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!