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Topic: the Sherlock Polar Vortex coat  (Read 35327 times)
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I like to make wearable things out of things that aren't wearable.
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« on: January 21, 2014 07:45:53 PM »

Living in Chicago when the Polar Vortex is at play is no laughing matter. With -14 degree Fahrenheit temperatures and wind chill that makes it feel like its -50, theres no room to mess around with staying warm. Unfortunately, I am a picky soul, and I can never bring myself to simply go to the North Face and buy a bland, puffy down coat, no matter how warm it will keep me. Not to mention the fact that my bank account cannot afford a luxury like that.

Luckily for me I have ingenuity and an extensive sewing prowess on my side.

When I moved back to Chicago last fall my dad offered up his huge, heavy wool coat that he had bought from some military surplus store back in the 60s. He had used it to stay warm through the frigid Boston winters of his youth, so it was only fitting that it should find its way to Chicago to keep me safe from the Arctic temperatures. I was given free reign to do with it as I saw fit.
But I knew that wool alone would not keep me warm enough, so I went scavenging until I found a full-length down coat at Goodwill. I cannot spend $500 on a good winter coat, but I can spend $50. I decided the best thing to do would be to combine them into one coat that would be capable of both appearing semi-stylish and keeping me cozy as possible.

So with much hefting and seam ripping and combining I managed to bring together one coat, with a woolen shell and a down interior, lined with silk polka dots and orange taping (because I am not one for subtlety). While I tailored the entire coat to fit me, tapering the waist and shoulder width while shortening the sleeves, I made sure to maintain original features. All of the original buttons are still on, the epaulettes have been moved to the cuffs, and the original pleat in the back was used as inspiration for the now-elaborate pleating that I created.

As a final feather in my cap, while I was working on it I researched the buttons (one holds the initials NFS while all of the others are three sprawling lions) I discovered that this is an original coat from the National Fire Service in England. Which I find highly appropriate, given the fact that once I put on the finished product, I noticed it held a remarkable similarity to Sherlocks flipped-collar coat.

The game is afoot, Polar Vortex.

Sherlock Coat by graceduVal, on Flickr

And because this is always fun, here are the two coats BEFORE:

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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2014 07:52:50 PM »

Nicely done!  Congrats on your stylish new coat.  It looks very flattering on you in the pictures.

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    « Reply #2 on: January 21, 2014 09:17:49 PM »

    Gorgeous! I'm totally jealous of people who can sew and make lovely flattering items out of shapeless lumps of fabric.
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    « Reply #3 on: January 21, 2014 10:08:38 PM »

    What a gorgeous coat! Stylish and warm. The best of both worlds.
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    « Reply #4 on: January 21, 2014 10:59:00 PM »

    That is one epic coat!!
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    « Reply #5 on: January 22, 2014 12:29:40 AM »

    Ah, I'm a bit sad that this was reconstructed with your own amazing sewing talent and that there's no pattern you can point me to. I have an amazing ankle length wool coat that I bought second hand and have been wearing the last seven winters. You read that right: seven years on me, and it was already second hand. I still get compliments on it from time to time, because the cut is amazing, but it's getting too worn out. Pilling in lots of places, cuffs and collar wearing out, thinning on my bottom, etc. This is the second winter in a row that I'm looking for its replacement, but the longest to be found in the stores right now is just above knee-length, and even those are very rare at that.

    The coat you just made however, is SOOOOOOOOO pretty I really want it too. It's a masterpiece, it doesn't look bulky at all (and that's an accomplishment with down linings!) it accents your waist, nicely accentuates your bottom and doesn't crush your bosom. You're getting a THIS ROCKS Smiley
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    « Reply #6 on: January 22, 2014 03:48:03 AM »

    Epic reconstruction and the coat is so stylish.  Smiley
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    « Reply #7 on: January 22, 2014 05:47:15 AM »

    Awesome work! It came out amazing.
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    « Reply #8 on: January 22, 2014 06:37:53 AM »

    Fantastic! thank you for the before pics as from looking at the after pic no one would ever guess  Grin
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    « Reply #9 on: January 22, 2014 08:32:52 AM »

    Absolutely beautiful! You are an amazing tailor. This rocks.
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