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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sew Happy Saturday – Vintage Coats

One of my uncles very kindly converted a lot of old photographs and slides that belonged to my grandparents to digital format.  I thought it might be fun to share some of those that relate to either sewing or past styles here.  Today, in honor of the season here in the northern hemisphere, we’ll look at some vintage winter coats that belonged to my Gramma and her friends and/or family.

Here is my Gramma (right) with her aunt (left) and another lady.  This photo was taken in 1931 and was probably during her years at Wheaton College.  The coat she’s wearing looks like a kimono style and appears to have a velvety texture.  Of course, this was during the Depression.  Gramma was very blessed that her father didn’t lose his money or job.  He was not what we’d call wealthy today, but due to his wise use of a good income, they never suffered like others did at that time.

Gramma (center) was at Bible school in Philadelphia when this was taken.  She went there after she graduated from Wheaton.  She was planning to go the missionfield at this point and wanted more Bible training.  Check out the wiiiide collar and snazzy buttons on this coat. :-)  The lady on the left was her best friend, Bea, who later became her sister-in-law.  (By the way, that is her younger brother in back on the left.  He’s not the one who married Bea.)  The ladies’ hats are cute, but I doubt that they kept their heads terribly warm. :-)

Here is Gramma with her parents aboard a ship.  I’m pretty sure this is the same coat as in the picture above, but here she has it all buttoned up.

Another coat she wore during her time at Philadelphia School of the Bible.  Note the wide fur collar and the big buttons.  She seemed to like big buttons. :-)  (That’s “Aunt Bea” again on the left.  The poor lady in the middle looks like she has headlights because the sun is reflecting off of her buttons.)

Yet another coat of hers with big buttons (second from left). :-)

Years later – 1946, the family was home from East Africa on furlough with the three oldest kids (no. four came later).  Aren’t their little outfits cute? [That’s my mom on the right.]  This furlough had been much delayed due to WWII.

Gramma and my mom in the 1960s.  Although this coat is different from the one I was used to her wearing, the overall look here reminds me very much of how she looked in winter when I was growing up. 

She loved those thin little, rubber “boots” that slipped on over her shoes.  I don’t know how she kept her feet warm in a Michigan winter.  Obviously she didn’t.  My mom’s boots here are much better suited for that weather and snow.  [That’s an ice fishing hut in the background.  This was on a frozen lake.]


  1. Good morning, Mary. I so enjoyed looking at your pictures! I really like the styles of coats your grandma had. They were beautiful. I especially like the one with the fur collar. I could sit and look at old pictures for hours...just something about them.

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this. It was a little work putting it together, but it was so fun. :-) I like vintage photos too, and especially when they relate to my family history. I actually had more than I could use for the coats theme, so if I remember, I'm going to try to do one for light weight coats in the spring.

  2. This was very fun and interesting to read and look through, Mary! :) Putting some information/captions with the photos makes them so much more fascinating than just looking through a collection of unknown photos. :) That last photo just doesn't look like Mom, and it was fun to see a photo of her as a child as well as the photos of your grandmother.
    I have a coat my mother bought in the 1970s - it's very thick and lovely, but I'll never get use of it where I live now... I should get it out and take a photo of it sometime. Some of these photos in this post reminded me of it!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Clara! :-) It was a pleasure to put it together. I enjoy old photographs even more when they relate to my own family. The picture of Mom doesn't look that different to me, but I'm used to seeing old pictures of her. :-) Since this seemed to be so popular, I think I'll try to do some more in the future. I already have some lined up for December that are more scenic.