Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Upcycle Project: Olivia and Oliver pea coat

Today's project features my most successful attempt at upcycling. Considering how well it went, I SHOULD upcycle more often...but pretty new fabric is so tempting! Anyway, without further ado...

Do you like my obnoxious before and after graphic? I discovered the iPad app Pic Collage. Too. Much. Fun!

Even though I completed it months ago, I still can't believe I made a coat. Okay, fine, it's a coat for a baby, but still! And even though most upcycle projects don't use patterns, I did use one for this coat.

The pattern is from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop, which is where I also acquired the Ashley Dress pattern that I blogged about a while back. My version of this coat was one of the first items of clothing I ever made. I'm not sure why I thought I should tackle a coat, but I really liked that this pattern was unisex and would give me a lot of mileage. Once I bought the pattern and read the instructions, they were concise and straight to the point, and looked manageable even for a beginner like me.

So, after reading up on wool coating/wool melton and not having much luck finding some (that stuff ain't cheap!) I decided to hit up Goodwill. It was actually summertime, so there were probably more coats to choose from than there would be in winter. There were plenty of women's suit jackets. Men's jackets would have likely given me even more yardage, but I found what I wanted without even checking the men's section.

There were only two things I was looking for when I was browsing Goodwill: wool, and as few seams as possible (fewer seams=more "uncut" yardage). It was just a bonus that I found what I wanted in red, which is unisex and I can use for multiple kiddos if I have the opportunity. Here's the original coat again:

The biggest advantage to this particular coat was the patch pockets. I easily removed them and had the whole bottom of the jacket for use with my pattern. Also, what I thought were two seams on the front of the coat turned out to be darts. Score! I just unpicked them carefully and then opened them flat.

In addition to removing the pockets and unpicking the darts, I also removed the sleeves, collar, and carefully cut out the lining. I took off the buttons and set them aside for later. Once everything was apart, I laid out my pattern pieces. Essentially, each part of the big coat became the same part on the smaller version.

The front became the front. 

One sleeve became two.

The collar became the collar.

I don't have a picture, but the back of the coat became the back of the baby version. The most exciting part was that there was some interfacing still attached to my pieces. The pattern didn't call for any interfacing, but it's a coat, I'm sure it didn't hurt! When it came time for buttonholes, I was certainly grateful for the extra stability.

Even with a lining, this coat was very easy to put together by following the directions with the pattern. The only part that gave me trouble was the collar. Surprise surprise. See collar disaster here. The instructions have you baste the collar to the outside of the coat, and then sew the lining to the coat. It took me two tries until I realized that I had sewn the collar inside of my coat/lining. Boo. Hello BFF Mr. Seam Ripper. So hey, if you want to make a coat, make sure you don't sew your collar inside of it. You can have that tip for free.


I lined the jacket with some flannel I had in my stash. It's pink with yellow polka dots. Okay, no, that's not so unisex, but when it's closed you can't tell. And as you can see, the buttons made their way back onto the coat. And for being my first time making buttonholes, those don't look too bad! I guess the fabric was just the perfect thickness for my machine, as I've tried on other materials and had terrible luck.

Action shot!

The only thing to dislike about the coat is the bulk. Duh, coats are bulky. But something you don't figure out until you're a mom is that bulky coats and car seats do not get along. So, AB only gets a chance to wear it if we're going outside and not driving somewhere. I'll let you guess how often that happens! The above photo was taken around Christmas when we had a ton of snow and went outside to "play" in it. I also made that hat...but I'm almost positive that the faux fur is what killed my walking foot, so I have mixed feelings about it. But dang if it isn't so cute!

So there you have it, a lined, wool baby coat for $7 (okay...plus the pattern). Not bad!

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