A Victorian Frock Coat

Hello readers!

There’s a bit of a change today as I’m sharing a project that I made for someone else!  I usually sew for myself, but as my husband and I were headed to a Victorian Fancy Dress afternoon tea with our costumers’ guild, I made him not only a coat, but also a vest and an ascot.  That, along with sewing my own outfit (some of which I will be sharing here as well!), was quite an undertaking.

I really didn’t want to spend a lot of time tailoring a coat for my husband, so I chose a Victorian era costume pattern (oop Simplicity 4083).  It’s a simple coat pattern that’s probably meant for a one time wear.  I didn’t want this coat to be worn only once, so I added lining and side pockets.

I didn’t want to make a heavy coat, so I chose this gorgeous charcoal wool suiting.  I was surprised to find that it was merino wool (woven on the selvage) when I opened up my package from Cali Fabrics.  It’s a wonderful high end suiting, but unfortunately there is only a limited yardage left on the site.  However, Cali has a really nice selection of wool suitings if you’re looking for something warm to make this winter.  They can be made into wonderful dresses, skirts and trousers — not just suits and coats.

This coat pattern is unlined, but I fully lined it with this wonderful grey paisley lining.  The lining gave me a bit of a headache (and still is!) as I must have not added enough ease and it pulls in some spots.  Much of it is handsewn and I unpicked many of the stitches twice, which helped a bit with the pulling, but I still have a little bit left.  The coat has an upper piece and a bottom section that is essentially a “skirt” with a long vent in the back.  It’s mostly at that waist section where it pulls, so I’m going to take the stitches out once again and come up with a way to fix it.

The lining is not sewn to the hem of the coat, but instead has thread chains that hold it in place.  That way the lining won’t pull on the coat fabric at the hem like it does at the waist.  I covered buttons with the wool suiting and added side pockets .  I did consider adding an inside pocket, but after all of this sewing, I didn’t feel like it….

According to the patterns’ size chart, my husband’s measurements should have put him in the size L (42-44) for this pattern.  But as he has broad shoulders, I went with the XL (46-48), and I’m certainly glad I did.  I haven’t sewn many men’s patterns, but it seems like the “Big 4” pattern companies don’t put as much ease into the men’s patterns as they do for the women’s.  Slowly but surely I’m learning as I sew into this new territory.

I am not used to using a Halloween costume pattern.  This one is bare bones.  But really, if you going to make a costume just to wear once and for only a few hours, you probably wouldn’t want to add things like underlining, pockets and such.  It was a learning experience with this pattern.  I used a heavy interfacing on the lapel/collar, but if I were to do it again, I would add an underlining.  The coat worked for our tea, but as I mean for him to wear it again, I am going to rework it until I’m satisfied.

Tanya H, from TanyaMaile.com

Tanya is a Northern California ranch girl in love with retro prints and vintage patterns with a bit of modern flair. When not battling with her cat over her sewing table, she likes to repurpose junk, throw frisbees for her dogs, immerse herself in history books and geek out over sci-fi and fantasy. You can find her at her other home on the web: Mrs. Hughes.

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