Style Inspiration: 1930s Winter Jackets

1930s Winter Jackets

Well, this week’s post was actually supposed to be an outfit post to show you the gorgeous 1930s summer dress I recently completed. Yes, that would be SUMMER dress! I know, it’s officially Autumn, but this pretty much sums up my life right now. I feel like I’m constantly playing catch-up, not just with my sewing but with everything, from blogging, work, seeing friends and family, housework, just everything. This is making me feel really quite stressed and it’s beginning to wear me down.

Last weekend I had planned to photograph the aforementioned dress but disaster struck when the front and side of hair had set perfectly overnight but the back didn’t. I ended up looking like I had two hairstyles, curly at the front and sides and dead straight at the back. No amount of curling with the curling iron sorted it out and after about two hours of getting really stressed over it, I called the shoot off. To try and relax, and salvage the day, I went out for lunch and then ended up at a local garden centre looking around their newly launched Christmas ranges. It certainly helped.

Anyway, having now finished my latest sewing project, that I plan to wear this weekend (with just a day or two to spare!), I have decided to slow things down. It’s time to stop trying to cram everything in at the last minute. It’s time to reduce the stress. And it’s time to start enjoying what I love to do again, rather than resenting it. So, as I never ever seem to have the right coat or jacket to wear, I’ve decided to work on a project to make myself the perfect 1930s Autumn/Winter jacket.

‘How will this help?’ I hear you scream. Well, because it will force me not to rush it. Tailoring is something I love to do and it’s something that takes time and precision. It’s also a lot of hand sewing, something that generally always soothes me. I can sit on the sofa with a box set on the TV as I do it. So, what is it I want to make?

McCall Style News May 1935

Generally all 1930s jackets, like dresses from the period, have a basic silhouette to start from. This entails of a semi-fitted bust, fitted waist and literally skimming the hips. The length sits at high to mid hip and are often finished with a belt to highlight the waist.

The one above in McCall’s Style News of May 1935 was the initial look I had in mind with large checks and a wide collar. It reminded me of one worn by Ginger Rogers in the 1930s which had a detachable cape. However, the collar is very similar to my 1930s lightweight coat and this gapes too much to give adequate chest and neck coverage. What I want to achieve is something that’s warm and cosy.

1930s 2 piece suit McCall 7041

1934 Sears Women's Jackets

With that in mind I found these two where the collar goes right across the front and fastens in front of the shoulder. They actually reminded me of the one ClothSpot made recently and posted on their blog. It has the same sharp point finish that fastens to one side. They’ve also featured it with scarf tucked underneath, just like the one above in green.

Mid 1930s jackets

Another really interesting collar is the one on the left in the above. I love the sharp point of the collar that then flows into a top stitched vertical seam and finally becomes a pocket. Just looking at the model illustration it looks mind boggling but the flat construction illustration above actually makes it look fairly simple. This is classic of the 1930s. So many of the original 1930s patterns I buy initially look really complicated, then after looking at the pattern pieces it makes complete sense.

1930s McCall Pattern 8066

1930s Butterick 5833

These two single breasted jackets are gorgeous with their multitude of buttons. The first one looks rather Alpine and makes me think of The Sound of Music! I imagine it to be a grey felt wool with a green velvet collar, brown suede belt and gold coloured metal buttons. It’s exactly the sort of thing my mum would love!

The second one has a more sports wear look, which is the sort of look I want to achieve. I love the patch pockets, wide belt and high fold line of the collar.

And look what Caroline from The Sunny Stitcher spotted at the Fashion and Textile Museum’s Jazz Age exhibition! Those pockets!! I actually want this entire outfit and I recently picked up a purple and ivory dogtooth vintage wool fabric that I may be able to eek a suit out of. This is now in the plan for my Winter sewing!

1930s Simplicity 1511 NRA

I love the double breasted jackets from the 1930s and the one in this green suit is just gorgeous. It’s classic, simple and smart, however, for me it looks a bit formal here. I think it’s the lack of belt that makes it look more business like (wouldn’t it be fabulous to wear for a high powered job?).

The length of this one is pretty much what I’m after though. It’s slightly more on the higher hip than the Alpine one and I think this lends itself to showing off any skirt detailing a bit better. I have a couple of 1930s skirts that have pockets on them and I’d want these to be on display rather than tucked under the jacket.

Mrs Depew 1930s jackets pattern

After lots and lots of searching for the perfect pattern I finally found this incredibly versatile one from Mrs Depew. Thankfully it’s not a draft-at-home one like my coral skirt and resort wear blouse, which both gave me a lot of headaches. Instead, this is a paper pattern that was painstakingly reproduced by Mrs Depew from an original 1930s one. It’s a little bit small, at a 32″ bust, but I can easily grade it up.

The one I think I’m going to go for is style A but without the cape. I’d love to make it to match but I didn’t buy enough fabric for them both. 🙁 This style is pretty spot on, double breasted, a high fold line of the collar, patch pockets and finishing on the high hip. The only thing it’s missing is the belt, but that’s easy enough to make.

