Sunday, March 13, 2011

Before and After #2

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?!


14 comments:

Kim said...

You're amazing! I LOVE the lining :)

Jude@ThisJewels4You said...

What a great find! You are a serious thrifter! I love it. Can't wait until next week. Jude

Dimple said...

You did a great job! I like to sew, but redoing something that isn't working is not a strength. The fit and the lining are A-1!

In Real Life said...

Wow! You did a fabulous job! That is incredible! The coat turned out gorgeous! :)

Kelsey @ Seattle Smith's said...

What a steal!

GLENDA BROOKS said...

I too think you are pretty amazing. That willingness to jump in with both feet and make a silk purse out of a pig's ear is a trait I wish I had. Well done!

Linda said...

Very nice. The lining, the tucks and the sleeve extensions all look professionally done to me. You have such energy!

Savvy Gal said...

wow, you are amazing. i wouldn't know what to do. : )

bmsaqt said...

I think I have been sewing all my life but I would never have been brave enough to have attempted that! Well done! Can't believe how well that fabric worked for the lining.I am going to send you some of my vast button collection(you're more likely to use them than I am!!) in case you find something nice to revamp next week! You did a wonderful job! You must have the absolute patience of a saint!(You didn't inherit that from me..but you know that, right?)

fancythatfancythis.com said...

You are an amazing shopper and seamstress! I love what you did with the coat - I would have never guessed you paid so little for it.

Janine said...

YOU ARE AMAZING!!!

WhisperingWriter said...

What a great find. I love thrift stores!

BODECI body said...

Good Golly you are inspiring! When I finish paying the bills, I am going to look through my closet first, then a thrift store.

Karen Whittal said...

Can we send you our spare money so that you can shop for bargins for us??