Monday, December 20, 2010

Charming little coat and hat from 1962

I started this project for Henry last year, when he was less than a year old. As soon as I got the hat assembled I realized that the whole thing was going to be way too big for him. I carefully packed up all my cut pieces with the pattern still pinned in place and put them away for almost a year. It's still too big, but it will probably be too small by next year, so this is as good as it gets.

(Charming photo by Jennifer Morrison Photography)

The pattern is McCall's 6255 from 1962. In typical early-1960's McCall's fashion, there is only one size in the envelope and the pattern pieces are printed and precut, with numbered seams. This is my favorite era of pattern to work with. The markings are simple and there are instructions right on the pieces in addition to the instruction sheet with illustrations. Everything was perfectly clear to me, even though I have never made a hat or a jacket before.

I used the patch pockets instead of the welt pockets. I skipped the decorative bands at the sleeve hems. I topstitched the jacket seams but not the hat seams. I skipped all the interfacing and lining on the jacket since this was really a stunt project for pictures (and possibly for my retro-Halloween Kennedy family costume idea, but that didn't happen). I would like to try the tailoring techniques someday, but not for such a stunt project. The jacket is shown buttoned all the way to the collar in the pattern illustration, but in real life the collar rolls back nicely if the top button is left undone. The hat is lined and has a grosgrain ribbon band inside, hidden by the lining. Here are a few photos with the lightness jacked up to show the fabric and seaming details. (Pay no attention to the zom-baby staring into your brain. He's harmless.)

I used a cotton that felt like a corduroy but didn't have any wales. Is there such a thing as a non-ribbed corduroy? Anyway, it is 100% cotton and has a tiny gray herringbone pattern on an almost-black background. There is a slight nap to the fabric - just enough to be a pain to work with. I managed to make a covered button for the top of the hat, but I decided to use some black and silver buttons for the jacket. The corners on the patch pockets are a little wonky, like always. Next time I'll make a cardboard template to press them around so the corners are smooth and perfectly matched.

I'd say the coat - in Size 1 (chest 20, waist 19.5) - is still a bit big on my 18 month old. It's roomy everywhere, with an extra 1.5 inches on the sleeve length (tucked under for the pictures). For comparison, Henry is slightly tall and lean for his age. He's still wearing 18 month clothes but he will be in 24 month/2T soon.

If I were to make this again, I'd try the tailoring details on the collar, the welt pockets, and the sleeve bands. The pattern includes instructions for adding another layer of fabric for warmth (interlining), so I might try that. If I were making this for frequent wear, I'd make the sleeve bands functional so I could use them to keep mittens handy (adding a loop to the mittens and running the band through it). I was surprised to find that Henry actually likes his coat. I dragged him along to a sewing guild meeting to show the ladies, and when we got home he didn't want to take it off!


Debi said...

Oh...this is soooo cute! I LOVE the hat and matching jacket! He's very stylish :-)

Lizzy said...

Hi ! it is very well done, I think it fits perfectly to your son, it's perfect!

ashley0107 said...

Wow, what a cute little jacket! And Henry is just adorable! When my little brother was 2, my mum bought him some Bob the Builder wellington boots. He loved them so much that he refused to take them off, and ended up sleeping in them! My little sister is the same with dress-up princess dresses! :)

Anonymous said...

What a handsome young man. Looks fabulous!

A said...

So charming!

SEW RED HOT said...

cute as ! Bummer on the sizing. I love the combo of the hat and coat.

Anonymous said...

I love this,I made a similar one for my son,but that was in 1980, but also using a retro pattern

The memories came flooding back when I read your post.



ladykatza said...

He is quite adorable! And you did a wonderful job on it.

JAEV said...

Oh so very cute, I may just make one for each of my boys! There are three of them!