The Refashioners 2013 – Sally of Charity Shop Chic

It’s amazing what you can get in a charity shop for £1…
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This enormous trench coat had potential, but had clearly seen better days. The size, obviously, was completely wrong for me and made me look like a spy from the 1980s and/or Inspector Gadget! There was a white paint stain on the back, as though the previous owner had leant on a newly-painted railing. Probably the biggest problem though, was that the belt was missing. A trench coat without a belt? Now that really is a challenge.
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My initial thoughts were to make this into something totally different – I was going to go for a halter-neck dress. On mulling it over though, on what possible occasion would one wear a sleeveless halter-neck dress made from really thick waterproof fabric? Final decision was that it would have to stay as a coat, but I wanted to make it look as different as possible from the original, with as many feminine features as possible.

As my inspiration I’m looking at this Burberry trench coat worn by pre-pregnancy Kate Middleton – not my usual fashion icon but I love this coat! The flounce at the bottom really makes it. Here’s the final coat, which I am rather happy with!
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I started by cutting off rather a lot at the hem, 40.5cm less seam allowance, just below the bottom button. I cut through the coat and the lining in one go.
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I then cut off the sleeves quickly, as close to the seams as possible.
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I also trimmed a reasonable amount from the sides, about 6cm less seam allowance, cutting through all the layers. I pinned to check the fit before restitching the side seams in their new location. I followed the rough shape of the old coat for my new side seams, that is, ever so slightly flared out at the hips. I also sewed the new side seams for the lining.
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At this stage, I fixed two of the buttons at the front that were hanging off.
Here’s what I was left with; (below left) a good solid base for putting the whole lot back together.
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Next, the most exciting part – the flounce! In order to draw my pattern, I needed to know how much material I had to play with. I folded the offcuts from the bottom of the coat in half, and drew around it on tissue paper. (above right) I then folded it in half again, so I’m working with a quarter of the finished flounce.

Then, working within the lines, I drew a rough circular arc. It was looking too tight, so I redrew it going slightly outside the lines on one side and was much happier. I made my flounce about 20cm deep, and it ended up having a corner pieced together. Because the rest of the flounce has seams through it from the original coat, the pieced-on part looks perfectly fine.
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Here’s the shape of the whole thing. I did a very tiny hem at the bottom. I was going to do a rolled hem, but turning under once seemed to be enough so I left it like that.
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After attaching the flounce, the coat was starting to take shape. Here’s a close up, taken before I finished the straight edges of the flounce.
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Now, to tackle the belt. I used the slightly curved sections I cut off the sides – I basically added some interfacing, sewed them together, turned the loop and added some rows of topstitching.
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The resulting belt is so short! It just about fits around my waist. Obviously I haven’t got a belt buckle, but I worked out that if I tie it twice it takes on a bow shape, rather unexpectedly adding another feminine feature. I rather like it!

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Final task was to tackle the sleeves. This was a big job. I had to psyche myself up with a cup of tea. First, I removed the sleeve seams and all the seams holding the sleeve head. Here’s what the deconstructed sleeve head contained – a shoulder pad, some sewn-in interfacing and some stabilisation (the white fleecy strip).
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The shoulders were much too wide for me, so I had to trim a good bit off the armscyes. This meant losing the belt loops from the epaulettes.
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My new sleeves were going to be bracelet length – another new feminine feature. I wanted to keep the cuffs with the button detail on, so that meant cutting some off the top. I marked 8cm down from the highest point and the lowest point (less seam allowance) and joined the two points with a curve, following the rough shape of the original curve. I did the same on the back, but separately as the curves are different.
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I basted on the reclaimed sewn-in interfacing, trimming it to the new shape where necessary. I used gathering stitches on about the top third of my sleeves in order to set them in. My new sleeve shape was far too big for the armscye curves, so the gathered section forms a nice little puff sleeve effect – yes, another feminine detail.
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I added the stabiliser and the shoulder pad afterwards.
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The epaulettes were now too long, as the shoulder had come in about an inch. I moved the button in by a suitable amount then refolded the strips. I added a stitch at the new fold point to help keep it in place. I didn’t bother with re-adding the old belt loops as it was rather fiddly.
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Last thing to do was to make the lining match up. (Above middle) I pinned the sleeve lining to the body lining, incorporating small pleats around the sleeve head to take up the excess fabric. Then I patiently hand-stitched it together. (Above right).

Here’s the final coat, which I am rather happy with! As a result of taking it in at the sides, the white paint stain has been vastly reduced but is still visible; I don’t think it’s all that noticeable though. My flounce is a bit bigger than the inspiration picture but I like it!
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Overall, I really enjoyed this challenge! I was very excited to see what Portia had sent me and delighted when it arrived. It was great to be pushed out of my comfort zone a little by not having full control over the original garment. To be honest, I don’t think I would have chosen this coat if I found it myself – the paint stain and the lack of belt would probably have been deal-breakers – but that said, I am really pleased with how it turned out. Trench coats, after all, never go out of style.

