Thursday, June 13, 2013

Swing Love

By Ally B. of DesignRewindFashions

Last year I went to my first fashion show, where I sat in a fancy room, drinking a sparkly drink and eating delicious food. The fashion show showcased local designers and one high-end vintage clothing shop here in Portland, Oregon.  I was having a fantastic time when everything came to a screeching halt.  On stage was a stunning, 1950s hot pink, satin opera swing coat with ivory lining. I always thought love at first sight was for the fool-hearted but here I was, eyeball deep in hot pink love….  Alas, my Neiman-Marcus coat was $500.   But not one to relinquish my love so easily, I decided I would make my own. 
McCalls 3836
McCall's 3836

I’ve sewn many things but never a coat.  Using the colors of the opera coat as my inspiration, I found a vintage McCall’s 3836 coat that I thought could be a good beginner coat. Also, it would keep me warm and I could dress it up a bit with the right fabric choice. Though I loved the satin fabric in the Neiman-Marcus coat, I live where it rains a lot and I wanted a coat I could wear more often. My belief is a great coat hides a multitude of sins.  Need to cover up that ratty t-shirt before you go to the grocery, no problem.  Bad hair day?  Pull your hair back and everyone will be looking at your coat.  Ate a bit too much this past week – Its all good because you have A GREAT COAT!  And what is so nice about a basic swing coat is it really can go anywhere at anytime - day or night.  It should be a staple in every woman’s closet.  

I am lucky to live by Mill End Fabrics.  A fantastic fabric store that gets garment district fabrics at some very fair prices.  I found this nude color wool that has a hint of pink and decided to line it with a nice quality, incredible hot pink satin. 
Here is how mine turned out. 

I’m really happy with the cut and the hot pink lined pockets make me smile.  

Swing coats began in the 1940s as a way to work with the wider skirts that were in fashion at the time.  They continue to be popular today though they have been modified a bit over timeFeeling a little daring?  Make your own swing coat and just wait and see how versatile this piece of clothing really is.  Here are some of my favorites.  To find your own favorites, search PatternPatter Swing Coats on Etsy to see the great selection out there.
Vintage 1950s Sewing Pattern Misses Swing Coat Wiggle Skirt Size 14 Bust 34 Simplicity 2694
Simplicity 2694 RetroMonkeys Aren't those bows just darling.

Sz 14 60s Vintage Vogue Couturier Sewing Pattern 1738 by Galitzine A Line Dress & Coat  Bust 34
Vogue Couturier 1738 AllThePreciousThings

1960s Evening Dress Pattern Simplicity 5710 Womens Sweetheart Neckline Evening Dress and Coat Vintage Sewing Pattern Bust 34
Simplicity 5710 PaneenJerez
1951 Women's Pyramid Coat and Topper Simplicity 3737 Size 12
Simplicity 3737 Redcurlzs


  1. Your coat is gorgeous! I love the swing style. It's fun and flirty!

  2. Love your coat and the hot pink linig is perfect! Nicely done!

  3. I'm so impressed--it's beautiful! You did a fantastic job. Who needs Neiman Marcus?

  4. Super job on the coat! Love those swing coats. It never dawned on me that those flared coats were designed to accommodate those full skirts. Makes perfect sense. But even with a pair of skinny jeans, those coats always seem glamorous.

  5. I LOVE making vintage coats! Yours is especially yummy!

    Great job on the coat, and the blog post.