Check wool fabric for 1930s jacket

And this is the fabric I plan to make it in. I chose it because it had so many colours in it and, as result, will go with so many different outfits. The background colour is slightly darker than what it shows here, more of a light beige, then there’s green, blue, brown, a dark mustard and a purple/burgundy colour.

I think brown leather or Bakelite buttons would work well, but then I’d want the buckle on the belt to go with it. That’s going to be a job to find ones that match! I’m also going to crochet a navy scarf to wear with it that tucks in the classic 1930s way. The top illustration shows this perfectly. I’d also love to get (or make) a brown faux fur collar to go on top for those really cold days.

To make the jacket I will be using traditional tailoring techniques using references from my oh-so-fascinating 1930s sewing book and knowledge gleaned from when I interned with a tailor during college. I also recently bought two amazing 1930s sewing magazines from eBay (which include the original patterns!) and one of them is all about women’s suits. There’s some great tips in there for getting a really beautiful finish to jackets.

I will post the progress of this as I go along to show you what I’m doing and how it’s looking. The first thing though is to make a mock up and getting the fitting just right. This will be a task in itself and I must, must, must remember to try it on with a jumper on underneath. I stupidly didn’t do this with my lightweight coat and now the sleeves are a little too tight to wear anything bulky underneath.


Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. A lover of all things old, especially the 1930s, seamstress, crocheter, maker of hats and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.


  1. Oooh, fab fabric! Your jacket is going to look amazing. Are you going for a self-covered buckle on the belt?

    I know the ‘not enough time’ feeling – my only blog post so far this month is one I’d written/scheduled ages ago. Sometimes life just has to be lived and let go…

    • I think I want the buckle and buttons to match, so if I go for leather I want them both in leather but if I go for Bakelite (or similar) them I want them both in Bakelite. We do have a leather company as a client at work who sells small pieces of leather, so I could easily get a piece from their and get my usual guys to cover them. I think I’ll probably decide as the main jacket starts coming together. xx

  2. Oh Cate, that fabric choice is just perfect – your jacket is going to be truly spectacular! It is really hard trying to cram everything in, I completely empathise with that, you just have to stop trying sometimes and remember that there are only so many hours in the day. I hope you have a more restful Autumn ahead. x

    • Yes, I’m determined not to wear myself out these coming months. I tend to do it every Autumn, mainly because I’m so excited by the season and I want to do so much. Time to put things into perspective! xx

  3. Those jackets are all gorgeous, I would be stressed if I had to choose one. And then there’s the fabric and buttons to choose too … Anyway, I think you will surprise us again with one of your gorgeous made-by-you creations. Don’t rush it though, there will always be next autumn, just like there will be next summer to wear the dress you just finished. I always try to cram in far too much as well, and forget to sit back and relax. xxx

    • I find it so hard to relax. Even if I have a day to myself and I have nothing to do, I just can’t sit on the sofa and watch TV or read a book, I have to be doing something. I really wish I could learn how to enjoy a sofa day in my PJs! xx

  4. Ah, I know that feeling all too well!

    Hope you enjoy your new project – take your time, and I’m looking forward to reading all about it.

    • Yes, I’m determined to enjoy this one. I hate getting stressed over my sewing, it makes me wonder what I’m doing it for. Time to start loving it again! xx

  5. There are lots of lovely tempting styles in your post. I’m looking forward to seeing your jacket progress.

    • Thanks Norma! I’ve been inspired by both you and Emily Ann to take my time, use my original 1930s resources and do things incredibly authentically. xx

  6. Such elegant, appealing styles. I especially swooned over the very last jacket with the cape element (over over-cape). That is something I could see myself wearing big time. I really enjoyed this terrific post, dear Cate. Thank you very much for the fabulous cold weather fashion inspiration.

    Many hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

    • I may just have to make another jacket and buy enough fabric so I can make it with a matching cape. I love that version, it’s so elegant. Hope you’re enjoying the lovely Autumnal weather! xx

  7. I’m watching the second series of home fires at the moment and I’m seeing all sorts of lovely jackets and coats (but it’s summer here now!)

  8. What lovely patterns ! There is never enough time for all the things we love to do , glad you have managed to squeeze in the time to share these , is a long time since I have made a jacket but these are inspiring me , that fabric is fab, look forward to seeing the progress .

    • Thank you Emma! Yes, I just cannot wait to get started on it this weekend. I’m really looking forward to taking it slowly. xx

  9. What a great source of inspiration this post is. You picked so many great images and I liked learning about why they appealed to you or didn’t. I really like the pattern you chose and the fabric is gorgeous. That will be one super coat. I hope you are finding some time to relax and unwind. I feel like the last few weeks have passed in a blur with little time to do things. I’ve just come down with a horrid cold so will have to sit and be quiet for a couple of days!

    • Oh no, I do hope you feel better soon, although it’s a great excuse to curl up on the sofa with a bit of knitting! xx

Comments are closed.