Labor of Love – Nana’s Coat

When I was at the dentist’s earlier this year, Julie, my dental hygenist, asked me if I could take a look at a coat that needed relining. Note to self. When you are known to be a sewer, and someone says, “Can you take a look at…”, what they really mean is, “I’m going to bring this to you and by looking at it you tacitly agree that you are going to do the work I want done.” Let me just preface rest of this story by saying point blank, I hate sewing for other people. I’m a member of ASDP, so you would think I like sewing for others, right? Wrong. I hate it. But when the other person in question is poking around your head with sharp instruments, what do you say? You say “yes”.

So Julie brought the coat in the next time I was in with the boys. Said coat is a vintage Persian Lamb. And it has a lovely story. As it turns out, this coat belonged to Julie’s Nana. She didn’t know it until she looked at the lining and saw the monogrammed name of her grandmother. This coat has very special meaning to her. While I may detest sewing for other people, the charm and sentimentality of doing this job made it far more fun.

Pattern Description: I didn’t use a pattern. This was all drafted from the existing lining. It was in bad shape, so I had to do a fair amount of guesstimating, but it worked out okay.

Sizing: This was a coat from the 1940s or early ’50s, so I don’t know the exact size. It’s probably the equivalent of a modern day size 10.

Fabric Used: The coat was originally lined with a rayon lining. It had frayed very badly at the shoulders and seams. I used a Lightweight Brocade in Shimmery Burgundy from Gorgeous Fabrics:

Construction notes: I took the original lining apart at the seams on one half and used that as my pattern. I left the other half intact so I could see the way it was constructed. I sewed the side seams, shoulders and sleeves by machine, then inserted it by turning the coat inside out on Shelley and sewing the lining to the coat and sleeves by hand.

I saved the monogram of Julie’s Nana’s name and made an appliqué, backing it with a rounder of the brocade. Then I sewed that to the right front lining before sewing the rest of the lining together.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Not if I can avoid it! But I am quite pleased with how it turned out. You can see the lining side out here:

Here is the coat from the outside, with the lining exposed:

Conclusion: Once I got going on this, it was a very easy project. Time consuming, but easy. While I don’t like sewing for others, I did enjoy doing this for Julie and preserving a treasured heirloom for her. I think she’ll like it. I’ll see her in the next couple of weeks, so I’ll let you know then.

Happy sewing!

About Gorgeous Things

I own an online fabric store, www.gorgeousfabrics.com. Everything else you need to know about me is what I tell you on my blog, darlings!
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