Sewing a Retro Style Coat: Butterick 5824

This retro style coat sketch with fabric swatches shows my design idea for making the fun 50's look coat (Butterick 5824), designed by Gertie from Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing. This project is supported by a great Flickr group too, where you can see what we are doing.

I wanted to sew up a version that was made from a very dark navy pin stripe wool that I have, so this design reflects the use of that fabric. It has a bit of lycra stretch to it which could make the lining a challenge, but I was able to find in the L.A. garment district a deep cherry red stretch satin for that lining. I love to use contrast linings, they are dramatic and fun.

I am sewing this for Miss A., which means that I can see, fit and alter the coat more easily than if it was for me. Plus, this is just her style. She wants to add a self-covered belt to accent her waistline, and I agree that on her curvey figure, a belt really helps to define her shape. That big semi-circle skirt and deeper kimono sleeves can tend to add bulk.

This is a front view flat of the garment design. The pattern has a waistline seam, which is great for fitting and shaping the body. The wide collar is the signature feature, along with the fuller semi-circle skirt. The front wraps across for a 'double breasted' fit.

For inspiration, I wanted to take the coat concept and give it a late 1940's through mid-1950's spin. This was the era of the new look, so I found a few fun fashion images to create a design direction. This first one is from 1948, and has a silhouette much like the pattern.
This next style is from the Lilli Ann label. This was a San Francisco company who specialized in lavish styles with full skirts, portrait collars and interesting details. This version has great turned back cuffs: maybe those will be added once we see the overall effect with the belt in place.
Have you noticed that a 'New Look' influence is showing up on the current runways? None more iconic than this smashing red coat-dress from Dior for this fall. The metal belt makes it current, while the overall silhouette is very 'New Look', referencing the late 1940's. From this design, I am considering patch pockets, but again, that will have to wait until we can see the coat on to know if the proportion will fit pockets on the skirt. Alot of what I do happens as I work. What seems fine in a sketch can change once it is on the figure.
Here is a close up of my design sketch, showing how the pinstripe can be used to define the shape. It is also a good opportunity to play with stripes. I am matching the shoulder seams so that they chevron (in my next post).

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