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What i Made: Portia Blue


When it comes to outerwear, there are a lot of choices. First, there’s the blanket statement, where one can wrap themselves in a draped number; opting for patchwork or embroidery would make the look extra boho. Then there’s sporty, or a boxy silhouette equipped with a hood and extra pockets that are ideal elements for braving even the coldest cold. Or one could be a caped crusader and battle wild, wild winter just like Little Red Riding Hood with a sleeveless topper. But if you want to channel your inner savage, grab the fur fabric and be one with the pack. Shaggy, baby! Not the most flattering choice, the down jacket is still going strong. Personally, I’ll pass. The Michelin Man was never a good look. As for me, I took my own spin on 2014’s outer selection and transported back to the 1950s. With the most sumptuous vintage brocade chenille, I made Simplicity 1505.

To bring the folks who missed my in-progress post up to date, I’ll reiterate a few details that have already appeared on the blog. For those more informed readers, hang tight. We’ll get to the fun bits below.

I scored this fabric on Ebay over a year ago, winning it for a total of $28.00. Because it’s thick, textural and has a weight similar to home dec fabrics, finding a suitable pattern required a search. The silhouette couldn’t have lots of seaming or details like pockets, epaulettes and/or darts because it would detract and break up the beauty of the fabric. After several long nights on Etsy, I finally chose the one – Simplicity 1505.

Released in 1956, Simplicity 1505 pattern is a misses’ one-piece dress and coat in 2 lengths. The ensemble features a slim lined dress with a v-neckline and short kimono bodice and skirt seam. Coat may be dress or hip length. Buttons trim lower edge of kimono sleeves.

Despite the fact that it was an easy silhouette doesn’t mean construction and patterning didn’t present a few obstacles. Because I only had 2 yards and there was no more available, I had to reduce the body length by 6 inches and sleeve length by 1 inch. Even then, the facing had to be broken into 2 pieces. Also, because of the fabric’s texture, ironing was out of the question, so all interfacing was sewn in. I spent many nights and morning hand sewing hair canvas and then cutting away the seam allowances to a perfect 5/8 inch. Also due to the texture, all seams were steamed and then fingered pressed open and topstitching (including understitching) was a no no. I wrestled with pattern alignment too. I only had enough yardage to have the pattern match in one place. So while the stripes don’t align at the overarm seam, they are centered at the center front and center back. I made a muslin, in which I added back waist darts to make it less sac like, but if I had to go back, I wouldn’t have included them. The darts break up the stripes to a point where it looks weird, like a mistake. I would go back and simply take them out, but because the intake was 2” total (1” on the fold), I clipped into it and cut away the excess. Other details include a back piece made of hair canvas, neck darts to have it shape to my frame, side seam pockets and 2 snap closures at the center front and 2 faux buttons on each sleeve.

So bring it on old man winter. I’m ready for your polar vortex!

*vintage dress from Chariot Marie*

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  1. Reply

    Zoe May

    This is completely amazing. And adorable! Those vertical stripes suit the pattern so perfectly, and the way the stripes thin to nothing at the back waist is lovely, and looks totally intentional!

    I was planning on making a grey coat this Winter. Suddenly a statement feels more appealing 😀

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      This is definitely not an everyday coat. A statement for sure.

  2. Reply

    Pauline alice

    This is a really beautiful coat! That fabric is gorgeous and you chose the perfect pattern to highlight it. I can totally understand why winter seems so appealing to you 😉

  3. Reply

    Hanna Paal

    I’ve taken on coat sewing more times than I’m willing to admit, because every time I quit in the early stages. Last time I made a muslin, but the fit was so bad, that I simply gave up. Sigh… I wish I had the willpower to battle through, since it would be so sweet to own a me-made coat. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Battle through it Hanna! I know you can do it. The muslin stage is the worst stage because it’s so unglamorous. Once you get past it, the process becomes fun because you see the coat coming together.

