Well, winter is coming upon us again – despite the fact that it’s averaging about 90 degrees here still, I can’t help but feel that cold weather is right around the corner. I really hate the cold, and winter in general, so one thing I tend to do every year is buy myself a new, cute coat, so that there’s something for me to get excited about when winter hits – well, this year, I decided I’d make myself a new coat instead.
A few months ago, I went to an estate sale and managed to snag some really awesome vintage wool for a really great price ($4 a piece, I believe it was, for a total of more than seven yards.) Now, if you frequent estate sales, as I do for the fabric, you probably know that they can be… pretty smelly. This particular house we were in just reeked of dust, mold, incense, pets, and any manner of other smells, but nevertheless my mum and I braved it and snatched up a sizable pile of cool-looking vintage fabrics – only to realize, when we got out of there and got the fabric home, that it all stunk of mothballs to high heaven. After airing, sunning, washing, and trying a number of remedies the internet provided for me to get rid of the smell, I ended up throwing away much of the fabric I bought, but at least I did get to keep the wool, the only one from which the smell actually did dissipate.
So I had two nice pieces of vintage wool – one plain black with a slight nap, and the other with a grey and white flecked pattern – and no real solid ideas of what I was going to use them for. Then I stumbled across this pattern on a pattern sale day at JoAnn’s:
It’s Burda 7041, a vintage pattern from the 60’s, and adorable. Now, I’ve made jackets before for costumes, but never something like a real coat – I thought it was going to be quite difficult, but this pattern turned out to be really quite easy instead. I started and finished the whole thing in two days this week, minus cutting out my pieces, which I did last week. And it turned out much better than I had honestly hoped!
Here is my wool, and the fabric I picked for the lining – from the silky solids section at JoAnn’s, it’s fairly dark with a red and purple pattern of butterflies. I wanted the lining to be striking and noticeable, but not necessarily bright.
I also decided to interline the wool with some fusible cotton batting, which isn’t called for in the pattern, but I do live in Wisconsin so any extra layer of warmth is sure to be handy. I simply cut the batting to fit the pieces of the coat, minus seam allowances, and fused it on, treating the wool and batting as one piece when I constructed the coat. Here’s what it looked like from the inside after getting all the pieces together:
I’m afraid I don’t have other any pictures of the construction of this coat, but it went together quite nicely. The instructions in the pattern were very nice and clear, although I didn’t follow them to the letter during construction, mostly used them as a reference. After assembling the coat outer shell, I assembled the lining and attached them around the front, along the facing. I hemmed the sleeves and hem by hand.
I had to go back and do the hem over again after these pictures, because as you can see, the lining is hanging a little loose. I blame my mum’s cat, who was very unhelpfully trying to snuggle while I was sewing:
And here it is from the back –
These pictures are obviously not the greatest, but I wasn’t even contemplating actually wearing it outside on a 90-degree day, even for the short time it would take to snap a few photos – I was sweltering with it on inside the house. Well, at least I can say it’s nice and warm!
It still needs some buttons down the front, but otherwise, this coat is finished – a surprisingly easy project I tackled this week! As for buttons, I’m undecided on what I want to use – I couldn’t find anything either in my stash or at the store that I really liked, so I think I’ll probably end up making matching buttons out of my leftover wool.