How to Alter a Winter Coat

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If your basic black straight-line coat is so last winter, you can make changes that will give it pizzazz and a whole new life. You can add new sleeves and a collar, take up the hem, add belt carriers, fit it to your waist and change out the buttons.

Things You'll Need

  • Your old coat
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Dressmaker paper
  • Marking chalk
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • New material
  • Buttons
  • Remove the sleeves from your coat. If the collar is going to be sacrificed, remove it as well. Open the side seams.

  • Measure your waist and hips. Take the marking chalk and alter the line of the coat by chalking in a new waist and hip shape. Be sure to allow for ease on each seam line. Alter the length to suit yourself by marking the turn line of the hem. You will cut the material 3 inches below to accommodate the hem.

  • Purchase contrasting material to make new sleeves and a collar. To make a shawl collar, you need to mark a spot 6 to 8 inches below the current neckline and measure around the neck to the other side. On your dressmaker's paper draw a pattern for the new shawl collar. If you have lots of material left from shortening your coat, you can line the backside of the shawl collar with that, or just stick to the new material.

  • Alter your sleeves by marking a longer armhole drop. Measure the length around the armhole and on the dressmaker's paper draw a rectangular sleeve the width of the drop, plus a length that will reach your elbow. Allow for a generous 8-inch hem in case you want to turn up the cuff and tack it in place.

  • Sew belt carriers by seaming, then turning 3 by 6 inch material. Cut out a belt tie 4 by 48 inches long, seam and turn, hand stitching the raw edge closed.

  • Reconstruct your coat by sewing on the shawl collar and turned cuff sleeves. Stitch the belt carriers in place. Stitch up the hem. Remove the old buttons and sew on the new ones. Thread the belt in place.

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