Vintage Sewing – 1966 Givenchy Coat

I can’t believe it has been so long since I shared a sewing project. That may be because I haven’t been sewing, except to make repairs and alterations. But a recent cold kept me at home and I needed a project to take my mind off the sniffles. I have had both the embroidered linen and the vintage 1940s rayon plaid for years, and my plan was vaguely for a coat, and I had looked at dozens of patterns trying to decide what design to make.

Having an urgent need for a project got me to settle on a pattern I already had – one that I’ve always wanted to make. I have written quite a bit about a series of four patterns that Givenchy designed for Audrey Hepburn to wear in the 1966 film, How to Steal a Million, so I’ll not go into detail about it here.

I had made McCall’s patterns from this era, and I have always been pleased with the quality of the instructions. This was the case with this pattern. The instructions were straight forward, and the coat went together very easily. I am short, so I shortened the length and the arms a bit. Other than that I made the pattern as drafted. The only thing I’d change is that I would made the pockets deeper. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be making them a bit deeper by adding to the bottom of the pockets.

The coat has some details that might frighten off less experienced sewers, but the instructions were so good that the pocket…

and the buttonholes were a cinch. I was concerned about the bound buttonholes because several of them were set into where there was embroidery, but that did not present a problem.

I put the lining in by hand, as I have had mixed result when trying to bag a lining by machine. It all fit together beautifully.

Once I got started on the machine, I could not stop. I just could not let the scraps of these lovely fabric languish in my scrap bag. So I did what anyone would do – I made a hat.

I had made this mid 1970s pattern before, and liked it. It was a quick and simple make. I do doubt that I’ll wear the hat with the coat. It seems to be a bit too matched.

I bought this fabric at a place that sells factory end runs. Even at a discount place, it was not cheap. Yes, it does wrinkle a bit, but I am loving wearing it, as it is just the right heaviness for early spring, and it is terrifically comfortable.

In fact, I wore it today, a touch of spring on a rather chilly mountain day.

29 Comments

Filed under Designers, Sewing

29 responses to “Vintage Sewing – 1966 Givenchy Coat

  1. Lynne K Ranieri

    Wonderful coat and hat…and the coat is very flattering on you. I am in awe of your sewing skills.

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  2. It looks great. I love the combination of fabrics!!

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  3. jacq.staubs@yahoo.com

    I have always loved tis coat. the raglan shoulder-Givenchy had a wonderful sense of balance -I was watching Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina the other evening. She was wearing a similar coat and underneath – Capri tights with a black boat neck sweater. The skirt in this instance (to me)represents this. Edith Head (perhaps) misinterpreted this – by using sketches he did for Hepburn – without permission. It got her an Oscar she did not deserve. Givenchy being the consummate pro / gentleman ignored it . Hepburn never wore anything by Head again. ( she was infamous) for this.

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  4. Joan

    I have never sewn a sleeve and shoulder cut like this. Was it simple or too hard to do?

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  5. Beautiful way to “overcome” sniffles, Lizzie. Brava!

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  6. Lovely! And nice to see you in person, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jacq staubs

    is the sleeve cut / sewn on the bias?

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  8. It’s even prettier in person! Beautifully done. Please add it (and that adorable hat) to my list.

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  9. Gretchen

    What a delight. The coat pattern by Givenchy has sparked my desire to hunt one down and create one myself.
    Very nice combinations of fabrics.
    My mom would have called the style and length a “car coat”.
    I asked her about the term in my 1960’s teen years ,
    Her reply was, “ it has good length for driving, it doesn’t catch in door or around the legs.”
    You also reminded me of how nearly effortless the sewing instructions were that accompanied those wonderful patterns.
    I’m off to hunt some down and sew them up!
    Thank you, I did not know the Biltmore had such displays. I shall travel there this year.

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  10. ceci

    Terrific coat, made even more exciting by your creative fabric choices. And the colors are so nice on you, thanks for sharing the picture of you and the coat in action!

    ceci

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  11. So Lizzie! Flowers and plaid–why not have both?

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  12. Well done! I remember that very pattern, but I never felt skillful enough to tackle a coat. You did a beautiful job with that hat, too. The Givenchy years were golden as far as I’m concerned.

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  13. Oh, go on, wear the hat with it, stunning I think.
    bonnie in provence

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Absolutely lovely! And, those button holes – wow!

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