Thanks for organising, Portia!

Sally of Charity Shop ChicExcuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor! Such a dramatic transformation! Even more astounding when you consider that the base garment cost a mere £1 and the genuine article retails for just under £1000!! Now if THAT’s not a good reason to ransack your local charity shop and get refashioning, Well, I don’t know what is!
One of the things I love about Sally’s refashions is how ambitious they are. Her technical skills are pretty awesome. I knew that whatever I sent Sally had to be a challenge otherwise she’d end up  all “HA! Is THAT the best you can do?!” Am I right, or am I right Sally?! (For the record, Sally volunteered to send me MY mystery garment as part of this challenge. Let me tell you…I’m pretty sure that’s what she was thinking when she selected it! I seriously had my work cut out there!)
The fabric of this coat was that really velvety gaberdine. So it felt delicious. I knew it would also be really massive on Sally, which would give her lots to work with and some spare fabric to address the belt issue if she so wished. I confess, I missed the stain on the back! Sorry Sally! In any case, Sally was more than equal to this challenge. A stunning transformation from “fugly” to fashion forward. A total triumph!

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50 Comments

  1. Sam June 10, 2013

    Wow! That is possibly the best refashion I have ever seen. It looks stunning.

    Reply
    • Judy June 10, 2013

      unbelievable–you must have a lot of patience and vision–and talent–this is really a stunning result–very nice

      Reply
  2. Miriam June 10, 2013

    just wanted to say i am loving this series. Another amazing, inspiring and slightly intimidating refashion!

    Reply
  3. Marie June 10, 2013

    I’m almost speechless at this! Sally, simply put, you are a genius…I’ve know this for a while of course, but it had to be said again! And how cool that the original trench retails at £1000!!!!!

    Reply
  4. Sew little time June 10, 2013

    wow – sally’s refashions are always brilliant and i think this is the best one i’ve seen! amazing result!

    Reply
  5. House of Pinheiro June 10, 2013

    Sally is fantastic… She does always make my jaw drops with her creations

    Reply
  6. Giddyauntlola June 10, 2013

    Amazing!! So talented and inspirational! Love that refashion so much. I’m off to the charity shops to see what I can find!!
    asaucystitch.blogspot.co.uk

    Reply
  7. Adrienne June 10, 2013

    Basically just fell off my chair there. Yep. Pretty insane transformation. Mostly, a pretty insanely talented lady, this Sally.

    Reply
  8. Jo Ashcroft June 10, 2013

    This is incredible!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  9. Lynne June 10, 2013

    Wow! This is amazing! What an inspiring fashion.

    Reply
  10. Lori June 10, 2013

    This is so amazing, great job on the refashion.

    Reply
  11. milenasews June 10, 2013

    This is amazing, consider me a fan! I have a pattern for a trench coat that will probably get a flounce hem as well…

    Reply
  12. makesewdo June 10, 2013

    Wow, that is an amazing transformation, and I love the new coat! Great work Sally!

    I’m loving the refashioners series – I have a bag of clothes that I sorted out a while ago to take to a charity shop (and haven’t got round to yet) – I may have to dig them out and see if any of them can be refashioned into anything better before I get rid of them!

    Reply
  13. Kelly June 10, 2013

    Wow, that’s an amazing transformation! I love the new coat! Great work Sally!

    I’m loving the whole refashioners series – I have a bag of clothes that I sorted out to go to a charity shop (which I haven’t got round to taking yet) – I have have to dig them out and see if there’s anything that could be refashioned into something better!

    Reply
  14. Kathryn June 10, 2013

    Sally is always amazing me with her re-fashions on her blog but this is on another level – so clever! It looks amazing!

    Reply
  15. Erin June 10, 2013

    this is really impressive. and inspiring! i need to hit the thrift stores as soon as possible…

    Reply
  16. Tasha June 10, 2013

    Good grief, is that stunning!! I’m amazed at how pretty and feminine it looks in such a traditional trench color, too. Just the hint of manly trench but with all the wonderful feminine details you added. That is a spectacular transformation!

    Reply
  17. Claire Gittins June 10, 2013

    Wow! I now want to find an oversize trench coat for me to transform…

    Reply
  18. Magda E. June 10, 2013

    There’s nothing that Sally can’t transform,that’s for sure. amazing, as ALWAYS!

    Reply
  19. joanne June 10, 2013

    Now that’s the way to do it! Amazing skills. Blimey…

    Reply
  20. Jane Skoch June 10, 2013

    I love the flounce! I don’t know if it would work for me (old gal that I am). I have a huge and long raincoat my neighbor gave me and this inspires me!

    Reply
  21. Caroline June 10, 2013

    fabulous!

