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coat advice

MarieCurie | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I am inspired to make Vintage Vogue #1083, a long, formal swing coat, in dark red with black velvet collar and cuffs for Christmas.  I found some -to-die-for- wool/camelhair in the most perfect color.  It is the perfect weight for our cold upstate NY winters.  Is there any conceivable reason why I should underline the coating fabric?  Silk organza?   I plan to use a kasha lining fabric for warmth, and of course this is separate from the interfacing considerations.

P.S.  The blue silk dupioni sheath I made in Aug for my parent’s 50th anniversary looked great.  I looked like a knockout.  The only thing I would’ve done differently was to put a binding along the neckline as the silk charmuse lining kept curling out at the top despite my best efforts at understitching.


  1. sewluving | | #1

    Love the coat pattern. It will look wonderful.  Post a pic when you are done please.  Did you post a picture of your dress for your parent's 50th and I missed it?  Sounds like it was terrific.

    Heather in Calgary

    1. MarieCurie | | #2

      My digital camera died just in time for the trip.  Then, miraculously, it started working again when we got home.  I have zero photos of my trip.

      1. sewluving | | #3

        don't you just HATE it when something like that happens.......grr.  sorry to hear that.

  2. Josefly | | #4

    Your fabric sounds beautiful. I've been reading a little about making coats, and one thing that interests me is the interfacing used as a shield in the upper front bodice/shoulder-to-bust area, which keeps the coat from sinking into the front shoulder curve. I don't know if you're considering doing this, but if so, an underlining would prevent any show-through of the shield.It should be a glorious coat. Good luck with it.

    1. User avater
      Flax | | #13

      I have been thinking, has Threads ever done an article on proper construction of formal wool outer coats. I would really appreciate a well put together article on the ins and outs of wool coats particularly the inside of the coat itself, interlining, interfacing, hair canvas etc. the whys and hows, you know. Maybe even a shortcut method and a couture method. I have not subscribed to Threads for very long and if I have missed it please forgive me. It just seems that it is a topic that deserves a good article. Flax

      1. Josefly | | #14

        I'm going to do a search to check this out for you. Meanwhile, if somebody else knows about a Threads article that deals with this, please feel free to answer. Recently, Kenneth King had an article about a sports jacket/blazer that would be worth looking at, but I'll need to go through my issues to find which one it is.Edited to add: The Kenneth King information I mentioned actually spanned three issues of Threads - #'s 136, 137, and 138 (April, June, and August 2008). I think this series would be very helpful to anyone planning a coat or jacket.These other articles are among my collection of Threads issues:

        #105 (February 2003) - "Peeking Inside an Armani" p 46, a great article which describes how to construct a chest shield, which is what prompted my answer to the question which started this topic
        #115 (October 2004) - "Stylish Design Ideas for a Classic Coat", p66
        #121 (October 2005) has 2 articles: "Build Lightweight Warmth into Coats" , p 46, and "Inside a Chanel Jacket", p 34.There is also an article by David Coffin in Issue # 38, which I don't have since my subscription to Threads started much later.A search of the magazine index using keywords "coat" or "jacket" yields quite a long list, but there hasn't *recently* been a comprehensive article covering all that you mentioned. Maybe a mention to the editors would prompt a new article.If you can't get your hands on these issues, Kenneth King has a series of how-to books on CD, one of which is "Tailored Jackets." Your library might be a good resource for coat-construction books; Claire Shaeffer has a wonderful book on couture techniques, and the instructions in her Vogue patterns include those techniques.Edited 11/12/2009 10:56 am ET by Josefly <!-- JOANSCH1 -->

        Edited 11/12/2009 11:00 am ET by Josefly

        1. User avater
          Flax | | #17

          Wow thanks Josefly, I will check these out I think I might have some of these.

      2. MarieCurie | | #15

        Vogue Patterns magazine did an excellent article in Oct 2008 by Kathryn Brenne, who, if I'm not mistaken, also did the article on reversible coats in the most recent Threads issue.  Since Kathryn is from Canada, her advice on how to keep warm is sincere.


  3. rodezzy | | #5

    That is a fantastic coat pattern and I will just have to have it.  And I will as soon as they go on sale, or I might check with a friend who has every pattern under the sun.  And red is a show stopper, and I believe you will outshine the season with that one. 

