Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Coat Makeover


The Gaslight House Valentino inspired butterfly embroidered coat
The Valentino bomber jacket (left) and my coat project.
In November, I fell in love with a Valentino cotton jacket with embroidered butterflies but wasn't convinced it was worth £2k, and me being me, I thought, I could do that, too. That was the start of my coat makeover project, of an old coat that is similar in colour to the Valentino jacket and the outershell is 100% cotton as well. And what made this coat even more special was it was the first coat I had ever bought (from scholarship funds) when I moved to Europe in 2005, back in Oslo, Norway. In the end, I spent about 20 quid sourcing the patches and then sewing them all to the coat by hand. As I wanted more butterflies, I ended up copying the Valentino bomber jacket version (pictured left). 
The Gaslight House Valentino inspired butterfly embroidered coat
A frozen Lake Sognsvann in Oslo, Norway; wearing the coat shortly after
I had bought it.
My coat is now more than 11 years old. Since moving to England, its tasks had been equated to my gardening and taking the bin out duties. I had left it hanging by the kitchen door; its chances of being worn on a special day out had been slim. Now that has changed. It is back in all its fashionable glory, and it is my go-to coat once again.
Inspired by the Valentino jacket, I finished it sometime in December, after long, long nights of sewing by hand (and a House of Cards marathon of both the US and original UK versions). There were a few hurdles, such as I got so carried away that I didn't even check each patch after sewing and the next thing I knew, some of the thread caught the lining. This resulted to a hitched lower part of the coat that I had to redo the whole area. In the end, I was quite pleased with the transformation. I love clothes whether they’re simple or loud, and this is now obviously one of my louder pieces. It is quite noticeable that on the first week that I wore it, a handful of people asked me about it.
The Gaslight House Valentino inspired butterfly embroidered coat 
The Gaslight House Valentino inspired butterfly embroidered coatThe Gaslight House Valentino inspired butterfly embroidered coatAside from butterflies, I had sewn on vintage patches of what I like or things that have a connection with me. On the upper left arm is a University of the Philippines patch I had taken from an old custom-made jacket back at university. My late father, who worked for Shell PBA for 18 years, would sometimes ask the tailor to make jackets for me and my brother whenever he had uniform made for the Shell basketball team. This started in primary school and my brother and I would have one jacket each, with our names embroidered on them. One time the tailor was drunk that he had the names switched (I was giddy to have a fitted sky blue jacket; my brother wasn't happy with a brown and orange oversized one). Those were lovely memories. I’ve long accepted that my kids’ childhood would be devoid of basketball games and hotdog stands but such is life, eh.
Of course, I didn’t forget to sew on an Oslo patch, a reminder of that lovely city where I got this coat from, one that would always be my other home in Europe.
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