Back in February, mom and I went thrifting; she was looking for a coat to use in a costuming project of hers, and I had been on the lookout for a trench-coat for a while. She found her coat, and I found one as well. After a while in front of the mirror, trying to imagine the coat more fitted and shorter (and more flattering…), and after a little prompting, I decided it had potential. We even got a discount because of some missing buttons. But lo and behold, I found a loose matching button in one of the pockets!
To the left: The before-picture. I felt like a German officer in this wholly unflattering shape. At this point I hadn’t yet understood that not every dark picture is salvageable in photoshop. Ops. Center: A detail of the belt that I made from the length of fabric I chopped off from the hem. I am quite proud of my belt, with grommets and belt loops and nice even edge stitches! To the right: In action, on my way to set the timer on the camera. Strangely enough, the trench has an extra button by the collar so I can close it up (the lapels are quite large, so I appreciate this feature.) It’s nice for cold days when one is in need of more coverage. All I’m missing when the lapel is up like this, is a beret and an undercover mission for the French government.
The coat after the refashion, with me looking off into the distance for the ambulance I was hearing. After a couple of good washes (buu, dirty coat!), I fastened and replaced missing and broken buttons. I had spied some seams in the back where I could pinch an inch or two to make the coat more fitted, but after taking in an inch from each side, the fit was so much better that I just left it as it was. Next I cut off a lot of fabric from the hem. Then, the belt project – I cut two strips from the left-over fabric, being careful to go with the direction of the threads in the fabric so the belt wouldn’t end up twisting. I then ironed on interfacing on both pieces, and sewed them together. I had a grommet-kit lying around, so I bought a silver buckle to go with the grommets, and went to work. Putting holes in your newly made belt is a little scary, but it went well, luckily. As a finishing touch I used my fancy “stitch-in-the-ditch”-sewing machine foot for the seams around the edge.
The fabric is a cotton-polyester mix, which means it wrinkles very little, and that’s always good. Being lightly quilted, the coat is quite warm for being fairly thin. It has also passed the infamous and rigorous tests of bitter March winds. Now – where is my beret?