Saving Savile Row Coat

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 Last autumn I was asked  to repair an old hunting coat for a friend. I don’t usually do repairs – especially if the items were not made by me, but it was a favour and I agreed. The coat arrived in the post a few days later and I must say it was only then that I realized the scope of the necessary repairs. After a few long phone conversations with the owner we agreed on what could be done. The jacket is vintage and very much damaged – the repairs were to prolong its life, but preserve as much as possible out of the original. Not an easy task.  Still – the jacket was quality – after all, it turned out it was made in Savile Row, and the quality of the original workmanship showed.  So worth a try…

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Working on the jacket was not the most pleasant task ( I did have to air it for a few days first..), but it turned out to be very rewarding – not only because an old and tattered thing was given a new(ish) life, but also because taking bits apart revealed the secrets of the Savile Row tailors – so very educational!

 First, the coat before:

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the innards…

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the hem was worn threadbare, falling apart. the lining of the skirt part of the jacket was not in a bad shape, salvageable.

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Shoulder – lining in pieces, showing a nicely stitched padding

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pockets – lining needed replacement

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armpits….

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buttonholes….

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hem at the front

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upper back of the jacket…

 There was a lot to be done… and difficult to see where to start – but after putting all the jobs on the list, some sort of order started to emerge.

 The list of things to be done:

 * buttonholes reinforced

  *pocket flaps relined and edges reinforced

* hem tidied ( trimmed and folded anew, taking 1 inch of the jacket length as agreed with the owner

 *collar reinforced at the back

*repair the underarms 0 outside and inside lining

 *lining – cut away damaged bits, patch up with similar fabric. preserve all original bits that can still work

 and the work in progress..

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buttonholes first

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unpicking and trimming the hem

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working on the front bottom part – revealing the layers of the original construction. most of it was handstitched

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machine stitching securing some of the layers of linen lnterlining

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working on the lining

 And the results….

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breast pocket looking a bit more presentable

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lining patched, repaired and stitched back in place

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pocket re-lined…

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and edges tidied

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and collar outside tidied and protected with cotton tape

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altogether – not too bad for the first repair job! 🙂

 It was a struggle, but i have learnt a lot ( i am not a tailor and haven’t got a clue about modern clothes  tailoring and construction techniques, so that was definitely  something new for me. Plus, I hope the owner will enjoy a few more seasons in her old trusted friend of a jacket:-)

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2 thoughts on “Saving Savile Row Coat

  1. You did a fantastic job, especially for a first job with no tailoring experience. I did a similar job years ago before I had any tailoring classes. Looking back, I realize how daunting it was but, hey, back then, I had no clue. Thanks for bringing back fun memories and a really big thank you for posting such wonderful photos. I still learn things from your blog. You be really proud of yourself now, you deserve it!

  2. That is a wonderful repair job, especially since it was the first time for you! I always love to see old clothes getting a new life, I hate to think of people throwing out amazing items because of some wear and tear!

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