Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New lining for a vintage coat!

I have decided to start the new year with something old! Let's start with a little story...

Last year, my Mister found a vintage woolen coat in a second hand shop. It was pure luck! It has a great shape and the outside wool was in a great state. After a bit of research, we found out that it was a Dutch Police coat from the 60's or 70's. We had a few clues on the buttons and on a label that I kept religiously. Anyway, Mister has been wearing it for a year, almost every colder day. The problem with him is that he tends to put things in his pockets, and that is how it started. I agreed to fix his pockets and I took a look yo the whole thing. The conclusion was bad!

- The side of both pockets were torn.
- The buttons have fallen and have been sewn back through the lining, with uneven inside small buttons.
- The lining was worn out along the seams and hems. Used to the cord.
- The lining also became washed out in spots that encounter more friction.

All washed out around the neck.


Different inside buttons

So worn out

The arm hole was ripped and/or torn

Hems over-used

Tearing pocket


1) Dry clean the coat!
2) Remove the buttons
3) Carefully remove the lining
4) Trace the seam and hem lines on the old lining and iron
5) Trace the pattern
6) Fix pockets
7) Reinforce the fabric where the buttons will go back and sew them
8) Copy the pattern on the new lining fabric
9) Sew two inside welt pockets
10) Assemble  the pieces of the main body and assemble the sleeves (while keeping them off the body)
11) Sew lining along the facing and secure at the armholes
12) Sew sleeves lining from the wrist up and, finally, at the armholes
13) Hem

Mister has chosen a new lining fabric. What do you think?

Navy blue with thin white stripes

The buttons

While I happily did the first steps, it gets harder... Especially as my bobbin thread is playing mean tricks to me! When I use my machine (Serger Tradition, the basic one) to straight stitch AND zigzag, I have the same problem: the thread jumps or falls out of the bobbin.
- It happens irregularly. I can sew for days without it happening, but then, other days it keeps on jumping every 5 minutes.
- It does not seam related to the thread type (I have always used Gutermann).
- Playing with the tension does not seem to help either.
- It happens less if the bobbin is fully loaded.
Do you have any experience that is related?
Am I doing something wrong?


  1. (raises hand a la welcome back kotter) oh me, me!

    a very knowledgeable sewing lady recently told me that gutermann has started manufacturing their thread in mexico, at a lower quality. i've noticed that my newer spools sometimes have little tufts in them, these tufts get jammed in the bobbin case and out it jumps. probably not the problem, but i thought it was interesting...

    happy to find your blog through burdastyle!

  2. Oooh, ambitious! I have done in the lining on several great coats over the years (although my habit of wearing backpacks tends to ensure that I destroy the shell fabric at about the same rate, so I haven't had to replace one... yet. Sewaholic did a post on re-lining a vintage jacket a while back, though I imagine you already know that ;). I like your new lining!

    The jumping bobbin tends to happen to me when I put the bobbin into its case backwards. Not always (maybe depending on how much thread is on the bobbin... I haven't looked at that) but sometimes if I put it in backwards it will pop right out again and again.

    Good luck! (I love that lining fabric)

  3. are you using a plastic bobbin, pumpkin? or a metal one? try switching to either one. a plastic one could be too light and a metal one could be too heavy.

  4. @ Psycho Sue: I am using a plastic one... Next time I go to the sewing shop, I'll get metal ones, a good thing to try.
    @oonaballoona: It is so bad for Gutermann! And for me as I have just invested in a few 1000m rolls of black, of white, and of grey thread!
    @ tanitisis: I now remember the Sewaholic post, I have just re-read it ;). Next time the bobbin jumps, I'll check if it is not backwards...

  5. Sorry, can't help with the bobbin jumping out, I have some thread and tension issues with my machine, very annoying! But I cannot wait to see how your lining turns out!

  6. Sometimes just changing to a new needle solves irky little problems like this!

  7. Wow! I have exactly the same coat with exactly the same wear. Impossible to replace. Might have to get my needle and thread out!


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