Is this wool coat worth tailoring?
February 29, 2012 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Is this wool coat worth tailoring?

I thrifted a wool coat, and I like the fit on the shoulders, the sleeves, and the overall length, but there's like twice the fabric I need in the body. If I belt it, I look pregnant. If I don't belt it, I'm a walking column twice my actual volume. But when I tie the belt loops on the back (so they gather the excess fabric behind them), the front fits me well, only that you know, there's a whole lot of crazy excess pleating at the back.

I've never gotten a coat tailored before, so I was wondering if this is a possible tailoring job.

More infos:

(1) The material is 70% wool, 20% nylon and "mixed" fibres. The fabric seems to be something of a tight knit with no backing (it holds its shape really well), but the panels are actually sewn together. Here's a picture of the back where the sleeve on the right meets the fabric on the back:

(2) I'm not sure where the tailor could take away the excess fabric since the back is just one large cut of fabric. Would that mean that the tailor would have to detach + reattach the sleeves? Is that a trickier job than most?

(3) I don't think the tailor could take much fabric from the front two panels (which are attached to the giant back panel) because there's a giant pocket sewn in on each side, and I like the pocket placement.

(4) There is a lining, but it isn't secured everywhere. When I turn up the wool fabric from the back, it looks like this:

So what do you say? Should I get this tailored, or should I just get a new coat? I got this coat for less than $20 Canadian, so I don't mind spending a bit more (probably $70 max) for tailoring.
posted by Hawk V to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know, but a tailor will not charge you if you go in, ask about the alteration, the details that you'd like to keep (e.g. pocket placement), and if it's possible, and how much it would cost. I've done this several times.
posted by brainmouse at 2:20 PM on February 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you like the coat and you can find a skilled tailor, it would certainly be worth a conversation. Decent coats are expensive. In fact, crappy coats are expensive. So if you have one that you like but which needs a little work, explore that option first.
posted by cool breeze at 2:23 PM on February 29, 2012

Response by poster: @brainmouse: Thanks for the suggestion. I just wanted to ask the internet first because the tailor is in a different city, so I want to know if it's sorta doable before I make the trip.
posted by Hawk V at 2:24 PM on February 29, 2012

Wool is like.... really hard to tailor from what I understand; go w/ the new coat
posted by MangyCarface at 2:34 PM on February 29, 2012

Best answer: MangyCarface, I'm not sure what you're talking about. Woven wools are the gold standard of fabrics used for tailored garments--easy to shape, nice drape, etc. Knits, however, can be difficult to work with, depending on their stability.

What you want is a fairly drastic re-cutting of the coat body, with added seams and significant reshaping. It's doable, but a pretty major undertaking. If I was doing it, the sleeves would certainly come off so I could lay the coat panels flat.
posted by mollymayhem at 2:52 PM on February 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Most wool coats are classic cuts that wear well through different trends. If this is one of those it is definitely worth altering. Even if it ends up costing a bit, considering you got cheap to start out with and now it'll be custom fit to you there's a very good chance you'll keep it forever. Wool is timeless and very easy to work with, I say do it.
posted by Carlotta Bananas at 3:08 PM on February 29, 2012

Best answer: What it looks like to me is that the tailor could detach the side panels from the back panel and make the back panel more rectangular and less trapezoidal.

It's hard to tell quite where the seams are, but in your second picture it appears that if you laid the coat down flat, the back panel below the yoke would be like /__\ and could be cut to |_| instead while not altering the yoke or having to detach sleeves.

If the shoulders fit, you don't want a tailor cutting up as high as the sleeves anyway.
Just have one take out long triangles from the back panel and then reattach to the front panels that have the pockets on them.
posted by rmless at 3:17 PM on February 29, 2012

As the question is "is this wool coat worth tailoring", I'm going to go with a different perspective:
But when I tie the belt loops on the back (so they gather the excess fabric behind them), the front fits me well, only that you know, there's a whole lot of crazy excess pleating at the back.

This is actually a pretty chic style! It can also be great to have a roomy coat when wearing bulkier stuff beneath it. A-line cuts never go out of style, whereas boxy (rectangular/squared) ones do tend to be iffier. Retro looks are huge now, and big, roomy A-line coats are pure 1950s goodness. You can wear them over voluminous skirts, or have them draped open over a sheath dress for volume contrast... This Vogue pattern looks very much like yours; here's another, longer one.
posted by fraula at 1:32 AM on March 1, 2012

Best answer: Yeah I was totally wrong. Ran it past my tailor/dry cleaner on the way home last night- sounds like a 20$ fix
posted by MangyCarface at 6:20 AM on March 1, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the input, everyone. You've convinced me it's worth heading off to the tailor. I'll keep y'all updated. But additional thoughts are still welcome.

@fraula: The Vogue pattern you've linked to is very chic. But I don't think this particular coat could rock that look since to me it's more military than luxe.

Here's the coat from the front:

Here's the coat when it's on me and belted: I am not pregnant. There is merely too much coat on my petite frame.

Here's what I'm hoping it'll look like tailored: That look was achieved by gathering the excess fabric at the back, but unfortunately I can't go out in public like that because it's all funny-looking like this:

So luxe femme coats with no waist are cool, but kinda military coat with no waist? I'm afraid it would look frumpy on me.
posted by Hawk V at 7:30 AM on March 1, 2012

I actually think the gathered-together look that's in your "funny-looking" link is pretty awesome. If you gather it with a nice ribbon or something it will look very feminine and chic and unusual in a good way. I don't know how well that fits with your personal look, but I like it.
posted by biscotti at 8:12 AM on March 1, 2012

« Older I want recipes for Chicken Casseroles, please.   |   What are good SF stories for teaching science? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.