Category Archives: coats

>1936 Boxy Jackets and a Plea for Shoes

>Hi all!
What’s your obsession of the moment?  Mine has got to be 1930s boxy jackets! I’m all over them right now.
I love sporty styles and don’t often have a coat to match.  I get chilly rather easily, so always like something warm to tote around.  When I dress vintage my fallback is a white linen jacket for spring and summer like the one I posted yesterday, but I’m feeling like I need to liven up my vintage wardrobe a bit with some cute and practical vintage boxy coats or bolero jackets.  I have a very sporty mid 30s dress nearly finished and I want a two tone jacket to match!
Here’s some really fun little boxy coats from 1936.  I now utterly crave one with a sailor collar and a more dressy number with fur cuffs (though it is fitted in the image I bet it would be charming as a boxy coat with a tie at the neck).  Hmm… I do have some faux fur in the stash…

Finally, I have a plea.  I bought these Re-mix shoes, the first I have ever bought, but they are too large and I need a 6.5, which they no longer have in stock! If anyone has a pair they want to sell, or sees a pair pop up online anywhere, can you please let me know?  They match the dress I am making perfectly!  I need the Balboa in the Maize/Brown (or Luggage) combo in a size 6.5.  Thank you! I am desperate for these shoes!  Serves me right I didn’t even know they existed and now they don’t have my size :(


>What Real People Wore- Ladies Overcoats- 1932 and 1940


I was very fortunate to have recently acquired a large group of old German photos.  They range from the 1890s to the 1960s, and it’s interesting (and somewhat eerie) to see the transformation within that time.
It’s also rather interesting to see the differences and similarities in modes of dress between America, where the majority of the old photos I  have are from, and Europe.
Spring’s just around the corner, but here’s some images of ladies in overcoats to help you have some style inspiration for the cool weather that’s left.

These first images, both dated 1932, show ladies in very casual “Polo” style coats.  Just just love the nonchalant attitudes, especially of the lady on the bridge with her collar flapped up on one side.

I particularly love this lady’s coat, with those wide tailored lapels.  Notice how low the notch falls on the coat compared to later versions, say in the 1940s.  And those big patch pockets! I wonder if the flap conceals an additional pocket underneath?  I would easily snap up that coat for my wardrobe.  It looks impeccably tailored, but still very casual.  So fun to pair the coats with knitted caps! That’s my version of attainable day-to-day fashion.
These last two show more dressy ensembles paired with overcoats.  This lady, in a photo also dated 1932, looks very glamorous for her wander about the woods.  I love the softness of the lace and bow of her dress peeking out from under the coat, and her stunning hat.  She is quite stylish!  Very fun to see two different modes of dress in photographs from the same year when you contrast the polo coat look with this look.
In this photo we have a lady and child, dated 1940. I just love her wild hat!  She appears to be wearing a coat comprised of either a combination of furs or perhaps a fur collar and lush velvet body.  Interestingly, her ensemble is tone with a mode I see most often in the US as late 1938-1939, so you can see how fashion carries over past it’s initial debut, which is part of why dating old photographs is sometimes quite difficult, even though this photo is only dated a year or two later, so it’s not an extreme example.  Folks kept items in their closets for years, just the same as we do today! Also, depending on where you lived, fashion could move faster or slower.  In the USA we’re given to “trends”, and the 1930s and 1940s were not immune to that, while in other countries fashion tended to move at a somewhat different rate and sometimes not to the extremes of their American counterparts.

 It’s kind of neat to see the writing on the backs of the photos in old pen and ink.

Happy Wednesday!

>A New to Me 1930s Coat


Remember the 1930s coat I was making from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library pattern?  Well, today I met and bought it’s twin.  Sure, they’re a little different but the design of the collar and cuff accents are so similar- even in color and tone to what I am making my coat out of!  It’s taken the wind out of my sails a bit for my sewing project because it’s so similar, but this one is finished!

 The coat really is in exquisite condition for it’s age.  It most certainly dates to the earlier part of the 1930s and is an interesting weave- the fabric feels like mohair and it’s woven into a corduroy like design with a nap.  I am completely amazed that I can find NO moth holes in it- it looks like it was rarely worn- so I knew it had to come home with me.  I found this at an estate of a family who moved to California in the 1950s- apparently they owned a restaurant out here and were interested in all sorts of medical quack type things- I believe the man was a doctor.  Kind of a bit of fun history of the lives of the past owners.
I think the coat was modified a bit- but nothing outrageous.  I have a suspicion it might have been shortened at one point and the buttons changed out.  It has the layered button thing that was so popular in the wartime 1940s- and I also found a 1940s hat that had been pinned with matching fur decoration over the past decoration of sequins.

Without a doubt my favorite part is the convertible collar.  It can hook and eye to one side and button on the other to be snug at the neck, leave part of the collar close around the neck and let the other flap hang down, or leave both flaps open.  So fun!  And it was very cleverly designed so that the buttons fasten between the join of the fur and the wool- both are finished independently so there’s a slit for the button to pass through.

