Saturday, March 16, 2013

Trenchcoat to Tailcoat conversion

Years ago I came across an old leather trenchcoat from the 1970s at a thrift store for a dollar.  It was a lot like this one to start out, except this coat is mint and the one I found was far from:

There is some wear to the leather, especially around the neck, the button holes are sprung, and there was a tear in the leather under the third button in the front.  The sleeves were also almost 2" too short for me.  But I loved the leather, and the fit, and the price was right, so I bought it and squirreled it away for inspiration to strike.

A couple of years ago I started working on it, pulling the seams at the waistline and along the side hems, giving me the shape I wanted:

trench to tails 1

trench to tails 2

And then it sat in a bin in my basement for almost 2 years, waiting for me to figure out what I wanted to do next.  Then in a trip to my favorite fabric store this week, I found exactly the right lace and trim to finish the job:

trench to tails 4

That's 2 yards of an 18" wide Venise lace in matte gold and black, some gold and burgundy trim, and an ivory lace with gold sequins.

I cut apart the lace into the shapes I wanted for the corners of the tails, and used spray adhesive to hold it in place while I hand sewed it down:

trench to tails 3

I also added some lacework detail across the shoulders:

trench to tails 9

For the sleeves, I made cuffs out of the leather I'd cut away from the front of the jacket, with more of the lace:

trench to tails 5

Altogether, it was about 8 hours of hand sewing for the lace, but it's not going anywhere now.  Once the lace was in place, I machine-sewed the gold/burgundy trim from one corner of the front cutaway all around the edges of the jacket and cuffs.  On the edges of the sleeve cuffs I also added the sequined lace:

Here's a closeup of the sleeve cuff:

trench to tails 10

And the applique on the coat tail:

trench to tails 8

I replaced the original buttons with some brass ones, and added chain closures as it became a bit too tight for me in the years it sat in the bin in the basement:

trench to tails 6

Full back view:

trench to tails 7

After looking at this picture, I decided the back still needed something, so I cut out two more flowers from the lace and added them to the buttons on back:

trench to tails 13

I'm thinking now that I'll use the rest of the chain for a drape here as well.

And here it is on:

trench to tails 12

trench to tails 11

Here's the pants I'm wearing, a pair of thrift store stretchy corduroys that I slit up the side and added grommet tape to:

tan and brown lace pants

(For the curious, my tophat came from Bernie Utz in Seattle and the pearl hatband was made by the lovely ladies from Aurora Illusionary Travel Emporium                                                            )

Looking forward to finding many excuses to wear this coat again now!



Tamera Mickelson said...

You are a fabulous costumer. At some point I need to speak to you about grommet tape - I must have more info on that.

Have a splendid time!

Laurie Brown said...

That is gorgeous! (as you can see, I did manage to figure out how to find your blog...dur) Very clever and unique!

genagirl said...

WOW!!! That is amazing. It turned out perfect, just beautiful! Thanks for sharing, I feel inspired.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work!

Unknown said...

Fantastic work......