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A Quick Fix for a Baggy Blue Coat

Here's the back of the coat as it stands now.

Cobalt blue seems to be all over the streets here in Manhattan right now, so when I saw this coat in a thrift store recently, I jumped.

Here’s the back of the coat as it stands now. Its original owner was quite, quite stout, and the coat originally was rather large with a loose belt across the back.

The shoulders fit nicely over tailored jackets which made it a good overcoat for me, but the back of the coat was the problem. I figured that if I pulled it in, the overall silhouette would be more to my liking.

Since I only spent $3.00 for it, I didn’t want to do too much work to get it to fit.

This coat had a drop lining, so there was no handwork needed to get into and out of the lining. I just had to clip a couple of sewing tacks, and pull up the lining to get to where I wanted. I set to work.

Here’s a close-up.

I took the side seams out, which also freed up the belt.

I cut up and used the original belt to make the cord, and purchased grommets from my local hardware store.These grommets are the ones that are used on boat covers, and can be found at your local hardware store.

As the picture shows, it took six grommets to create three drapes. Just follow the directions on the pack to set them. All you need is a hammer.

Before sewing the cord into the side seams, I put the coat on, pulled the cord through the grommets, and experimented with how much to pull in.

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  1. User avater
    Vernelle | | #1

    The end result looks great. I love the idea of
    adding grommets and the drawstring belt. Great

  2. Moonbeams | | #2

    You should have modeled it for us. It's nice to see the garment on the body!


  3. User avater
    eatsallinsects | | #3

    I agree: I would like to see the coat on a model and also the front of the garment.

  4. Cherry_colored_twist | | #4

    Great idea Kenneth! I too would like to see the coat front. You are just the best!

  5. krutter | | #5

    I am wondering about the fit of the sleeves. They look pretty loose and baggy too: how would you address that fitting problem?

  6. User avater
    kennethdking | | #6


    The jacket is a shawl lapel jacket with a really built-up shoulder and flanges (remember those?) to give a real linebacker silhouette. No real news there. This is big, big coat from about 1991. What appeals to me about how gigantic this coat is, is that I can wear it over a blazer AND a sweater. There's plenty of room.

    To Krutter, the silhouette and sheer size of this coat are what account for the really baggy sleeves--there's also a deep, deep armhole. For the little I paid for this jacket, and the silhouette as designed, I'd not touch the sleeves.

    There are times you can't do anything else but a fix to the back, otherwise it impacts the rest of the garment, either looks-wise or fit-wise. This is one of those times.

  7. squrlntkn | | #7

    it is impossible to see what the coat looks like. from the pictures that we have, it looks like a bathrobe. If it was put on a model or even a dress dummy. but let us see both sides of the coat.

  8. huti | | #8

    I would never put garmets on a coat....looks like curtain hung on waist line. I would rather reshape it to fit me.

  9. DKCB | | #9

    Stella McCartney's showing oversize coats for Fall, so get ready!

  10. KharminJ | | #10

    Kenneth ~
    What a great "I'd've never thought of that!" fix.

    True, it would only work for certain styles and certain tastes, but no "fix" for any problem is Universal. A terrific option to have available ~ Thank you!

  11. Stephanie13 | | #11

    What a beautiful shade of blue! I live in a cold climate. It's nice to have a coat several sizes larger to fit over jackets and sweaters. I've used tucks to help control fullness. This is a good idea for more casual coats. Thanks!

  12. NancyKSews | | #12

    Nice solution.

  13. GreatgrandmaB | | #13

    This baggy blue coat reminds me of a hip length white jacket I had in the 1950s. The back was fitted loosely at the shoulders and widened down toward the hips. A gold chain tacked at the waist side seams tamed the back width. The chain links were oval shaped about an inch in length and the chain draped loosely across the back; the dip was about 2 inches. The front of the jacket had a tailored fit. A very comfortable combination.

  14. GreatgrandmaB | | #14
  15. MaterialThing | | #15

    Love the safety pin idea to set the drape...I never would have thought of that! I'd also like to see the coat modeled :)

  16. User avater
    AHH | | #16

    I agree with other comments - it looks like a bath robe.
    Photos with a model, of the front, back, and side, are always better.
    As to how much alteration to do, I don't think price should be the determining factor, but what you have on hand, and what it is you want to create. If you get your materials for free and end up with a fantastic look, all the better. It all comes down to how much you're wiling to spend (time and materials) to create something.

