Vogue 7003 Coat
Pink wool coat with Liberty of London Tana Lawn Lining
made 2000/1 – 2002
When Karen Templer laid out the prompts for this month’s Slow Fashion October event, I knew that I would need to share this project. If I look back on all the clothing I’ve made over the years, this coat is one of my most loved, oldest and definitely most difficult projects.
Sewing clothing has always been a very personal and empowering act for me. From the very first skirt that I ever made, I felt like a whole world had opened up to me. For once, I was making the decisions, every step of the way for my clothing. Not only could I control the fit, but each detail from fabric to thread colour was now in my hands.
I got it into my head that I was going to make my dream winter coat. I didn’t know how to, but I was going to figure it out. It was going to be everything I could ever imagine the perfect winter coat to be. I started to look for a pattern. I only shopped vintage patterns from eBay (back in 2000, there weren’t a lot of options), so I started scouring for something I liked, that was also my size. It took a while, but Vogue 7003 seemed like a great classic design that I would want to wear for years to come.
7003 Coat : Straight coat with bias shaped collar has full-length sleeves, flap trim and pockets in side front seams
I knew first off that it would be pink wool and that I wanted to line it in Liberty of London. I had never bought any Liberty before, but I this seemed like a good time to start. I don’t exactly remember where I bought that pink wool, but my best guess is either New York Elegant Fabrics or B&J Fabrics. The Liberty definitely came from B&J Fabrics, which is one of my top favourite fabric shops in the NYC Garment District. I remember finding the pink engraved buttons at M&J Trimming. I bought a few different variations, but the oval shape of these ones felt so nice in my fingers.
Besides being pretty, this dream coat needed to be warm. So I bought some Thinsulate as an interlining. Once I had all my supplies, I started to sew. In the beginning, everything came together easily, but it started to get increasingly difficult as the layers piled up to the point that my starter sewing machine just couldn’t handle it. I took this as a sign that it was time to upgrade to a better machine and I bought my second sewing machine. For the first time, I experienced the difference that a better machine could make. (I had yet to try a Bernina which would blow all my past experiences out of the water!)
I was determined to have bound buttonholes, which I had never done before and that were not called for in the pattern. I remember consulting my vintage copy of Vogue Sewing for the instructions and practicing on scrap fabric. It was tricky on the wool and there were many samples made before I attempted it on my coat.
I worked on the coat over at least a period of a year. If I got stuck on something, I would put it down for a bit and come back to it. I didn’t give up even though I remember feeling overwhelmed at the time.
When I finished, I was amazed. I had dreamt up the hardest thing I could imagine and I ended up with a pink winter coat. I always think about this pink coat if I think I can’t do something and then I dive in.