1930s Winter Coat in Teal Wool – Made by Me
1930s Teal Wool Hat – The Washerwoman
Faux Fur Scarf – Helen Moore
1930s Brown Suede Gloves – Stardust Year Vintage
1930s Brown Leather Handbag – Dairy House Antiques
1930s Brown Leather Shoes – UK Charm Vintage
1930s Orange Satin Blouse – The Wardrobe Mistress
1930s Brown Wool Skirt – Made by Me
One thing I love about dressing vintage is sometimes an outfit can take quite a long time to come together. It may start with one piece and then grow from there. Or it may be, as in this case, you buy something at a vintage fair just because it’s so beautiful, take it home and realise it actually goes with a couple of pieces you already own and you just need that one piece to bring it all together. The item for me was this beautiful original 1930s teal wool halo hat with brown, orange and ivory detailing that I bought from The Washerwoman back in the Autumn of 2016.
When I got home that evening I immediately realised that it went perfectly with an original 1930s orange satin blouse I’d bought from The Wardrobe Mistress back in the summer of 2016 and the 1930s brown wool skirt I made. All I needed was brown accessories and a matching teal wool coat to bring the whole thing together. As I knew there was absolutely no way I was going to find an original 1930s teal coat, it was going to have to be made.
So, on I went on a massive hunt for a matching teal wool fabric. And trust me, it wan’t easy, you cannot imagine the number of different tones and shades of one colour! But, eventually I found the perfect one on Dragonfly Fabrics and it was beautiful. Not only was it the right shade, but it also had an amazing texture to it and it was 100% pure wool, perfect for my ethical sewing practices. The only problem was, it was £29.50 per metre! Thankfully it was just before last year’s Black Friday and I waited until they launched their offer. So, in the end I got 15% off the whole 3 metres. Yes!
As I was already working on a winter jacket at the end of last year, I decided not to rush and make the coat straight away, but rather wait until this Autumn to get started on it. Instead of using an actual sewing pattern, however, I chose to draft my own pattern from an original 1930s tailoring booklet. It had about 20 coats and jackets to choose from and you can see the drafting pattern I chose here. If you’ve no experience with flat drafting guides, then these are a set of written instructions where you use maths to draw in each point of the pattern to create one for your exact size.
The original drafting pattern had no photo or illustration to show what the finished coat looked like. It also didn’t have a sleeve pattern. Oh, and it had no sewing instructions. So, basically all I was going on was the illustration of the flat pattern and the short description of the garment. However, I’m pretty good at visualising things, especially clothes, so I went on instinct and chose a coat pattern that had an really interesting seam panelling.
However, after drafting the pattern and making the mock toile in calico, I decided I didn’t actually like the top part of the front seam detail on me. It seemed to frame my boobs and accentuate the slightly wider shoulder, which wasn’t really a look I wanted. Therefore I slightly rejigged the pattern to draw the top of seam line into the armscye.
As the pattern I chose had no drafting instructions for the sleeve I used the one from my winter jacket as a basis for what I wanted to create. I knew that I wanted a typical 1930s style sleeve and that meant a big bishop sleeve. I also wanted to do something slightly different to any bishop sleeve I’d done before. So, in the end I decided to create a cuff that curved in the same style as the coat’s front detail seam and by some kind of miracle it actually looks like its a continuation of the line when I wear it! I can’t tell you how much I love these sleeves. They are everything I’d hoped they would be and even the lining has the same shaped puff, so when you turn them inside out the shape remains.
The back was much more simple than the front with a seam line all the way up the back and a dart either side at the waist for shaping. The one thing I wasn’t prepared for, though, was the top-stitching. I cannot tell you the number of spools of top-stitching thread I got through and doing that back seam line neatly, not once but twice, was a tiring job. I do think it gives it a lovely finish throughout though.
The top-stitching continues all the way around the outer edges of the coat and the matching belt. This was an absolute nightmare to do as the coat was all sewn together by this point and was very heavy. I had to take it so steady because one wobble would ruin the whole effect. It does still annoy me, though, that I couldn’t quite get the exact shade of top-stitching thread to match the coat. Gütermann really need to increase their colours in this thread because it’s very limited. I had to order this one from Germany just to get a close match!
The beautiful original 1930s brown buttons and matching buckle were actually a gift from from friend Kitty (from Kitty Lou Vintage). When she sent them to me I had absolutely no idea what I was going to use them for. However, after a big debate on my Instagram about whether I should use these or a set of ivory ones, it became obvious that these were the perfect finishing touch for this coat.
My beautiful hat is held on by an original 1930s Lucite hat pin. It’s the only hat pin I own and I think it’s rather special. It’s got such a great Art Deco look about it and it will literally go with any colour of hat! The hat itself was the inspiration behind the first hat I ever blocked myself (I really should find some time to do more hats!) as I loved the halo shape. It’s definitely a shape that I think suits me.
We took this photo a little later on in the day when we were antiquing as I totally forgot to get a decent shot of the felt flowers. What was I thinking, this is the entire inspiration behind the whole outfit! I absolutely love the colour combination. I never would’ve thought to have put teal, chocolate brown, deep orange and ivory together, but it works perfectly.
Now, I apologise that I didn’t get a proper shot of the outfit underneath, but it was sub-zero temperatures the day we took these photos. I braved taking the coat off just long enough to get this photo of the stunning original 1930s orange satin blouse I bought from Simone at The Wardrobe Mistress. Sadly, the bow is covering up the beautiful Art Deco buttons (there’s four of them) but you can see the amazing detailing on the rest of it. I really, really want to create a pattern from this and have one in every colour. You just couldn’t get any more 1930s than this blouse.
And here’s a sneaky peak at the incredible lining of the coat. It’s a proper tailoring lining from The Lining Company and is in the same matching orange and brown of the rest of the outfit. This cost me just as much as the outer wool fabric but after I’d received the sample nothing else quite came up to scratch. After a lot of debating with myself over whether I could afford it and whether it was worth forking out for, I convinced myself on both issues. And I regret nothing!
I apologise for this photo. There are no words. I blame my mum who said, “Go on, flash your lining!” But at least you get to see the whole outfit!
The amazing original 1930s brown leather handbag cost me £35, which is a bit more than I would normally pay for a vintage handbag, but just look at it! I’ve never come across one this shape and it’s just so pretty. The only problem is, the bottom seam isn’t very secure and when I put my phone, keys, money, lipstick and etc in it, it starts to strain. I only use it on special occasions now, just to make sure I prolong its life.
The original 1930s brown leather shoes, however, are in amazing condition. Yes, they’ve been worn in the past as the leather has softened and wrinkled slightly, but that only helps when wearing them. I have a pair of original 1940s black shoes that are really quite stiff still and they do start to pinch after a while. Don’t you just love the wavy top-stitching lines on these? Thankfully I didn’t have to sew them!
And I love how the faux fur collar from Helen Moore adds that extra bit of luxury to this coat and it matches too. I have to say the collar and this winter coat are quite possibly the best two things I now own in terms of practicality. Both keep me so incredibly warm, and stylish too! They were an absolute Godsend on a recent pre-Christmas trip to London, especially when walking down Oxford Street at 11pm to admire the window displays. I know I’m going to wear this coat time and time again this winter and many years to come, unless I decide to make another one that is! 🙂