Monday, January 14, 2013

McCall 3619: The Swing Jacket

I thought the best way to start out the 1940 McCall Project was to take a look at which McCall patterns I've already sewn from the year 1940.  Up first is McCall 3619, a delightful jacket pattern.  Here's the description in the Summer 1940 McCall Fashion Book:

And in the March 1940 McCall Style News it says:

Project Details

The Fabric: This jacket is made with 100% lightweight teal wool that I bought at Paron Fabrics in NYC when I went to a fabulous sewing blogger meet-up.  In real life it's a very bright teal, like the photos at the bottom.  The fabric is so beautiful and a dream to sew with.  The lining fabric is a dark grey and was found at a charity shop in Dunfermline, Scotland.

The coat went together very easily.  The only alteration I made was that I took about 1 inch off the total length.  I sewed up version 'c', or the swing coat variation.  This version has that 'boxy' swing coat look which is really fun to wear.  The pattern came with instructions printed on the pattern pieces for sewing up and attaching the lining.  The pattern instructs to sew up and attach the sleeve lining separately from the bodice lining and to then hand sew the lining sections together at the top of the arm where the two lining fabrics meet.  It was a bit difficult to get a nice sewn line doing it this way. 

My favourite detail?  I just love the darted sleeve caps and the dart at the shoulder.

Overall, I would rate this pattern as easy without the lining and intermediate with the lining.  It took about 6 hours to sew up.

Illustration from the March 1940 McCall Style News booklet

If I was to sew this up again, I would...
  • Try the belted-back version!  While I really love the swing coat, the 'soft folds' in the back are more minimal than the pattern cover illustration. 
  • Add the "cash-and-carry" pockets.  I'm not sure if I should add those on the current version or if I like the sleek look better.  Lucky for me, "cash-and-carry" pockets were a popular style in 1940!  So I have quite a few patterns that have these large pockets (which one of my McCall magazines says are just for show, you shouldn't carry anything in them!)
  • Add buttons.  I might go back and do that on this version.  I was very indecisive about what colour of buttons I should add, so I never did! What do you think?
  • Improve my hand-sewn lining attachment technique, particularly in attaching the sleeve lining to the bodice.  I'm sure lots of basting probably helps!

The 1940 McCall Project Star Rating:
I give this jacket 3 out of 5 stars for 1940 fabulousness.  I think the belted-back version would bump it up to 4 out of 5 stars in my book. 

Illustration from the 1940 McCall Summer Fashion Book

McCall 3619, you are "officially" the first completed project to be added to the 1940 McCall Project list!  Huzzah!


  1. It is very sweet jacket! :) Great work once again :)

  2. What a great color!  I love this on you!

  3. I do LOVE that jacket! I always struggle with buttons if they are anything that contrasts because then I feel I need something in the outfit to match (that's the matchy matchy in me), so if I were to do buttons after the fact I'd want teal. But I think it's great without, too! And I definitely think you need to sew one up with the back buttons!

    By the way I'm now on the hunt for you whenever I see sewing patterns. I'm sewing my first 1940s McCall pattern right now. It was a pattern I was nervous to try... just a blouse, nothing fancy but I've been trying to conquer my fear of collars on blouses and too-baggy blouses, so I'm doing it now. And it's turning out to be one of the the best-fitting-with-no-alterations vintage thing I've sewn. And I can thank you for the inspiration to pull it out of my stash to try it! xo

  4. I love the jacket and the color is gorgeous! Great work!

  5. Alyssa OpishinskiJanuary 14, 2013 10:22 PM

    Such a pretty color! I love this jacket and I often think back fondly on the meet-up day in NYC!

  6. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 14, 2013 11:22 PM

    Me too! That was so much fun.  I'm hoping we can do it again (maybe 2013?)

  7. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 14, 2013 11:24 PM

    Oh! That makes me so happy! I can't wait to see your 1940s McCall blouse.  I swear by the 40's McCall patterns...they are brilliantly drafted!  Do you know which year your blouse pattern is from?

  8. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 14, 2013 11:24 PM

    Thanks Ginger :)

  9. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 14, 2013 11:25 PM

    Thanks Sara!!

  10. Fabulous work. Love the colour and your classic look

  11. I love this jacket and the colour is superb!  As much as I love a swing jacket I think the belted version just steps it up that little more. Excellent start to your 1940 project.

  12. You look so lovely in this jacket! I would like to try the belted version too!

  13. I love it and think the belt button version would be great too.  Have you thought about using self covered buttons?  Easy to match then and they look very smart.

  14. Ooh that looks amazing - love the colour and the style - and I look forward to seeing the belted version soon!

  15. That color looks amazing on you!!

  16. Ooooooh! I have had "make a swing coat" on my sewing to-do list for years, and adore your version! The color is so cheerful too. Beautiful job, Debi! :)

  17. The profile and line on this jacket is wonderful. I have a couple vintage books that use this jacket as an illustration. They showed in a shorter version as well.  Rather like a military style. Beautiful fabric.

  18. Oh this is a beaut! and the colour, it really pops in the Scottish landscape!


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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