    Reply
  22. Elise Lin June 10, 2013

    Wow you did a great job! That’s a wonderful refashioning 🙂

    Reply
  23. Sarah June 10, 2013

    Absolutely stunning! This has to be one of the most sensational refashions I have ever seen! Definitely pinning this and planning on making over a London Fog trench I inherited.

    Reply
  24. LLADYBIRD June 10, 2013

    AMAZING. I don’t even have anything else I can say – you’ve rendered me speechless!

    Reply
  25. foamofdays June 10, 2013

    Wow! That is a serious remake! Gonna bookmark it for future reference, very very inspirational, never seen anything like that before!

    Reply
  26. anastasia anezinis June 10, 2013

    cool refashion!very good job!Well done!
    http://freestilcreatingbyvilly.blogspot.gr/

    Reply
  27. EmSewCrazy June 10, 2013

    That is a fabulous piece of work!

    Reply
  28. Is it just me or....? June 10, 2013

    Fantastic re-fashion, I would never have done it like that! Great inspiration for future ideas!

    Reply
  29. Jenny June 10, 2013

    WOW!! I’m super impressed – is there an award or something? because she definitely deserves it!

    Reply
  30. pandchintz June 10, 2013

    aMaaaaZing!!

    Reply
  31. missmarys June 11, 2013

    Sew darn cute.

    Reply
  32. Jill June 11, 2013

    WOW! What an amazing refashion! Love this!
    I would love if you came and linked this project to my clothes upcycling project page. It has a long term linky, so your project would stay there for more than just the week of a usual linky. We have over 400 projects linked up now – some fantastic ideas.
    Do come and take a look!
    http://jembellish.blogspot.com/p/clothes-upcycling-projects.html

    Reply
  33. dixie June 11, 2013

    uh – wow!?! yeah this is pretty impressive. you got skills!

    Reply
  34. thimbleandcork.com June 11, 2013

    Holy moly mackrel! The fact that you made this coat is amazing. The fact that you made it out of THAT?! Unbelievable. Stunning job!

    Reply
  35. Scruffybadger June 11, 2013

    I’ve loved every single refashion, but this is out of this world ingenious !

    Reply
  36. charityshopchic.net June 11, 2013

    Hi everyone and thanks so much for the sweet comments! Really glad you liked the coat, it was a really fun project to work on! Thanks again Portia for including me in The Refashioners, it was a blast!!

    Reply
  37. Megan meggipeg June 11, 2013

    Brilliant, brilliant job. Now THIS is a refashion!

    Reply
  38. ZiZteRZ June 11, 2013

    This coat is absolutely fabulous!! Next time I’m roaming through a second hand shop I’ll keep my eyes wide open for a coat to redesign like that (although the hardest part will be convincing my papa to re-fashion it for me, as my sewing skills are pretty close to none ;))
    eM

    Reply
  39. Savvysista June 11, 2013

    Amazing. You’ve done a fantastic job.

    Reply
  40. Nettie June 12, 2013

    BAM!!! Sally KICKS refashioning ass, AGAIN!! Is there anything that she can’t do?!?!? I’d be jealous if I wasn’t so impressed!!

    Reply
  41. Anonymous June 12, 2013

    You have inspired me to search our local thrift shops for a large mens trench coat. I must have one of these! My new years resolution this year was not to buy any new clothes *shoes and skivies aside* and either get second hand or refashion or make from scratch. Thank you so much for the brilliant inspiration.
    Amanda in Canada

    Reply
  42. Zoe June 14, 2013

    Oh my goodness, I’m so glad it was Sally that ended up with this trench coat! I think she is far best suited to tackling such a challenge. And what a phenomenal outcome?! Who would have guessed its original state?! That bottom frill is a stroke of genius xxx

    Reply
  43. threedresses June 14, 2013

    This is such an amazing and thorough transformation. Super inspiring. I’ve done my share of reconstructed garments but never on a coat or trench. Awesome!

    Reply
  44. Elisalex June 15, 2013

    Holy guackers this refashion is epic!!! Absolutely unbelievable and insanely well executed. Am. In. AWE.

    Reply
  45. Miche June 16, 2013

    This is seriously SO impressive. Definitely way past my refashioning skills.

    http://www.buttonsandbirdcages.com

    Reply
  46. Helena A. June 17, 2013

    Hi Sally! I follow your Blog since the beginning, and this is BY FAR the ULTIMATE refashion yoy have ever done! So awesome!!! And I like yours more than the one you have inspired to!!!
    Kisses from Portugal!

    Reply
  47. That is so, SO amazing. I’m not really into trenchcoats because they’re so straight and blah usually, but this is gorgeous. I want one too! 🙂 Lisa

    Reply
  48. abbeydabbles.com July 1, 2013

    Okay, so this is brilliance. Just awesome. I don’t even need a trenchcoat in Barbados and now I want to hack one just like you did.

    Reply
  49. Chris Butler July 3, 2013

    Congratulations, what a wonderful job and an inspiration to us all

    Reply

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