It appears I’m on a bit of a vintage kick! I stopped by my favorite vintage store today and scored a gorgeous pastel blue wool coat. We were on a Civil War History Bike Ride and the store was across the street from the starting point. How convenient! I was thinking about a fancier coat for special events. This fits the bill perfectly!
It was so much fun showing you the construction of my yellow vintage dress that I thought I might do the same here. This time, I took photos in the coat 🙂 The first thing I noticed is the coat is fully interfaced, with more interfacing under the arms.
While inspecting the coat, I also noticed that it was underlined too with more wool!
The interlining underlines the lining and is treated as one throughout
Here’s a photo of the back of the coat
The seams inside are narrow, about 1/2 inch or less. They are left unfinished.
The coat collar attaches to the left
The lining actually feels kind of acetate. Thick acetate. But, acetate.
LOVE this coat and am super happy
But, and this is a big but. It’s filthy 😦
I’m debating removing the fur myself and sending it to the drycleaner and reattaching the fur after it comes back. Perhaps even add snaps so that it’s easily removable.
Or, should I send the entire thing to a furrier? My fox fur and leather hat cost a MINT to clean. More than I paid for this coat. But, I bargained the price of the coat down because of cleaning costs.
It’s pretty dingy with some stains on the back. The shoulders are brownish / dingy in parts too. If not for all the interior structure, I would soak it in the tub at home myself.
Oh, an anyone seen looooong cream or gray gloves for sale?
Thoughts on cleaning? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
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WOW, beautiful, what a find. Can imagine you being very happy with it.
A gorgeous coat! It looks like it was made just for you. Assuming you are in a long term relationship with this cutie – and you would want the fur nice and clean too – I would send it to the fur place to get cleaned really well (or can they clean just the fur pieces and the rest of the coat go to a cheaper cleaner?) From then on you could take the fur off and just take it to a regular cleaner. Course, this is from someone that has never had such a wonderful coat.
My two cents (because my grandfather was a furrier and my dad passed this tip on to me about how to clean furs): First, take off the fur pieces. Send the wool coat to the cleaner. Go to a hardware or drug store and ask for ‘diatomaceous earth’ (it will look like a greyish white powder – it’s the bodies of little sea animals). Cover something – like the kitchen table with newspaper or an old sheet. You’ll also need something like a clean tooth brush or a small hair brush (with bristles; not like a dog’s brush).Take the DE (I’m too lazy to type the whole two words on diatomaceous earth) in one hand (if it doesn’t come in a small bottle, put it in one because sprinkling it from a plastic bag makes a mess) and the fur piece in the other and with your fingers, open up the hairs so that you can see where the hairs attach to the skin at the bottom. Sprinkle the DE in there, all over the fur piece and then sprinkle some on top. Let it sit for like a half an hour. Take a grocery bag and shake the excess DE out of the fur piece into that. Then take the little brush and over the bag or over that sheet, going bottom of the hairs to the top (it’s easier if you hold the fur piece ‘hairs down’), brush the rest of the DE out of the fur. This will remove any grease, dirt, etc. from the fur. I helped my dad many years ago take a fox fur stole that my mom had been left in an estate and which looked definitely beige to me and when we were done, it was snowy white. He bought probably a half pound or so (it came in the smallest brown paper sack that you used to get at the grocery store as I recall) to do that whole job, so you’ll probably be able to do this with 4-8 oz.
Wow! That’s excellent information! Thanks Aunt Toby 🙂 I’ll look into it today.
My grandmother was a furrier and I totally agree with your method!
I am so grateful for this wonderful, natural tip!! I found this on “Miss Cellie’s Pants” and REALLY appreciate it! You should write into Martha Stewart or Ladies’ Home Journal with this, as I have never found this advice anywhere else and it really is priceless! 🙂 -Jessica
I agree with Toby about cleaning the coat and fur pieces separately especially since if it’s as filthy as you say it is, they may charge you double to clean it. Also, take it to a cleaners you trust because the process to clean it is a little different. I just helped my boss through this process with a vintage coat and dress. The cleaning bill was quite large but the end result was worth it.
