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How to Sew a Velvet Frock Coat

Photo: Jack Deutsch

Turn a Vintage Velvet Bedspread into a Stylish Frock Coat

Shopping at flea markets in New York City yields some fabulous fabrics, when you hit it right. I recently found this velvet bedspread. It looks like it was an Italian playboy's bedspread in 1968. I was immediately in love–-I needed it for a jacket.

how to sew a cut-velvet frock coat  

This velvet bedspread is stunning and unique.

Click to enlarge    

I knew a typical jacket design wouldn't work for this fabulous fabric, so I decided to use my frock coat-inspired pattern ( A frock coat, which originated in the 18th century and evolved through the 19th century, started as a knee-length garment with a waist seam and buttons to the waist. My version plays off that. Since I didn't want the new coat to be too much of a good thing, I shortened my coat pattern length by 7 inches, so it would read more like a blazer. 

Cutting was a challenge. I wanted to exploit the design to best advantage. After studying the pattern, I laid everything out on the reverse side.

how to sew a cut-velvet frock coat  

Cutting it in a single layer enabled me to make sure there was an exact mirror fabric print, left to right, for all the pieces.

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how to sew a cut-velvet frock coat  

Before beginning the construction, I stayed the armholes, neckline seams, and front edges. I used the method for this that I had outlined in a previous post.

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Finding the perfect lining was a challenge. I wanted a turquoise moiré for the linings and deep facing, but none was to be had.

I found this great metallic matelassé, which looks like a 1960s evening dress. The front facing, sleeves, and half-back lining are cut from this. As I like pockets, I installed a single-welt pocket in the left front facing.

how to sew a cut-velvet frock coat  

The front facing was sewn to the back half lining. This assembly would finish the upper edges of the entire jacket.

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Comments (22)

cdesigns cdesigns writes: I also wanted to add that you came to our Sewing Guild many years ago in Sioux City IA and I was forever impressed with your work. Love reading your articles in Threads you are the best !!
Posted: 1:11 pm on December 5th

cdesigns cdesigns writes: Thank You for the pointers on making your velvet jacket. I purchased a vintage summer spread at an auction, this was a cover in the summer time on your bed. It is off white in color with a nice design emprinted on it. I laid my pattern for a long jacket with slits up the sides on it and lined up the design. I entered it in the county fair under recycled materials and got a 1st place ribbon plus many compliments when I wear it. When I explain where the fabric came from some knew just what I am talking about and had stories to share about this spread.
Posted: 1:06 pm on December 5th

JDaniels60 JDaniels60 writes: I will do one for my husband. He loves jackets like this.
Posted: 7:19 am on November 22nd

KennethDKing KennethDKing writes: Thanks for the kind words, Cynsew! And as for Sandra Betzina, I truly adore her.
Posted: 9:21 am on November 18th

cynsew cynsew writes: Thank you so much for showing us your coat. I made your coat on the Craftsy classes. It was so much easier for me to understand exactly what you were doing now in the pictures.
Kenneth, you are my favorite. I read anything I can get my hands on that you write. I have followed you since your Sandra Betzina days!!! You are the best!
Posted: 6:51 am on November 18th

KennethDKing KennethDKing writes: Thanks for the kind words, everyone! This project was really fun to make, and I got to wear it the first time, at a book signing event at the Fortuny showroom.

To KarenQuiltsTexas: This is my hair clipper, which I also used when I had a dog. You can get them anywhere.

To KiwiLee: The vents at the back are just that--vents. I topstitched the leading edge, which makes them "read" like pleats, and the returns are tacked together with swing tacks on the inside of the jacket.
Posted: 8:34 pm on November 17th

user-2418800 user-2418800 writes: Back in the 60s when I was in high school, I made a pant suit out of gold brocade drapes. They were bellbottom with a longish jacket. The jacket sleeves ended at the elbow where I attached gathered lace, which was made from very nice curtains. This outfit received compliments when ever I wore it. Ah.....memories of Sonny and Cher fashion.....real fur coats were very indexpensive at the thrift stores in my town from which I made vests.
Posted: 12:54 am on November 17th

BossLady4me BossLady4me writes: Stunning! It looks like it would be nice to have on if you needed to run outside for a quick trip in the cooler weather. Those colors are fantastic. Exceptional job as usual from you.
Posted: 6:31 pm on November 16th

catstexas catstexas writes: Magnificent ... as usual. What great and broad skills you have. You're an inspiration.
Posted: 5:57 pm on November 16th

user-4346287 user-4346287 writes: I love this coat, beautiful shape and the fabric is just stunning! I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for a gorgeous velvet bedspread now.
I love to read your items Kenneth and have taken a couple of your Craftsy classes, I very much enjoy your teaching. Next on my list is your book Cool Couture which I'm hoping will be my Christmas Day reading this year.
Posted: 4:55 am on November 16th

marijkapaprika marijkapaprika writes: This past spring I turned a very bright, very floral 60s tablecloth into a peasant blouse, and I regularly turn round and square vintage tablecloths into circle- and handkerchief skirts. I'm currently hoarding a few drawn-thread and embroidered linens for kimono-style jackets.
Posted: 12:26 am on November 16th

KarenQuiltsTexas KarenQuiltsTexas writes: Wow, a very creative "reuse" design. Loved the peek into your workroom, tools and techniques. Curious about what sort of "shaver" you used... just a pet shaver? Also love the stands for your hams...!! you gave me a new way to see the antique linens I see at the flea market! Thanks for this great post!
Posted: 10:41 pm on November 15th

Rabia Rabia writes: Oh, and I just wanted to say: I ALWAYS look forward to a K.King feature in my mailbox!
Posted: 9:41 pm on November 15th

Rabia Rabia writes: FABULOUS, Mr.King! Haven't yet found a bedspread to cut up, but I have a few embroidered tablecloths I have plans for!
Posted: 9:39 pm on November 15th

Ox4dpl Ox4dpl writes: Absolutely awesome! You are so talented and have creative vision like no other!
Posted: 8:18 pm on November 15th

KiwiLee KiwiLee writes: Glorious. Such a terrific use of the pattern, Kenneth.
I'd love more detail on how those back pleats were stabilised.
Posted: 2:52 pm on November 15th

Mamato8 Mamato8 writes: I found some bulk fabric made for pillowcases and used it to make Easter dresses for me and my two daughters. The pillowcase fabric gave me a border print to work with. I used the border for the hems and shoulders. That was fun!

So, what did you do with the leftover fabric? A vest or hat?
Posted: 2:18 pm on November 15th

user-4765226 user-4765226 writes: Absolutely gorgeous perfect for Fall season, very clever . Also looks good on you .
Posted: 1:42 pm on November 15th

Yvonne_M Yvonne_M writes: Work of inspiring. You are the best! I feel honored to be able to take your classes. Y
Posted: 12:53 pm on November 15th

aussiesewinglady aussiesewinglady writes: Love the embellishment around the buttonholes! Great job!

Posted: 8:19 pm on November 12th

LuvThreadsMagazine LuvThreadsMagazine writes: Oh, Senor King, it is magnificent! MAGNIFICENT!!

The rear view is as spectacular as the front view - such great details!

I've gone the other direction, turning clothes into a duvet.

Awaiting your next triumph (though not patiently, I'm just sayin').

Posted: 8:20 am on November 11th

IreneMM IreneMM writes: Your jacket is stunning! Bravo!
My choice of linens to cut up seems to be tablecloths. There are a few that have made it to my closet as summer jackets.
Posted: 6:43 pm on November 9th

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