My Vintage Dreamcoat!

My vintage Dreamcoat

And so I present the focus of all my dreams since first bidding all my hard-earned pennies pounds on vintage Butterick 547. It’s taken nearly seven months to realise the nagging vision that was persistent even throughout my busiest months.

At least 2 of the 7 months, were taken up with searching for the ideal fabric. Quite incredible seeing as I’m a stone’s throw from the Goldhawk Road. I watched London folk on a daily basis, as they paraded their neutral tones around town, and that was inspiration enough to fuel a rebellious approach and lead me to an online supplier of ‘quality coating fabric’ – Fabric Dreams. Of all the samples I requested (which were incidentally free of charge and free of postage!) this non-wool, fabric was my favourite. I confused myself with this choice at first believing a quality coat must be in wool. But I went with gut and gut came good!

vintage Butterick 547

The hardest bit about the construction was having enough space to lay out the pieces. They were huge. I knew I was going to have to lob off the usual 4 inches from the bottom but I wanted to construct the original length in case I had a later moment of maxi-madness!

vintage coat butterick 547

This coat was seriously made in hourly bursts. If I had no hours left at the end of the day, sleep was stolen. I could not have done it any other way. Full time freelanceness which often runs into the evenings, with school runs and domestic chores to boot, means little or no time to sew. But UK weather waits for no seamstress and I was seriously going to freeze my butt off unless I got a wriggle on. Good enough motivation wouldn’t you say?!

vintage coat B547

The only issue with working in hundreds of little shifts is that I probably spend as much time getting stuff out and putting it away as I do on actual sewing time. But hey ho. Got there in the end. I really must stop dreaming about one of the children’s bedrooms being a sewing room. Terrible mother!

vintage dreamcoat

I interrupt this post to big up my amazing and wonderful bestest friend and boyf in the whole world, Daniel. I swear this coat wouldn’t look half as good if it wasn’t for his amazing photography skillz! I owe him so many waistcoats, it’s untrue!!

The other great thing about him being chief Ooobop photographer, is that we get to mooch around London together finding lovely locations. Today was mostly the British Museum. Feel like a bit of a fraud for not actually looking at one single exhibit. But we did have a cultural day at the V&A yesterday, honest guv!

vintage dreamcoat back

The coat is made of eight panels which create such a lovely shape. There was stacks of ease and I think I could have pinched out a bit more but I like how it feels and I wouldn’t want to feel restricted in it at all. Interestingly enough, even though the ‘skirt’ is not a circle, letting it hang overnight, the hemline dropped in the same way. A lengthy process to level up the hem, and check it at least 5 times before cutting, was quite painful but worth it.

vintage coat at the British MuseumLining this coat was quite a chore. Even though I chose a real quality, strong, gold lining, it frayed like Billy-O. So I serged every open seam. Because I can. Because I now have an overlocker BTW!! But because I am a newbie overlockerist I got all smug and complacent with the speed and completely hacked through the side-back panel. I swore a bit. But didn’t have time for a proper sulk. I’d come far too far enough down the line to be crying over torn lining. Luckily for my sanity, I had over-bought said gold lining by a metre and a half and so I cut another piece, dutifully unpicked the ruined one and half an hour or so later it was as if nothing had happened!

An entire evening and a morning was spent entirely hand-sewing in the lining with tiny stitches. Around the armholes, down the side seams, all around the facings and neckline and of course the hems. What joy!

But what warmth!

warm vintage coat

I’ve stubbonly been walking around in my draughty Vogue jacket, lovely as it is, refusing to buy a coat, lest it meant I would never finish this one. But now I have. And boy, it feels good to be warm. Bring on the snow!

Of course the warmth may not have been totally down to the coat. Mr O insisted this was a great photo of me having a cheeky snifter! He’s such a bad influence.

cheeky_snifter

A little wander into Covent Garden was lovely on such a bright winter’s day. This coat is great for twirling in too!

twirling vintage coatAnd a little venture into Neal’s Yard to soak up some more colour, if that was at all possible!

vintage Coat Neals YardThank you all for your support and patience throughout my first coat-making venture. It feels amazing to be wearing something so functional, yet so strikingly original and properly fitted. I won’t divulge cost of this project as it has scared the living pants off me but I can honestly say it was worth every single penny pound!

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Vintage patterns on Ebay… but not for the faint-hearted.

Mostly I am not very good at bidding on Ebay. Which is a good thing because I could very easily spend a fortune on vintage patterns and fabric. Don’t get me wrong. I do win bids, but at a price. The original quest for a vintage pattern at a bargain becomes a fight with an undisclosed bidder whom I  won’t let get the better of me. And thus the whole bargain thing goes right out the window.

Well it depends how you look at it I guess. I am currently ‘watching’ Vintage 1940s, 1950s job lot of sewing patterns & ephemera 30+ patterns.

My original bid was for £30. That’s what I was willing to pay and if I lost then that should have been the end of it. But no. Somebody had the cheek to outbid me. So I upped it to £42.02. That should trick ’em, I thought! Then, when they up their bid to £40 they will think I’ve bid a lot higher, and give up, and let me have all those lovely patterns. But no. They’ve gone to £52.69 and there is 13 minutes remaining. I am actually biting my nails. What do I do? Hang on in there? Bid at the last minute? But at what price? That’s £22.69 more than I wanted to spend. But they’ve got to be worth at least £5 each, surely. That makes £150. I’m so not paying that. Going to go for £70 top whack.12 minutes, 30 seconds to go. My heart thinks I’ve just run around the block at least 5 times. £75.27 in the maximum bid box. That should do the trick…..just in case they’ve got plans on £70. 10 minutes 36, shall I ‘place bid’ now? No. Hold tight. They might be thinking the same. Its been a while since I’ve bid. They will think I’ve lost interest. 7 minutes 8 seconds. Do I really want these. Haven’t I got enough already? Maybe. But I wont be beat. Especially by someone who refuses to reveal their identity! 6 m 9s. Not yet. Hold back. Don’t give them time to respond…

I left it ’til 20 seconds to go. And I confirmed my max bid at £75.27… knowing I shouldn’t really. £53.69 accepted. Phew! glad it wasn’t the full max bid…and I pipped that bidder to the post… oh yeah… oh yeah!

Here is a section of my prize haul which I won, just now, fair and square (… oh yeah!):

1940s and 1950s patterns won on EbayWhen they arrive for real I will give them the proper photoshoot they deserve. Not sure I can cope with that amount of stress again in a hurry. And really, I do now have enough patterns… I do now have enough patterns… I do now have enough patterns… don’t I?