As consumers buy cheap clothing more frequently, second-hand shops increasingly receive low-quality donations. The precious pool of high-quality thrift store garments dwindles daily. Rummaging through many thrift stores, I have found a few categories of clothing consistently yield high-quality garments.
What is the category with the most high-quality garments, you ask? Coats!
Coats are great items to buy second hand. Outerwear, constructed using high-quality materials to withstand the elements, holds up well over time!
As a Chicagoan, I have a coat for every kind of weather event: rain, sleet, snow, polar vortex, etc. But I do not just need coats; I love coats!
And a truly great coat is as timeless as it is practical.
While on a trip to Michigan, I stopped at the local Salvation Army. It was clear that the store had recently been blessed by the wardrobe of an incredibly stylish woman (size 6). I paid under $20 for an armful of gorgeous and vibrant vintage coats (mainly Harve Benard).
Most of the coats needed some kind of alteration and all needed professional cleaning. One gorgeous camel coat fit well but had should pads a bit too robust for my petite frame.
With a only a seam ripper, pins, needle and thread, I reworked this coat to better suit me. Here’s how I did it!
HOW TO REMOVE SHOULDER PADS (EASY)
- Locate the shoulder seams in the lining of the coat. Be sure to locate the shoulder pad underneath the lining.
- Using a seam ripper, gently tug the stitching between the neck and shoulder. Work slowly and gently. Rip the least amount of seam as possible to pull the shoulder pad out. Three inches of open seam in plenty.
- Once you have opened the seam, pull the shoulder pad through the lining. Note how the shoulder pad is attached to the coat. Using your seam ripper again, carefully rip the seams connecting the lining to the shoulder pad.
- Check to see if the shoulder pad is now freed from the lining. Some shoulder pads, like this one, may be tacked to the lining. Be sure to rip that seam. You should now be able to remove the shoulder pad from the coat.
- Once the shoulder pad is removed, match the shoulder seam back up and pin in place.
- Using your needle and thread, simply stitch the shoulder seam back together. Be sure to make your stitches small to ensure a tight seam. This is especially important around the shoulder area where you need good freedom of movement.
- Repeat on the other side!
Removing the bulky shoulder pads made a big difference in the fit of this coat.
But because of the cut of the coat, the shoulders retained their beautifully structured shape! This coat is ready for many chilly Chicago days to come!
© 2021 Emma Westfall