Maybe I’ll check with the local theaters and see who they use. I take mine to a $1.99 cleaner. Probably not where I want this one to go!
Lovely coat! Try the cheapy cleaners first, you may be surprised. They were able to clean my vintage, cream cashmere coat on the first try and it was scummy. All you have to lose is 2 bucks.
Don’t be pennywise and pound foolish, to coin a phrase.
Do you like this coat? Then don’t subject it to a cleaning experiment that may go wrong. You saved money on the front end and now you’re putting it in the back end. 🙂
It’s like sewing, it’s not about maximum value under any circumstances, but great value under reasonable circumstances in the form of a beautiful garment.
I’m with Toby on cleaning the fur. Fairly easy if a bit time consuming. Well worth it. You could use this method on your fur hat too! Send fur-less coat to the cleaners. From your description and your pictures, I would guess that this is a very special coat, beautifully made, and thus well-worth the trouble and a little extra cost. If the coat eventually doesn’t come as clean as you’d like you still have that lovely fur for another coat or to trim a dress.
Would it sound geeky if I thought the posts about cleaning the coat were as interesting as the original post itself? Amazing what one can learn via the interweb 🙂
Wonderful find!!!!!!!!!! Ok I am starting to be so jealous here. I think I need to go shop vintage clothes with. Some people have a luckier hand then I.
I ment “vintage clothes with you”
Wow! I didn’t know you could use DE to clean fur. The things you learn! DE has some uses in the garden, and because of that I know you should take some precautions while using it…you don’t want to breath it in or get it in your eyes. I’d also be inclined to do the cleaning outside if possible, or at least not in the kitchen.
Good luck,,,the coat is wonderful on you, Just think how much you’ll love it when it is clean!
What a beautiful coat, it’s well worth the effort/cost for cleaning.
Oh wow! Beautiful coat, and I’m anxious to see how you end up cleaning it, just in case I find some sort of beautiful vintage jewel like this someday.
That coat is a great find and looks fab. Enjoy it!
Most interesting information on cleaning the fur! Many years ago (40?) I owned a coat with similar lines, complete with fur cuffs and collar. Mine was a silver gray wool. It reminded me of something Jacqueline Kennedy, or Audrey Hepburn, would have worn. I wore it, loved it, but after two pregnancies my body was never going to fit into it again. It is one of the most memorable garments from my past; Congratulations on a wonderful find!
Dear Miss Celie:
The coat is very lovely. Yes it costs a lot to clean anymore. What I would do is remove the collar and cuffs and send just coat to cleaners, then take the fur pieces and get box/bag corn meal and put the corn meal through the fur with your hands. Do it until you can see that it is cleaner. Hope all works well. FReust, Colorado
After you get it clean again, think about putting on different buttons for a more luxe feel. I like the ball shape but perhaps in a tortoiseshell. Give Trena the dimensions to look at Botani for you the next time she’s in NYC. Just a thought…
Great looking coat. Thanks for showing the innerworkings.
Amazing find! Love the lines and color! Can’t wait to see it once it’s clean!!!
What a gorgeous coat! It was made for you! I have no clue how to clean fur but hope you find something reasonably cheap and also get this gorgeous coat cleaned up well as it suits you so well!
I live in New York. Whenever I’ve asked about top-notch cleaning, the answer has always been Madame Paulette. I’m sure it’s expensive, but it may be worth it. I would call or write them and get an estimate, or ask for a local source.
I didn’t know about the DE – my mom and grandma always used cornstarch for cleaning fur trim. But If I HAD a fur trimmed cost I’d try it.My scientific mind thinks it would work. I normally use DE in the garden to keep bugs out of my flowers. I second the suggestion of doing this outside and with a mask to keep from breathing it.
