Sunday 12 November 2017

#VintagePledge - Simplicity 4896 finished!

Finally! I can't believe I began making this in April 2016.

As well as making up the coat body and tackling the pockets, I had attached the facing before the whole thing ground to a halt. However try as I might to press the edge of the collar flat, it just wouldn't do so. Not even 10 months of hanging on Nancy (my dressform), with a row of basting stitches to hold it on place did the trick. As soon as I took the basting out, it sprang out of place. So I admitted defeat, and top-stitched it.

When I last posted about this project, I had decided to bin the lining I'd made, and start again with proper lining fabric. In some ways leaving it for so long turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because when I finally started again a couple of weeks ago, I had to reread the instructions. And that was how I noticed that as well as lining, the instructions also called for interlining. Somehow I had completely missed this before.

I used black cotton for the interlining. For each piece, the lining and interlining had to be basted together, then the piece was treated as a single unit.

Sleeve pieces showing the lining side and the interlining side

Once the coat lining had been made up, the instructions were to attach the lining to the coat by hand sewing through both along all the seams. This was very fiddly to do, especially down the sleeves. Only by wearing the coat will I find out if it was worth the bother. Once that was done, the edges were slip-stitched into place as normal.

Another new thing to me was the addition of "arm straps"; long tubes of lining fabric attached inside the coat fronts at the top and bottom. There was no explanation of what these are for - presumably in 1944 it was obvious. I'm guessing they are a way to hold the coat closed, as it has no fastens. I reinforced mine with cotton tape inside.

One of the arm straps

And here it is at last. A finished 1940s coat. The pattern is from 1944, and I'm wearing it with Vogue 7464, which is a reissue of a 1940s pattern, and Vogue 9546 from 1942. The bag is also 1940s, but I can't now remember where I bought it.

Better late than never

I've just realised that it's November, and this is my first item for this year's Vintage Pledge (we just don't talk about the Dress of Frump). Hopefully I'll get something else made as well before the end of the year.

Showing the full coat


  1. Hoorah! Congratulations on finally getting it done, it looks fabulous, just perfect of this era. I'm intrigued with the arm straps. I have a couple of vintage coats from this sort of era and earlier that have straps on one side of the inside under the arm which look like they should wrap around you, under the bust and tie the other side. However, on every one I've seen like this, the straps are way too short. There's no way they'd go around anyone who would wear that size coat. I literally have no idea what they were for! The mysteries of fashion history... xx

    1. Thank you Cate! I love these sort of little details, which were clearly so obvious at the time that no-one felt the need to explain them, so are now utterly perplexing. xx

  2. Lovely coat! I am so fascinated by those arm straps, though. I must go hunting for information now!


  3. A little light Googling suggests the arm straps are to keep it secure when you wear it over your shoulders like a cape - very 40s. This is an awkward link to an IG pic but shows how it's done - you can see the mustard strap going over her left sleeve : mustard coat

    1. Ooh, thank you Rebecca! I can't see myself wanting to wear it that way, but it's great to have the mystery solved.