I went on the hunt for those giantly-baggy, super long 80s coats that you can find in thrift stores (though fewer and far between these days). They have lots of fabric to work with and are often made of wonderfully heavy, warm mohair wool. This coat was one that I found, and, boy, it sure did have a lot of fabric! It flares out to about 64" at the hips, no joke!
I liked the raglan sleeves and the cocoon-shaped silhouette. Both of these things were popular in early to mid-1930s coats, so I knew I could work with it. The shoulder pads make the shoulders a bit large, but I actually didn't mind that too much. It resembles the 1932 coat design, third from the left, that I have in one of my magazines. It's also a wide-shoulder-slim-hip look with a high collar and raglan sleeves:
(from my Instagram)
I didn't get a picture of it (dang it), but it also had a nice below-the-bum belt feature on the back. That is NOT 1930s appropriate and was actually rather hideously placed, so it had to go. I removed the below-the-bum belt and cuff accents and re-closed up the seams. (The lining is not attached to the coat at the bottom like many good coats do, so it's easy to alter things, yay!) I saved these pieces for later. (Pardon the following snow-in-the-face photos. Trust me, it was just unavoidable.)
I decided to leave the shoulder pads and keep the shape, but they're a bit too rounded and 80s to leave by themselves, in my opinion. I tacked on this fur collar I have, but I brought the fur straight down instead of a typical V-shape. I've seen fur placement like this on vintage coats, and the collar stayed down well.
I also happened to have matching fur cuff accents, so.... obviously those had to go on too to make the whole thing look cohesive. I shortened the sleeves for myself a bit and tacked on the triangular and rectangle fur pieces to the bottom of the sleeve.
Nearly done! While it has a nice Deco feel to it, it was also pretty sack-like. I wanted an option to bring some shape to it. Enter bum-belt!
It was made of two pieces that extended from the side seams and buttoned in the center. I took the raw edges of the two pieces and sewed them together, then I made a buttonhole. Voilá! Bum belt becomes waist belt! Wearing it makes me feel like a Russian snow princess.
While I'm quite happy with how it turned out, I'm not a huge fan of how long it is on me. However, I can't stand to cut the length up (all that fabulous mohair length!), so I will likely pass it on to someone else to love (still pondering that). I feel it is quite a make-do-and-mend success, though!
Oftentimes with refashioning projects you just have to go for it and see how it turns out. Sometimes it totally works for you, other times it's a wreck, and other times it will be great for someone else. Either way, I've given an out-of-date garment new life. I bought it from Red Racks Thrift Store that funds services for disabled military veterans, I kept a garment out of a landfill, I used vintage furs, and now it's a fabulous "new" coat. It doesn't get more sustainable, ethical, or community-building than that!
What do you guys think? Does it pass for a legit 1930s look in your opinion? Do you have any refashioning projects you've made lately?