Thursday, October 18, 2012

1933 Katharine Hepburn Vintage Jacket

1933 Katharine Hepburn Jacket, EvaDress pattern C30-5156
Vintage fashion designs from the 1930s and 1950s are usually gorgeous and this jacket is no exception.  The jacket is cropped, close fitting, and has a bold shoulder and scarf.  I obtained the pattern from, my favorite source for very affordable vintage patterns.  The fabric is a black, brown, gray and beige Harris tweed purchased from a Canadian vendor at a sewing expo.  The fabric is coating rather than suiting weight, and my intention is to use the garment as outerwear. 

The top of the sleeve is open; you see the black silk sleeve lining and you would see a little of the wearer's upper arm as well.  The sleeve fits snugly from elbow to wrist which contrasts beautifully with the full shoulder.  Since I used a coating fabric, the sleeve opening has a stiffness or firmness to it.  If I used a lighter weight wool or linen, the result would be a sleeve opening that drapes down attractively. 

1933 Katharine Hepburn Jacket sleeve detail
 The sleeve is slim but you have great arm mobility thanks for an underarm sleeve gusset.
Underarm diamond shaped gusset
The neckline scarf attaches at the back and is lined.  The jacket front closes right over left, with buttonholes on the right and a hidden snap on the left.  The scarf has its own buttonholes and fastens to the jacket front sharing buttons sewn on the left side of the jacket.
Scarf and jacket front unfastened
The jacket can be sewn by a beginner if you don't plan to line the jacket nor alter the pattern.  Altering the pattern requires an understanding of pattern drafting.  I lengthened the jacket several inches, widened the garment side seams, increased the sleeve hem allowance, and added a vent allowance to the sleeve as well.  Here is the main pattern piece, altered: pattern C30-5156 jacket body
You cut two of the main pattern piece.  The two panels are seamed together at center back.  There is a dart at the center and top of the sleeve. 

Cut two of the scarf and two gussets. pattern C30-5156 pattern pieces
This garment is a wonderful opportunity to use large ornate buttons.  I used six 1 1/4" silver and crystal buttons from my stash.  The buttons were $4 each but I caught a sale and paid $2.  Also consider using light weight fabrics rather than coating.  

Vintage patterns are sized small.  I used a size 16 patten which corresponds to a 34" bust and 28" waist.  I added two inches to the jacket width since the jacket is outerwear, but it is still snug.  Don't hesitate to go up a size or two, especially if you don't know how to alter the pattern.  The sleeve fit is similarly slim; there is room for a thin blouse but not a bulky sweater.  If you go up a few sizes, you can decrease the shoulder width by stitching a wider sleeve dart. 

This jacket will be great over a pencil skirt, wool trousers, or torn up jeans.  Next I need to find a copy of the original movie Katharine Hepburn wore this jacket in!


  1. Ann, I love your pattern choices! Conceptually, I've always known that sewing your own garments gives you more latitude in styling, but your site is a great reminder that sewing really allows the creation of a completely unique presence. Thanks for putting these out for us to enjoy and be inspired.

  2. This is absolutely beautiful!