfect together. Great fit. I would have run away from an unmarked pattern too! What a great deal of hard work has gone into this, but worth it, looks awesome.

  23. It's amazing!! Seriously, seriously good stuff. That fabric is ace. What a shame it smells - hopefully a dry clean will sort it out. x

  24. I love this coat Jo, it brightens up the school run x