Hello, everyone! Something a little different today – instead of making a full garment from start to finish, this month’s project is about prolonging the life of an existing RTW/ready-to-wear piece!
I know, it’s totally not sexy at all to make repairs and alterations – and in the past, I have generally avoided it at all costs. But to be completely honest, I am making an effort to reduce waste whenever I can and reduce/reuse/recycle whenever possible. Repairing old pieces to like-new so that they can continue to be used is a big thing for me right now.
Here is the before picture of what I was working with. I bought this coat from Banana Republic when I was 19 – I remember being so proud of myself, as it was one of the first “nice” things I was able to afford (with the help of some gift cards!). I’m 31 now, and have managed to cling to this piece throughout the years and many moves, style changes, and closet purges. I love the simple and classic shape, the fit is great for me, and that color is just fantastic! As much as I love this coat, though, it has definitely seen it’s share of wear over time – especially the lining, which was starting to shred at an alarming rate. The sleeve especially ripped a huge hole in it the last time I tried to put it on, and that’s when I realized that I either needed to replace the lining, or get rid of the coat altogether. It’s no secret that I like a good challenge – so obviously, I went with the former!
I picked up this gorgeous silk print at Mood Fabrics while I was in NYC in January – since the coat is such a unique shade of green, I wanted to be sure that I was getting a good color-match (or, rather, color-coordination – I never actually found anything that exactly matched the green wool. Which is ok with me!). I found this silk with the rest of the silk prints and just fell in love with the design and colors. It’s a fluid, drapey silk with a heavy hand like charmeuse, but a bit of a twill texture. It was absolutely perfect for my needs. After consulting with the associate who cut my fabric, we agreed that 2 yards should be plenty.
Since the coat outer is a wool/polyester blend, this coat is dry-clean only. With that in mind, I did not pre-wash my silk – I just cut straight into it right off the bolt! To make the pattern for my new lining, I carefully removed the old lining and separated all the pieces with a seam ripper, being sure to keep them all as intact as possible. I won’t lie – this process was extremely time-consuming and not exactly the most fun part of the project. But I didn’t want to deal with trying to draft a lining, so I powered through it. I made sure to take lots of photos of how the lining had been inserted, and also wrote a list of notes for things to remember as I put everything back together – such as seam allowances and how the back pleat was sewn in. I have made several lined coats in my day, so this was reasonably simple and straightforward.
Once the pieces were out and separated, I pressed them flat with an iron, marked which one went where, and re-drew the grainlines. Then I pinned them to my new fabric and cut each one out.
After that, it was really easy to put everything back together. I assembled the lining, and then bagged it in the coat (you can also sew lining in by hand, which I had considered, but honestly I’m not trying to polish a turd here.. this is a 10+ year old RTW coat, after all). That part wasn’t terribly hard, although I did have a little bit of difficultly maneuvering everything in at the neckline, since the seam allowances were so small and also quite bulky with all the layers. But overall, it worked very well! Again, if you’ve ever made a coat before.. re-lining one is not a difficult project.
I also replaced the buttons with new ones from my stash, just to give the outside a lil’ makeover too 🙂
Annnnnd now I can wear this coat again! Yay!
I love the bright, unexpected color of the lining – and that pattern 😀 Just makes me so happy! As an added bonus, the heavier silk is much more insulating than the old polyester lining, so the coat is quite a bit warmer as well!
I am thrilled to bring new life to this old favorite – fingers crossed I can get another 12 years out of it 😉