Sewing,  Vintage

I Made a…. 1940s Winter Coat

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My 1940s winter coat is complete! I am so thrilled with how it turned out and really pleased I was able to finish it before the cold weather truly sets in. I used a vintage Vogue pattern from The Vintage Pattern Store* with a selection of new, vintage and organic fabrics. Take a closer look below.

The process of making this coat has been a long one. It has taken me over a month to finish it, making this one of the longest projects I have worked on in a long time.

The Pattern

I chose this pattern as it has many of the features I love about 1940s fashion. The broad shoulders and nipped in waist suit my body shape and the length is just perfect on my short frame.

I also really liked the construction details for this pattern. Those horizontal seams at the hips are so typical of 1940s coats as are the wide lapels. I also loved the contrast of the fur collar, although I knew I didn’t want to use fur, real or fake, for my coat.

The Fabrics

For the fabrics I headed to my favourite place to buy fabric in London, Goldhawk Road. If you live in London Goldhawk Road is the place to go for affordable fabric. I was really pleased with my purchases. I went for a dark green 100% wool suiting, because I struggled to find green coating. Come on! I can’t be the only person who likes green? And a bottle green cotton velvet for the collar and cuffs.

Close up of Dark Green Fabrics

So I then made the decision to interline the coat with organic cotton wadding which I bought from Empress Mills. This gave more weight to my wool suiting but was also so warm and cosy. I was also so pleased that it was organic as I am constantly trying to make my sewing more sustainable.

For the lining I was able to find some vintage Laura Ashley printed linen on Etsy. I was really pleased to find not only a vintage fabric for my lining, but a vintage linen! Double sustainability points there.

Burgundy Floral Vintage Fabric by Laura Ashley

It is quite a jazzy floral pattern and a contrast to the dark green as it is a lovely burgundy colour. But I personally like the contrast as it make me feel Christmasy.

The Coat Toile

This coat was almost a perfect lesson in why you should make a toile. Despite my measurements matching the size guide almost exactly, it was miles too big as shown in this dodgy mirror selfie.

The first toile of my coat was much too big

My waist? Where has my waist gone? Anyway, I ended up making substantial fit alterations including: taking in the chest and waist by 4″ and taking the waist up by 1″.

By the time I had made all these alterations my coat was starting to look more like a coat and less like a sack. And somewhere, under all that fabric I found my waist again (yay!).

The pattern pieces after I had made all the alterations.

The pattern however, was a state! I had altered every single pattern piece and there was tape and pencil marks everywhere. But I managed to negotiate the confusing mess and in the end I created one beautiful coat.

The Finished 1940s Winter Coat

Wearing my green 1940s Winter Coat in the garden

Guys. I can’t even explain how pleased I am with the outcome of this coat. It fits like a dream and looks just how I wanted it to.

The back of my 1940s Winter Coat

One of the challenges for me was creating a fitted waist at the back but also leaving room to move my arms. That meant creating some quite dramatic darts and resulted in a bit of a baggy upper back. But I decided to compromise on the look so that I had room to move.

Side view of my 1940s winter coat

I had originally intended to have velvet cuffs as well as a collar. But in the end I felt that they overwhelmed the lines of the sleeves. They were quite deep and thanks to my short arms cam almost up to the elbow. So I decided to leave them off.

Pulling on my gloves in my 1940s Winter Coat

And so now I am all set for winter. I am so pleased with the finished look and proud that I was able to achieve one of the things on my sewing bucket list. I’ve made a coat! Hopefully, this one will last for the next 10 years because I don’t think I’ll be making another anytime soon!

On another note I also knitted those gloves! You can read more about it in my next post.

Let me know what you think of my 1940s Winter Coat. Do you have anything on your sewing bucket list? I hope this post inspires you to tackle it.

All the best,

Claude x