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.


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!

95 Replies to “My Vintage Dreamcoat!”

  1. Joseph and his coat of many colours have nothing on your glorious manteau!! Really lovely, Janine! And the photography…Vogue Art Dept will probably be calling Mr O any minute now…

  2. This is truly divine! All those hours are worth it – I am sweltering in the middle of a heat wave in Australia and wondering whether I can make myself a coat like yours because it looks soooo good! Well done! (And your photographer is a gem!)

  3. This is a seriously fbulous garment Janene, and it is everything that being our own wardrobe creators is all about isn’t it! Fabulousness, well made, quality, originality, functionality and fit all in one garment. Nuff Said xo

  4. So glad you have succumbed to the overlocker. I seriously could not be without mine! Ok, love, now invest in two little books. You will not regret it, they are fantastic, Sewing with Sergers, by Gail Brown and Pati Palmer, published by Palmer/Pletsch and Creative Serging, same authors plus Sue Green. When your overlocker is not quite doing what you want, these guys will sort you out, and you will be able to work out what to adjust. Magic.

    Oh and I am in love with your coat! It is absolutely as gorgeous as expected! Love it!

    1. Thank you MammaFairy. I was very lucky to inherit the overlocker. I reckon it’s circa 1970 but its a very robust thing. Took a while to get the hang with tensions etc but I reckon if I give it the respect it deserves it will serve me well for many more years to come. I’d have been there forever overcasting with my machine stitch and it wouldn’t have looked half as good. Not that anyone can see it anyway! Thank you for the book recommendations. Will be good to have some support to hand!

      1. I have had my overlocker since 1990ish, would hate to be without it. I thought these books were just filler, but they have really been great. I even put samples in the back labelled up with the appropriate tensions. Well worth getting. Still use them now.
        Love that coat!

  5. I have been waiting with bated breath to see this coat – and it was worth the wait! It is really a gorgeous fashion statement! What a notable accomplishment – you should get compliments every single time you wear it!

  6. Beautiful! The colours are stunning, the shape is fantastic. You must be so pleased! You’ve inspired me to challenge myself to make a coat for next winter. Argh!

    1. Thank you Jen. I am very pleased. And very warm. It’s always annoying when people claim that things are easy but it really wasn’t that difficult. You just need a bit of time and patience… and space! 🙂

  7. Gorgeous gorgeous coat! And such perfect shoes to go with it! The beautiful photos show it off so nicely! I’m sure you bring a happy bit of color and a smile to everyone you pass in your wonderful coat – it sure makes me smile! =) Definitely worth all the labor time and material cost!

  8. It is so gorgeous! It looks amazing on you. You must be so proud of your achievement. Everyone will want one! I certainly do!!

  9. This is so so fabulous! Worth every pound and minute of missed sleep. It’s absolutely stunning! And your photographer has done an amazing job of photographing you in it. Bravo to you both!

  10. Your coat is colour perfection. In a sea of smokey neutrals it is jewel bright and dazzling. I absolutely adore it. *sigh* A mention must also go out to your beautiful blue shoes which couldn’t be a more perfect match. Here’s to chilly days in the sunshine feeling fabulous.

  11. I’ve been looking forward to seeing your coat, and, oh my goodness, it’s fabulous!! The colours, the shape, the collar (is it fur?), are all beautiful. It’s worth every penny. I gulped at the bit with the overlocker versus the lining, I did that once with a dress lining. It could have been worse, it least it wasn’t the main fabric! Happy wearing!

  12. Well worth the wait Janene, your coat is fabulous. It’s so stylish and unique – just like you! You look absolutely gorgeous in these photos too. Congrats on all your hard work. xx

  13. It’s stunning janene! The colours are gorgeous and it’s so cheering to have a bright coat when the weather is rubbish (my coat is red). I wish I had made a.coat this year – I was sensible and decided that my rtw coat was still fine (it is but it’s not the perfect coat I have been searching for years for which I can now make!). Next year for sure! And great pics as usual – nice work Mr Ooobop!

    1. Thank you Jo. It’s a bit much with my brolly and all but generates smiles just the same. I want to make another in a plain fabric to highlight the shape a bit more… but that’s next year! You’ll enjoy making one Jo. It’s a very satisfying and wholly practical project! x

  14. No wonder you are so proud of your gorgeous coat. A brave decision with the fabric but it looks amazing and the shape is beautiful. I hope your daughter likes it because it must be heirloom quality.
    Another new recruit to the overlocking fan club – like you I get carried away and have serged a few pins and even cut a couple with the blade :{ I seem to have got away with it but I am ultra careful now.
    Once again Mr. O has excelled himself – I love the way the background sort of disappears but you can still tell what it is. I can almost see the looks of envy on those people behind you.

  15. Absolutely amazingly gorgeous!! And how fabulous to have such wonderful photographs – I would have those framed on my wall if I were you!

  16. Watch out your brothers don’t throw you into a pit! Your coat is wonderous, hence my thoughts turning to the biblical Joseph (believe me this is rare).

  17. It’s beautiful, really beautiful. You must be so pleased with it, and it’s definitely worth every pound and moment of your time!

  18. Congratulations on such a beautiful coat. You’ve excelled yourself! I’m glad to hear it was worth all the hard work and your photos are brilliant as ever!

  19. Oh my, this is so lovely on every level, Janine! The colors, the fit, the pattern, the design, the photographs, AND the model!!! I’m always so inspired by your posts and projects. Hmmmmmm…..a coat…..could I……???

  20. You can justly be proud of making such a gorgeous garment! I know that you will so much enjoy wearing it in the cold and snow.

    Doesn’t it give you a delicious frisson of smugness as you glance about yourself at others in the street, to know that you have the smarts and skills to clothe yourself in bespoke clothing what you has sewed up yer ownself? And, oh, the thrill that runs down your spine when you tot up what you actually spent on materials and labor, and realize that most of the crowd could NEVER afford to pay what it has cost you for your coat! Nothing like a little jolt of superiority to make you smile a secret smile.

  21. Wow, what a dreamy dreamcoat – SO worth all the effort – you look MAHVELOUS dahhhling… Edina would be so very proud ^__^ I’m super impressed how fast this came together, although I’m sure it doesn’t feel that way to you – I know you’ll be treasuring this lovely for years! ^_^

  22. WOW Janene, I don’t even know what to say! The coat, the pics, the shoes. I imagine you get stopped in the street every 5 minutes with somebody asking you where you got that fabulous coat! Joseph and the Amazing Techincolour Dreamcoat!

  23. Such a beautiful coat. How proud you must feel. On another topic you have such a young look and attitude, In my very humble opinion, I think the silver streak might give the illusion that you might be a little more mature than your youthful face allows. It may be a trademark for you like a beauty mark or a style element that takes effort to maintain. If so, I thinking I might not be sophisticated enough to appreciate properly. Still, what a pretty face.

    1. A very belated thank you for your lovely comment. I thought you might like to know that my silver streak is the only amount of silver I have on my head. Totally natural. The rest is very salt and pepper and dull so I tend to colour it. In return I think you are being very kind. I am sure that I exceed your assumption of my age!

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