A 1950s swing coat

posted in: SWAP 2014 | 8
1950s swing coat
1950s swing coat

 

I love to wear a fitted coat. The problem is that if it is too fitted you can only wear it over a lightweight dress. I needed a coat I could wear in winter – over a blouse, cardigan and jacket, and still move my arms. I decided I needed a coat that was closer to a blanket – something that wrapped without constricting, belt-less and unstructured, but warm too. In fact I am wearing it today, for a trip to Birmingham.

1950s swing coat

My mind turned to the 1950s swing coat – a garment that swings and swaggers – now that fabrics were plentiful again (after the war), and women could swish around town, feeling indulged. I identified a really nice Vogue pattern on the internet and bought it, thinking I wanted a fairly loud wool with impact. I had just over 2m of a lovely Linton tweed, and hoped it might be enough.

image

 

In fact the pattern called for three and a half yards. This didn’t initially put me off as a) yardage is always overstated and b) I don’t really suit mid calf length. I consulted Facebook and work friends. I reduced the length by 8 inches. I laid the pattern pieces top to tail. I thought about using a second fabric (which I didn’t have) for the bound button holes, pockets, collar, or even sleeves. Once I had cut out the coat this was what I had left!

image

In the end I resorted to piecing the facings, slimming down the sleeves slightly, and using the most pathetic scraps for the button holes and pocket welts (which had three joins in them… bulky or what?). I had considered covered buttons (only two, and they are optional), but in the end I found some nice grey plastic ones at Sharon’s on Clitheroe market. I lined it in silk satin, painted in a roughly check pattern, including grey, blue, pink and purple.

Silk satin lining, painted to harmonise with coat.
Hand painted silk lining

I really enjoy wearing it. And with vintage, it usually works multi-generationally. It looks nice on my Mum.

Looks nice on Greatgrandma too!

 

And on my daughter too!

Suits my daughter

8 Responses

  1. I think that coat is my favourite piece of your SWAP, it is just stunning!

  2. It’s been raining cats and dogs for two weeks now, temperatures are close to 30C – one feels like a wet blanket.
    Btw, we’ll be in the UK in July (Mr Manuela & me that is), a weekend in London is on the agenda too – can’t wait..

  3. Oh yes, I’d like that. Will probably meet McGinty in Bristol as well. When and where did you learn to sew?

    • I did a City and Guilds qualification at Westminster College in about 1986 (so you can imagine what I was making!), but had not made anything since until March 2013. How about you?

  4. I trained as a tailor, did the journey and then became a Master of Ladies Tailoring – all back in Germany. Then I trained tailors until I went to work in the fashion industry as a technical manager after the Berlin Wall came down (that’s the reason I decided not to compete, and only sew along). I worked in the industry in China and Hong Kong until 2011, then went to university to study Chinese (Putonghua) and now work as a language teacher (English and Chinese, still want to qualify to teach German)… I have no sewing buddies here, it’s not really something people do here in Hong Kong, I do teach sewing classes though. I love the Stitcher’s Guild forum, a great place to get inspiration and I’m happy to help with technical/pattern or sewing problems.

  5. Thank you for sharing your interesting story Manuela. I will DM you.

Leave a Reply