What Should I Make Out of My Beloved Coat?

I have this old Harris Tweed, three-quarter length coat that I’ve probably had for a decade. My brother bought it nearly twenty years ago off of a street vendor in New York City (I’m reminded of Rent). It always fit me better than him, and I eventually secured complete control of the thing. Here’s a photo of me wearing it from (holy Flying Spaghetti Monster, has it been that long?) nearly six years ago (that’s Boris, obviously, and Lee took the photo):

That same year, I got it relined by a somebody who reads this site. In exchange, I set up a blog for the tailor. It’s a really cool coat. Its label reads that it was “completely produced in the Outer Hebrides from pure Scottish wool”:

However, the thing is coming apart at the seams, and it’s time that I retired it. I was thinking that the fabric itself probably still has some life left in it. It might be cool, for example, to have some kind of tweed man bag made (maybe like this one, courtesy of Todd?).

In case it’s not obvious, I’d have some professional or skilled amateur actually do the work. I am utterly talentless in the fabric arts. Well, I can sew on a button, but that’s about it.

What do you think? What else could my coat become?

21 comments

  1. I support the man bag. If it were constructed with leather as well as the tweed to give the old-skool teacher look, that would be particularly awesome.

    If not the bag, you could make a large scarf (not sure if you’re the scarf type though), or a waistcoat.

  2. Like Victoria, I was going to suggest a lined vest, but you don’t strike me as a vest man. Matching Newsie/Newsboy caps for you and Julie?

  3. Elegant and refined outdoor wear for small dogs, preferably the Cairn, Skye, West Highland White, and Scottish terriers. On any other dogs, the Harris tweed would just look pretentious. Well, perhaps the Yorkshire terrier would look good in a tweed coat, too.

  4. Darren,

    It’s time for you to sing Colline’s coat aria from “La Boheme”. The range is not that wide, so you should be able to handle singing it.

    Colline sells his old coat for Mimi’s medicine.

    La vie de boheme
    Dean

  5. I feel like a tweed manbag wouldn’t work for you, but a laptop sleeve or even an accessory bag to go into a larger carrying bag would be good. Double recession points to you for repurposing!

  6. I really like the laptop sleeve + idea for you, but since you asked for other ideas the first thing that sprung to mind was a cushion cover… doesn’t sound too exciting, but I bet that with some contrasting or complimentary fabrics it could be very cool, and a slightly more gentle life for the coat-fabric.

    http://www.libbytdesigns.co.uk/Hand_Knitted_Cushions_and_Blankets_Minty.html

    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=sr_gallery_10&listing_id=17761946&ga_search_query=pillow+cover+wool&ga_search_type=tag_title

    http://www.perfectionofproduction.co.uk/tweed_cushions.html

    maybe a bit cheeky if you paired the coat-cushions with shirt-cushions:

  7. Woops maybe I shouldn’t have included so many links.. I like to show examples of what I mean..

    Sorry about that Darren.

    1. No worries. Lots of links are fine and often useful. I’ve got the site set up so that comments with more than one link get moderated, so as to avoid a lot of comment spam which can be stuffed with links.

  8. I love that this post is filed under “mixed bag”.

    I suggest a pair of shorts. And I think there will still be enough fabric left over for both a “murse” and a “cap”.

    Enjoy!

  9. Darren, my friend, it’s been too long. I don’t know since what, but it’s been too long. I love the label, so whatever is made, that has to show. Although a great idea, I don’t think a bag is pragmatic, because it’s prone to falling apart, and everything will feel on the street, and that wouldn’t look call at all. “Isn’t that Darren Barefoot?” etc. Shorts are funny, but they’d chafe the balls, and no one needs that in excess. I’m thinking, maybe, like, super hero goggles with a silk lining, the label backed by cardboard, dangling off the side. Disguised when you need to be, you could call yourself “Kaptain Kilt!”, saying you travel faster than the speed of email. Done.

  10. Of course I meant…”fall on the street and that wouldn’t look cool” but I am currently wearing burlap goggles, which blind my grammar.

  11. A cap and vest would be a very traditional way of re-using it, although the bag idea looks really cool too. Or, you could send it back to the “guid crofters of Stornoway” to remind them how Harris Tweed should be made…

    1. Excuse me, but can I ask what grounds you have to say that Harris Tweed isn’t made the same way it always has been?

      I am part of a company that manufactures genuine Harris Tweed garments and I can assure you that the cloth we use from the island is still hand woven to the same standards, if not better (!) than it always has been.

  12. Darren,
    Is it really coming apart at the seams? Then the seams can be reinforced and the coat can be re-lined, perhaps with a warmer lining. If the fabric is still in good shape, then why not leave the coat intact? I think you would regret cutting it up- especially for faddish items like murses, caps, vests, pillows and computer sleeves. Those things will end up in the land fill. The only other clothing worthy of that fabric would be another coat, restyled or in a smaller size, perhaps for a child. Quality old coats in the past were often remodelled into childeren’s clothes. Those days may be coming back. If you have had enough of the coat for now, another idea would be to put it away for a few years with some moth balls. (Do not dry clean it- just air out and brush it) In 5 or 10 years time, you will be happy to have that coat. In the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I beseech you: do not cut up that coat.

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