There a a few things I have found useful in remaking wool coats
1. A size 10 will never make a size 12. This is an obvious one, but sometimes my enthusiasm makes me think I can. For me, generally, the best way to use up the fabric effectively is to work with the same style, and also the easiest. A raglan sleeve is best left a raglan sleeve. I also choose in this case to keep the pockets. I had originally thought to take these out and try and conceal a dart in this line, but I also thought why not just do it the easiest way.
2. Steam and rest fabric. After taking the coat apart, I brushed and steam ironed each piece. I sometimes use a water vinegar spray to help lift the pile and flatten some pressed seams and creases. Then if the fabric is rested overnight, so it can relax back into shape very well indeed. This I should have done, but I was a bit impatient and only left it for a few hours, and paid for it when I put in the facings!
3. New lining is probably best. In general the lining is often not worth reusing and it is difficult to recut, and I can reuse it in smaller projects. I reused this as it looked so warm and was in good condition, and had loads of inside pockets. However, I did have a twist in the recut sleeve linings, it doesn’t show when wearing, but the seam is skewed on the inside and I only found this out after it was sewn, so I unpicked the sleeve lining hem, and let it hang naturally, repinned, resewed. Who knows if this was my cut or the old lining, but if faced with same dilemma again, I would re-cut the sleeves from fresh lining.. The last jacket I tried a cotton sheet for lining and it was not warm . Also, the slash for the slit in the original coat was left and I just did a patch repair. As its a ‘casual’ coat, I am not overly bothered.
4. Press and rest as you go. It really makes a difference. It was an Ann Ladbury tip from ‘Clothes that Count’ where she suggested when you have finished making your coat, to give it a final steam and light press, and then to put it on a dress form overnight so it could relax into its new shape. I tend to do this as much as I can after each sewing session also, and had to do extra for all the in-betweens for this coat to compensate for the rushed start.
I had rushed the beginning of this coat as I had hoped to wear it to a lunch with my sister and in the end, I didn’t as I had to rework one or two areas over my rushed start. The facings were a problem as it was a mans coat so I used the buttonhole facing on the button side (ladies side) so I zig-zag closed the small bit of button hole that was visible as the popper covers it pretty much.. I decided to go with covered poppers as closures. As the one with the silver sticky out bit was more attractive, I left this facing out, and I have poppers done both ways on various coats.
I used the collar for the neck facing and its clunky but serviceable. I was trying to save as much fabric as I could for the detachable hood.
so the coat was a fiver, I reused the lining, and the poppers cost a whole SIX euro!!!. I love the coat, its perfect. The hood is great, but as the autumn weather has been bright and dry I have been wearing it without, and I prefer the coat without the hood, but if its raining, hoods are much handier than hats or umbrellas so its great to have the option.
and finally, my friend Cathriona took some photographs…. a gazillion thanks as I am a rather impatient subject!