The construction of the side back pieces are interesting- with a seam line going across the piece near the waist that meets the side dart from the front coat to make a bit of a deco style interest.  The inside of the coat fastens as is normal for a lot of 1930s coats- with ties made from the lining fabric that loop through a little wool loop attached to the coat.  You could tie it snugly or a little loosely- whichever hung best.   I also love the plaid lining! It feels like a taffeta.  Very pretty!

Thought you all might enjoy seeing pictures of my latest vintage find! Maybe if you’ve got a coat you’re in the process of making you can use some of the little details as inspiration.
Happy Thursday!

>Jackets and Rainwear- Fall/Winter 1938-40

>How’s the weather holding out where you are?  It’s been just a little nippy here, but I admit I can’t wait for the rain! I hope we get more! Here are some lovely jackets and coats from Fall and Winter 1939-1940 that might inspire you for your winter wardrobe.

I particularly love the jackets at the top. I actually have two in my vintage wardrobe and have a picture of one- though I paired it with a mix match of different 30s pieces and don’t have the head to toe accurate look going on.  The cut is so nice on these jackets and I love the little pleated (or darted) shoulders and the stripes and plaids!  The look seems to have been most prevalent from 1938-early 1941.  Both that I have are a rougher weave- like a tweed- with a bit of fleck in the fabric.  They’re getting harder to find, but you could always try your hand at making one.  This pattern from Past Patterns (which actually probably dates from late 1937-1939) would get you the look. There’s also a few original vintage patterns around the internet for sale right now.  Try here and here.
You could also get a similar look from jackets made in the 1970s. I’ve seen many in thrift stores that would pass if you changed out the buttons for more vintage ones!

>Fox Fur Collar Coat, Circa 1936, and Coat Musings


 Another image from Fall/Winter 1936-1937.  Click to enlarge.

Today was my first real day venturing out since getting sick this week, and unfortunately I didn’t hold out long, but sitting at home allowed me to take out all my coat info and books and instructions to prepare my plan of attack for my upcoming coat project, the 1930s overcoat from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library that I posted about a few days ago.  I’ve got a lovely black wool and an old persian lamb coat I plan to use as accents as well as some lovely vintage buttons.  I pulled out my hymo, fabrics, and started researching how exactly I’m going to put this thing together.  I admit I’m a bit overwhelmed.  I’ve made a few tailored coats and jackets- some I worked on with help when I was working at the Opera, one with a friend, a few for myself, and one for my husband… but I still feel a tailoring novice.  It seems like the sort of thing one could work at their entire life and not fully master- plus it’s such a lost art I really want to fight to learn it while there’s still folks who do it the old fashioned way.
Since the cut of this overcoat is so much different than the others I’ve done, after a lot of thought and pouring over some books I’ve decided to scrap my tailoring books and pretty much follow the vintage instructions- which I’m still feeling pretty uneasy about.  One of the things I really admire about tailoring is how crisp and finished the edges look- what with the lovely way the hymo holds the shape, and the pad stitching, layering the interfacing a the shoulders, and roll line and pockets and whatnot- but my coat doesn’t have a fold over collar, lapels, or outside pockets… and it’s not cut all in one at the front, so I’m really left scratching my head over how exactly I can re-enforce the front without it being too bulky.  I guess I’m just waving the white flag on this one and doing it the original way set out in the instructions, which is to cut the interlining on the same line as the facing.  I’m nearly sure there’s a “tailored” way to do this that I’m completely unaware of.  I kind of feel like I’m cheating, actually, but I’m just going to go with it, cross my fingers, and hopefully it will all end up all right in the end!  Most vintage patterns, and modern patterns for that matter, include little to no help with old fashioned tailoring, but this one actually does include quite a bit more than I expected so I’m interested to see how it turns out.  It does look pretty darn complicated though… and it will be interesting trying to work with the vintage fur, though the thought of it already is giving me the heebie-jeebies ;)
Sorry the shop has been a bit neglected of new goodies. Early next week I’m hoping to have some cute vintage things and a Halloween inspired something-or-other.  I’ll be sure to post on here as soon as they go up.

>Leg-O-Mutton Overcoats, 1936-1937

>One of the love/hate relationships I have with the 1930s is the wild revival of “Victorian” leg-o-mutton sleeves.  The 30s loved to take different whimsical ideas from different decades, and the period of 1936-1939 is truly a quirky twist on some Victorian aesthetics.  In many of my late 30s magazines it talks of revival- from bringing out grandmother’s jewels to tilt hats held with little bows at the back of the head, to leg-o-mutton sleeves and nipped in waists.  I thought you might get a kick out of the coats on these two pages, from a Fall and Winter 1936-1937 catalog.  They’ve still got a the tailored sophistication of the 30s but with just a hint of the funny juxtaposition of pseudo-Victorian inspired full sleeves or high necks.  Enjoy!

Many thanks for the birthday wishes and comments on the last few posts! I’m starting to a little better so hopefully will have some fun goodies for the shop up in a few days.
I’ve also tracked down my wool for my overcoat, so am hoping to start on that lovely 1930s coat from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library.  Yay!