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Downton Abbey Lady Mary Jacket


The Downton Abbey inspired “Stop the Presses” jacket is my entry in a vintage inspired sewing contest on the BurdaStyle website. Over 120 garments were submitted, and as of this morning (3/22), my jacket is in second place with 98 votes and only a handful away from the Grand Prize! To vote for my jacket, please click on the link below. Thank you!


When Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary asked Sir Richard not to print her scandalous secret in his newspapers, she wore a magnificent, full length coat with a distinctive arrangement of buttons. For the VintageModern contest, I decided to update Lady Mary’s Edwardian classic for life in the fast-paced 21st Century.

I started with the Trench Topper pattern and redrafted the collar to resemble the original when buttoned up. Next, I narrowed the loose fitting silhouette, changing it to semi fitted, and I added thick shoulder pads and a full lining. Then, I converted the pattern’s one-piece bell sleeves into traditional, full length two piece sleeves with mitered sleeve vents. Finally, I shortened the garment’s length to hip level, making the new jacket the perfect partner for pants or a skirt.

I added the following design elements from the Downton Abbey jacket: a faux fur collar overlay, three functioning buttons and buttonholes at the center front neckline, two rows of decorative double breasted buttons just below the waist, and a 1.5″ wide faux leather contour belt.

My jacket is made of a medium weight, 100% wool flannel in a rich chocolate brown, purchased on sale at Joann’s for just $5 a yard!. I squeezed the fur collar overlay using a tiny remnant of faux Persian lamb recycled from another project.

Both the chocolate brown fabric and the faux Persian lamb collar trim were popular choices in the Edwardian era, and they are equally fashionable today. Chocolate brown is one of Pantone’s top colors for Fall/Winter 2012-2013. Faux fur, which has been a must have look during the past couple of years will continue to be a strong trend during the rest of the year.

The matte black, plastic 1.125″ La Petite buttons feature a subtle spiral design that adds to the vintage look but does not overpower the rest of the jacket. The 1.125″ buttonholes were machine made using a vintage Singer rotary buttonholer attachment.

I constructed the 1.5″ wide, black contour belt and the accompanying micropiping using two types of genuine Ultraleather. I covered the belt’s square buckle with a black faux snakeskin trim from Simplicity. The square belt buckle was recycled from a RTW belt purchased on clearance from Walmart for two dollars. The shoulder pads were handmade using a self drafted pattern, felt and fleece interfacing. The full lining is made of black Ambiance Bemberg rayon. The total cost of fabric and notions (excluding the Trench Topper pattern) was less than $30.

I love my new Stop the Presses Jacket and plan to wear it often. I think it has a balanced, timeless look that combines charming, vintage details with up to the minute fashion and style.


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  1. User avater
    Kate_W | | #1

    This is gorgeous! Love the details and your detailed post. This must be so much fun to wear ...

  2. User avater
    nancynancy | | #2

    Thank you so much for your kind comments.

  3. User avater
    gill10stars | | #3

    That is soooo creative. Am in awe!

  4. rosb | | #4

    Absolutely smitten with this & love the detailed instructions

  5. User avater
    LiseSB | | #5

    Absolutely beautiful - I loved the jacket on Lady Mary and your re-interpretation is brilliant! I hope you got the grand prize.

  6. lauraflo | | #6

    This is Beautiful! Well made, great design changes to the original pattern. Wonderful detail, lovely colour. Could not have been any better than it is. I hope you wear it, with pride, for a very long time (without wearing it out, tho.) It is a timeless design.

  7. Gillian1 | | #7

    So stunning.

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