Refashioning– Over-sized Coat to Tailcoat


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:

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.


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:


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:


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.


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:


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.


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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