Monthly Archives: June 2011

1940’s Copycat Coat

Circa late 30’s or very early 40’s I think…

The original coat doesn’t look all that fab here but it was just one of those things that you try on and go “Wow!”.  So over two months last Autumn I made a version for myself.

-First step was a re-drape of one side of the coat in muslin directly on top of the original to give me the basic shape and style lines. There was a lot more shaping under the arm than you can see in this photo and some tricky cutting near the pocket and I wouldn’t get that accurately if I worked on the flat from a modern coat block. Re-draping is fun anyway and I always learn something new when copying old garments with this method.

-Second step I transferred the muslin pattern onto paper and made corrections from measurements I’d taken from the coat. Then I made a toile from the corrected pattern. After fitting it on myself I decided to add an extra pleat on each side of the centre back pleat and to have them start right at the waist instead of a bit below the belt.

Third step etc- All seemed good enough to get on with my real fabric finally, a sturdy wool cavalry twill. The body went together reasonably easily though the curved dart that goes into a little horizontal seam at the top of the pocket was a real fiddle to do. The sleeves were a twisted disaster however… never did quite figure out what went wrong with them but I had enough fabric left (phew!!) to recut. To get them right I used one of my own modern basic sleeve patterns altered to the proportions of the original coat sleeves.

I like a snazzy lining in a coat and found this silk twill fabric that still makes me smile on the grimmest of days.

To build up big enough shoulder pads I used two mens suit pads in each side.
I didn’t like where the top two buttons hit my chest so left them off as well as leaving off the arrows on the end of the front darts.

The waist buttons holes are self-welted and though the sleeves are done with a proper button vent on the back seam I never actually did the buttonholes on them… and have been roundly told off for laziness by a tailor friend. I will do them …some day. All the under stitching on lapels and fronts was done by hand . I am lucky to have the use of an industrial steam iron as the cavalry twill is tough stuff to press and don’t think I could have managed with my home iron.

Just as a last note on the pleats: each individual pleat is seamed to the next one. It is more pieces to cut out and sew together but really helps the back of the coat keep its shape. The lining is not pleated however, it is just an A-line shape in the back.

I absolutely love this coat and consider it one of my most successful makes to date. I’ve worn it a few times this June even, can you believe it? Not the warmest summer here so far…



Bitten By A Beading Bug

I’ve had this coral pink silk blouse for at least 8 years now. It was one of those garments you were supposed to hand wash and twist tightly into a ball while it veeeerrrry slowly dried so it came out like Fortuny pleats.

It did… but long before end of the wearing day, being silk, all the crinkle pleats dropped out. I really just couldn’t be bothered with all that after a few times and ever since it’s just been thrown into the regular wash n’ dryer and ironed flat.

I’m amazed it’s lasted so long. Being such a survivor maybe it deserves a little TLC now.

And it just happens to be a perfect vehicle for demonstrating how to do a beaded collar edging as a few people were curious after seeing the turquoise wedding blouse I made last week.

So without any more waffle here’s how to do a beaded edging in a pdf you can download.

I’ll be looking for some little glass buttons to replace the shell ones currently on it.

No more throwing it the washing machine now…

I checked out a local bookshop yesterday to see what books are available.

Mostly they are more about jewellery making than beading on clothes.

I bought this one by Dorothy Wood   as a good all-round beading reference book.
It covers beaded tassels, beaded netting, tambour beading basics, shoe decorations and button ideas even … as well as tons of jewelry instructions of course.

Bead on!

Hot Off The Press…Literally


A bright little Bridal outfit: turquoise silk blouse with a beaded collar and a short coral silk skirt; four tiers of pleats. Finished just minutes ago and waiting to be collected and will be married in on Saturday.

And I’m posting about this because why exactly you may well be wondering…

A few new people have recently subscribed  -Hello there and thank you!
yet I haven’t made a new post in weeks… though a few are pending; for instance I’ve been working on those promised instructions for drafting and making 30s/40s style French knickers. Honest.

But mainly been spending most recent weekends in the garden instead of in front of the computer even though the summer so far here has been pretty wet.

And remembering how easy and fun it is to do.
Years ago I’d seen some instructions on Victorian edging beading techniques and though I’ve long since lost those exact ones some of it obviously stuck in my head and after a few minutes of messing about a number of possible beading patterns came flooding back to me.

Since seeing even the simple pattern I did on this collar a few people have asked “how?”

And this weekend I will do a how-to post, I promise, hand on heart!

• And lastly I really wanted to see how doing a post from my iPhone worked.

Quite well actually 🙂