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A 1940’s Wool Melton Coat

Hello readers!

I’m so excited to share this project with you!  I’ve been dreaming of a green wool coat for some time now and last winter I decided that I wanted a 1940’s coat after watching the British show Home Fires.  I knew exactly what pattern I wanted to use (the Decades of Style 1940’s Claremont Coat) — I just needed a push to sew it and bring my dream to reality.  When I saw all of the beautiful wool melton coatings on the Cali Fabrics site, I knew this would be my fall project.

I chose the green wool melton for my Claremont coat.  I talked to Decades of Style prior to sewing this coat and was informed that the fit was slim-fitting and designed for a lighter weight fabric.  I went up a size from my measurements to both accommodate my fabric and to ensure that my coat fit over sweaters and wool dresses. I also widened the sleeves and enlarged the armscyes.  I was advised to use a different fabric for the facings due to the weight of my wool, but I decided to try it with the wool instead.  I trimmed a lot of bulk wherever I could to help them lay better and did a lot of pressing to ensure that they layed down as good as I could get them to.

Speaking of pressing, I did a whole lot of it in the making of this coat.  My wooden clapper was definitely my best friend and I recommend purchasing one if you’re going to be sewing with wool.  A clapper helps so well with pressing the seams down and getting good creases in your wool fabric.

I followed most of the directions for sewing for this coat.  I added grosgrain ribbons to hold the pockets in place and made shoulder pads that are sewn in before I added lining.  I bought lining from Cali for this coat, but the amount listed for the 60″ wide lining was a misprint, so I didn’t have enough of that lining for this coat.  Instead, I used some lining that I had in my stash which adds a bright pink party to the inside of my coat.

Left and center: inside before lining.  Right:  finished lining.

I added bound buttonholes to my coat along with vintage buttons.  Instead of the machine made top-stitching that the pattern suggests, I went with a running stitch embroidered design that is a 1940’s design element.  I ripped out my embroidery several times before just going with the flow as the stitches weren’t perfect.  I looked at several vintage photos with the same technique and saw that none of them were perfect either, so I decided to stick with what I was doing.  My stitches are a little shorter than the long running stitches that were often used.  I considered adding the running stitch the hem and the sleeves, but decided that having it on the yoke and the back was enough.

I think my coat fits rather well.  I’ve sewn many Decades of Style patterns and trust their drafting, so I didn’t make a muslin of this coat prior to sewing it.  I did my adjustments on my pattern as I usually do and checked the fit as I went along.  If I were to make this pattern again, I’d probably take a small wedge out of the back.

This coat was one of the most rewarding items that I’ve ever sewn.  It took me about 3x longer to sew it than I thought it would, but in the end I am so incredibly proud of the work that I’ve done on it.  This is the first wool coat that I’ve made and I cannot wait to wear it once the weather turns cold here in Northern California.  I now have a coat in my favorite color that will go with so many of my dresses, plus it fits in my vintage inspired capsule wardrobe planning.  What else could a girl ask for?

* Note:  I received this pattern as a gift from Decades of Style.

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