Posts tagged "coat"

How can I reuse or recycle an old leather jacket/coat?

We’ve had an email from Linzi:

What can I do with an old leather jacket? It’s really dated now.

If it’s really dated, keep it – it’ll probably come back into fashion next week ;) More seriously, someone might want it for a vintage look – or for a fancy dress party – perhaps offer it to a charity shop, ideally one with a “vintage” section (or a charity shop chain that has vintage shops – like Oxfam or BHF).

Any suggestions for reuses if it’s not suitable for passing on? We’ve already covered scraps of leather and a leather/suede purse – some of the reuses/upcycling ideas for those may apply to the jacket too — make it into a purse, bag or belt, scraps can be added to glove palms or tool handles to improve grip and bigger jackets could be made into cushion covers or to cover basic storage boxes to make them more stylish. A couple of weeks ago, we also mentioned Mes Footwear – a footwear company in Newcastle, who turn old jackets into new shoes. My father-not-in-law has made numerous pairs of bellows in his time and uses scrap leather from sofas for that – would a back of a leather jacket would probably work in the same way.

Any other ideas that make particular use of it being jacket shaped now?

How can I freshen up a tired winter coat?

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted an article someone was promoting on Twitter about “sprucing up your tired winter coat“. Ooh! I thought, I like sprucing! It’s a great way to upcycle & reduce after all — but when I clicked over to the article, I found the sprucing involved the addition of various belts, brooches and doohickeys, which is fine but not very me.

For me, it’s both a “repair this” and “reduce this” type question – how can I refresh that tired winter coat so I don’t need to buy a new one? I think it’s important that it not just so that it looks better but that I feel better about it too.

I basically have three coats for throughout the year – a light cotton hoodie (which I wear most of the year), an expensive-for-me big super-warm cotton parka type coat for freezing days, and a cheaper, shorter “wool” one which I wear when it’s not quite so cold and I need to look a bit neater than in the parka.

So how can I freshen those up?

For me, there are two main areas that get tired dirty – my cuffs and my pockets. The hoodie gets thrown into the wash regularly, hurrah for cotton. The parka & wool one aren’t as easily washable, especially mid-winter but spot-washing on the cuffs improves things a lot. As for the pockets, I treat my pockets like some women treat their handbags – a site for the accumulation of detritus. This is sometimes good (I found a fiver in my parka coat when I put it on the first time this year!) but mostly bad (crumbs of dog biscuts, bits of paper, sticky sweets). Emptying out the junk & cleaning out the crumbs and dirt from the pockets won’t make it look any better (although a lot of junk does ruin the line of the coat), but it’ll make it feel better for me and enjoy using it more.

Another thing: my wool one – it’s not 100% wool but wool-heavy and it’s that heavy woollen style – is bobbly. A bit of combing with a debobbler would make it look a lot tidier. I suspect there will also be some snags too which could be tidied up. I’m also going to debobble/de-snag my scarves, gloves & mittens for good measure.

Yet another thing: the zips on my hoodie and parka coat have been playing up recently – I could secure the bottom zip section in place with a couple of stitches and rub a little soap on the teeth to stop them snagging, and it would make zipping up a less frustrating experience.

Another, more involved thing: the lining on the wool-ish one has always bugged me – it’s icky polyester and now it’s torn a little too. I could use an old fun-patterned shirt to replace it – using the original lining as a pattern – an upcycling idea and revamp in one.

So that’s what I do/will be doing. Have you got any ideas for ways to freshen up an old coat?

(Photo by sh0dan)

How can I reuse or recycle a vinyl coat?

vinyl-coatWe’ve had an email from Maggie:

I’ve seen all your suggestions for reusing clothes but I’ve got an old coat that’s vinyl not cloth. What can be done with that? It’s got a tear right down the arm so can’t go to the charity shop.

If the tear isn’t in a very obviously place (perhaps on the underside or bodyside of the arm), it might be worth trying to repair it. I’ve not tried it but I wonder if, working with it inside out, whether a bicycle wheel puncture repair kit might work. Anyone tried anything like that?

Aside from that, it is certainly worth salvaging the material for use around the home or in craft projects. Obviously it depends on how it is constructed but I’d have thought the back panel would give you a nice flat piece of vinyl, and the sleeves opened out would be pretty good too. Take advantage of the fact it is waterproof and use it to make table protectors, swimming/gym bags, shelf liners – or if you’re very handy with a sewing machine, there will probably even be enough fabric to make a smaller version of the same sort of coat for a child.

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle a fur coat?

Fur coatWe’ve had an email from “the Cleworths”, asking a rather interesting question:

A family member died and we are left with a fur coat that charity shops won’t take and neither will any period clothing outlets.

Any advice as how to pass this on other than taking to dump?

I can see why charity shops won’t take them – even though it’s second hand, it’d still be promoting the idea of fur as clothing – but does that mean the coat should just be dumped?

Is there anything that can be done with it that won’t promote the future use of fur – but stops this fur being wasted?

(Photo by markjhandel)

UPDATE: I’ve just deleted about 40 comments of people trying to buy or sell fur coats. I don’t like censoring discussion but this isn’t the place for it or for organising buying/selling stuff and it’s clogging up the comments list. Any future comments of this nature will be deleted too.