Thursday, September 2, 2010

Swing Coat Love

I have a thing for swing coats. My infatuation with the silhouette is decades old, beginning when I was teenager. Let me introduce you to my first love.

This coat belonged to my mother. My mom had style. She also had the good sense to save a lot of her clothes and accessories from the 40s and 50s. Lucky me! When I was in my late teens and 20s, her vintage dresses, coats and gloves all fit me like they were made for me. This coat was one of my absolute favorites.

It's hard to tell from the photo, but the fabric is black ribbed faille, probably rayon. If I had to guess, I would say this is from the 50s. the coat is unlined and has narrow welt pockets. The collar comes to a point in the back and is detailed with rows of raised stitching, as are the cuffs. Click on the photo below to get a better view of the collar details.

Even though it no longer fits, I haven't been able to part with it. The fabric is stiff with age, and the color is faded in some spots. I still love it, not only for it's style, but for the memories it evokes.

I wasn't consciously thinking of this coat when I started collecting swing coat patterns. I'm not even sure I was aware that I was creating a collection. But I can't deny it. I have a lot of them in my stash and I always get excited when I find one for sale or auction.

This one is New Look 6595. Though this isn't my favorite pattern from my swing coat collection, but I think View 2 could easily be adapted to make a copy of my mother's coat. There's no date on the pattern, but I'm guessing it's from the early 90s.

I like the fact that it's fully lined. If I were going to adapt it to recreate Mom's coat, I would remove the center back seam, shorten the sleeves to 3/4 length and redraft the collar to come to a point in the center back. I have a lot of projects already lined up, including the Lady Gray coat for Gertie's sew-along. But if I were to come across the right fabric, I might just have to move this coat towards the head of the line.

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