• Tara Deighton

Sewing my Dream Wardrobe ~ The Dragon Charmer Vintage Jacket

On the whole, I don't have much luck with online auctions so I was beyond the Moon when I won this gorgeous vintage pattern recently!

If you've been joining me on my sewing and creative adventures for a while, you'll know that I have a deep love for all things East Asian and especially traditional costume and textiles and as an unofficial fashion historian or fashion anthropologist of sorts, I'm fascinated by the way in which dress from one culture can inspire and influence dress of another culture. Orientalism as a fashion has throughout the decades been in vogue and although cultural appropriation can be a contentious issue, my love for the craft of traditional costumes abides.

When I saw this pattern online, I thought the design for the pockets was a serpent, an animal I'm especially fond of, but when I got the pattern in the post, saw that it was actually a Chinese Dragon, which I'm no less happy about.

In Chinese tradition, the Dragon is a symbol of wisdom, strength and good luck. It's sometimes also thought to symbolise fertility and abundance. I have had a difficult time recently in my personal life, so I'm hoping that taking the time to embroider my dragons onto my jacket pockets and then wearing my jacket, will imbue me with the strength I need. And I wouldn't say no to wisdom, good luck and abundance either. Fertility is not so much my concern these days unless it's where my Orchids are concerned! But it's such a lovely thought no less.

Although the pattern says this is a smock, probably to be worn casually around the house, I want to make it as a proper jacket, possibly in either velvet or a lovely wool. I want it to be glamorous yet wearable as an everyday option and I'm leaning towards black but this grey would be gorgeous too!

I'm in love with this original transfer drawing but I don't think I'll try to use it, it's too precious. I'll have to trace the pattern and transfer it onto the pocket panels to be embroidered. I'm really looking forward to this and I think it's going to be my Christmas project. Accompanied by Mince pies and Mistletoe cocktails, I can't think of a better way to spend a few festive evenings.

All the pattern pieces are still in the packet, although they're a little shabby now. I'll be copying them and re sizing because although this pattern says it's an 18, it's much smaller than a modern size 18.

I often wonder why modern sewing instructions are so unclear, poorly drawn and explained when they used to be as beautiful as this! I could frame this and put it onto my wall quite happily.

I've always loved bullion knot buttons, which you see on quite a few vintage garments but don't often see them available to buy, so I'm thrilled to have these very clear and simple instructions on how to make my own!

I'm so excited to get going with this beautiful project and I can't wait to share the final garment with you! There'll be no stopping me once I have Dragons on my pockets!


Love, Tara x