My Red Leather Coat

As I promised a couple of days ago, I’m here to tell you the story of my red leather coat.  It’s a tale of love, disappointment and rebirth.  You’ll love the ending – it’s a happy one.

Years ago, I was a loan officer at a credit union.  Those were my skirts and heels days.  At the time, there was a clothing chain called Lerner’s.  This was also before the internet, so I used to get their catalogs in the mail.  One day, one of those catalogs landed at my house with a long, red leather coat inside.  I was in love. 

leather coat 1

I ordered the coat and waited anxiously for it to arrive.  When it finally did, I was pretty disappointed.  The coat was so stiff, it could stand up by itself.  When I put it on, I couldn’t even move.  But I loved the color and just didn’t want to admit I’d made a mistake.  I hung it in the closet. 

About 18 years later (not kidding!) it still hung there.  I pulled it out every couple of years or so, tried it on, remembered why it was there, and put it back.  A few months ago, I moved it to my craft room.  I decided you can’t really ruin something that’s been with you for that long and NEVER, EVER worn.

I decided to start by shortening it to a jacket.  I cut a large chunk off the bottom, then hung it back up for a few more months.  Ok, maybe I was still a tiny bit intimidated.

leather coat 2

I did a little research on altering leather, but in the end I cowboy-ed it.  Big time.  I pulled the stitching out of the lining enough so I could fold the bottom up an inch. 

leather coat 3

I clipped it up with binder clips.  I stitched from one side to the other, overlapping the top of the leather with the folded-under edge of the lining.  I didn’t take photos of any of that, probably because even I was afraid of what I was doing.

I’ve never sewn leather before, but my little sewing machine was a beast.  Even the parts so thick I could barely fit it under the foot.

I don’t know why, but my crazy attempt actually worked.  Close inspection of the inside gives me away, but I love the way it turned out!

leather coat 4

Because of the cut of the original coat, the jacket ended up with a bit of a peplum effect in the back, which I really like.

leather coat 5

Cutting off all that extra leather really helped with the flexibility of it.  This, I will wear!  See, I told you there would be a happy ending.

Now, you may be asking, what happened to all that leather you cut off the bottom?  Here’s a sneak peek:

leather coat 6

I’ll show you that, and one or two other reincarnations of my red leather coat, next week!

18 thoughts on “My Red Leather Coat

  1. how clever! i would have been afraid, like you, to cut into it, but like you said, how could you go wrong?! i think the other great news here is that you still fit something you bought 18 years ago, AND it’s classic enough that the re-style of it still works 🙂


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