Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Coat Refashion part 2: making the skirt

If you have been reading this blog then you know that bright blue is one of my favorite colors so the idea to take a favorite wool coat and refashion into some new pieces was very appealing. Originally made with a Burda pattern, my wool boucle coat was well worn in its early years but had dropped out of the regular wardrobe rotation long ago, probably due to the linebacker style shoulder pads and just being displaced by something more recent.  Not to mention that I don't exactly live in an artic zone - so coat wearing days are not that frequent.
As mentioned in the previous post, doing a bit of analysis on the coat showed that it had more than enough fabric to make a skirt and with some judicious pattern piece placement (say that three times fast) I could squeeze out part of a jacket too. This skirt became all about the pockets since they were pre-made.  Didn't notice when I took this photo but it is not quite straight on center, but you can better see the pocket welts which are on both side front sections. Pattern is Simplicity 2152. This version has a center front seam because I could not find a wide piece to use for the center panel, so I cut that on the center back seam.  Call it a design detail.

Skirt 2 showing pocket and seaming
To review, here is what I started with, front and back of this coat. Lots of fabric there. I did find one little hole up by the neck, drat those moths, but I repaired it with some fusible on the wrong side of the fabric. 

         Blue swing coat original lookBlue coat back view
This weird looking image is the coat laid out on the floor after the sleeves had been removed. Which I did using the razor blade method. Very fast and perfect for this fuzzy fabric. I have only seen one other sewing blogger use this method, the very talented Bunny of La Sewista.  I would say practice and chose your battles carefully if you want to go that route. I wield a straight blade like you use in a wallpaper scraper.
Blue coat with sleeves removed
The inside of the skirt once it is assembled, featuring those pre-made pockets.
Skirt from coat inside the pockets
Skirt side view, plus the reused coat lining. Strange fading on that lining fabric, it almost looked dyed that way but it was just how it was after being stashed away for a long while.  Looks like I need to finish stitching it down along the zip. Which is a navy invisible zip - because that's what I had in the zipper box.  A no new notions garment! With the fuzzy boucle it really does disappear. You can see the waist facing is blue cotton, I like the waistband area to be cotton so it doesn't twirl around as you wear it. 
                 Skirt inside with reused coat liningSkirt side view
Shown on the left, I used portions of the sleeves to make the skirt waist band pieces. The remaining sleeve fabric went to make the side panels for the Style Art jacket . . .more on that to follow. When I have a waistband or facing and I want to cut it out not using a fold I just make a tracing and tape it to the original piece as I have done here. Very handy if you are a fabric miser like I am and trying to use less than the suggested fabric requirement - which I generally treat as only a suggestion.

Blue coat sleeve used for skirt waistbandSkirt back view
One last step is the hem. I did put the bottom of the skirt at the jacket hem in case there was a mark or line which actually disappeared with some steaming (thank you nice quality wool fabric!) but I left the original interfacing from the coat hem there to give the skirt hem some shaping and softness. I just saw a comment from Trena (The Slapdash Sewist) on my grey jacket sleeve hemming post and she asked if there were any problems pulling out the tracing thread once the fusible is ironed on. That is more an issue with tailors tacks - those pesky threads can be stubborn to pull out but these thread traces on hems are very light, mostly on the right side of the garment and I just yank them out. If it lifts up the fusible a bit when it gets pressed again the glue remelts and it seems fine. I cut a bias strip from some remaining lining and put a binding on the hem, kind of a thick one but I wanted as little as possible of that potentially itchy fabric getting near me. The white is the fusible armo weft that was on the original coat hem.
Skirt hemSkirt hem finished
I am really happy with my new blue skirt, call me crazy but this afternoon I bought some blue tights to go with.  Will try to take some photos tomorrow.

Perhaps it is time for a little moratoriam on blue in my wardrobe?  I do have some really weird blue multi-color sweater knit fabric I found at where else - the thrift store which is a perfect match but no rush on that.  How about magenta? I have a small piece of wool and plan to remake the most wearable skirt in the world (Vogue 1247).

Now that I have finished this skirt I see refashioning possibilities everywhere, no old coat or dress is safe so I may be revisiting some more of my long abandoned coats, who knows?

Happy refashioning, Beth


  1. I really love how the skirt looks and its so cool that you made it out of the coat! Lovely welt pockets too!

  2. Great refashion! And thanks for the tip about making the waistband lining cotton. I may have to steal that!

  3. While it was a little hard for me to watch you cut up your lovely coat, you've ended up with two great pieces. Yay for your bravery!

  4. Ooh, how classy and cozy your skirt looks! I love this save.

  5. What a fantastic refashion! The welt pockets look rad :D

  6. Very nice skirt! The original coat is beautiful -- it must have been difficult to cut!

  7. I can't believe you were able to make that coat into such a cute skirt! Bravo!

  8. Love this skirt! What a great refashion. Reusing the pockets was a perfect idea. Thanks for answering my question re: fusable and thread-tracing!

  9. Cute outfit. It has a retro 70's vibe. I would wear it with some tall boots, or for a runway look some bright tights (matching one on the plaid colors on the jacket) and some low boots. I love how you saved the pockets!

  10. Oh my! This reminds of a skirt my Mum once made me out of a coat. It has brought tears to my eyes. Your blue skirt is lovely.

  11. Fabulous skirt. Love the pattern and the way you've used the coat so judiciously!
    Off to vote!


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