How’s tricks, dames?
After a marathon of sewing last week, I finished this fabulous 1920’s coat just in time to wear it to an event the next day. Someday I hope that I won’t be doing last minute sewing the night before. But someday has not yet come….
I wore this coat to an event with the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild, of which I am a new member. We had a day at the Niles Film Museum and watched Charlie Chaplin silent films accompanied by live piano music. Niles was the home of Essanay Studios, which is really fun to read about and of course — visit!
This is the Decades of Style 1920’s Sugar Coat pattern. It’s a unique pattern with cool fabric petals on the sleeves and the bottom of the coat. It’s definitely a statement coat and so very cool to wear and look at.
I used this lovely Anna Sui black rayon velvet for the main fabric of my coat. I purchased it from Fabric Mart quite a while ago with the plan of making an evening coat with it. I bought six yards, so I had enough to both cut out this coat and cut the main fabric for another upcoming 1920’s dress. It’s an interesting velvet as it has a bit of a matte finish and a little bit of a crushed look, even though it’s not crushed.
The contrast petals and shoulder inset are made out of a black mid-weight wool that I had in my stash. The pattern suggests a mid-weight with each side being the same (or at least each side being sides that you want to see) as the wrong side will show on the petals. I would have liked to use velvet on these petals, but the only way that would have worked would have been to cut out each petal twice, sew together, and turn them, which frankly would have been the death of me. Those petals are easy to cut, make and sew on, but they are VERY VERY time consuming. I think I cut and sewed on 90 or so of them. However, the look is really breathtaking when it’s completed and looks so amazing when this coat is in motion. As you can see, my bottom petals aren’t really perfect (even though it seemed like it when I was marking, positioning, pinning and sewing them!), but the full effect of all them is so darn fabulous.
One of my favorite parts of this coat is the lining. If I had gone to the store to purchase lining, I would most likely have chosen a black lining. But…. I decided to shop in my stash first and after perusing my lining fabrics, I looked in my bin of brocades and this one popped out at me. It’s a vintage brocade (only 30″ wide) that my MIL had given me a long time ago. I think I was planning to make bedroom pillows with it, but I never got around to it. When I saw it again, I thought how perfect it would be to line this coat with. It definitely fits in with the 20’s aesthetic of “Orientalism” and it feels sublime against my skin. The only problem I had was that I really didn’t have enough of it due to the very narrow width. After some creative piecing on the back, I was able to cut all of the pieces out except for the sleeves. I was going to leave the sleeves unlined, but after wearing this coat for a day, the overcasted sleeve seams are a bit itchy, so I’m going to line the sleeves with some black satin that I have. As the coat is already made, I’ll be hand-sewing the sleeve lining in.
Aside from grading this coat up to about a 48″ bust size, the only other alteration I did was a full bicep adjustment. It’s a loose-fitting coat and is a dream to wear.
I really love how this coat looks from behind. The wool petals weigh the coat down a bit and give this the columnar structure of the decade.
I wore this coat with my red velvet Baltimore dress. As you can see, it’s definitely a wearable muslin! I also let my natural curl flow. I do have some sculpted waves on the front of my face, but they’re hidden by the hat. I read somewhere that my look is called something like “Fiji curl” in the 20’s. It sound apropos for me being of Polynesian lineage. The next 20’s ensemble you’ll see me in on this blog will be sans hat as it’s an evening look. My look here isn’t really a day look….. but I was at the theatre and I can pretend I’m Miss Fisher dressing in evening outfits during the day.
I made a last minute hat using rayon velvet remnants from this coat and a contrast silk velvet from the 20’s dress I’m working on right now. Of course you can’t see the design as it’s black. I used Simplicity 1736, view B. That pattern suggested that it be sewn in fleece, but I’m never going to make a fleece hat. I’ve made it in wool felt and now velvet. This one seems to fit a big snugger than my other version, even though they are the same size. I made this very quickly, so I didn’t add a lining or any interfacing or anything I might have had I taken my time. I had the trim in my stash and it seemed to go well, so I added that to give it some bling.
The only thing that I’m not a fan on with this coat is the frog clasp. I had this one in my stash and it matches my lining, so I thought it would look good as a focal contrast on the front. I was thinking about waiting to share this post until I made a new clasp, but I decided that as this coat will be seen again on this blog, that I would share these and tell you what I’m planning to do. I saw this photo of a vintage clasp on a 20’s coat in one of my books (Vintage Fashions for Women: 1920’s-1940’s by Kristina Harris), so I’m going to make something like that, probably with a hand-beaded button.
It really is fun wearing this coat, especially watching/feeling the petals moving around. The next time I wear it, I’ll get a live action shot so that you can see what I’m talking about.
It really was a lot of fun going to this Charlie Chaplin event!
*Note: I received the pattern for this coat as a gift. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
- Coat: Decades of Style 1920’s Sugar Coat in Anna Sui rayon velvet, made by me
- Dress: Decades of Style 1920’s Baltimore Dress in poly velvet, made by me
- Shoes: Aerosoles
- Hat: Simplicity 1736 in rayon and silk velvet, made by me
- Purse: Vintage (probably 1950’s)
- Earrings: Vintage 1920’s