Monday, September 15, 2014

Sewing a Vintage Style Wardrobe: the 49er Plaid Jacket from Vintage Pendleton

I love those vintage 49er wool plaid jackets from the 1950's Pendleton ads. When summer winds down, a vintage style wardrobe can be inspired by the ads and articles in fashion magazines from past decades. Pendleton's 49er jacket were widely popular during the middle of the century, but its classic lines, color and fit are terrific as a new vintage inspired wardrobe addition.

This advertisement from the autumn of 1956 would be perfect to sew for this year's vintage inspired look. It is a very simple shirt jacket, with easy to sew details: four black shell buttons up the front with a convertible collar, long sleeves with cuffs, and a back yoke with small gathers. All of this can be topstitched to keep its shape.

Most of these jackets were shown belted. This ad from the winter of 1953 featured low set patch pockets cut on the bias, that sit below that belt. The convertible collar has longer points, and easily creates an open neckline above the larger scale four button front. The roomy sleeves have buttoned cuffs. From the back view, there is a back yoke with modestly gathered shirt body sewn to that.

Finding a current pattern with this style in women's patterns is not easy. While a convertible collared blouse has been considered a classic, right now the larger pattern companies are not featuring this style. Working from a Palmer/Pletsch sewing pattern may be the best option. Where I may have to alter that pattern is to create a higher sleeve cap, because I want the classic 49er shoulder. The sleeve should be shaped with a higher shoulder so that it hangs straight from the shoulder. Another feature in the original 49er is a front tuck in the jacket armhole that releases bustline fullness at about mid-armhole in front. A more modern fit solution is a side dart.

McCall's 6942 is the nearest in style to the 49er. It has the same convertible collar, back shoulder yoke, cuffed sleeves, and center front buttons without a placket. This means that the bias cut patch pockets will need to be drafted, and the back pleat at the yoke will need to be converted to gathers across that seamline.

This pattern may be too large in scale for smaller women's sizes. It also should be checked for the sleeve shape. I might alter the armhole and insert a more fitted sleeve with cuff from another sewing pattern (I must have a few patterns around with that sleeve). If the sleeve pattern is used, I would tape together the extra sleeve seam that creates that cuff placket and sew a more traditional cuff placket.

Two other patterns caught my eye: McCall's 5992, a PJ top with the right shape, and NewLook 6963, a shirt pattern with a more fitted body, high sleeve cap and back yoke. This pattern would need the sleeve lengthened and a cuff added (or substitute in a similar sleeve with those details). The back yoke probably rolls around towards the front more than the original does, but that might not be a problem.

With several different plaid variations, it's possible to sew up several to wear this fall. I also think this easy to sew shirt jacket would be a good pattern to use for making up holiday gifts that any vintage lover would want to own.

Read more about this famous shirt jacket by Pendleton, HERE.


Lynn said...

I used to buy them at the Goodwill in Santa Cruz. My favoriite feature--the big pockets!

Lizzie said...

Someone needs to suggest to McCall's that they re-release the vintage 49er pattern they did back in the 50s. Such a great design.

Jen O said...

It would be nice for quite a few classics to be reissued. In looking for this jacket type, I noticed a lack of blazer jackets as well(!) another easy to sew garment (almost a 'how to tailor' essential).