  17. itsjoan | | #17

    Beautiful color...but at first look I did think it was a robe. I like GreatGrandmaB's note of having had a coat with a chain across the back with a slight drop. Similarly, I once had a coat with a self-belt across the back. Which leaves another couple of options...IF the coat were a little too long, to shorten and create a self-belt for the back...or to find a harmonizing fabric and add a turn-back cuff to the sleeves and a belt for the back. Or a third option of a chain or something similar - after browsing thru one's favorite fabric emporium.

  18. user-2120205 | | #18

    I agree with Moonbeam, we need a picture - you know you're our pinup Kenneth!!

  19. User avater
    aidala | | #19

    This article reminds more and more that creativity has no limits. I've been wondering myself how many times the hardware store can come to the rescue of sewers. Its the perfect place to look for findings for bags and more. Great for Kenneth!

  20. User avater
    LuvThreadsMagazine | | #20

    Senor King, you know when to dig in, and when to say when.

    Great use of grommets!

    Another voice in the choir to see "Kenneth D. King - male model".

  21. CarolynSoto1 | | #21

    Kenneth, I always think you are a genius, and I'm sure you look great in your $3 find.

  22. LaurieDiane | | #22

    Very clever...I like the idea of controlling the drapes that way, rather than a random cinching. I just got done refashioning a 90's coat with the flanges that I felt really dated it. It was a beautiful wool and the color very similar. I was able to take out the flanges..which lenthened the sleeves...which were as wide and deep as yours. I removed all the excess under the arm and still ended up with an overcoat that I can pile sweaters under! It was well worth the modification because the wool was so beautiful. Your's was a very creative idea...which I love always reading.

  23. NoraBora | | #23

    There is one word for that jacket: ugly. I wouldn't be caught dead in it.

  24. user-925165 | | #24

    To Norabora:
    Kenneth did not ask if you liked the coat. He is showing us a technique that can be useful for other garments. I appreciate his talent and his generosity in sharing his techniques. If you have nothing useful to add to the discusion...

  25. User avater
    Sewista | | #25

    Your safety pin idea is brilliant. I don't care what the coat looks like. This is a great trick for my toolbox and I know I will use that sewing pin idea at some point. Thanks, once again, Kenneth, for some super inspiration. Do you know how many of your "tools" have ended up in my sewing tool box?

  26. User avater
    kennethdking | | #26

    Thanks for the kind words!

    You get the point about "tools" for your tool box. Tools can be actual items, or ideas, or techniques that you have in your imagination to solve a challenge you have. I'm always telling my students at the Fashion Institute of Technology, that if they know their craft they can do anything.

    The beauty of sewing is that there's always something to learn--that's what has kept my interest for so long.

    By the way, though the coat looks kind-of dowdy on the hanger, it really does look sharp in wearing. But it's a one-season wonder, and I'll be passing it on once the spring sets in.

  27. HappyGenny | | #27

    Thank you for taking the time to post this. It's wonderful to hear ideas like this because even if we don't use them exactly as is, they stimulate related creative ideas. To me that's the real gift of your posts.

    Cheers, and thanks again!

    (To NoraBora: Just because we CAN insult someone doesn't give us license to do so. Besides, it seems mean-spirited to do it to someone who has offered something that others might find useful. Please be courteous.)

  28. User avater
    wicked_stitcher | | #28

    i'm glad i'm not the only thrift store junkie! have recently rec'd a lovely coyote fur coat a friend's pup "eviscerated," w/lotsa retrievable fur. may put strategic grommets hither & yon to make a wrap also. you inspire!

  29. debt777 | | #29

    Kenneth, as always, you have that rare ability to share an idea that keeps giving. The grommet concept led me to think about using a similar treatment on a stretched out sweater cuff.

    A gentle reminder to NoraBora-Leah Holmes: As a wise woman once said, "If you wouldn't want your real name attached to the words, don't say them."

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