I love vintage coats.  In a weird way they speak more to me of vintage glamour and the lifestyle than evening dresses do, because everyone needed to wear a coat, not everyone needed an evening dress.

Here are my favourite vintage coat patterns from my stash.

First, a fabulous late 1940s coat.  Love the swing, the collar, the cuffs, the massive exaggeration of everything!  I’m in the midst of making this up in black and white plaid – I’ll show you soon.

Advance 4916, 1949

Advance 4916, 1949

For more fabulous mid-century swingy-ness, you can’t beat this coat.  Front, back, collar and cuffs, one button, and you have a coat.  So simple, and yet so stylish.  Especially if you wear it with a little birdcage veil!

Butterick 5608

Keeping with the swing thing, I love how simple and elegant this coat is.  No collar, no cuffs, but it still has pockets, and that wonderful sense of luxurious ease that a really roomy coat gives.

Simplicity 6183 Jiffy coat

A good collar does make a coat though.  I particularly love the high collar of view one of this coat.  Can’t you just imagine Jean Shrimpton or Twiggy modelling it?

Simplicity 5103

Is it bad that I really want it in leopard print faux fur?


The other allure to vintage coat patterns is the colour.  I mean, this one comes in cobalt blue, bottle green, and fuchsia.  How could I not think it was utterly fabulous?  And those topstiching details on the collar?  Too cute.  Alas, the pattern envelope is in terrible condition, but mine is the only image I could fine, and I promise I didn’t do that to the pattern.  It looked like that when I got it.

Vogue 6129

Not such a fan of those colours?  What about aqua?  Wouldn’t an aqua coat be truly wonderful?  Someone must make this up in aqua!

Simplicity 8591

Simplicity 8591 back

While colour is fabulous, black and white is also evocative, and all the vintage ‘designer originals’ from the 60’s are oh-so-scrumptious.  Which is why (drumroll here) this was the pattern I used for my first coat.  Yes!  I found it!

Vogue Paris Original by Nina Ricca 2092

Check out the scrummy details in the sketch:

Vogue Paris Original 2092, back

Moving from Paris to London, I have this Vogue Couturier Design by Ronald Paterson.  I remember when I went to make my coat I vacillated back and forth between this one and the 2092 for ages.  Pity that 1666 doesn’t include a pattern for the crazy hat shown in the photo and the sketch!

Vogue Couturier Design 1666 Ronald Paterson of London coat

And finally, I don’t think and round up of coat fabulousness would be complete without at least one trench coat.  I like this one.  Minimal details, but that brilliant back pleat, and that hood!  Ooooh…that hood!  It’s a great coat pattern for a less experienced seamstress – enough of a challenge to be interesting, but not too many tricky bits.

Style 1671


  1. Esz says

    I looove coats too – and don’t have nearly enough! The colours are important – I hate how here in melbourne everyone is in black. My massive green 50s coat is in progress – and the other day I cut out my 1940 trench-coat. It’s gonna be fab! I hope they turn out okay because I’m totally winging it 😉

    • Wellington is just like Melbourne with all the black. I’m so excited about your green coat! I want a green coat (don’t need more fabric, don’t need more fabric – must keep telling myself this!)

  2. Lynne says

    Oh, drool! I love coats, too. My bucket list includes owning a really brilliant swing coat. I have fabric, I have patterns, I have fur. Just need a new pair of hands.

    One day you must organise a Big Trip South, with a car, with room for things I could pass on to a functioning sewist!

  3. I love a brightly colored coat, but inevitably I end up listening to my mom’s voice in my head and buying the eminently practical, but equally boring, black or dark gray coat.

    I’m curious about how to style such a large swing coat without looking too costumey, though. Any suggestions on working it into a more modern wardrobe?

    • See, I just don’t understand how a black coat is really more practical. A coat goes over everything you are wearing, so it doesn’t need to match it. And I’ve never gotten a stain or mark on a bright coloured coat that wouldn’t show on a black one just as much. Usually it’s the linings that go first – and that has nothing to do with colour!

      For me, my winter wardrobe is so boring (black merino top, jeans, black boots, scarf or wrap) that it’s nice to have a really interesting coat – either in the colour, or in a big swing cut. I feel like the conservative classics balance the coat, and vice versa. Or maybe I just don’t mind looking a little different! When I debut my new swing coat you can tell me if it looks costume-y or not. 😉

  4. I love that trench! I want that trench! *sigh* The back details are yummy. I only feel an urge to spice it up a bit in the front as well…

    I must admit I’m not too fond of the swing coat silhouette, so I’m more drawn to the later examples in this post (and a fabulous slim 40s coat in a German magazine). And yes, aqua.

  5. I have a bit of a coat addiction too. there are several I want to make but I am put off by the fact I have so many already and they take up so much space compared to frocks! The only one of the above I own is S8591, it has a mysterious appeal to me I have not yet fathomed, like many of its 70s contempories.

    I also have a 60s coat pattern cut out in velvety soft leopard print fabric. Its been that way for several years because I accidentally cut two right fronts instead of one of each and there was not enough fabric left to rectify it. As the fabric was a gift, I could not get more so I bundled it away and mourned my coat. One day I will face it and see what I can do with an almost cut out leopard print coat…

  6. I had a RTW coat like view 3 in the Advance pattern. I loved that coat. It was a bright green but there were 2 problems with it. 1) Because it was short, you could see a lot of what I was wearing with it and it could clash at times. 2) Because it was only a wool coat, it was only good for 2 months a year in this country…the last month of fall and the first month of spring. The rest of the winter I would have died of frost bite. The only year I got any real wear out of it was when I was pregnant and my real winter coat didn’t fit. I relied on baby heat to keep me warm.

  7. Daniel says

    I actually have the male version of the Advance coat in view 3 too! Grey wool, exaggerated collar, double-breasted, and VERY swingy with a rather large exaggerated collar. I adore that coat so much, and love wearing it. Mine’s a Vivienne Westwood (resale shop find) and I know I could never afford to wear it at original cost, but for the resale price – heck yeah! (And I’ve worn it so much that I’ve gotten value for money out of it.)

  8. I love vintage coats. In a weird way they speak more to me of vintage glamour and the lifestyle than evening dresses do, because everyone needed to wear a coat, not everyone needed an evening dress.

    I agree. I think there’s something incredibly glamorous about vintage coats, and like you say it was glamour for everybody.

    • Oops, borkquote. Apparently your site does not accept the same HTML tags that some other WordPress based sites do…

Comments are closed.