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The Kermit-Green Jacket

As you all may know, I shop vintage and thrift shops, for fun and style. This green jacket was an item that kept speaking to me during some visits to the local Salvation Army. I initially resisted its advances, because of a case of severe wear along the edges. The amount of time it remained unsold was probably because others were put off by the worn edges as well.

However, I finally gave in and bought it, and figured out this fix, which will give it new life. The fix is to unravel the fabric at the edges, giving the jacket a brush fringe. If this looks familiar, it was inspired by an article I did a while back, in the tailoring series, called “Brush Fringe”.

As you can see in this photo and the next, there’s severe wear along the edges. This photo is the collar/hood area. The collar and hood have a facing, so there’s a seam along the edge.

The entire edge of this garment is topstitched, which makes the rescue easier. If you have a garment that needs this fix but that isn’t topstitched, you will want to topstitch (in this jacket, it’s 5/8 inch from the edge).

This photo shows the wear along the front edge. The front facing was cut as one with the garment, so there’s no seam right along the front edge, just a fold of fabric.

I’ll treat the front edge first, as it’s the easier of the two to do. Begin by simply cutting the fabric along the fold. This photo shows the edge after cutting, which reveals that there’s some interfacing caught in the topstitching.

Trim the excess interfacing as close as possible, to the machine topstitching–don’t cut off the seam…

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  1. User avater
    rakijaa | | #1

    Brilliant! I buy from the thrift shops, and remake garments almost exclusively for my own wear now. This is a great tip-thank you.

  2. mags | | #2

    Kenneth, what a wonderful tip -- that jacket has many more seasons of good wear left in it, thanks to you!

  3. GorgeousThings | | #3

    What a great idea! This is something I would do, sitting on the couch watching football games.

  4. AletaD | | #4

    Kenneth, you are absolutely brilliant! And what's great about your instructions is that there is never a doubt about how to do what you're describing. Those are some of the very best photos and arrows. Thank you!

  5. User avater
    joannely | | #5

    I guess this would work for worn cuffs as well for a ladies' jacket. You are so clever!
    Thanks for being so inspiring.

  6. dpog | | #6

    What an easy creative fix. Just brilliant! Thanks for sharing.

  7. nanacosta | | #7

    Mr King........really.........your have done a wonderfull job with that jacket!!! added a whole new "personality" into this garment!! love it, and.....love the color!!!! mmmmm

  8. SueV | | #8

    Great idea! I just want to add one thing: As with all thrift store/garage sale/rummage sale finds, if the garment is wool, take it to the dry cleaners first or hand wash if possible. If you don't plan to work on it right way, put it in a plastic bag and seal it tightly until you get it cleaned.

    These garments of unknown orgin can have moth eggs in them which can contaminate your other woolens. Plus, cleaning will reveal moth damage that didn't show up beforehand.

    If it turned out to be badly moth damaged, you would save your time. In case it just had a little moth damage and you decided to finge it anyway, you could use the fringe threads you pulled to reweave the holes.

  9. User avater
    kennethdking | | #9

    I'm glad you all liked this tip--I felt rather clever when I came up with it, as I really liked the green, and this jacket wouldn't let me leave it behind.

    To Sue: Yes I take all my thrift finds to the cleaners. If you want to kill the moth eggs and such, you can also take that sealed bag, and throw it into the freezer for three or four days, and do the same thing. I learned that from a friend who owned parrots and saved the feathers (also a protein fiber attractive to moths). Of course, since I don't cook, my freezer is free for this sort of thing.

    To Joannely--yes, this works for cuffs as well, and I had to do it for this jacket--good call there!

  10. cathycreations | | #10

    Gosh how I just love those thrift stores and garage sales!! Best ot the best are Estate Sales with clothing from a gone-by era.

    I just love what was done with this jacket. Since your fringing article, Kenneth, I have tried it with various fabrics. Of course some are not only easier but look better too.

    My purse and accessories business is based on the premise that at least 75% of the fabric and findings are from recycled stock.

    The more tricks and ideas, the more creative I can be. And I just LOVE that. My sales reflect what all of you at threads give me, tips and inspiration.

  11. Decoratenu | | #11

    I agree about getting these cleaned before letting a pre-used garment from coming into contact with your wardrobe. As for any other damage/ moth holes that might show up, you could always use the opportunity to embellish the garment. Look for pre-made patches, scraps of matching/ contrasting fabrics to create a theme or crafty-look, another easy embellishment: wool roving/ hand or machine embroidery. It would be a shame NOT to use it after cleaning just because of a "bad" spot! Thanks for another great idea, Kenneth!

