Refashioned Winter Coat…

Regular readers will know that progress on my Andy coat was stalled by a number of factors. In the midst of winter no less. Which left me with a bit of a warm coat dilemma. Since I couldn’t finish my Andy coat in time for the onset of winter, and neither did I want to fork out for a brand new coat when I had one “in the works”…I looked at my refashioning options. Since my sewing machine was not working, this refashion was done entirely by hand.. Over the course of a few cold winter evenings, I cosied up in front of the telly with a seam ripper and a needle and thread….

This coat was a bargain from TK Maxx last winter. I negotiated them down to £35 because a load of buttons were missing. (Which was easily remedied when I got it home with a few oversized vintage buttons from my stash). I loved the fabric, pattern and colour mix, heck I even liked the style of the coat. But it was a bit of a rushed purchase. I was in a hurry and didn’t take the time to consider the overall proportions. Just the size. It soon became apparent that the proportions just didn’t work on me. The whole thing seemed to swamp me. The huge collar made my head look tiny and I found it a bit claustraphobic and annoying. It never seemed to sit right, and the sleeves and hem were a touch too long for it to look properly fitted on my frame. So I removed the collar and took the sleeves and hem up by a couple of inches….

Amazing what a few simple alterations can make, no? This coat feels much more “me” now. Simpler lines and better proportions. I included the middle photo to show how the coat looked with just the collar removed. A vast improvement in itself. But by shortening the sleeves and hem after that, well, it just looks so much better don’t you think?

As I said, I started by seam ripping out the collar. Chunky scarves and cowls sit so much more comfortably over the simple rounded neckline than they did with that huge collar…

The original collar was sandwiched between the shell and the facing. I simply slip stitched between the two layers to hold them together once I’d removed the collar. The shot on the right is a “before”. It sits much flatter than that now it’s stitched together….

The next stage was shortening the sleeves and hem. I’m raising the hem by 2″ here. I used a seam gauge to measure and thread mark a line all the way around. (Important to note that the thread passes through JUST the outer shell and not the lining….) This thread line marks where the new fold line will be…

Also worth noting that accuracy is important on the kick pleat opening at the back if they are to meet as accurately after I’m finished as they did before….

Same process on the sleeve hems. Raising these by 2″ too….

The next few stages apply to the sleeves and hem. For simplicitiy I’m just showing the sleeves from here on out.

Unpick the lining and peel it back out of the way. Before doing anything, note the construction of the original cuff. You can see mine has a 2″ band of interfacing extending from the cut edge to about 1/4″ past the original fold line. The distance between the cut edge and the original fold line is approx 1 3/4″…

Therefore, I cut away the excess to leave 1 3/4″ between my the cut edge and my NEW fold line….

…and added a 2″ band of interfacing that extends 1/4″ past the NEW fold line. Just replicating what was originally there, but further up the sleeve. The interfacing is important on the fold line. It’s an area that will see alot of rubbing and friction and render the fabric susceptible to wear and fraying…

Fold the new hem over so that the thread line sits exactly on top of the fold….

Pin in place, then handstitch carefully. I used a herringbone stitch which allows for a little bit of movement…

After that, simply roll the lining back down and hand stitch back in place about 1/4 above the new fold line. I used a herringbone stitch for that too. I guess I just like me a herringbone stitch! On thicker fabrics you may want to steam and “bash” the fold line to get a really crisp edge. It wasn’t necessary on this particular fabric

This coat was languishing on a coat hook. I just didn’t feel comfortable in it. Now it’s much more simple, unfussy and better proportioned, I haven’t stopped wearing it since….

What’s more, it’s reminded me how satisfying and therapeutic hand sewing can be.
I also can’t help but think, I’ve subconsciously refashioned me a coat that’s spookily similar to the one I’m making from scratch… it just me?

Oh, and yes! In answer to your comments (and compliments, thankyou!) about my hair in the last post, yep. Another haircut. I’ve finally given in to my hair’s natural wave after years of fighting it with GHD’s. Takes me 5 mins to dry it now instead of up to 30mins of faffing.  Joyous!


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  1. Deb C. February 1, 2014

    Very nicely done! Looks classy.

  2. Liochka February 1, 2014

    well done ! It’s very cute.

  3. Emily February 1, 2014

    What a good idea!

  4. Ali February 1, 2014

    Thanks for the great step by step instructions. I have a coat in my wardrobe that I’ve wanted to shorten for years but was afraid to have a go. I’m definitely going to give it a try thanks to you. Love your redesigned coat and I think removing the collar gives it a completely different look.
    Ali x

  5. DressUpNotDown February 2, 2014

    As Deb said..It looks classy!!! I would love to see a picture of you wearing it. :o)

  6. February 2, 2014

    Great refashion Portia! Everything looks much more in proportion and dare I say it…the coat looks more expensive now as a result! I think it would look amazing with a little removable fur collar too xxx

  7. Savvysista February 2, 2014

    Great idea and brilliant job. Well done. !!!

  8. Tamsin February 2, 2014

    Great refashion Portia. I like how it looked before, but it definitely more chic now.

  9. Meg the Grand February 3, 2014

    Much improved! Love the classic lines and look – beautiful work!

  10. Madalynne February 3, 2014

    Holy smokes, you did all of that by hand!?!? You go girl! The new shape and length is definitely better.

  11. Roelline February 3, 2014

    love what you did

  12. Diary of a penny pincher February 4, 2014

    Great job! Small changes can make the biggest difference. Like others have said, it’s certainly more in proportion and more chic than before. Thank you for the step by step info, very interesting.

  13. symondezyn February 5, 2014

    Love it! Definitely YOU!! ^_^

  14. Great job!!


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