What I like most about sewing is experimenting. Try new cuts, unusual materials, challenging techniques. But these experiments don‘t always go well. Some garments just don‘t fit and are finally donated, or thrown into the bin (fortunately very rarely). A pity, how much time, effort, money was invested just to end up on only an ever larger mountain of waste clothes. All the better, I like the idea of making something new from what others do not use anymore. But actually I never really give it a try. For this year, however, I had decided to take part in The Refashioners, hosted by Portia of Makery.uk. This year it is all about suits. Portia invited a number of great bloggers who have already shown with their refashion projects how much potential old clothes bear. And in the community challenge all of us can now present their ex-suits. I was so overwhelmed by all these ideas (and also a bit intimidated) that I finished my project just in time, although the suit has been in my closet for a while.
In August, shortly after the topic was announced, I had asked family and friends for old suits and finally strolled through the second-hand shops. This was more difficult than I had imagined, because there were often only single jackets or pants, but no related pairs. In the Oxfam shop in Dortmund I finally got a classic dark blue pinstripe suit for 16 euros. Previously it had probably belonged to a stocky man of size 27. This turned out to be an advantage because all pieces of fabric were relatively wide.
I did not want the „saved“ piece of clothing to end up in the bin again. So I planned not to start any crazy experiments, but to sew something that I really needed and would wear. (By the way, I found the same idea in Georgia’s post. And her refashion jacket is definitely my favourite in this whole challenge.)
I also wanted to reuse as much of the original garment and add as little new material as possible.
So I had this idea of a simple coat. My existing coats are all trenchcoat-like, so waisted and with lapel. I did not want these elements here, although the blazer collar would have offered it. Instead, I cut off the collar, unfold the lapel and ironed it and then re-shaped the front and the facing. Using the pattern of my Blanche jacket, I made the upper body slightly narrower, but without having to unpick everything completely. That way the pockets could also be preserved in the original form and the buttonholes remained the old ones.
For the changes in armholes and sleeves I also used the approved jacket pattern. From the masses of interfacing and canvas, which obviously form a man’s wide chest (I had no idea!), I used only the shoulder pads and partly the fusible interfacing (that could not be removed anyway). Everything else was then too voluminous and stiff and was mercilessly cut off. Actually, I had planned to leave the cuffs unchanged. But it turns out that the arms of the stocky man are shorter than mine. So I played with some rib knit I found in my stock. This turned out as a pretty good thing, because this slight bomber jacket style goes really well with the otherwise so simple coat, right?
For the lower part of the coat I used the pants legs. The lower hems fit almost perfectly to the middle and side parts of the back. So I had hardly any scrap and could use the legs almost throughout the whole length.
I made the same changes for the lining as with the upper material, so that the inner pockets are still there. Only in the lower area I had to add „external“ fabric. These 40 cm of lining were then the only new purchase. There was almost no waste. And the zipper and the buttons of the pants I’ve put aside for my next refashion.