Last winter I found this yellow coat at a thrift store. It’s part of the Liberty of London collection for Target, and I liked the color and fabric, but wasn’t nuts about the cut. The two-piece notched collar does not work for me at all.
Here’s the original coat:
But luckily my jacket doesn’t have that awful print repeat in the product photo. There would be no saving it then.
Not exactly the most flattering shape, plus you know I can’t just wear something off the rack.
First thing I did was to cut off the collar, which necessitated binding the raw edge. I also added a faux-yoke for aesthetic reasons. I put in two new buttonholes so that the coat could be buttoned all the way to the top, replaced the black ball buttons with silver plated flat buttons, and I added an extra pleat at the back. I wore the jacket around rainy Richmond VA for my cousin’s wedding, and then forgot about it for a year.
Round 2 of renovations began with opening the lining and re-doing that CB pleat. I added the band to lower the empire waist down to my natural waist, which is so much more flattering on my body. The fabric is silk dupioni from my wedding skirt, and I love the way it plays off the yellow cotton.
I tapered the back seams to eliminate some of the cocoon shape. The sleeve caps were lowered at the same time I narrowed the shoulders, and I took in the bust of the jacket about 1″. I eliminated pleats at the front and inserted pockets into the seams.
I’m pretty impressed at the quality construction of this garment. I don’t know what the Target retail price was, but even their designer collections are inexpensive (I paid $20, which was my entire thrifty budget for the excursion). The sleeves are set in with a braided cotton tape to prevent warping, the stitching is all very even and careful, and the fabric feels like a quality cotton.
The front binding needs some ironing. It had been machine stitched on, but the bias warped and looked cheap. Instead I used a whip stitch in red thread, which is what I’d always wanted to do.
I’m not quite finished though. As much as I love the floral print, I think it’s a little overwhelming for a whole coat. I’m thinking about replacing the set-in sleeves with raglan sleeves, probably a similar color to the belt. I have some bright orange cotton twill that could be toned down by a quick dip in a black dye bath, but California is in a serious drought and I don’t feel good about how much water will be required to wash out black dye. I dunno, it’s wearable with the current sleeve, so who knows when the raglan will happen.
Also those silver buttons are just temporary; I’m on the hunt for 1″ gold buttons!
My friends Maria and Patrick of Adorn and Conquer are finally opening their own store in New Orleans! They are also carrying pieces by many artists and makers, including yours truly. The first merchandise order I shipped out was all zipper bags – 27 of them!
They are almost entirely scrap fabrics, lovingly saved for years. Every bag is lined, most have a loop for attaching a clip or wearing around the wrist.
You know I’m usually about getting as many different colors onto one piece as possible, but I totally love these all-green bags. They each have both of the above fabrics (one on each side) and even the lining and zippers are green. I hope at least one of them gets used for some stylish stoner’s smoking kit.
These embroidered fabrics were saved by my step-sister-in-law Ilaan (who also provided the fabric for my sofa, psychedelic bathrobe, and Miimii dress). They were such tiny scraps! These bags are backed with solid fabrics.
You’re never too old for a fabulous pencil case!
I totally gasped when I found this amazing blacklight sequin fabric. It’s just too perfect! I look forward to making a few fabulous pieces from this. Any suggestions?
I made them in so many different shapes and sizes, which was dictated by the individual remnants. They’re each the perfect size for something! I envisioned the smaller bags as the perfect wrapping for a jewelry gift.
Y’all know how I’m a sucker for projects that use up those wonderful little scraps. On one hand, I try to resist hanging on to “someday could be” materials. Sure, someday it could be used for whatever project I have in mind, but it’s more likely that stuff will just clutter up my life until eventually I get so frustrated that I just want it gone. On the other hand, I love using up every bit of possibility, and some fabrics are too special to let go, not matter how small the pieces are.
I’ll also have turbans and a special new shirt design in the store, but that’s for a special post. Congratulations to Adorn and Conquer on this exciting milestone!
So this happened. I was doing this:
And watching this:
It was like looking into a cartoon mirror.
So secretly, if I ever wanted to be famous, my own standard to really ‘making it’ would be to guest star on the Simpsons. I think ideally it would be as myself, so that I could achieve a form of immortality, but I can also see a lot of appeal in voicing a new character. Who am I kidding? I gotta play me.
I’ve been watching The Simpsons for about 20 years now. It’s one of the few things in my life that I don’t feel jaded about. That and knitting, pure, pure knitting. I’m kinda determined to never sell knitting, because I did that with sewing and I turned it into a job, which honestly trades some of that creativity and excitement for efficiency and tons of practice. I still really enjoy sewing, but it is so not a hobby anymore, and I want to keep knitting as a pure refuge from the whole ‘needle for hire’ lifestyle.
My husband’s been out of town for a few days, and I work from home, so I always get really chatting and confessional when I do get a chance to talk to someone. And yet I still can’t manage to get my act together for some good blogging! There I go again.
My adorable little niece has been at it again, always growing up! She’s almost 13, and exactly like her momma has entered the somewhat moody ‘my favorite color is black’ phase of her life (and is just as sweet and funny as ever, but now with added introspection and an Instagram account).
I should have been working on projects for clients, but one morning I came across these gray and black remnants and dropped everything to whip up a hoodie for my little brooding ray of sunshine.
I wanted the hoodie to feel like a cocoon, something she could retreat into, something that would make her mother say “I can’t see your face!”
So it’s all remnant fabrics, and the silver zipper was also from my stash. I had purple and blue thread in my serger, which happens to be Allia’s current favorite color besides black and gray. I used a vintage raglan pattern as a base, and added the hood and pockets.
Of course now her little brother wants one too, but his should be green and blue, and he drew me a picture of poop as payment.
Don’t let that look on her face fool you, she’s just as weird and silly as the rest of us.
Well, it’s that time again. I’m off to Burning Man!
I don’t know any better way to say it than this: thank you. I have had so many great encounters with new clients and old clients; I’ve been given so many opportunities to deliver work and service that I am truly proud of; I have pushed myself so hard and so long, and while I’m mostly exhausted at this point I also have next month’s rent paid, and am looking forward to my little break.
If you see me at Burning Man, please say hello! Last year I met several blog readers and online customers on the playa, and it’s one of the most unexpected and rewarding experiences I’ve had at Burning Man.
I spend a lot of time on the Sensatron. My camp is Post Nuclear Family and we’re placed around 4:20 & E. I’ll also be hosting a workshop at the New Orleans CORE project in the Souk. On Wednesday from 2-4, I’ll be teaching how to make fabric necklaces.
See you on the playa!