Friday, 16 September 2016

Super funky coat sewing

Any of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen this photo that I posted as part #vpjuly as my next vintage project.  
This year I have been using my vintage patterns way more than before, I managed to complete my target for my Vintage pattern pledge back in July, so this is a bonus Vintage item and I'm happy to say its a good one!  When I took the photo, it was still very much just an idea. But then Melissa put out a call for bloggers for her Sew Long Summer blog tour and gave me the motivation I needed to take on a more challenging make than I've attempted before.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I love Style 1970s patterns. This one was an eBay find a couple of months back.  As well as sewing from more vintage patterns, I have also bought quite a few this year.  I now need to sew even more vintage styles to justify all that spending!

I found the fabrics on Walthamstow market on a visit organised by Kerry and I thought they'd make a perfect coat. Marie bought some of the outer fabric too and I'm excited to see what she makes with it. Luckily these fabrics were really not expensive so the fact that I don't really do muslining would be less problematic, if it all went wrong.  The fabrics are some kind of synthetic and I think the geometric one is an ex Zara fabric, it has lots of metallic threads in it and frayed like crazy, I keep finding metallic thread bits in odd corners of my house now!  As the poly content of the main fabrics was not going to keep me warm, I bought a thin wool/cashmere remnant on Goldhawk rd to use as interlining. I know it's an Autumn/Spring coat but it's also the UK and we have very odd seasons, also I am always freezing so need all the help I can get.

Like most patterns of this age it's a single size pattern which has pros and cons.  It means I don't need to trace off the pattern pieces which I hate to do and have no compunction about cutting out the pattern pieces.  On the other hand I can't grade between sizes which means a bit more work when adjusting the pattern pieces.  I didn't have to make too many adjustments, I added extra at the hips and when sewing up I used a 1cm seam allowance on the sleeves and around the arm holes as I always need a bit more room for ease of movement.  At some point I will learn to make the adjustments need to properly allow myself better arm movement as this is a problem I regularly have.

I was taking a jacket making course along side making this coat which was very helpful as the instructions made my head hurt.  Vintage patterns have many fewer instructions and they are often not very well explained, I guess at the time everyone would have learnt at school or been taught by a family member and so would have known how to do many of the things which are not explained in any detail in the instructions.  For example at one point they instruct you to 'make bound button holes'!  Now aside from the fact that I would have needed much more hand holding than this to be able to create a bound button hole, there was not a chance in hell of me actually making them for this coat.  This was another area where the jacket making course was invaluable, they told us about this place in Soho that will create professional buttonholes for you in 5 minutes on industrial machines!  I took my coat along to DM buttons and had them do my buttonholes.  They informed me that I'd marked my buttonholes on the men's side, oops!

The poly content of the fabrics made them a total nightmare to work with in some ways.  They do not press at all well, to the point where I think I'm going to have to stitch down my lapels!  The outer fabric has no give in it at all, actually a wool would have been more forgiving, hopefully the next version will be a bit easier to manipulate when sewing.  The lining fabric had quite a lot of stretch to it which made sewing them together particularly painful, especially at all the handstitched hems.  The addition of the interlining also caused some problems and there is some buckling in places on the coat that I think has to do with the multiple layers pulling in slightly different areas.  The buttons were vintage wooden ones that I had in my stash, I have no idea where they came from originally but I think they work well for this coat.

This is a fun coat which I'm excited to wear once the weather breaks.  However, for the time being it's going to sit in the cupboard as London weather appears to have mistaken September for the new summer and getting these photos was actually painful!  Not that I'm complaining about the extra sunshine!

As part of the blog tour, some lovely pattern companies have offered us all some discount codes:
Zierstoff Patterns-20% off   Code-zierstoffpatterns20  Ends-17/09/16
Blue Dot Patterns-25% off patterns.  Code-SewLongSummer  Ends-17/09/16
On the Cutting Floor-50% off patterns.  Code-SEWLONG  Ends 17/09/16
Also taking part in todays tours are:
Sewing by Ti
Musings of a seamstress
Tales of a tester
At Margareta's house
Sewing a la carte
Birds of a kettle
Check out the fabulous things that they have made.  The full line up for the week can be found on Melissa's blog.  I'm off to enjoy the final summer sunshine, what ever the blog tour is called, I'm so not ready to say sew long yet!


  1. That is a super funky coat indeed! I love the fabric and you can bet no one will be wearing anything similar when you head out!

  2. Gorgeous coat, loving the funky fabric.

  3. What a great coat. Your fabric choice works very well with the pattern and the 70s style. Thumbs up.

  4. Alexa,

    amazingly cute! I lve love love this coat (and I might have gotten a bit crazy pinning it around Pinterest, but hey, cute things NEED to get seen!) Have a great week :)