  12. sunnysewsit | | #12

    OK - neat idea. But now I want to see you wearing it, Kenneth!

  13. Ann1 | | #13

    I am going to have to start shopping the clothing at thrift stores -- what a great idea for worn edges. I especially appreciate the great photos, the step-by-step makes it very clear! Thank you!

  14. User avater
    LebecEgirl | | #14

    Great Job Kenneth!

    I too have been shopping the thrift stores and have found some really good finds! With a little imagination, you can transform the garment!

  15. Villa_for2 | | #15

    I enjoyed your article and I will add these tips to my notebook.
    I enjoyed altering a black Persian lamb jacket, from Ebay, recently. The sleeves were too tight so I removed the fur from underneath the collar, and used velveteen instead, and had 2" gussets made, from the fur underneath the arms of the coat. ( I couldn't sew leather with my machine.) It fits well and it came with extra dressy buttons and handstiched lining.

    I have a 1940s magazine article of four different ways women added velveteen to wool suits during WWII to prolong their wear. It was used on lapels, collars, sleeves, and waist to extend length, that was hidden by the jacket.

    I altered one summer suit I bought at a department store, the skirt was too short and the jacket covered the lining material I used to lengthen it.

  16. SueV | | #16

    Hello again.

    A question for Villa for 2: Any chance you could pass that 1940s article onto the rest of us somehow? I'm thinking a copy scanned into a pdf, although that might not work for a number of reasons.

    Or maybe just a photocopy sent to the Threads editors so they can post it or update the techniques and write an article about it?

    I too love these old vintage clothes and often find them really cheap at various sales, if only for one simple reason: There are few buyers because women of the past (especially prior to modern food distribution), were much slimmer and we modern women are...ahem... well... not so much these days.

    I am not overweight but sometimes I look at a vintage garment and think, "I couldn't even get my thigh into that waistline!" My mother, who was 5'8", weighed 118 pounds when she married in her early 30s at the end of WWII. She had no eating disorder - she just walked 10 miles to and from work each day (often on bitterly cold or very hot days) and ate the food that was available at the time.

    An article on how to increase the size of these garments might be very useful to us all. This kind of information is hard to come by these days.

  17. User avater
    copperwoman | | #17

    Wow, Kenneth! You've done it again! I'm going back to the thrift store right away to see if the basket-weave tomato red jacket is still there for $3.00. It has just the same problem, but additionally the style is too conservative for me. If I do this, and change the buttons, it will probably be "done" and perfect. If it's still there, I'll post it when done. I have on hand another thrift store jacket that is brand new gorgeous purple wool. I plan to bead and embroider or whatever on it, perhaps after altering it a bit. Thank you,long-lost Thrift Store/Save-It Sibling. Luckily, we are a very large and growing family, and know how to share.

  18. User avater
    ustabahippie | | #18

    FABULOUS IDEA for my recycling/upcycling class! You always come up with the best techniques...just when I need them.

  19. maggiebell | | #19

    Green is also a favorite color of mine and, as I have found in the shoe business, not a usual favorite. Therefore, it should be easy to find at a Thrift Store---or near impossible. I'm green with envy and love the rebirth of a well loved/worn jacket.

  20. User avater
    Sewista | | #20

    I'm heartbroken! I gave a much loved and well worn red melton pea coat to the GW. If only I had know!! Your solution is brilliant and thank again for your always clear and clever instruction.

  21. User avater
    EvilKaneedle | | #21

    Love this idea and have used it as a quick fix for some of my own mistakes as well.

  22. butis | | #22

    Mr. King: what a great idea. I love to buy vintage clothes and next time I find some worn out edges, I will remember your royal advice. Thanks

  23. sewingcats | | #23

    Mr. King you've given every one a GREAT TIP! I shop at Thrift stores and Estate sales too...so this is so good to know....(wish I had known this a long time ago!).
    Again, Thanks again!

  24. Rabia | | #24

    Yes, I agree: The "King" has done it again: come up with (there is no other word for it) BRILLIANT idea! Nice to know he's a fellow "thrift store habitue" as well!

    P.S.: Mr King, are you IRISH? I know you have another GREEN jacket; there's that one you used for a Threads article a while back: the green tweed one with the burgundy/gold brocade lining (gawd, that looked STUNNING.) Ha, coincidentally, I JUST found a Chinese jacket in the very SAME brocade design at a thrift store this week, except that it's BLACK and gold.)

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