Tuesday, September 8, 2015

1920's Flapper Coat: McCalls 7259 Archive Collection

If you've ever wanted to own a 1920's Flapper coat, then McCalls 7259, a new addition to the Archive Collection, is just what you need.  This coat pattern from a 1927 inspiration reminded me of an authentic vintage 1920's coat that I documented.  Shown below are several images of it that it might help put this new McCall's pattern into perspective, along with showing how to create a version with real 1920's style details.

During the 1920's, women's lives changed for ever. This was the "Roaring Twenties" and Flappers were sporting easy to wear silhouettes: loose, short, ready to take a spirited run through the park. The idea of having menswear styled clothing was new on the horizon. This loose fit, expressed with modern Art Deco designs brought a younger viewpoint to fashion. Erte, the famous fashion illustrator suggested many applications of Art Deco embellishments in fabric and fashion.

This Art Deco Flapper coat is amazing. Over 90 years old, it still sparks with style and attitude.  The type of linear designs seen in Erte Art Deco illustrations inspires designs sewn on the sleeves and coat back.  These graphic details give this coat its distinctive Flapper quality. The fabric is a rich, black mohair plush (a deep velour) with fur collar.  Like most coats of its day, this coat wraps across the front and ties at the hip.

This back view shows arrow like designs that are actually fine tucks sewn into the fabric.  This work embellishes the sleeves as well, creating visual interest in both the front and back views.  To create this same effect, try using a double needle and stitching a similar Art Deco design on the coat fabric.

A close-up view of the wrapped front shows the narrow tied closure.  One tie is sewn into the left side seam and the other tie is sew into the right front edge.  The large Art Deco button is for effect and does not have a loop.  Having a loop, rather than a button hole made it easier to use the large buttons worn with this type of coat.

The front lapels are cut from the same cloth as the coat so that they can be worn open as shown here. The right side neckline has a button loop, and the button is hidden behind the collar on the left side.  The collar is a simple standing shape, covered with the fur.

This McCalls pattern for a flapper coat shows a similar cut to the vintage coat body, and it could result in a style similar to that one shown above.  The un-notched shawl collar on the McCalls coat rolls back and lies flat, which makes the fur easier to mount.

If an open lapel version like the vintage coat is preferred, then the front edge should be re-drafted to continue straight up to the neckline level, rather than curving for the rolled edge shawl collar.  This style requires facing in the same coat fabric because it will show when the lapel is worn open.

The red coat seems to be very light weight.  The left side wrapped under the right shows through in front, which is not desirable.  For a smoother silhouette, a heavier fabric or interlining should be used to prevent the coat from having this 'draped' effect.  Interlining will keep the coat smooth and prevent wrinkles as well.  It's possible to use an iron-on, or fusible, interfacing on the inside of a wool flannel to give the fabric more body.

Overall, this coat pattern has lots of potential, with its simple cut and slim silhouette.  p.s. The name "Flapper" is derived from the big rain boots popular during the time, that were worn un-buckled in front, making a flapping effect when the girls walked in them.

Portions of this appeared in an earlier post; Oct. 21, 2008.

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