Restyle: relining a coat

This is among the best of all my thrift store scores. I took this awful beast:

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Oh my gawd!

And transformed it into this sweet thing:

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Outside . . .

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. . . inside!

I followed the wonderfully simple instructions on CraftStylish, which I found on Pinterest.

Problem numero uno wasn’t even the shredded, tissue paper-like lining. It was the smell. Most items that come from the thrift store smell like Gain laundry detergent, and continue to do so for a wash or two. No biggie since the smell is not offensive and I am not allergic to artificial fragrances. This thing, though – P.U.! From a distance it wasn’t bad at all. It smelled like perfume, but it smelled like a nice perfume. Something my aunt Toni used to wear, in fact. But when I got it into an enclosed space (my car) I realized just how strong the smell was. It wasn’t like someone had a heavy hand with the atomizer. It was like someone had emptied an entire bottle of perfume into the bathtub and then rolled in it like a dog.

I tried everything. I started small: I washed it normally and hung it to dry. No change. I washed it with heavy duty scented detergent. No change. I doused it with a vodka and water mixture recommended by theater actors. No change. I soaked it in, and then washed it in, baking soda and water and rinsed with vinegar and water. No change. I hung it outside for a week. No change. After three more soak-and-washes with regular detergent and another time-out on the laundry line it was down to a manageable level.

But in the processed it had pilled like a poodle.

My sweater shaver, one of those cheap models from the fabric store, gave up after about half a sleeve. I threw it out and ordered a Sweater Stone. Let me say this about the vaunted Sweater Stone: 1) It works. It works well. 2) It smells like sulfur. 3) It makes an incredible mess.

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Before Sweater Stone.

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After Sweater Stone.

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The Sweater Stone and the mess it creates. (This after just a few strokes.) Also shown is one of my favorite clothing care tools: a rubber lint brush that removes any loose stuff, like shaved pills or sawdust or pet hair, and rinses clean.

At that point I could finally start the lining replacement procedure. I removed the existing lining, ironed it flat, and taped up the zillions of tears. Someone had already replaced the sleeves with some sturdy brown ripstop nylon so I left those alone and just whipstitched them to the new body lining. I used the old lining as a pattern for the new lining, which I cut out of metallic gold synthetic brocade. Installing the lining was much easier than I anticipated. Even getting all that wool and slippery brocade through the sewing machine wasn’t too hard. Hemming the lining was a bitch for some reason, but I got it to work well enough in the end and I even learned how to do French tacks.

Now I just need to replace the buttons. (It’s missing one and they’re kind of ugly and dated. Also, I just like replacing buttons.)

This project was a definite success: my five dollar thrift store score now looks like a several hundred dollar off-the-rack coat and I gained some serious sewing confidence. I look forward to repeating this experiment with other coats and jackets – maybe even some of the unlined ones in my existing wardrobe!

Another great tutorial on lining coats, this one bag-style, can be found on GrainlineStudio.

— Amanda

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