Finished: 1930s Lightweight Coat

1930s lightweight coat

Outfit Details

1930s Aubergine Coat – Made by me
Aubergine Cloche HatMad Hatters
White Cotton Shirt – Next
1930s Style Tweed Flutter SkirtThe House of Foxy
Vintage Burgundy Wool Tie – eBay
Burgundy Leather Gloves – Can’t remember
1970s Burgundy Handbag – Etsy
Burgundy 1930s Style Shoes – B.A.I.T. (currently still available at Royal Vintage Shoes)
Celtic Knot Opal Earrings – Past Times

1930s lightweight coat

I cannot tell you how much I have wanted to get this photo shoot done to show you the 1930s lightweight coat I’ve made. Thankfully on Sunday I finally got a quiet weekend where I wasn’t actually doing anything and I persuaded my mum to take a few (hundred!) shots and miraculously the weather was obliging.

The pattern for this coat was an original 1930s one I purchased on Etsy (you can see it here) and once I had it in my hands I was dying to get on with it, I just had no idea what fabric to do it in. I knew I wanted something that hung well and wasn’t too thick because I didn’t want it becoming a winter coat, this was for the in-between seasons, and I wanted it in a fairly neutral colour, just not black. However, it wasn’t until I went down to Brighton last September to visit the lovely Jenny that I finally found the perfect candidate.

Whilst walking through The Lanes I stumbled across Ditto Fabrics and instantly fell in love with their amazing stock. I just knew they would have something suitable and, after chatting with one of the very helpful staff members, she brought out a few that might be suitable, including this stunning aubergine and grey mix tweed wool suiting. I instantly knew it was the one. However, it wasn’t wool. Oh no, this incredible fabric looks and behaves exactly like wool suiting but it’s actually a polyester mix, making it a dream to work with. I couldn’t give them my money quick enough!

Purple cloche hat

After we left we continued on through the bustle of The Lanes until we came to the end and right in front of us calling me in was Mad Hatters, a shop stuffed full of beautiful hats. They had so many cloches that I just had to try on every single style and then I spotted this one. It was aubergine! It was fate! I knew I could not walk out of that shop without purchasing it and I just love how it matches this coat so perfectly really completing the outfit.

1930s lightweight coat from the back

This coat took quite some time to make up due to the techniques I used. When I was at fashion college I did nearly a year’s work experience with a tailor who was fully trained in Italy, so had such incredible talent. I learned so much from him and I knew I wanted to use the tailoring technique of hand basting an inner-lining to the main fabric to stiffen the fabric slightly and add some warmth to it, allowing it to be worn for several months of the year and not just a couple. I used a very simple and inexpensive 100% cotton fabric as I didn’t want it to stiffen too much and basted it onto the six different panels of the body of the coat from top to bottom. You can’t imagine how many hours I slaved over doing it but I’m so pleased I did it because I think gives it such a wonderful finish.

purple cloche hat

1930s lightweight coat from the back

The only real mistake I made was down to the mock up version I did. When I tried it on I was wearing a short sleeved top so the sleeves felt fine. I forgot about the fact that I would generally be wearing a long sleeve top or even a jumper under it, so what with the mock up being made of only one layer of calico and the finished garment being three layers of fabric suddenly the sleeves were a little bit tight. They look fine in these photos but I can’t wear anything more than a thin blouse underneath, otherwise I have very little movement in the forearms.

bakelite buttons

I knew I wanted authentic buttons for this coat to really finish it off so I went in search of some genuine Bakelite ones. After trawling hundreds of listings on Etsy I finally came across these beautiful original French Art Deco ones from Le Grenier – London that just set it off perfectly. After hand stitching two button holes I searched for some chain in my jewellery making stash and joined the buttons together. It’s great because I can remove both buttons and just wear it open if I wish.

1930s wide lapel

1930s puff sleeve

purple satin lining

The very small glimpse of the inside when the wind caught it shows the sumptuous purple satin lining I bought from the wonderful Cloth Spot. I didn’t want to just add any old polyester lining to this coat, it had to be something special, so when I spotted it on their website I just knew it would be perfect. It is so regal and has that liquid satin feel to it. It was a real pain to cut out and sew but it was worth it in the end.

