Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Amadeus Coat

How to turn a two piece costume into a coat....
Here is my newest Re-fashion! I have actually finished it a few weeks ago and am proud to say that I am wearing it almost daily, so this one definitely goes into the book of successes! :-)

It started out as a wool costume, which I had bought at the flee market for a ridiculous amount of 5 Euros... It's a fabulous herringbone pattern wool in turquoise and purple! Swoon!

Here is the before and after:
 It was too big for me, and in general I just would have never worn it this way, so please forgive me for cutting into it...

As you see, the jacket was quite boxy. I decided to leave in the width at the shoulders, since I wanted it to be a coat under which I could wear big sweaters, but I wanted to give it more shape at the waist - well, I somehow needed to bring the two pieces together into one. In the photo on the right above I had already put in a center back pleat...

This ensemble was not store-bought, but somebody had hand-made it. Working on it, opening old seams (which were sewn with many different shades of green thread!) and looking into the "innards" of it prompted many thoughts about who this person might have been... A professional seamstress? A home-sewer like me? I felt hesitant undoing all her/his work, but at the same time, nobody could have possibly appreciated the effort that had already been put into it more than me. And I left a lot of the original work intact, collar, buttonholes, pocket flaps... I think he or she would have forgiven me, and in the end even be proud that this garment is still being worn now - who knows how many years later. Even if in slightly different shape now :-)

First I determined where the waist will have to be and how I was doing with the width of the skirt. So I opened the side seam where the zipper was built in originally.
I marked the waist line on the jacket and took off the waistband on the skirt:

Then I added the pleat in the center back of the jacket:

I first wanted to cheat and just use the original side seam as new center front seam, but that would have been a bad idea, as the shape over the curves in the back are always different than in front. I also found a bit more fabric in the seams when taking it apart, which was highly welcome. So I cut the front skirt piece in half and sewed everything back together...

There wasn't enough width in the skirt to just add it to the waistline on the coat, which is how those diagonal front style-lines came to life:

Before sewing it together I had to adjust the curve at the top of the skirt a bit. I still had not cut off the bottom of the jacket, just to be sure I wasn't cutting anything off that was still needed...

The diagonal seams were mainly sewn by hand, after that I finally cut off the extra material from the bottom of the jacket. Then I created the curve down the front of the bottom coat and made a round hem with as much round-hemming-knowledge as I could come up with :-)

Next tricky part was adding real pockets. The ones on the jacket were fakes, but of course I kept the nice flaps. I used some of the left-over lining material to make the pockets and had to trick around a bit with adding the flap, but it is definitely a decent result:

In the photo below, you see the pocket from the inside on the right, and from the outside on the left.

Next I took the skirt waist band and sewed it closed, to make a belt out of it.

From the left over fabric I made four belt loops and added them on the back and sides of the coat:

 Then the only thing to do was to piece together the lining. In the photo below, you also see a bit of piecing-together I had to do at the hem of the shell fabric... Since it's on the inside, it isn't really noticeable.

 I thought about how to make a functionable belt, but a buckle would have ended up right over a button, and the waist-band was a bit too short as it was. So I decided to just sew it to the coat, right where the diagonal style-lines are, to round off the look.

I really think it's a handsome coat. My husband gave it the name Amadeus coat, because of its shape, and it stuck...

And to show you how I wear it with big old sweaters, gloves, a hat and boots, here goes:

A fabulous New Year to all of you!



  1. Der Mantel ist super geworden! Toll, wie souverän Du mit den Linien spielst. Meine Mutter hatte so ein altes Tweed-Kostüm (allerdings mit Weste), handgenäht, und ich habe mich nicht getraut es zu zerschneiden und es weggegeben. Eigentlich schade! Dir auch ein frohes neues Jahr!

  2. This is stunning! I saw your post at the Refashion blog a few minutes ago and immediately clicked to your blog to see the details. Amazing job!

  3. I love this. It is incredible. I am going to be lookong to recreate soon.

  4. A great remake and a Great idea! Love the look and line of it. Your Hubbys; name rather suits it too. :) Cheers, from Oshawa, Ontario Canada

  5. Oh wow, such a stunning refashion! Saw this on Refashion Co-op, so adding your blog to my reader right now :)

  6. Beautiful !!! I like it.....Thankou.

  7. This is fantastic!! I pass up so many suits at the thrift store because they're not really my style but this is a great way to repurpose them into something I love!

  8. I agree with others - such an amazing refashion! I love this coordination of vintage and modern vibes together. I'm stunned by your skills as it's not easy to figure all these seams out :) Fantastic job!

  9. This is one of the best refashions I've ever seen. Super cute and unique. Congrats! Enjoy your "new" coat!

  10. This is amazing! I will have to look out for winter suits now!

  11. oh my gosh, that is absolutely amazing!!! i LOVE it! the shape, the belt, the pockets, the everything is just so cool! you are so talented! :) lisa

  12. Welcome back and a Happy New Year! Your re-fashion is way cooler and more wearable than the original suit. Good on you!

  13. Awesome job! What a unique and handsome result. That purpley-turquoise color is lovely too. And, yes, I think it's wonderful when you find yourself refashioning a home-made garment and reflecting on the person who made it originally.

  14. Gabrielle (UpSewLate)January 7, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Such a special new coat now - that's an excellent refashion! Happy New Year!

  15. It's really, really great! I love it. This was a tricky project but you can be really proud of your coat. Well done.

  16. By far the coolest coat refashion I've seen! Love it!

  17. You did an amazing job. Thanks for sharing.

  18. This is the best refashion I have ever seen! so inspiring.

  19. Marlise (pomme & asperge)September 8, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    This coat is amazing! Just perfect! The seamlines, the details, everything... Very, very impressive and inspiring!

  20. Gorgeous and brilliant! Found your blog when searching how to refashion a coat. I found an enormous coat with no shape but beautiful material at the thrift store last week that I want to redo. I had no idea such wonders as what you pulled off here were possible. You've given me so much to think about - and aspire to! Brilliant job!