Infest the Waters: A Blog About Design, Life and Making Stuff

Sewing Sunday: October Edition – Old Coat, New Lining

finished coat-cropped

I have a confession to make.  I didn’t technically finish October’s project in October.  I say “technically” because I actually finished at about 12:46 a.m. on November 1st.  My mom has a long-standing rule that it’s not really “tomorrow” until you go to sleep and wake up again, so I’m still counting this as October’s project.  Plus, I actually started it on a Sunday in October, so I figure that counts for something, right?

In my defense (and I’m not entirely sure why I feel the need to defend myself to you, dear reader, but I do), October was an insanely busy month with a last-minute trip to Asheville, NC, thrown in there for good measure.  You know, just your normal 1258 mile, 34 hour road trip to buy a harp.  Also, some sort of lapse in judgement led me to agree to premiere a new piece for harp, soprano and baritone in the midst of the other craziness.  Don’t get me wrong–the piece was lovely, and I love to play new works for harp–but it really could’ve used a few more weeks for practice/rehearsal, and I probably didn’t need the extra stress this month.  I think I need to relearn how to say the word, no.

Anyway, as a result of all stuff on my plate, I realized that I needed an easier project for this month.  I had a spring and fall weight coat that I bought 12 years ago (and absolutely love) whose lining was all but falling off of the outer shell.  It was getting to the point where it was embarrassing if I had to check my coat anywhere, so I figured it needed to be fixed.

Old Coat Lining - armholes  Old coat lining - arms

Old coat lining - inside

Pretty awful, right?

I figured that, as long as I was replacing the lining, I might as well replace it with something a little more exciting than plain old black.  I had a bunch of orange lining material left over from our wedding, so I decided that I’d spice up the inside of the coat with a liner in my favorite color.  Plus, it somehow seemed appropriate to be working with the colors orange and black for an October project.  (The parallel seemed extra apt as I was frantically working to finish the project on Halloween.)

cutting new coat liningMy hope was that I could remove the current lining and use the pieces as a pattern for the new lining.  My only concern was that the current lining was so ripped that it would be hard to determine what shape they were supposed to be.  After I carefully removed the old lining, I ironed it and determined that it was intact enough to use as a pattern for the new lining.  I marked the pieces with instructions about which panel of the lining each piece was so that I wouldn’t get confused about what I had.  This turned out to be a very good idea since I didn’t get to sewing until a few days later.

new coat liningCreating the lining was pretty simple and took me very little time.  It seemed to fit right, and although I struggled a bit with the armholes (and didn’t quite get them the way I wanted them) I was feeling pretty smug about how easy this project was and how quickly I was going to get it done.  Then I attached the lining to the coat.

As it turned out, the new lining wasn’t quite the right size.  It was a little less wide than the original lining and seemed to be too long.  I really don’t understand how this happened since I used the old lining as a pattern for the new lining, but so it goes.  Adventures in sewing.

bottom of liningIt wasn’t enough to make it not fit, but it did mean that I had to change up the way that the lining was finished at the bottom.  Originally, it had been sewn to the bottom of the coat instead of hanging free, but when I sewed the new lining, it caused the bottom of the coat to balloon and hang funny.  The problem only really existed on the right side of the coat, so after several attempts at ripping out the seam, trying to match it up differently, having my sewing machine act up by eating thread, fixing the problem (for now) and cursing like a sailor, I gave up and decided to leave the bottom of the right side free (see picture above right).  It mostly seemed to solve the problem, and at 12:15 a.m., I really didn’t care.

I also hadn’t paid close attention to how the back vent was assembled, so I had to make that up. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do it the way it was originally done, but it looks fine, so I’m not worried about that.

After all that, I think it turned out pretty well.  It’s not the most well-executed project I’ve done, but at least now I won’t be worried that I’m being silently judged by the coatroom attendant.  Plus, it gives me a little extra joy to wear my coat knowing that it has an orange lining.  It’s all business on the outside, but it’s a party on the inside!  Just like me?  Maybe.

finished coat - new lining  inside coat panel


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