Saturday 29 March 2014

A 'Vintage' Duffel Coat in a Weekend, Vogue 2571, Great British Sewing Bee, Season 2 Episode 6, Up at last for free

This week the Great British Sewing Bee Episode 6 gave the contestants a coat challenge. (btw, I think Heather should now get her own show putting that horrible Katie Hopkins six feet under. Heather is a hoot.)

Normally sewing a coat is a very big deal and the vintage twist in this episode added another layer of complication and interest to the task.  (They got to cut out their pieces at home, at least.)

Meanwhile, sewing a coat can be easy peasy if you choose a simple design. I did this one in a weekend and I suppose it sort of qualifies as 'vintage.' This 2571 Vogue Five Easy Pieces wardrobe pattern (sadly OOP, but there is at least ONE for sale on Etsy here; Five Easy Pieces Vogue 2571 and there are many others out there along the same lines) was just the right thing for a quickie duffel coat that is amazingly versatile. Not only is it easy to sew, with in-seam pockets, dropped shoulder seam for the armholes and another for the hood, but its finishing is simply a fold-over binding that edges the two coats into one. No lining or interfacing are needed for structure, given hefty enough outer fabrics. There is no collar, as the hood is seamed straight to the body.

It's a reversible miracle, belying the assumption that you can't get a sturdy coat without a lot of interfacing, finishing, and other kinds of tailoring faff. The hardest part is doing two sets of buttons and fastenings through doubled thick coating.

Here it is, last weekend, in camel wool and toggles with jeans and turtleneck, taking a walk in the snowfields above our farmhouse,  The wool combined with the ready-quilted fabric meant that no interfacing was required and this baby is WARM!
And here is its dressier incarnation this week taking an English houseguest through her 'local paces' in its more 'Chanel'-ly incarnation with the pre-quilted black cotton velvet turned to the outside, after a fresh layer of spring snowfall.

Same coat, two looks, more time in the snow than at the sewing machine. 
Here's how Vogue styled their version in tweed and pre-quilted fabric.

They finally posted the links for free to Episode 6, here, just on the day when Episode 7 is about to air:


  1. What a clever pattern! Both sides have worked out really well.

    I don't envy the GBSB contestants having to make a coat in six hours. I'm making one right now and I've spent that long just on tracing, cutting, and fusing. Might actually sew next week.

  2. Ah, but you Cyber, are sewing the Coat of the Future, and all eyes are on you! I thought of you when I saw this Vogue picture of the girl with the hood up. There is a little futuristic vibe seen that way but certainly none when I wear it up.

  3. This is awesome! It looks so professional. I leave coats and jackets to those living in colder climates....thankfully!

  4. Dear Katherine,
    You might not need the warmth, but this coat is so thick, I can heartily recommend it as anti-croc protection! XX

  5. Thanks for the Sewing Bee link. Such a wait for this one, but it was worth it. I loved the historical inspiration theme. I also really liked the blouse pattern and was all "how can I get it?" until I saw how hard it is to make.