I’ve got a trio of refashions for you today and once again these are projects fuelled by my need to make more use of my wardrobe and be more mindful of my personal style and lifestyle.
My sewing plans for autumn and winter include some wide-leg jeans and it bothered me that I didn’t like the proportions of a couple of my favourite coats with a wide leg style of bottom. I’ve come to realise that my body is comparatively long to my leg length. If I measure from shoulder to crotch and from crotch to the floor they are the both same, which means I have a comparatively long body.
If I want to go for flattering proportions, I need to be mindful of waist height, shoe heel heights and jacket or coat lengths. For instance, if I want to give the illusion of a longer leg, a high-waist trouser combined with a mid-height shoe and a shorter coat results in proportions that I really like and enjoy.
All this is to say that I started to look at a few things in my wardrobe with fresh eyes and decided to make some changes…
Olive Green Trench
…First off, is a beloved old ready-to-wear trench coat that I got from Next in the sale. I’ve had it for a loooong time. Originally the coat was quite a lot longer in length. In fact only a few months after I bought it I added two deep tucks near the hemline to shorten it and I wore it like that with slim leg jeans or knee-length skirts for a very long time.
Here’s a photo of how it used to look:
Then, last week after briefly considering parting with it, I realised that I simply couldn’t say goodbye. I really love the colour and fabric too much to send it to a charity shop. I decided to chop several inches off the bottom (for better proportions), remove the sleeves straps (which always dangled and annoyed me) and get rid of the belt which I replaced with a brown stretch elastic one (eBay purchase for about £4).
It’s surprising how just a few small changes have made my trench coat feel fresh and modern and I’m actually back in love with it all over again. The shorter length makes me much happier and will work with wider legged trousers and most other wardrobe items (I’m actually planning to make my new wide-leg jeans very soon). Take a peek at these photos of the transformed coat:
Rust Padded Coat With Faux Fur Trim
Next up is another old favourite. So I made this padded coat over a decade ago and it’s seen me through many a cold winters day. Here is a photo of how it used to look…
Lately, my old rust coat had been looking way past its best and I was even considering making a completely new one and retiring this one for good…then after loving how my green trench coat turned out I started to hatch a plan that would breathe new life into my poor sad old coat.
For this refashion I’m afraid major surgery was needed. Here are all the problems that I went through and fixed:
- Torn and worn out lining.
- Matted fur on the collar and cuffs.
- Armholes that were always cut too deep and therefore restricted my arm movements and in turn probably contributed to the tears in the lining at the armholes.
- A length that was too long for good proportions with wide-leg jeans.
I started off by cutting the old lining out of my coat and I kept it to cut a pattern off for a replacement one. Then I unpicked the collar and cuffs and I chopped several inches off the coat length and put the off-cuts to one side for the underarm remodel…
The underarm remodel was what I tackled first and it was most definitely not easy! I had to unpick all of the underarm areas and then I tried on the coat to estimate just how much I had to raise the underarm area on the sleeve and body. I needed a little under 3”(7.5cm) on both sleeve and body.
Using the piece of fabric that I chopped off the body length I was able to cut out crescent shapes that I could insert into the body and sleeve underarm areas. Once I’d sewn this in place I could go ahead and stitch up the main underarm seams again. I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how well it all turned out!
I’m lifting up my arm to show you the inserts in this photo but in reality, when I’m wearing it the seams aren’t glaringly obvious and it doesn’t look too bad.
Next, I found some patterned fabric in my stash to make a new lining with, though I didn’t have quite enough for sleeves as well, so they’re made in the leftover lining from my recent cream jacket make. I turned up a small hem on the main fabric then hand-sewed the new lining in place. Already my coat looked a whole lot better 🙂
Finally, the frosting on the cake was some luxurious new faux fur collar and cuffs. The fur for them came from a little furry gilet (from Topshop) that I had years and years ago that was always a bit too small for me, but I kept it knowing that I’d make use of it someday…and I did!
