Some house coats are fancy, some are like wraps. Some have coat-like lapel flaps. Mine is of fleece and quite fine, perfect for lounging after I dine. With fabric on hand so counted as free, what better way to sew for me!
Ooops, didn’t mean to write poetry here – this just came to me and I didn’t have the heart to delete it. But anyway…yes, this post’s house coat is a true WWII time fashion, with outdoor coat-like features. To keep things simple to make, easy to care for, and quite warm, I used an embroidered fleece (bought about 10 years back) for the best of both modern and vintage in one quick and nicely practical project. This is perfect chill buster that’s almost as lofty and insulating as a real coat. That’s why I went for the short sleeves so as to not be too toasty!
I really needed a housecoat so this was one of the few actually necessary sewing projects. I use this so frequently it’s darn awesome. Practical sewing is so often neglected but the reward is the frequent consciousness and subsequent pride in having something you use on a daily basis be an item you made with your own hands. With many practical items which are used on a regular basis taking only a handful of hours to make (my underwear, my denim skirt, my 40s jeans, hubby’s pajamas, this housecoat), the only roadblock is just dedicating a tad more time to sew these in my queue of projects.
This is part two of my Simple Luxury posts of my sewn vintage nightwear. Part one was my year 1940 bias nightgown (post before) which you can see under my housecoat.
FABRIC: 2 and ¼ yards of 100% polyester, lofty and thick periwinkle fleece which has floral vine stitching across it
PATTERN: Simplicity #4759, year 1943
NOTIONS: All that I needed was on hand – the bias tape, the thread, the notions. The buttons are vintage (they have a very unique feel to them) from the stash of hubby’s Grandmother.
TIME TO COMPLETE: In all, from cutting to wearing, this took me about 3 hours in total. The housecoat was finished on February 27, 2015.
TOTAL COST: When something is in my stash for about 10 years, well, I’m counting it as free.
I went bare bones for the construction thanks to the fleece – no facings, no lining, no edge finishing needed. What helped is following the guide for how to make the night gown with quilting (which I definitely want to try). Most vintage original 1940’s nightgowns I see for sale are quilted, but a few yards of that kind of material can break a gal’s budget in one pop! So if I ever find some cheap enough I’ll make my own 40’s style quilted housecoat but ’til then, this fleece version is plenty good!
The size of the pattern was already big for me, but I didn’t grade down because I figured a roomy fit would be comfy. I was correct! I know patterns for jackets, coats, and such outerwear account for the finished garment being worn over other clothes, but I like the bigger fit. My fleece is lofty enough to fill in for some of the excess ease. Besides – the slight slop-room in the shoulders together with the trio of darts at the sleeve caps makes this housecoat have a very strong WWII look about it!
I find it interesting how the front is smooth and streamlined with darts while the back has the traditional 40’s bodice pouf at the waistline (courtesy of box pleats). I love the enormous pocket!
My housecoat’s length is in between the short and the long options – it was whatever I had room for with what fabric I had to work with (just over 2 yards). The bias tape around the outer edges of the collar, sleeve hems, and closing edges serves the dual purpose of slightly stiffening and supporting, besides being just for decoration and using up a remnant on hand! Perhaps the bias tape around the edges is a pitiful half-hearted attempt at a fully nice finish, but with the nightgown taking only 3 hours, the bias tape is my easy last step to adding something extra to a very easy project!
I adapted in many ways to “make-do” like a 40’s war-time seamstress. The tie closure inside is two of those free ribbons soaked in fragrance that employees of the perfume counters hand out to you as you walk through department stores. I’ll bet you they would never think that what (to them) is only an advertising attempt to sell expensive brand perfume would became a thrifty seamstress’s answer to a project need! The ribbon for the button loops is something that came off of a package, for even more “re-use and re-cycle”. I choose ribbon loops as I was loathe to attempt buttonholes in the fleece, not knowing how or if they would turn out. Using loops gave me an opportunity to use smaller buttons anyway so I could add on these amazing vintage ones in an odd-ball set of three.
Please treat yourself and possibly make your own sleepwear. It is easier than you think, and though the general public might not see it (unless you blog about it like me), YOU are worth it! Now don’t get me wrong, others are worth it, too…speaking of, I did promise my 4 year old son a fleece house coat coming soon. So here’s to those easy but practical projects that might not be high on the “looking awesome” list but get the most love! Have you made yourself any night time clothes or lounge wear?
Next, will be part three for a full regimen of nighttime for a 40’s gal. I’m trying to decide how to do my hair tutorial. Do I attempt a video, or just present a series of pictures that we’ve already taken? I did spend some time as radio announcer, but that still means I’ve never really liked hearing my own voice. We’ll see. What is best for everyone to understand? What are your preferences?