Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Coat Refashion: preserving the pockets

For at least a year I have been looking at a well-loved coat in my closet that I no longer wear, trying to decide if I should keep or donate. For some reason I couldn't part with it, the color is so nice and it seemed wrong to divest myself of a well-fitting coat.  A few interesting articles about waste in the garment industry and no-scrap cutting plus the push of a contest on Pattern Review gave me just the motivation needed to take scissors to this blue boucle.

So this swing coat became a skirt and one half of a jacket. A skirt with pre-made welt pockets!  If only all welt pockets were this way, ha ha, that would speed up construction considerably. Half a jacket because that was all I could squeeze out of the original coat, so I used some wool plaid in a complementary color I had, which I bought - where else - at an estate sale.  

Blue swing coat original look
Skirt made from blue coat

Jacket plus skirt

This little jacket is a Style Arc pattern, the Audrey Jacket. The most recent issue of Threads magazine has an article about mixed materials so it was timely to use the plaid on the jacket although I am not sure it is entirely successful. The skirt is Simplicity 2152 which I previously made here. It is a great skirt pattern, quite easy to fit on the fly and I added a center front seam in order to cut it out from the coat.
Do you want details?  I think you do based on the great comments on my previous posts about the grey Vogue 1143 jacket, comments which I appreciate very much.  Often I see tutorials and think that the info is already available in sewing books but what I have come to realize is that blogs are like example problems in a math class.  You may know the drill but it is really helpful to see a technique applied in multiple ways.  Or am I overthinking it?  Let me know.  In any case, I took photos of this process so here you are, a look at the "vintage" inside and outside of this coat. 
The pattern (Burda - maybe one of the few Burdas I have ever made) had a stand collar and a clever and easy to make hidden buttonhole placket, one of those details I really like. Here you can see the lining, it used to be the matching blue but has faded to a streaky watercolor-ish lilac now.  

Blue coat hidden buttonhole closureBlue coat inside front

And that very re-usable welt pocket.  That was definitely going to make an appearance on the skirt and it was actually easier to incorporate it than to try and cut around it.  Here is the pattern envelope, which is long gone from my files but I found this image on the Vintage Patterns Wiki after searching on Etsy for Burda swing coat pattern. I am constantly amazed at what I find on Etsy with simple searches.  

IMG_0193Blue coat welt pocket

I am crazy about this new skirt, perfect for winter but I am still on the fence about the jacket. As designed the collar is a bit high so I have not put in the buttonholes, still thinking about reducing the height of it. Also I don't really plan to wear them together, might be a bit too much.
Next post: some details on construction for the skirt and the jacket plus a better look at my lovely pre-made pockets :)  Can you tell how excited I was to reuse those pockets? 
Happy sewing, Beth


  1. I LOVE the combo of the blue boucle and the plaid! This is a very inspiring reuse project!

  2. I love this! Not sure why you're on the fence with the skirt pockets, I love them too!!

  3. I love the skirt! The jacket is cute too, but you hit a home run with the skirt for sure!

  4. What an amazing transformation. I really like what you did with both pieces.

  5. Well Beth. Hands down. You should win the contest.
    This is a stunning piece of work. I'm in awe.

    1. I agree -- this really is the winner -- I love the three-quarter sleeves & tall collar & the way they contrast!

  6. So clever! and I think the two new pieces are even better looking than the coat - which was lovely! Really like the plaid/solid contrast in the jacket.

  7. Yup, that's exactly how I see blogged sewing techniques. A very good way to describe it in my mind! That said, I LOVE your welt pockets on this. And refashioned into a seriously nice looking skirt to boot! I think the jacket with the mixed fabrics could be worked into an outfit well, but it would have to be a well-planned out one to get the balance right. I do really love the concept though :)

  8. This is such lovely work! I love how you re-purposed your coat into this cute little suit. Plus I think you could mix and match your skirt and jacket with other garments for a change-up. I read that article on Threads, too, about mixing different fabrics, and your take on that is beautiful. Thank you for posting these photos. I love what you did with this!

  9. I really like your maths analogy - so true! And your project is beautiful as always.