1950s Camel Coat | Vogue 1083

I don’t go clothes shopping very often, you are far more likely to find me at a Benefit makeup counter or in the Peter Jones yarn department!

At the start of the Autumn, however, it occurred to me that I needed some staple, comfy, warm winter garments and went out on a couple of trips to pick some up. The truth of the matter is that even if you knit and sew you just can’t make EVERTHING yourself.

On my travels I couldn’t help noticing gorgeous camel coats everywhere. I loved the warm neutral colour and the lovely soft fabrics.

Plus they brought to mind images of Marilyn Monroe in My week with Marilyn. I knew I had to make one but wasn’t sure on the style, alot of the ones around seemed to be cut in the Crombie style which I didn’t think would really suit me.

Then I saw the Jill Sander one below in a magazine and fell in LOVE! It reminded me a lot of one that Kate wears in, yep you guessed right, Pan Am!

Jill Sander Coat


Kate Pan Am Coat

As well as being beautiful (in my opinion) this full, knee length kind of style fitted my requirements perfectly as I was in need of a winter coat that was long enough to wear over skirts and dresses.

I had a look through some Vintage patterns but ended up choosing a reproduction pattern originally from 1953: Vintage Vogue 1083.

Vogue 1083

I was lucky enough to find some lovely 100% Camel hair coating from one of my favourite online fabrics shops Truro Fabrics.

They also had a gold lining that worked really well with it, I have mentioned previously that I am a big fan of their ‘superior linings’, they are completely static free, breathable, easy to work with and they hang really nicely.

The coat calls for interlining and luckily I had some cotton flannel that I bought from The Cotton Patch left in my stash. Their flannel is lovely and as it’s primarily intended for quilting it is super duper wide! I also had JUST enough hair canvas for the front of the coat. Don’t you love it when that happens?

I decided to make up the version without the closure but to lower the neckline. I made up a calico toile of the coat in the size 6 (I would normally make up a size 8 but this looked big.) then I made the following alterations.

* I shortened the hemline by 25cm as the coat was mid calf and I wanted it knee length
* I removed 5 cm fullness from the front panel by slashing from the hemline to mid shoulder and overlapping 5cm at the hemline sloping up to 0 at the shoulder.
* I removed 10cm fullness from the back panel pattern piece in the same way. I did this at two separate points overlapping each 5cm at the hem as this is less disruptive to the shape of the pattern piece than removing hemline fullness all in one spot.
* I ignored the fish dart at the neckline and slashed and spread the outer edge of the collar 1.5cm at the back of the neck- the combination of these two alterations gave me the lower break line for the shawl collar that I wanted.
* I curved the drop shoulder down by 1.5cm on the front and back panel- this was because the drop shoulders were square and didn’t sit as smoothly as I wanted where the sleeve was attached.
* I removed 6 cm of width from the centre of the sleeves. This dealt with the amount removed from the drop shoulders but also removed the unnecessary amount of ease included in the sleeves. They were HUGE!
* I transferred these alterations back to the paper pattern pieces and then made the same alterations to the corresponding lining/ facing/ interfacing pieces.

Construction wise I followed the pattern instructions pretty closely, being a vintage reproduction it uses a lot of the traditional techniques that I love. I added pad stitching to the shawl collar and stitched the hair canvas down with cotton tape, trimming the canvas so that it didn’t extend into the seam allowances. This is a couture technique that helps to create nice flat, crisp edges.


The facing and hem are stitched invisibly down to the inside of the coat by hand. The interlining is then stitched to the inside of the coat along all the seam lines by hand and then finally the lining is attached by hand on top of this!

Before embarking upon all this hand stitching I ran my thread through some tailor’s beeswax as this really helps prevent knots from forming in your thread. Once the coat was completed I created thread chains to loosely attach the lining to the coat at the side seams. This keeps everything hanging nicely and stops the lining twisting or riding up.

For tips on little couture techniques like this I would highly recommend Claire B Shaeffer’s book ‘Couture Sewing Techniques’.



This would be a fantastic project for anyone who is interested in sewing a coat using traditional techniques but that feels they need a little more instruction than may be offered from an original vintage pattern (the instructions in these can be a little thin on the ground.). It is not however a great choice for anyone who doesn’t like hand work- consider yourself warned people!



To add a tiny bit of interest I bought a little silver vintage poodle brooch from Candy Says vintage to pop on the lapel. I love her and I think she looks right at home!

Have you ever made up a Vintage Vogue pattern? How did you find it?

Thanks for reading and a big thank you to my new followers!

Ami xxx

25 responses to “1950s Camel Coat | Vogue 1083”

  1. That is so beautiful! I wish I had the patience and expertise to use all those fancy techniques. Unfortunately I’m one of those people who wants instant gratification!

    • Aww thank you!!
      Mmmmm this one was definitely a bit trying at times- I did it alongside some quickie projects tho so I still got my instant gratification fixes along the way! Hehe!Otherwise I think all the hand sewing may have driven me to distraction! :o)

  2. Your coat really does look like you should be waving to the cameras as you climb down the aircraft steps (back in the days when air travel was glamorous!). Love the bag, too.

  3. What a beautiful coat and again the fabric is gorgeous. I love this pattern and have looked at it many times but was worried that it might look just too full for practical wear. I’m just in awe of your confidence in making quite significant alterations which work so well.

    • Ah thank you so much, that’s such a lovely comment! It really did seem VERY full by todays standards so your instincts were bang on! Its still quite a baggy style for me to be honest- definitely taking a bit of getting used to! Xx

  4. So pretty! I’m having trouble finding camel hair fabric. The only one I found online was $130/yd! Did you use 100% camel hair, and about how much did you pay per yard if you don’t mind me asking? I don’t want to buy the ultra-luxury kind nor a cheap knock off, either.

    Thank you! I’m so impressed, it’s really lovely.

    • Hi Samantha, thanks so much! 🙂
      I only paid £30 a metre and mine is 100% camel hair- it’s from a UK based website called Truro fabrics so I’m sure that’s not too much use to you!- sorry! Keep looking though as I’m sure there must be some less expensive options available in the U.S. too!- alpaca is another very similar alternative. Good luck and happy sewing 🙂

  5. Hi Ami!
    That coat is just perfect, I am in awe!
    Out of interest- how many metres of fabric did you use for that length? xx

  6. Hi Amelia, I have just come across your website via Pinterest, love your sewing especially the coats.
    I try and make a coat or jacket every year, well worth the time it takes, plus I’m a small woman and things don’t fit.
    I just want to encourage you to sew, I started making my own clothes when I was 13, its in my blood my grandmother was a tailoress. I have a little blog I started it mainly when I was inspired by Pinterest, I have put craft on it but none of my own dressmaking, I’m in my early sixties so I’m not a young beauty anymore, but I still love fashion and shoes. Well done!!

  7. Amelia,
    Gorgeous coat! I love camel hair fabrics. You look wonderful in this classic retro coat. You inspire me to start sewing again. Thank you and I start following your projects!

    • They are timeless aren’t they! Love wrapping up in this in the chilly months! You absolutely should- nothing as satisfying as sewing your own wardrobe! 🙂 thanks for reading my blog!

  8. Dear Ami
    I am a born again sewist! I came across your website about a month ago and love reading about all your projects. You are an amazingly talented young lady. What beautiful garments you make and you look fab in them all. I have just started sewing again after 40 years! I love it more now than I did then. Of course I have to chose patterns to suit my age! I like to sew quickly but you are teaching me to slow down and take more care! Good luck with all your projects. I look forward to reading them.

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