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The Tango Coat

I call this coat “The Tango Coat” because it is quite big and long and it feels somehow a bit dramatic. One of those garments that would work well for a portrait photographer, even on a stage. I don’t know, it is a very beautiful coat.

This is an Yves Salomon coat, maybe from last year’s autumn/winter collection. If the fur bothers you, no worries! It is just good old fake fur that feels surprisingly pleasant to the touch.

A few days ago, the owner of this charmer asked me to shorten the sleeves, the hem and taking in a bit on the sides. But today, I’m only going to talk you about shortening the sleeves.

Before we begin, I just want to say that I love working pieces like these and I also love documenting the process …. that’s why we’re here right?. All that said, let me tell you, working on this piece was not easy at all.

Even though I love working on beautiful garments like this one, I never get used to the fact that they’re quite expensive pieces, I never fully feel at ease altering them. Although I do get excited every time because I want to learn how they were made, there’s always a little finishing detail to discover. Definitely, no disappointments here. By the way, thanks for reading me up until here, let’s see how this went:

Process

1.ー I unstitched the bottom hem of the coat in order to be able to pull out the sleeves and be able to work them with precision.

Tip: Pulling out the sleeve through the bottom hem helps me reduce the margin of errors when re-matching seams, the less I unstitch, the less chances of making any mistakes.

2.ー Before unstitching the sleeves, it is important to have a fairly accurate idea of how the original hem was made and thus repeat the same steps.

Tip: Sometimes it helps a lot to take a photo of the original work

This coat had the peculiarity of having a strip of fake fur at the end of the sleeves. The way this strip was sewn, as you can see in the video above, I believe intended to avoid pressing the strands of the fake fur and ultimately to prevent it from fraying. So, they didn’t seam pieces together respecting seam allowances. Instead, this is actually what they did:

  • Before seaming the fur and the end of the sleeve together, they first folded the end of the sleeve inwards 1 cm
  • Then edge stitched 2mm from the fold. (image 1)
  • Overlapped the edge stitched end of the sleeve and the fur and machine stitched both pieces together making sure the fur wasn’t crushed by the seam.
  • Then they overlocked the seam

Image 1
Image 2

Now that I had a clear idea on how the hem was made, I proceeded to unstitch.

3.ー I cleaned the remaining threads and proceeded to mark the new height of the sleeve, pleated the entire length of the edge of the sleeve, dressed a little and made the edge seam.

4.ー Then repeated the actions described in Step 2 and repeated the same procedure on the inner lining side

I hope I inspired you to fix that piece you thought was way to difficult to try to!

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