May 13, 2014

Vintage inspiration for him?

Two years ago, I made this spring/summer jacket for E. Since then, he has worn it about every day when the weather was right for this kind of garment. The buttons holding the long epaulettes came off a couple of times, it faded a bit in the laundry but otherwise, it performed admirably. Until last week, when he got a big tear on one of the sleeves. 

Serious damage to the fabric which compromises the integrity of garment is kind of a damning thing, in my opinion. It's time I made him a new jacket. 

It will be in cotton again but I'll be using the thinner and sturdier stuff which I've used for trousers as well, rather than this twill. It will be black(ish) again. And, knowing how and when he'll wear this jacket, I think I will base the design, again, on the casual jacket block, rather than the more confining (especially at the shoulders and upper arms) formal blazer block.

I used that same block for this winter coat for him, which I made to be sort of semi-fitted.
I've tried a blazer block in the past but I have never been completely satisfied with its fit and I've noticed E prefers the more casual shape for every day wear.

So those are my practical considerations. Now, it's just a question of style. How do I want my man to look? Keeping his usual dress sense in mind, of course.

As you know, I love looking at vintage fashion images for inspiration. And thinking about a jacket for E, I remembered something I thought I had seen in 1930's magazines.
The following images all come from the book "Every day fashions of the thirties, as pictured in Sears Catalogs".

I like the trench coats. I was kind of considering a look like that. I'm not sure about it though. Ironically, considering the background of the garment (the original versions were worn by British army officers in the Great War), I think E might not see it as a contemporary garment for a young(ish) man. After all, we've seen random trench coat interpretations for women all our lives. For men, we only see the occasional, very traditional version. Often in beige and worn by an older gentleman. 
I still think it's a true classic that may be in for another revival soon, but is this something E would wear?

Then, there are the sporty jackets of the 1930's. They're fun, and the back treatment with the pleat is what I was looking for. However, the overall look is clearly not for E. Wearing one of these requires an entire vintage style wardrobe.

These jackets on the right come closest to what I thought I remembered: A fitted blazer with an 'action back', a back pleat to provide ease of movement. I'm sure I've seen more of these on coats and jackets for sports and hunting. This is the most common version, with a center back pleat and a waist seam. Two single pleats further towards the sides is also possible and in classic British hunting attire, you will also see carefully tailored tweed jackets with a pleat in the armscye.
The jackets in this image don't quite have the outdoorsy vintage sportswear look I remembered though. From the front, they look like any other jacket.
Maybe I should search my actual vintage magazines...

And, as I mentioned, I know I shouldn't use a fitted blazer block with high sleeve heads.

So far, I think I will fit the casual jacket block a bit closer at the back, make the single pleat action back and style the front of the thing a bit like this:

To be honest, I don't like making cargo pockets or any other style of patch pocket with flap. It's just a lot of work for something so simple. However, for E and for the kind of jacket I'm imagining, it just seems right.
It will be another week or so until I will have the time to start drafting anything like this, so I'll have plenty of time to consider my options. What do you think: Use vintage inspiration, or don't? 1930's or some other era? 


  1. Have you seen Saf-T-Pockets patterns? I have purchased a few, but never sewn one. I do read the instructions and learned how to add pockets in all sorts of places.

    Pockets are a lot of work, but, if they get used, they are worth the effort.

  2. A black trench coat was pretty much de rigeur for most of my husbands' friends for years... (still is, for many of them.) But I guess that's a subculture thing. ;)

    I'm curious to see how this shapes up---particularly the pleated back. When making coats for my husband in the past we really struggled over mobility. I had thought about incorporating one of those pleats that motorcycle jackets often have, which curve around the back behind the armscye.