  4. Reply


    Gorgeous coat! … the fabric is beautiful and the amount of work that went into making it was definitely worth it – the result is superb! I like the play of stripes with the raglan cut of the sleeves and I find it fortunate that they do not align at the overarm seam, I think it would have been less desirable having lots of dark arrows pointing up on the arm.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Interesting that you find the play of stripes on the sleeve appealing. That makes me feel better!

  5. Reply

    Suzanna Forsythe

    I absolutely LOVE this coat! It is totally something I would gravitate towards in a RTW shop and would HAVE to have (not that you would EVER see something like this in a RTW shop!). The fabric is sensational and completely worth all the effort you went through in the construction. I agree with Sasha, I actually really like how the lines don’t match up on the sleeves. Stunning

  6. Reply


    This is positively gorgeous! I don’t think the back waist darts look like a mistake. On the contrary, they look intentional and clearly create a more figure-flattering shape.

  7. Reply


    I’m living for this coat. wonderful job. the dress you’re modeling with is to die for

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you! All it needs is a polka dot number to go underneath, amirite?

      • Reply


        totally read my mind! new goal for you before the year’s end. pm me your address and you might find yourself with a surprise 😉

  8. Reply

    Carlee McTavish

    Wow! It is stunning! Very you. I’d love to see some detail shots of the buttons though!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan


      • Reply

        Maddie Flanigan

        Not sure why the image did not show up before

      • Reply

        Carlee McTavish

        Brilliant! Perfect in every way 🙂

  9. Reply


    Absolutely breathtaking!

  10. Reply


    Gorgeous!! I actually like the darts at the back – they’re nicely placed on the vertical stripe and create a cool optical illusion of shape. This fabric is just lovely, and you’ve totally done it proud!

  11. Reply


    This is so pretty! I love the print!

  12. Reply


    Beautiful, beautiful coat! I can hardly believe you managed to make it out of just two yards, but if anyone can it would be you!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Very sweet of you to write.

  13. Reply


    Absolutely beautiful. Amazing.

  14. Reply


    That coat is absolutely gorgeous Maddie

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you! Not as fabulous as some of the pants you’ve crafted.

  15. Reply

    Liz Houlton Schofield

    Great, work, lovely inspiration!

  16. Reply


    This is exquisite. Everything falls perfectly into place – pattern and fabric and your alterations as well – the result is simply beautiful!

  17. Reply


    Gorgeous coat and I love what you’re wearing underneath. Truly sophisticated!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you! It’s a vintage dress from one of my favorite Etsy shops – Chariot Marie. She’s also a sponsor of Madalynne, so her button is in my sidebar. Great prices too!

      • Reply


        That’s wonderful to know. Thank you so much!

  18. Reply


    This is seriously one of the most beautiful peices of clothing I have ever seen. I’m in love.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Wow! That’s a great compliment. Thank you.

  19. Reply


    Truly beautiful! And inspiring – although I am slow to acknowledge the coming of winter this year.

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  21. Reply


    I was really excited to see this coat so I’m sitting here with my coffee and popped over just to admire. It’s gorgeous, Maddie! You’ve really crafted a beautiful piece. I LOVE how you changed the cutting direction on the sleeves. Have you worn it out and about yet? I bet you’ll get tons of questions, which is always fun because then you get to talk about sewing with strangers!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I wore it twice this week and if I could sleep in it, I would!

  22. Reply

    Katy & Laney

    Gorgeous! I love how the stripes are offset on the sleeves I think it is really interesting visually.

  23. Reply


    This is an AMAZING beauty of a coat. Enthralled and inspired!! Thank you so much for the beautiful post!!

  24. Reply

    Carol Taylor

    i have just bought a big piece of hand blocked African print for £15 off the Birmingham rag market and I’m going to have a go at something like this but more of a summer duster coat. Thanks for the inspiration! .

    • Reply


      Please show finished photos! Sounds like it will be fantastic!

  25. Reply

    Colla Flynn

    Upon googling “Simplicity pattern 1505” it came up with a pattern for boys clothing…Any ideas where I could find the pattern for this coat? Its is absolutely beautiful. Definitely looks like something that would be sold at Anthro!

    • Reply


      I would scope out Ebay to find the pattern.

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