Vintage grey wool blend cocoon coat and velvet dress.

It was a couple of weeks ago that I shared my vintage black velvet cocoon coat that pushed in front of this one in the making queue.  I had already started this grey one and it was going really well so I decided to rustle up another in black velvet to wear to Christmas parties. The velvet version didn’t go quite so well! You can read about it here.

The pattern is an copy of an original 1950’s vintage pattern bought from The vintage pattern shop. They have an amazing selection of vintage patterns from every era. You buy a copy rather than the real pattern, but if like me your emphasis is on the completed end result rather than collecting patterns this is really a great choice.

This version of this coat is made in a heavy coat weight fabric, I think its a wool blend. I found it in my stash! I have no idea what I bought it for or where from. As the weight was already appropriate for a coat I didn’t underline it. The fabric was very easy to work with for the welt pockets and bound buttonholes.

The coat has double welt pockets which are essentially the same as the bound buttonholes …just bigger. I made the pockets first. Welt pockets are not to bad to make as long as you stay very accurate at every stage. Measure, measure and measure again! As the fabric is so stable it made the job much easier. The fabric molds well, hiding the stitches nicely and pressing into place neatly. A complete contrast to the experience I had with the cotton velvet which frayed and warped out of shape easily. I was definitely lulled into a false sense of security with this fabric.

I made the pockets first which are half lined with lining fabric. The back of the pocket is in self fabric so that you don’t see the lining through the gap in the pocket.

It was good to make the pockets first, they acted almost like a trial run for the bound buttonholes. I was really pleased the way the buttonholes turned out.

I made a coat a few years ago where the instructions left the button welts raw and trimmed at the inside. This always bothered me. I am a stickler for the inside being as beautiful as the outside. I carefully laid the front and front facing flat on a table once stitched together and tacked the buttonholes through both thicknesses. Once I had checked it was hanging perfectly I cut the buttonhole into the facing and turned the raw edges in discreetly hand stitching to complete. A very pleasing finish!

I made self fabric covered buttons to complete the coat.

I choose a bright mustard yellow satin for the lining. Other than the pockets and bound buttonholes the coat is quick and easy to make. A night in front of the telly hand finishing the lining completed the job.

I had the idea to wear a simple dress underneath and adapted my easy t-shirt dress to a narrower skirt shape more appropriate to a thicker fabric. I made this blue velvet version. I just went for it with no toile. It is ok and I have worn it but not my favourite piece by a long way, I think the fabric requires a dress with more cut. Something added to my list as I was totally in love with the idea of a stretch velvet dress that has understated style. I lined the body in jersey lining which I recently discovered is  sold at Minerva craft website.

I really love the coat, its definite proof that style lasts even though fashions change.

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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