Easy Thrift Coat Alteration

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!

IMG_5196
Thrifting at the Salvation Army.

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.

IMG_5197
Coats of many colors!

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).

IMG_8506
Harve Benard camel coat. 70% wool, 20% nylon, 10% recycled cashmere.

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.

img_8503.jpg
While strong shoulders can help balance wide hips, too much volume overwhelms a small figure.

With a only a seam ripper, pins, needle and thread, I reworked this coat to better suit me. Here’s how I did it!

IMG_8617
Well suited.

HOW TO REMOVE SHOULDER PADS (EASY)

  1. Locate the shoulder seams in the lining of the coat. Be sure to locate the shoulder pad underneath the lining.

    IMG_8515
    Find the seam that runs between the neckline and shoulder.
  2. 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.

    IMG_8521
    Open the shoulder seam to access the shoulder pad.
  3. 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.

    IMG_8533
    Rip the seam attaching the shoulder pad to the lining.
  4. 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.

    IMG_8527
    Rip the tack connecting the shoulder pad to the lining.
  5. Once the shoulder pad is removed, match the shoulder seam back up and pin in place.

    IMG_8534
    Use straight pins to hold the open seam closed.
  6. 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.

    IMG_8536
    Stitch the shoulder seam back together.
  7. 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!

IMG_8619IMG_8616

IMG_8600

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s