Today I have a Before and After of a completely different nature.
About a month ago, I took a treacherous drive down the highway in a snow storm to pick up my mail and stop in my teeny town's little thrift store. Unfortunately, I had my kids there to distract me from rummaging, so the whole thing was a bit of a non-event. Except for one thing. Sticking out of a rack, in the middle of the aisle was a wool coat in the colour all my daytime TV shows/magazines/style blogs have been raving about: camel. Well, more of a light beige really. But close enough.
The sign on the wall said that all coats were $5, but when I got to the counter, the lady (who knows me well by now) told me that winter coats were on for half price. I paid $2.50. SCORE!
I could see when I bought the coat that it was going to need a little work. And in my haste at getting the ball rolling, I forgot to take a proper before picture, so I'm going to have to describe things to you as best I can. This coat had clearly belonged to someone's grandma, circa 1976. It was about three sizes too big, came halfway down my calves, had massive bell-shaped sleeves and a ridiculously ugly triangular buckle-detail at each cuff. The "skirt" of the coat billowed out like a ball gown. A smaller-framed girl could probably have pulled the look off (minus those god-awful plastic buckles) and looked cute and retro. It just made me look like a big angry bear searching for food. Oh, and the rust-coloured lining was so threadbare and full of holes, that was absolutely shot as well.
So I got the thing home, removed the offending sleeve-buckles and promptly threw it in the washing machine, and then the dryer (NEVER a recommended treatment for a wool coat) because I figured I could give it a good cleaning and shrink it down a bit at the same time. Mission accomplished--it shrunk considerably. This is what it looked like after cleaning:
Not TOO bad, right? Admittedly, my facial expression and fuzzy slippers do nothing to improve the look. But take note: the sleeves shrunk so badly, I had to pull them hard to get them to reach my wrists. The whole thing was still a bit too swingy and loose for my top-heavy frame, and those cheap plastic buttons had to go.
Over the following weekend, I cut and shaped and re-lined and abused my sewing machine until the coat looked pretty much as good as it was going to get. I shortened it to hit above the knee and used the excess fabric to lengthen the sleeves. I ordered some fancy new buttons online (adding $10.50 to the cost--yikes! I need to stock up on some nice emergency buttons for next time.) and here is the end result:
A bit of creative seaming on the sides and back took things in enough to not swallow me up.
I used some fabric my mom gave me to re-line the whole thing, pockets and all. Very Burberry, no?! Thanks, Mum!
Coat done up, with new buttons (they are actually all the same colour--I had a heck of a time getting a good after shot with the lighting in my dining room). I only added 4 because I never intend to do the thing right up to my neck. I wish I could do something about those extra buttonholes though. I may re-think the button situation later, but that's an easy enough fix.
This coat isn't quite as flattering as the new, fitted Anne Klein one I bought last winter for $120, and the wool is a little itchy at the neck, but at a total cost of $13, I really can't complain. It's warm!
Look forward to yet another post on my recent thrift finds next week (try not to faint from excitement). The Captain has also promised me a spree at the big Value Village in the city after I pick him up from the airport on Saturday. I fear I am becoming a serious thrifter. But I figure hoarding issues always make for great blog fodder, so really this is a win-win situation.
Happy Sunday! Spring IS just around the corner...right?!