Refashioning– Over-sized Coat to Tailcoat

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I’ve refashioned a number of things over the years. I’ve skinnied down half a dozen pants, spent a day fitting all my dark t-shirts, fitted a dozen dresses (with varying success), but I’m going to say that this is the most complicated thing I’ve probably ever refashioned. I have refashioned a jacket, one of my personal big scary garments! With a lining, even! I still can’t believe I really did it, and have it come out as successfully too!

Alright, alright, I’ll go ahead and get going.

I stared out with this suit:

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I dunno why the pictures are so grainy, I used the same camera throughout. It must just be the light.

I purchased this  suit at Goodwill for $8-9. It’s a little pricier than I normally spend, especially considering it’s quite over-sized. Honestly I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking, but I liked the fabric (green with pinstripes!), I adored the buttons, and it was homemade. I hate leaving homemade items at thrift stores. Not only are they generally better made, but someone put a lot of care and love into them and I like to make sure they’re still appreciated. So I picked it  and it’s been sitting in my stash for at least half a year, probably longer.

Right before this, I was looking at things to sew, not really satisfied with anything, but really intrigued with a bridal tailcoat I found in an old Burda magazine.

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Let’s not lie, the idea of a bridal tailcoat is highly ridiculous, and having that turn into a train…yeah, no. It did, however, rekindle my desire to have a tailcoat.

I had been meaning to find an old wool coat to do this with over the summer, but for one reason or another it never panned out. This, I thought, I could make. So I spent a day looking at inspiration and at my Burda magazines I thrifted (with patterns!), finally picked only one and then…guess what I found in my closet. Going from tackling a whole coat to only fitting the darn thing made the whole project seem a million times more do-able.

I wanted it to have a decent tail length, so this coat was perfect, falling just below my rear. I debated using the skirt to make the tails longer, but A, that probably would look obvious and weird, B, I didn’t have extra lining fabric as the skirt was unlined, and C, Mom pointed out they would probably get in my way.

Anyway, the decisions were so great, I decided to just fit it and worry about everything else later. And here’s the result of the fitting:

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Yay for dumb faces! I put it on here with a potential outfit to see if I liked the fit and the length. For a while there, I was debating actually turning it into a tailcoat or not, but after putting it on and finding LIMITED ACCESSIBILITY TO POCKETS I decided I wouldn’t wear it as is.

To fit it, I took in the princess seams in the front and back (I think it’s still called that in the back?). Originally, I was planning on tapering it out at the shoulder seam, but Mom pointed out that since I was taking in the same amount on either side of the shoulder seam, I could probably pinch it out at the shoulder and make a continuous stitch. Which, let me tell you, worked a treat. Taking it in at the shoulder seam kept me from having the fuss with the armhole and while I don’t like the odd puff in the back of the sleeve, it’s probably what saved this garment from being a compete disaster.

I also took out about an inch and a half in the sleeves and tapered it to the seam line around the armhole to keep from having to refit that. Which turns out, was a good idea as the sleeves are a little tight.

Next up was the shaping and cutting. I still kinda can’t believe I did that bit. Looking at many different styles of tailcoats, I decided I didn’t like the ones that had a simple flat edge. I took this as my inspiration:

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I also really liked the velvet ones, but alas, I had nothing on hand I was willing to cut up. 66090ecf55587e959331ec2f203cd973

What I liked about the red one was the placement of the points, ending at the dart and then flaring out to the tail. I drew out the design I liked, added 3/8th in seam allowance, cut and then pinned both sides of the coat together and cut the other side following the previous cut.

I made a facing from the remaining fabric, and, unable to think of any other way, hand-stitched the whole lining to the jacket, after fitting it like the jacket.

And here’s how the whole thing comes together.

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I’m really, really digging this. However, since it’s quite cold and I have 0 padding, this is how I’d probably wear it:

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There’s not too much left to say. It does make my hips look a little big, but it feels so good I don’t really care. It is a little hard to style in the winter with my closet; primarily all of the matching tops for this color scheme are green and I think that’s a little too green on green. The shirt I won’t wear too often as it’s a gorgeous silk I thrifted and I live in constant fear of spilling something on it. I do have a few different button down choices, but either they’re a bit blah or not long sleeved. I do have tank tops aplenty, so this might be regulated to spring and fall only. Still going to wear it to pieces though.

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Coat: London Towne, thrifted

Jacket: handmade, thrifted, seriously refashioned

Pants: Cato, thrifted, skinnied leg

Boots: Target, decorated with accidental white ink spot

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