For such a pretty coat, it would be totally worth the effort to clean it
Wow! I have no words for the gorgeousness of that coat. I’d say take of thee fur collar and have the coat dry cleaned and the fur cleaned by an expert. Hopefully that’ll be cheaper than taking the whole thing to the fur expert.
Super long leather gloves are at Leather Coats, etc. I don’t have their catalog handy, or I’d give you the email address. Their stuff is sometimes pricy, but they have good sales. And everything I’ve gotten from there, for both men and women, is very nice quality.
By all means, remove the fur and send the coat to the dry cleaner. I’m not sure a furrier could clean the wool, anyway.
You could try Madova in Florence IT for gloves; they sell their products on line (www.madova.it) They make beautiful gloves. I’m not sure what their prices are like now, but they used to be quite reasonable.
I support the suggestion to use the highest quality dry cleaner for your gorgeous coat.
If you decide to go the DE route & clean the fur yourself, could you please report back to us? I am THRILLED to learn about this technique & am really curious about it. (If I didn’t live in Chicago, I’d volunteer to help)
That’s a fantastic coat and looks superb on you! You’ll wear the heck out of it- if it’s clean, so go ahead and do it up right. Clean the fur and the wool separately, for sure. I almost wonder if it might be worth hitting some of the really filthy spots at home. I’m thinking along the lines of put it on a dress form to keep the shape and gently blot the shoulders and back with some baby shampoo suds, then pat with a barely damp rag to remove the soap.
Good luck! What a great find!
Adorable coat! Reminds me of something Grace Kelly would wear – so elegant! Sorry, no help on the cleaning. But i think the coat is worth spending some money on cleaning …..
Absolutely remove the fur collar and send it to a reputable cleaners – point out the spots that bother you the most, and be sure and tell them it’s vintage so they can take extra care (I also tell them to use new fluid – this may not do anything more, but it lets them know you know the cleaning process). Also ask them if they feel at all uncomfy about working with a vintage item and if they do, go elsewhere, although my experience is that they will always say yes, I watch for 1.) dancing in place, 2.) eyes rolling a la Jon Lovitz The Liar from SNL, and 3.) Anything that looks like they don’t know what they are doing, when answering the question, and for me that gives me a great idea if the cleaners is good. If they take the time to answer the question and look you straight in the eye, they are used to folks asking and probably are a good cleaners.
The construction technique is pretty standard for this time…I can remember when underlining, backing and all that construction was standard techniques for making a garment, but we didn’t have the plethora of fabric types back then you have today.
Great find and it looks smashing on you dahlink!!!
If all else fails on the glove front, Butterick 5695, View C, looks like it would do the trick. The hardest part would be to find the stretch pleather that would go with the coat.
I will add, the second I saw the coat on you, two things popped into my mind-you look great in icy pastels, and that coat needs long gloves! The coat is gorgeous, and while it might cost you a bit now for the cleaning, it should last you for a good long time once that’s done.
Don’t know if you’d be comfortable doing an alteration on it, but taking the shoulder in about half an inch would be a good adjustment, fitting to your shoulder better and improving the drape of the coat body and sleeves-However, there’s no telling whether ripping out the seams would be easy or would ruin it, and it would be a shame to lose such a pretty coat. It’s not urgently needed by any means, it would just fit slightly better. Nuthin major.
That’s a good idea! I do have narrow shoulders.
Gorgeous coat! So interesting that they chose to interline the lining rather than underlining the shell. I guess the interfacing on the shell provides enough structure and the interlining is just for warmth. Or maybe the shell seams would be to bulky if it was also underlined? (inter/under… does that make any sense at all?). Whatever the case it’s beautiful and I hope it cleans up nicely!
[…] did what she said and sprinkled the d/earth on the fur. Instead of a brush, I did use my vacuum attachment to remove […]
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