    1. MarieCurie | | #6

      The red wool/camelhair is very heavy--almost melton-like.  I called my mom about it, and though she loves the idea, she thinks the style will overwhelm my small frame.  I agree the mid-calf length would be more effective on my tall SIL.   I'm very close to being talked out of it so I can focus on the fabric and sewing projects I already have in the queue.  But I look awesome in red!

      1. rodezzy | | #7

        Well, what about V8520, or V8307.  Both have less volume, but would probably look stunning in red.

        1. MarieCurie | | #8

          Too dated.  I love the idea of a vintage pattern that stands (and has stood) the test of time.  If I put that much work into a coat like this, I have to wear it for the next 50 years.  Wait, that will take me to age 90!  Yikes!

      2. jane4878 | | #10

        You should try on a similarily shaped coat in RTW before you write off the project.  I work with a short woman who had the same feeling as your mom.  Her son insisted she try a long black wool coat and she looked terrific in it.


        1. MarieCurie | | #16

          Besides the dark red camelhair/wool, I also found some black cashmere/wool from the Vogue Fabrics website.  It's on sale for only $80 per yard.  But think about how classic and everlasting that would be!  I'm considering asking my mother to buy the fabric for me as a Christmas gift.

          And isn't it wonderful that Threads always comes out with the perfect article at just the time I need it!  On page 39 are instructions on how to narrow the bodice without changing the neckline.  What an awesome magazine!

  4. cat42 | | #9

    Some camel-hair fabrics are soft and subject to stretching out. if that is true of this fabric, you should definitely underline it, but you can choose something very light-weight like batiste or silk organza. And you should definitely interface it in the shoulder-armhole area, and the front above the bustline.Camelhair fabric is expensive and well-worth the effort and expense to underline.

  5. Ceeayche | | #11

    About 25 years ago Ellen Tracy had a vibrant purple coat that swept from the shoulders to mid-calf.  While it wasn't as generous as your coat, it had a lot of volume, and came with a belt.

    My mother was horrified.  She tried her best to talk me out of it.  According to her, it was too expensive for a "trendy"garment, too much for my frame and she was convinced the purple was a frivolous color choice for a coat.  Well I got it anyway.  Candidly it is a lot of coat.  And, though the designer probably intended it to hit me at mid calf, it drops almost to the floor on me. 

    BUT I LOVE that coat.  The simple style makes it just as current now as it was 25 years ago.  The rich purple hue always makes me smile, even when I'm bundled up agains the elements.  When I hang it in the closet in a sea of black, grey and beige coats, it stands out handily.  In the 20 years I've had it I've purchased gloves, scarf and hat to coordinate/or compliment it.  And, it's still my go to coat for formal gowns.  I do have a basic black cashmere top coat.  But this one makes me SMILE!

    Now with a critical eye, I've decided I need to alter it.  I plan to cut off the bottom about six inches (it's always been too long for my frame, and has become frayed from the years of me catching the metro).  And, I plan to eliminate the voluminous cuffs on the sleeves.  They really are too much for my frame.  And, I'm toying with changing the lining out (the pockets are now fraying).

    While I do concur with the recommendation that you try on the style before you invest the time and energy to make up the coat, I think with some slight alterations to personalize it for your frame, you will be happy with the results.  Viva la RED!

    Please post pictures with you in the coat when you finish!


    1. rodezzy | | #12

      Hooray!  Wonderful story.

  6. User avater
    ShineOn | | #18


    You might want to check out this website http://coatsewalaong.blogspot.com/  It has wonderful information about sewing a winter coat, complete with timeline, tips and photos. while the great coat sew along was in 2008, there is still new info posted. Hope this helps.

    Shine On

    1. cat42 | | #19

      FYI, I don't think that link works anymore. I got this error from "eBlogger"Sorry, the blog you were looking for does not exist. However, the name coatsewalaong is available to register! So I googled: "coat sew along" and got this link: http://coatsewalong.blogspot.com/The bad link you provided had a typo - an extra 'o'.C

      1. rodezzy | | #20

        Thanks, I'll check this one out.  I have only done a jacket so far.  The blue one.  My camera isn't working so I can't post pictures at this time.  But I wore it over the Thanksgiving holiday in Ohio.  I drove there and spent it with my friends.

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