Hi there, as this is my first post on WeSewRetro I though I would share one of my favourite coats that I made this past winter.

At the start of the Autumn it occurred to me that I needed some staple, comfy, warm winter garments and went out on a couple of trips to the shops to pick some up. The truth of the matter is that even if you knit and sew you just can’t make EVERTHING yourself.

On my travels I couldn’t help noticing gorgeous camel coats everywhere. I loved the warm neutral colour and the lovely soft fabrics.

Plus they brought to mind images of Marilyn Monroe in the film My week with Marilyn. I knew I had to make one but wasn’t sure on the style, alot of the ones around seemed to be cut in the Crombie style which I didn’t think would really suit me.

Then I saw the Jill Sander one below in a magazine and fell in LOVE! It reminded me a lot of one that Kate wears in the TV series Pan Am!

Jill Sander Coat


Kate Pan Am Coat

As well as being beautiful (in my opinion) this full, knee length kind of style fitted my requirements perfectly as I was in need of a winter coat that was long enough to wear over skirts and dresses.

I had a look through some Vintage patterns but ended up choosing a reproduction pattern originally from 1953: Vintage Vogue 1083.

Vogue 1083

I was lucky enough to find some lovely 100% Camel hair coating from one of my favourite UK online fabrics shops Truro Fabrics.

They also had a gold lining that worked really well with it. I am a big fan of their ‘superior linings’, they are completely static free, breathable, easy to work with and they hang really nicely.

The coat calls for interlining and luckily I had some cotton flannel that I bought from The Cotton Patch left in my stash. Their flannel is lovely and as it’s primarily intended for quilting it is super duper wide! I also had JUST enough hair canvas for the front of the coat. Don’t you love it when that happens?

I decided to make up the version without the closure but to lower the neckline. I made up a calico toile of the coat in the size 6 (I would normally make up a size 8 but this looked big.) then I made the following alterations.

* I shortened the hemline by 25cm as the coat was mid calf and I wanted it knee length
* I removed 5 cm fullness from the front panel by slashing from the hemline to mid shoulder and overlapping 5cm at the hemline sloping up to 0 at the shoulder.
* I removed 10cm fullness from the back panel pattern piece in the same way. I did this at two separate points overlapping each 5cm at the hem as this is less disruptive to the shape of the pattern piece than removing hemline fullness all in one spot.
* I ignored the fish dart at the neckline and slashed and spread the outer edge of the collar 1.5cm at the back of the neck- the combination of these two alterations gave me the lower break line for the shawl collar that I wanted.
* I curved the drop shoulder down by 1.5cm on the front and back panel- this was because the drop shoulders were square and didn’t sit as smoothly as I wanted where the sleeve was attached.
* I removed 6 cm of width from the centre of the sleeves. This dealt with the amount removed from the drop shoulders but also removed the unnecessary amount of ease included in the sleeves. They were HUGE!
* I transferred these alterations back to the paper pattern pieces and then made the same alterations to the corresponding lining/ facing/ interfacing pieces.

Construction wise I followed the pattern instructions pretty closely, being a vintage reproduction it uses a lot of the traditional techniques that I love. I added pad stitching to the shawl collar and stitched the hair canvas down with cotton tape, trimming the canvas so that it didn’t extend into the seam allowances. This is a couture technique that helps to create nice flat, crisp edges.


The facing and hem are stitched invisibly down to the inside of the coat by hand. The interlining is then stitched to the inside of the coat along all the seam lines by hand and then finally the lining is attached by hand on top of this!

Before embarking upon all this hand stitching I ran my thread through some tailor’s beeswax as this really helps prevent knots from forming in your thread. Once the coat was completed I created thread chains to loosely attach the lining to the coat at the side seams. This keeps everything hanging nicely and stops the lining twisting or riding up.


This would be a fantastic project for anyone who is interested in sewing a coat using traditional techniques but that feels they need a little more instruction than may be offered from an original vintage pattern (the instructions in these can be a little thin on the ground.). It is not however a great choice for anyone who doesn’t like hand work- consider yourself warned people!



To add a tiny bit of interest I bought a little silver vintage poodle brooch from Candy Says vintage to pop on the lapel. I love her and I think she looks right at home!

I hope you like my post and the coat, I hope I did the pattern justice.

If you have the time to see more of what I have been up to and some of my other vinatge sewing projects then please pop over to my sewing blog The Little Tailoress

Thanks so much for reading!