This was my favourite transformation because the underarm alteration has increased my wearing pleasure 100-fold. I’m thrilled with it and so glad I did it.
The final refashion is a fairly simple one and it was on an old favourite RTW sweater that’s appeared on my blog before. I love the large random olive spots on this wool sweater but I wanted to tweak the silhouette a bit.
I chopped off the back rib from the hemline and unravelled a few rows to make it the same length as the front rib. Then after overlocking the back raw edge I sewed the rib back on by stitching through the individual stitches (I used the same technique on this sweater). Lastly, I took it in a little bit down the sides of my sweater to give it a slight waist definition.
This wasn’t a vast change but having already worn it I can say that it’s definitely made a huge difference to how I feel wearing it.
I’m absolutely thrilled with how these refashions turned out and I have a nicely varied coat wardrobe with several different lengths so lots of options. All three revitalised pieces have been happily worn and I felt great in them.
So how about you? Have you done anything similar? Or if you haven’t do you feel inspired to look at your wardrobe with fresh eyes and have a go? Let me know in the comments.
Ok, that’s it from me for now and I’ll catch you soon!
Wow Diane! These are very inspirational! Sometimes I find that I’ve seen the garment so often in my closet it is hard to see it with fresh eyes. But, your re-makes certainly give me a fresh perspective to give new life to some of my old unworn clothes! Thank you so much for sharing!
Ohhh, thank you so much, Tonia! I’m so pleased you feel inspired!
I love seeing refashions, thanks for sharing! Your puffer jacket looks great, and actually enjoying wearing things is the goal, right? I have a cropped cap sleeve summer jacket/vest thingy that has a truly fantastic collar and front detail, which is now far too small, and I only wore it once or twice anyway. I’ve been keeping it in my fabric bin for inspiration to strike. I might spend some time taking it apart so that I can see the collar/front on it’s own, maybe that will spark something.
Glad you enjoyed it, thanks, Chloe!
Ooh your summer jacket/vest sounds cool…Could you create a regular armhole and add faux leather sleeves? Or maybe just use the lovely front section on a matching denim? I bet you’ll create something fab to do with it 🙂
Great re-fashions, Diane!
While I really like your olive trench in its original version (with your tucks), I understand that I’m not the wearer and it no longer had the proportions to go with other items in your closet.
I think you did a super job on your rust puffer jacket: raising the underarm really does not show / blends with other design lines, and looks cute in its shorter length with pretty new collar and cuffs.
I would not have the nerve to shorten a sweater/remove ribbing and re-attach, but I think you did a great job! I do have a couple of beautiful mohair sweaters knit by my auntie that i would like to alter, so we will see!
Thanks, Joan! Yes, I’m happy about doing that with my trench, especially as I have two others in longer lengths, so I now have a lovely variety and I can play with different silhouettes and proportions. So glad you love what I did with my puffer jacket too. The underarm was tricky to do but as you say it blends in with the original design lines so it all works.
As for my sweater…I used to knit on a knitting machine so I’m really familiar with what I call the stitch-by-stitch method for sewing the rib on because it’s how I used to sew on neckline ribbed bands. You simply backstitch through the open stitches (they don’t run down and unravel if the knitting is all washed and set)…you could try it!
Fabulous refashions. First I was impressed with your original alteration on your Olive coat. Taking it to the new length with the original folds is perfect. The remake of your rust coat is inspiring. The new fur collar and cuffs remind me of my Mum cutting up my Grandma’s old Astracan coat to trim her inexpensive coat, added new buttons for a fabulous new look. I am also going through my wardrobe and altering lengths of blouses to improve proportion. Very satisfying. Thank you.
Thank you, Pat!
You know that olive trench didn’t actually have those tucks around the bottom when I got it. I created them to shorten it a bit and of course, now I’ve gone even shorter.
Oh, that’s a great memory of your mum cutting up your grandmother’s coat and I’m glad to hear that you’re doing some refashions too!