London report – 50s swing coat.

The coat, the pattern derived from Burda 11/12 model 140, but ending up nothing like it.

IMG_1071I was aiming for a 50s swing style look. The fabric is a tweedy loose weave in blue and black, and a black wool. The tweed was bought in London, the black wool was lugged there on SNCF and Eurostar. In between the lining, found in the London stash, and the outer fabric is an interlining of a cotton/rayon twill, bought to use as a toile and put to use as an extra layer.

Burda newbies often gasp in horror at the pattern sheets, and wonder how on earth to trace the lines of the pieces they want from the mesmerizing jumble of coloured lines.

I use several different ways according to what pattern paper and equipment I have to hand. This time, it was heavy Morplan paper, carbon paper from the stationers over it, and the pattern sheets on top.

IMG_1065That’s the back of the carbon, bottom right, on top of the pattern paper. Its quick, if you like seam allowances added, you can do this most easily by one of these methods:-

double tracing wheel, two pencils stuck together with blue tack, a flexible curve placed next to your pattern line.

I was doing substantial pattern alteration, so the nett pattern suited me.

The first thing I had to do was an FBA, so I closed all of the bust darts in the pattern, which fall from the neckline and underarm, and moved them into a temporary shoulder dart position.


Then I added in to the front to get enough F/G cup room.IMG_1069Once that was settled I had a new bust point to replan the darts, slashing to the new BP and swivelling the pieces. Darts always get initially drawn right to the bust point, but get replanned so they finish shorter, by the way.

I added some flare, more or less winging it, drafted a drapey collar to replace the Peter Pan style on the original, and redrafted the sleeves as one piece with a flare. Then I planned the black borders and cut some black piping for the neck seam too.

The buttons came from John Lewis in Oxford Street. The buttonholes are bound in black, and yes, working out how to make the top buttonhole work with all those layers of collar folds was a pain. In the end it has a bound buttonhole on the top layer, and the underneath layers are turned in and hand stitched to the back of it. I tried it first with a worked buttonhole on the under layers, but that didn’t function.





About jay

I design and draft patterns
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6 Responses to London report – 50s swing coat.

  1. sew2pro says:

    Ooh, congratulations on finishing a big one! I’ll always remember a friend of mine saying that once she saw how much work went into making her coat, she never again grumbled at the price of a RTW one.

    I won’t forget what you said about coat-making and childbirth…

    Well done on the shalwar kamiz (?) too: it’s beautiful.


  2. Pella says:

    Thanks sew2pro, I think my next coat will be a wrap in unlined in fleece, boiled wool, double face jersey ………


  3. Do we get to see the coat on? I shall check ahead shortly to see but I like the lines, as always. You do have such a good eye….


  4. Terry Reisz says:

    I love what you’ve done, and anxious to try another. My first BIG coat was an Issey Miyake Vogue 2978 in the (then) new microfiber, lined and interlined with batting. I called it “The Toaster” because 5 minutes after you put it on, you’re …. I was living in Hawaii at the time. cough Took it with me on one trip to colder clime. The microfiber was not a good choice – too drapey for the structure.


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