The ‘Winter Boyfriend’ coat

Just the facts, Ma’am:

Fabric: 3 metre of 70 wool/30 viscose blend ($23 per metre), 2.5 metres of vintage acetate moire lining ($3)

Pattern: Style 1671, frankensteined with other patterns

Year: 1978

Notions: thread, 4 buttons (inherited from Nana), interfacing ($7 per metre)

And the insides?  Fully lined, with lace & bias hemming.

Hours: 13.  I swear I re-set those side seams half a dozen times each getting them to hang right.

First worn?: Monday 20 August

Wear again?: Yes, but I’m hoping that by the time I get back from 3 weeks in Hawaii I won’t need it again until next winter!

Make again?: Nope.  No pattern love from me.

Total cost: $77ish

Style 1671 1978 coat

Last week’s theme was ‘music’, and this week is ‘collars’, and while my garment for this week has a collar, the real inspiration was a piece of music: ‘Winter Boyfriend‘ by International Economy.  Sometimes life and sewing and blogging isn’t tidy and straightforward!

There is a story to this music. A year and some ago, a dear friend of mine (this friend) thought of a song. She wasn’t a musician, or a songwriter, but she had a song: a brilliant, witty, topical song. Instead of writing it in her journal and forgetting about it, which is probably what I would do, she decided to actually turn this song into something. And so she found a musician to form a band, and she learned to perform it, and then she went further, and decided to make a music video. So she found people who could do videography, and editing, and scripts, and she got all her friends together and filmed a music video.

This is were I come in. I was invited to be in the video, but I was madly busy working on end-of-semester-marking and a friend’s wedding (and dress) so I missed the shoot party. :-(

And I am so sad. My friend did something mad and brilliant and creative, and I missed it. So this coat is my homage to my friend’s mad, brilliant, creative idea.

It’s also my homage to my adopted city: my heart may belong to my little island in Hawaii, but I do love Wellington, cold and windy as it can be.

‘Winter Boyfriend’ is the perfect Wellington song: it’s quirky and ironic and quite modest and homegrown, despite how international it is, and you know pretty much everyone in it, and every locations. So I’ve tried to make a coat that fits Wellington, and shoot it in a way that would fit into the song.

Dear Tuatara, won’t you be my Winter Boyfriend?

C’mon and be my Winter Boyfriend

The coat is definitely more of a winter boyfriend coat than a life partner coat. I made up the pattern exactly as it is, and then had the horrified realisation that I looked like a big purple triangle.

So the coat came apart, and I borrowed the clever dart from another pattern and set pockets into the dart. It helps a lot in some ways, but messes with the line of the coat in others. It’s not bad, but I’ve had my fling with this pattern: you won’t be seeing me making it up again. I enjoy wearing it, but more in a ‘at least it’s warm and not black’ way, not a ‘I love this coat and how I look in it’ way.

It’s also having a nasty hem issue (that isn’t about the hem itself, but how the lower edge of the coat is hanging).  I know what needs to be done to fix it, I just don’t know if I can be bothered – yet.

It does have some bits that make me very happy, like the collar, the big shiny black buttons, and the sky blue lining!

Mmmm….sky blue lining…

The photoshoot was super easy: I just borrowed all the filming locations from the music video! They are all classic Wellington landmarks.  And I put on my biggest, silliest, most winter-y-est faux fur hat, for maximum madness.

And, of course, I had to have my own winter boyfriend pick-up line.  Do you like it?


Leimomi Oakes - The Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes learned to sew as a child in Hawaii, and hasn't spent a day without doing it in the-more-years-than-she-would-like-to-admit-to since. When she was 18 she was nicknamed 'The Dreamstress' and bought the domain name, and now she's stuck with it. After getting degrees in Art History, Costume Design and International Relations she worked in a number of fabulous museums before going freelance as a textile and fashion historian and historical seamstress. She lives in Wellington New Zealand with a lovely husband and a world-famous cat.


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  1. I love this coat that you have made. My Mum made this same coat for me in 1977 from woolen fabric bought at Ballantynes in Christchurch. She was very proud of this coat and if I could still fit into it, I would still have it in my wardrobe. A classic pattern and your choice of fabric is lovely.

  2. Looks like you has a lot of fun shooting.

  3. That may be the high point of my day. Thank you Leimomi. You just made my week.

  4. Beautiful coat! I’m going to have to be brave and make a wool coat someday. It seems like a lot of work thought.

  5. Gorgeous coat, and I love the colour.

  6. I like it very much (your pick-up line and the coat)! Love the color especially.

  7. I would love to make a coat. I’m a little scared of all of the work and time that it will require. Your coat turned out lovely! I adore the color.

  8. I laughed out loud at the “big purple triangle”. I guess that’s the reason why they all wear belts on the pattern envelope…you do look cute in that coat though and I love the photos. Look as though you had a lot of fun.