Monday, May 16, 2011

My 1938 Coat: RTW Tailoring sew-a-long - FINALE!

May I introduce to you:

This is the coat I made for the RTW-Sew-along that Sherry from Pattern-Scissors-Cloth was posting. It was an AMAZING sewalong and I cannot give her enough credit for it. This is probably the most precisely constructed/sewn garment I have made so far. And that coming from a pattern from 1938 really means something. I have written two previous posts:

First: RTW-Sew-along THE MUSLIN - where I wrote about some fitting issues
And: RTW-Sew-along ALMOST THERE - where I wrote about the things that I learned and all I had left to choose were buttons.
From the original illustration it seemed like they were using Chinese Frog buttons:
Source: Deutsche Moden-Zeitung, Heft 25, 1938

First of all, thanks to everybody for your input here and on the Flickr group! I really appreciated it and it helped me decide! I first toyed with the idea of making my own. I found some instructions, especially for the button part, but I worried about it a lot. I find buttons can easily make or break a garment, and as I was already liking my coat a lot at that point, I didn't want to risk anything by putting on scraggly little hand-made crooked frogy things. (If this is all you see from this post now, click on the "read more" sign below. It's small and I like to point it out...)

I was quite happy when I found these, especially in dark blue:

But if you look closely, you won't only notice that I used matching pins, but also that they are actually a touch too wide and are getting in each others way.

So I was ECSTATIC when I found these:

It's funny: we spent a lot of time learning RTW techniques in order to cut out all hand-sewing, and then I spent an hour hand-sewing these buttons on my coat, ha! It wasn't easy getting them on evenly, and I swear my hands were shaking. I am happy though. Oh, what the heck, might as well say it: I am thrilled with the result! All the credit goes to Sherry anyway, so it isn't bragging too much.

Moving the shoulder seam forward was a good adjustment.

I also got rid of the bagginess in the waist area which I didn't like in the muslin. I took the waist band in a lot and made two darts in the upper back and lower back. I think the solution is ok. Seeing it now though, it looks almost as if I could have taken that width out entirely, as the shoulders actually fall a bit low. Looking at the muslin, I would not have thought that at all! Not a huge issue, and maybe it would have made the coat too tight and caused ripping at the sleeve seams. The bit of bagginess that is left now in the upper back is intended, I believe (there was lots of easing between waist band and upper back in the original pattern, too)

I couldn't match the stripes at the side seams any better, since the angles on front and back piece wasn't the same, but I did my best.
Same with under sleeve and upper sleeve - there was no way to match stripes at all, but I guess you won't really see that, unless I write about it on my blog. Duh.

I guess the elbow ease could have been a bit higher for me, and what do you think about sleeve length? Is there a rule as to how low sleeves should go? I bet there is. I like mine quite long, but looking at the photos I think they could have been a bit shorter.
I get such a kick though when I see how beautifully it is shaped, even just hanging on my dressform:

Ok, that is about it. OF COURSE the whole thing is lined (we spent lots of time making the lining pattern!), and I sewed on a sort-of-vintage coat hanger that I once found at a flea market.

I will make jackets again and again, and I will go back to Sherry's posts every single time I bet. HIGHLY recommended. Sorry about the capitals in this post. I don't mean to be screaming at you. I just am so excited. This coat makes me feel DIVA!

Happy sewing everybody!!!


  1. Oh my gosh, this is AMAZING!!

  2. your coat is perfect! The stripes, the contrasting collar, the shape, and the closure along the waistband look like they belong together.

  3. Gorgeous! I love it! And those second frogs are PERFECT! You totally deserve all the capitals you care to use. :)

  4. Ich bin zutiefst beeindruckt!!!
    (ich verwende sonst niemals drei Ausrufezeichen hinter einem Satz, aber heute bin ich sprachlos)


  5. Wow - your finished coat is totally awesome, and I can see you adore it in your lovely photos! Great job, well done!
    I'm so glad you enjoyed the sewalong, thanks for participating - and I look forward to seeing your future jackets!

  6. This looks so chic and even with a vintage pattern it has a modern appeal. (Looks expensive too!) Great job finding those frog closures - they are absolutely perfect for this coat. I stumbled across Sherry's sew along a little while ago (too late to join), but I plan on referring to her posts when I do get around to making a coat.

  7. This coat is gorgeous ! I'm really impressed by it. It is just different enough to be interesting, but not so different that it looks weird or too costumey ! I might check the posts of this sewalong as I'm always too afraid to try making a coat or even a jacket. Thanks for making me know it exists.

  8. Oh, you ARE DIVA! The coat turned perfectly tailored, fits you so well, and it's so unusual. An eye-catcher! Well done Katja! And yes, Sherry's posts are mine of knowledge.

  9. Großartig! Sowohl das Design mit dem Streifenstoff und den Unipartien, als auch die Ausführung. "Impeccable", hätte mein alter Englischlehrer gesagt. Und Danke für den Hinweis auf den sewalong - ich muss noch so viel lernen! Die Punkte, die du in deinem vorigen Mantelpost angesprochen hattest, sind auch genau die, wo ich mich immer durchwuschtele und wo ich ahnte, dass man es viel besser machen kann: Die Mehrweite am Kragen nicht nur irgendwie, und die Länge des Futters gleich am Schnitt festlegen usw. Darauf werde ich spätestens im Herbst nochmal zurückkommen. Wie sehr sich das auszahlt, sieht man ja an deinem Mantel, der sitzt wirklich perfekt, und das aus einem Stoff, der sicher nicht so leicht zu verarbeiten war, wie ein Wollstoff.

  10. Yes, I very impressive coat - congratulations - IT IS SPECTACULAR!!!

  11. WOW! Der ist einfach der Hammer! Und wenn er auch noch richtig angepasst ist, bin ich sehr neidisch ;-)

  12. GORGEOUS KATJA!!!! you absolutely should feel like a diva!!!

  13. I can't believe I missed this. I've got to add you to my reader so I don't miss. I was so looking forward to seeing how yours turned out and oh my gosh, it is amazing! I love how that collar rolls. What a beautiful statement piece. I love the coat hanger. I know exactly what you mean about the handsewing... I got to the very end and made a big mistake after cutting the buttonholes and spent over an hour fixing and hand-sewing that buttonhole.

  14. What a fabulous coat - those buttons / closures ARE just perfect, and I can imagine how happy you must be to have created something so lovely!

  15. Those buttons are perfect for the whole look of the coat! Fantastic work!

  16. I am so amazed I want to make something like this now! I have been making dresses from the 20s-50s for about two years now and I want to go a little more elaborate.