I have so many coats & jackets but I wanted a mid length coat warm enough for the Spring & smart enough for a forthcoming trip to London. I have a lovely floor length grey one but its length, while great for deep winter, can be problematic when nipping about town.

Trawling the charity shops I hoped I’d find what I had in mind… a three quarter length, close knit, plain coloured coat. I looked in six shops before I found a suitable candidate. I was so tempted by a Karen Millen coat but decided the weave was just too open & woolly although I liked its brown tones, but I stuck to my ideal. Sooner or later it always turns up!

I found a grey coat for £8.50. It wasn’t perfect admittedly but the colour & material was right. I didn’t like the buttons- but this was an easy fix! I planned to remove the pocket tabs  so just need 6 new buttons. As it turned out the replacement buttons (red with a lip motif) cost almost as much as the coat, but they have transformed it! Buttons are always a simple fix.

Rather than cut the pocket tabs off (leaving a rough edge), I simply turned them inwards and hand stitched them to the reverse of the pocket front.

Although the original length of the coat wasn’t too bad I decided that I wanted to make it a few inches shorter. It’s always a little daunting doing this. By now I had sewn the buttons in place – would altering the hem ruin the coat? 

I began by unpicking the lining before cutting 3in off the coat material . It was a wool mix and easy to cut. I ‘zigzagged’ the raw edge on my sewing machine. Rather than turn a hem (which would be bulky), I edged the hem in red (making a length of bias binding for the purpose). 

Once this was done I reduced the lining, hemming it but not stitching it to the coat (as originally done). If you get the lining wrong it pulls the coat fabric out of shape.

After the coat surgery I’m really pleased with the final look!


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