Flying Fox Coat Part 1

This coat has weighed on my mind for the year and a half since we cleared Late Lucy’s house. It was a quality piece, but oh so 80s. There was a coffee stain on the front, so I got it dry cleaned before taking it to the vintage shop to sell on commission. But the shop didn’t want it. I doubted that any op shop would try to sell something so out of date, so if I donated it I’m sure it’d go straight to rags.

It sure was ugly. Like someone took half of a Michael Jackson inspired coat and half of a 80s batwing coat and made a Frankenstein’s monster out of the two.

But it was “100% pure new wool” (well, obvious except for the lining and hideous plastic buttons) and I couldn’t help trying to think of ways to refashion it. Mostly I’d come up against the fact I don’t know or want to learn how to do tailoring, remind myself that I don’t need another coat, then push it to the back of the craft room cabinet.

But since my sewing jape hadn’t exhausted itself, and despite – or perhaps because of – having put my sewing machine in to be serviced, my brain kept returning to the conundrum what to do with it. That impression of two coats forced into one made me wonder what design ideas I might have if I just separated them.

The first good thing about this coat was, I had nothing to lose but the $15 I’d spent on dry cleaning. So I grabbed the Quick-un-pick. Off came the buttons, then the bat-wing sleeve-sides, then the cuffs. I put the bat-wing sleeve-sides onto the dress form on their own. They didn’t meet at the middle, but the gap at the back could be filled with a panel and a collar that swooped down to the hem would fill out the front. Did I want a bat-wing coat? I had a niggling memory that they had come back in fashion, so I searched the internet and found that yes, bat-wing was back in everything from coats to dresses to tops to jumpsuits.

It also seemed to have a cosy, unfussy vibe – like the Tessuti Berlin Coat only with bat-wing sleeves. Or maybe I should tap into the Australian wildlife version and call them flying fox wings? That gave me a better name for the coat than “Late Lucy’s Ugly 80s Coat”!

The second good thing about this coat was that it contained a LOT of fabric. However, I do not wear cream. It makes me look ill. Fortunately, I’d snatched up two packs of Dylon cold dye in ‘black velvet’ at a sale a while back, and I had enough that I might be able to get a nice grey. I like grey whether it’s light, mid or dark so I was sure to get something I liked. Theoretically. I followed the directions and…


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