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