Who knows how it all started, but at some point I became a thrift store junkie. I love the hunt for the next bargain. I love the opportunities the pieces hold. I love the idea of giving something old a new life. To celebrate this new love (and to motivate myself to actually do the alterations these poor old pieces require), I decided to do 1 post about a thrift store find’s alteration every month from now on.
To start the series off, I chose the biggest project as of yet: a military jacket I bought on Brick Lane for £2.
I’ve always wanted a military style jacket, but instead of the ones you can buy everywhere, in every season, with the cinched in waists for women, I was looking for the real deal. Since the smaller sized proper ones were more like shirts, when I saw this huge jacket, lined with the same fabric, I decided to go for it and just hope for the best. After doing a little research, I found out that this was a Dutch NATO combat jacket, that usually sells for about £20 on eBay…
I started out by disassembling it (and ripping the lining at one point :( ). Then I took in the sides and the sleeves, but because I really didn’t feel like removing and resizing the pockets, I ended up with an A-line jacket at first. Unfortunately, instead of using a pattern, I just took in the same amount on the front and the back, and I ended up with the back being very tight.
I wanted to have a removable lining and removable faux fur collar, but I had to sew the lining to the coat, and attach the collar with safety pins, so that I can finish it within 2 days from start, and wear it on the Berlin trip. It looked and felt awful to be honest. It was too tight in places and way too loose at others, there were threads hanging out everywhere, and I had to hold it together with a belt, as I did not manage to put buttons or a zip on it. But even if it looked like crap, I think I was the one complaining the least about the cold during our little wintry holiday. :)
When we came back, I kind of felt like shoving it in a box to finish it next year, but I didn’t. And I’m happy I chose to put all this work into it, as it’s a pretty useful thing to have, and I absolutely adore the collar.
So on this updated version I made a lining out of contrasting cotton lawn fabrics, with a little piping made of the golden material used for the removable lining’s sleeves. By the way, the removable lining is made of a faux shearling fabric and the golden quilted batting, and the faux fur collar is the most expensive fabric I’ve ever bought, but it is pretty good quality I guess…
There is a zipper on the jacket, hidden by a flap, with fabric covered con it. To attach the lining to the jacket, I used fabric loops on the jacket to match the buttons sewn on the lining. I inserted metal suspender clasps into the faux fur collar, which can be clipped on the jacket’s collar. Because everything is removable, I should be able to wear it pretty much all year round in London.
Whoever sews will know how hard it is to admit one’s mistake and to refashion-a-refashion (or something you’ve made from scratch), but I’m quite happy I went for it. Even though removing the pocket flaps, for example, and resizing them was hard work with very little impact, it meant that I could fix the coat from being A-line to a better fitting straight one, and it ended up being something that I love to wear because I like the way it looks, and not just because it is the warmest thing I own.