1930s outfit

This photo was taken just as my mum jokingly said ‘Make love to the camera!’ and yes, I was in fits of laughter, but I just love it. It was the perfect end to what I call my Evie Coat photoshoot, named after the beautiful lady I based the outfit on, Evie Elliott from the wonderful and oh-so-1920s The House of Elliott. I really, really wanted to be her when I was at fashion college when it was first on tv and just for a little while that day I felt like I was!

Cate

Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. Lover of all things old, lingerie obsessive, crafter and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.

29 Comments

  1. Oh my! What a stupendous coat that is! I once again am in awe of your craftmanship. The bakelite buttons really do provide that perfect finishing touch. As for the rest of your ensemble, just heavenly!! You should email photos to the House of Foxy gallery to show them their skirt in such a glorious outfit (and you might win a voucher for doing so – they do a draw now and again). Absolutely stunning.

    Hope you’re having a super week! x

    • Yes, I thought about sending it to The House of Foxy but you can’t really see the skirt in the photos, so not sure if they’d accept it. I might just give it a go anyway! x

  2. Gorgeous coat, hat does match perfectly and I love your accessorising. One of my big goals is for a casual jacket and a more tailored one, this is very inspiring. I loved House of Elliott – haven’t watched it since it was first shown but should try watching it again!

    • Oh you should! All three series of House of Elliott are on Youtube at the moment and it’s well worth another watch. x

  3. What a beautiful coat! Amazing work, I love the cut and the fabric you chose. Sounds like such a fun day’s shopping, fabric and a new hat– a perfect day in my book!

    • Thank you Bianca! Yes, I couldn’t have hoped for a more perfect shopping trip. x

  4. Wow. Just wow. That outfit is absolutely immaculate – you look like someone out of an old photo.

    • Oh wow, thank you Mim, that’s such a huge compliment! Maybe I should see what some of them look like in black & white. x

  5. when I see all the amazing things you make it really makes me want to start sewing I think the coat would lovely in a velvet fabric as well

    • Oh, a velvet one would be amazing for the evening. Oh dear, now you’ve got my imagination running wild! x

  6. Cate, this coat is so lovely! I love the button detailing at the centre front, and the cut is divine. The cloche hat works perfectly with both the colour and the cut of the coat too! I’m loving your new blog header too, it’s fab! 🙂 xxx

    • Thanks Jenny! I thought the old header wasn’t really appropriate now as it was rather 1950s looking and wanted something that reflected the direction I’m heading in with my vintage journey. xxx

  7. Wow! I love the rendingote! Just love it. How did I miss your site? It’s brilliant! I’m going to be back a lot to read up on everything you’ve gotten up to!

    • Thank you Krystle, welcome to the blog! I love yours, by the way, it’s always great to find others who love the 1930s as much as I do. I’m also jealous of your fingerwaves as I have such trouble trying to do them on my hair. xx

  8. Wow! What a stunning coat! It looks amazing on, you must be so proud and pleased with it. The fabric is lovely and I like it paired with the burgundy accessories.

    • I am really pleased with it, even if the tight sleeves annoy me. I just need to figure out what else to wear with it, because the front is open, you have to be really aware of what’s showing underneath. xx

    • Thank you Katherine! Yes, the masculine styles of this period are my absolute favourites and I love exploring menswear as womenswear for myself. x

  9. This coat is absolutely stunning. You have done a fantastic job on it, and the entire outfit is gorgeous. Off to check out the rest of your blog now

  10. I adore this entire outfit! You did a lovely job on the coat ( and I love it’s name).

  11. A beautiful result, I so enjoy seeing good craftsmanship and attention to period detail too. How lucky you are to have learned those skills from a real Italian tailor! I’ll be back to see what you get up to next…

    • Thank you Melanie. Yes, it had been a while since I’d actually tackled tailoring but it all came back to me in a flash. That much be a sign of a good teacher!

  12. This is an amazing coat! I feel like it could span many decades. It is so well done, I love it!

    • Oh thank you Lauren! I love this coat, although you’ve got to go really careful what you wear with it because whatever is underneath will show through the centre front at all times. xx

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