Adventures in Tailoring: Adding ribbed cuffs to a vintage camel hair coat and straps to a dress
Remember how I bought a few vintage items in December 2013 and then wanted to get them tweaked a little?
Here are the results:
VINTAGE JAEGER 100% CAMEL HAIR DOUBLE BREASTED COAT
ORIGINAL COST: $157.19
This is what the coat looked like before. Super soft camel hair (feels like cashmere), very comfortable, double-breasted (you can button up the double-breasted feature on either side!!) and the only little tiny thing was that the sleeves were too short.
I thought about wearing long gloves with it, a long sweater, or trying to figure out something with the sleeves to make them stylish without being awkward and saw this Sonia Rykiel coat retailing for $950, and decided to take inspiration from it and add ribbed cuffs!
This is what it looks like after I picked up a pair of T-Max thermal socks in a matching-but-not-exact colour from Marks Work Wearhouse, brought them in to a tailor and asked her to make ribbed cuffs out of them:
ALTERATIONS COST = $62.15 after taxes
- $11.30 ($10 before taxes) — For the socks from Marks Work Wearhouse (I picked thick, ribbed socks)
- $50.85 ($45 before taxes) — Tailoring to add in the ribbed cuffs
FINAL COST OF COAT: $219.34
- $157.19 — For the vintage coat
- $62.15 — For Alterations
I am pretty pleased with the result!!
It is of course not as perfect as the Sonia Rykiel coat because I added the ribbed cuffs on AFTER the fact, and I’m sure the Rykiel coat has them sewn in from the elbows down, and they didn’t use cheap stretchy socks from a store, but probably bought real ribbed fabrics to make cuffs out of them.
Still, the result is exactly what I wanted, my arms will stay warm and I do not need to wear gloves.
VINTAGE BLUE AND WHITE STRIPED COTTON DRESS
ORIGINAL COST: $35
It’s a really cute dress that pretty much fit me perfectly as-is. I like the flouncy bottom, the fact that all the stripes are not going the same way and the whole look of it.
LOOK I WAS TRYING TO ACHIEVE
I really hated those cheap, stretchy white bra strap things on the dress. Yes, I could wear it as a strapless dress (they were removable) but I hate strapless dresses as well (I’m always tugging up the front part).
Anyway, those cheap bra straps only made my shape (inverted triangle) look like I have even larger/wider shoulders, and in general it just cheapened the whole dress.
I wanted actual straps so they wouldn’t slip off my shoulder, fall down or otherwise look crappy. I thought about using white cotton fabric but ultimately decided it would look too odd with white straps on a blue and white striped dress…unless I also decided to add white cotton fabric at the bottom hem or as the belt for a matching trim.
I LOVE IT EVEN MORE!
I love that the stripes go up in another direction, the bust is horizontal, and the torso and skirt area are not straight stripes but on a diagonal.
Now I don’t have to worry about the dress straps falling down (they’re quite thick and secure) and the overall look is fabulous for me.
A perfect summer dress.
ALTERATIONS COST: $28.25 after taxes
- $28.25 ($25 before taxes) —
Usedsacrificed the belt that came with the dress.
FINAL COST OF DRESS: $63.25
- $35 — Original cost of the dress
- $28.25 — Alterations Cost
One of the best decisions I’ve ever made regarding adding straps to a dress. Sometimes my plans don’t work out, but this one did.
I had also thought about folding the belt in half to make the straps thinner and not as wide, but ultimately decided the wider the better (for my shoulders anyway). Glad I went with my gut instinct.
VINTAGE PIECES ROCK! I <3 HIGHER QUALITY & LOWER PRICES
I am pretty much guaranteed that these two pieces don’t exist anywhere else in the world because if they did, they may not have made the same choices I did with the tailoring.
I also like that now they’re pieces that are classic and timeless in my wardrobe for a fraction of the price that I would have paid had I tried to buy them at retail.
I’m fairly sure a jacket like that 100% camel hair one (with the soft camel hairs not the cheap scratchy guard hairs) would easily sell for $2000 or more at retail.
Max Mara has a wrap camel hair coat I was lusting a while back that is super soft like cashmere but was NOWHERE near as thick and as cosy as this vintage Jaeger one , and it retailed for $2000 CAD at Holt Renfrew!
This blue and white striped dress for me, if it had been made by an independent designer, being 100% cotton, fully-lined and perfectly fitted, not to mention the work that went into making those stripes go on a diagonal and match up like that, would retail brand new for at least $100 if not $250 in some stores.
(I shop a lot, and I see similar dresses for that price.)
Otherwise, you’re looking at polyester creations that won’t look quite as nice.