Monday, 24 November 2014

Revitalising Winter Coats

Our favourite winter coats are the warmest and cosiest coats that come out every year.  Spending on a winter coat is an investment and so our family like make sure we buy good ones to keep the chill out and last.  The younger ones inherit the older ones' coats as they grow out of them.  They are still good and full of wear. 
The only problem is that after a couple of years of washes and wear, they begin to look a little bit tired.  And, truth be told, I felt a little bit embarrassed that our neighbours and friends, even if too polite to comment, would begin to notice four or five years on that I was still wearing the same winter coat.  I didn't want to splash out on new coats just because we were bored with them or they looked a little bit faded... not when they were still warm and comfortable.
But I hit upon an idea... how we could get "new" winter coats for around £6-£7 each without wasting our decent current ones or purchasing fresh items.

Hobbycraft sell fabric dye for around £5.99 per sachet.  One of these in a washing machine cycle with the coat brought it up in stronger colour, or changed the colour, covering the faded bits at shoulders, cuffs and elbows.  My beautiful double breasted teal coat (around four or five years old!) became a gorgeous deep black. 
The next stop was to change the buttons.  Tarnish-effect silver buttons on my own coat were replaced with a bright mix of colours using Hobbycraft's value pack of buttons.  It looks really funky with a rainbow coloured knitted scarf.  Buttons can be found cheaper at charity shops sometimes.  Or play with the buttons on the coats you have, mixing them up between coats to ring the changes. 
I removed features on the cuffs and the back strap as the coat was fitted at the waist anyway.
Another option, something my mother and I have done before, is to simply swap our coats when we got bored with them.  As it happened, mine suited her so much more than it had suited me! And I got a brand new look for another couple of years before I started making changes again. Win-win.
Doing this helps the kids, who get excited when they get a new-look coat for the season, tailored to their colour and button choices.  Add bespoke knitted accessories in the form of hat, scarf, mittens and maybe even a crocheted button flower pin to the lapel for a cutesy look (look out for further postings for more on these.)
Do you have any tips on revitalising sturdy favourites? Please do share any you have in the comments.

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