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Sunday 17 May 2015

Dumpy to punky tartan jacket

(If you believe in the sanctity of a traditional vintage tartan jacket, leave this post right now!)
Bag and a Beret, upcycled tartan jackeet
I bought this vintage wool jacket by Skirtmaker of Canada for only $5 at My Sister's Closet a few months ago. As I walked by, it poked me and said: PUNK! Never mind that it was much too huge on me - to close it, the front flaps overlapped the pockets - I had to have it. We'll just see who's the punk here.
Bag and a Beret, side and back views tartan jacket
O took these photos. The green stripes are painter's tape which I used during the ideas phase.
Turnip Head kept jumping on O's back and laughing.
The wool fabric was beautiful, except for there being so much of it, and I loved the padded linebacker shoulders, cuffed sleeves, stiff interfacing, silky red lining, and matched seams. But as is, all this jacket was good for was taunting me. I couldn't ignore its punk pulse!

Then finally I had an idea; rather, I had a bout of bravado with scissors.

Much better...aaah. I ran straight to the alley. And I didn't use my camp stool this time.
Bag and a Beret, upcycled tartan jacket by Melanie Kobayashi
Love this camera angle.
This isn't your cup of tea? Perhaps you'd like something shaken and stirred. Like my Everest-best hair.
Bag and a Beret, upcycled tartan jacket by Melanie Kobayashi, feeling punk
Details: This whole outfit was probably less than $30. Bwahaha.
  • origami tartan wool jacket, upcycled, thrifted for $5
  • thrifted black jeans, $5
  • thrifted Steve Madden army boots, I don't remember, $15?
  • thrifted white GAP large T-shirt, $5
  • gifted magic loupe
I've got my late-seventies/early-eighties Vivienne Westwood groove on, especially with the peaky hair, which gave a stellar performance for my shoot, even in the wind - a woman asked me how I keep it so vertical so she could tell her son. Heh. 

Probably I couldn't replicate the jacket design again if I tried. There was serious origami work going on to achieve the asymmetrical design.
Rear belt flaps as front straps, buttons near shoulders, reconfigured lapel on left, asymmetrical closure.
The original rear belt was transformed into two front straps and I sewed the pocket flaps onto the back of the jacket as embellishment. I didn't reduce the width, merely sewed two button just under the shoulder and folded and darted and hacked as needed.

I also transferred an existing buttonhole from the cut-off fabric to the end of one of the front straps (left side in photo); it was easier than making a brand new matching buttonhole, at least for me. What a slacker! 

Decorative pocket flaps.
Below the collar is down, but I think I prefer it up.  
Bag and a Beret, upcycled tartan jacket, profile, by Melanie Kobayashi
I thought of making the profile more body-hugging, then decided, nah, I like that bag effect. And I thought of hanging chains from the hem, but, no, that would be too prosaic. But I did feel like doing the pogo.

The alley here was busy. I wanted to say, in a very ladylike voice: Excuse me, sir, can you not FRIGGIN' SEE I'M PHOTOGRAPHING MY NEW JACKET HERE!!?? Nyunh, puh.
Bag and a Beret, disturbed at work by a van
Accidental snap when a van had the audacity to photo bomb my set.
I'm so happy I could share this with you. That's one of the great things about blogging that keeps me going.

I'm hooking this Jacket-I-Love-So-Much to Patti's Visible Monday. It didn't have much of a pulse, but it was certainly "not dead yet style". I need to see what you're wearing! 

And below, one final styling I wore today.
Bag and a Beret gets down on the wall
Breakdancing? Doh, wrong era. (photo was rotated, floor removed)
This outfit cost $15, minus the shoes: thrifted t-shirt $5, thrifted mod-ish wool maxi vintage skirt (with a new zipper) $5, jacket $5, magic loupe gift, thrifted shoes maybe $15.
Bag and a Beret, tartan jacket, platform shoes
Okay, that's all. It was a big post. It was a big jacket. I'm working hard at the moment and had to resort to the concrete box. Better than nothing I guess.

Have you got clothes taunting you? How do you shut them up!!?


  1. Wow, that's incredible. You took it from boring to tartantastic! Truly a modern work of art.

  2. very nice jacket....http;//

  3. I cannot love this more! You are an inspiration!

  4. Absolutely fabulous. I love the black and white maxi skirt too; the combination, even more than the sum of its wonderful parts.

  5. Wow, that's awesome. Your new jacket is right out of some impossible pricey shop, and you are the ISH. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, xo.

  6. Dame Viv eat your heart out. Jon spent most of his punk youth in jackets and bondage trousers and he's just appeared behind me admiring your style.
    Nice to hear a non-Brit call it tartan not the weird "P" word! xxx

  7. Wow! That's all I got. Just Wow!

  8. This is inspired. I LOVE your posts.

  9. You, my friend, are a fucking genius. My apologies for swearing but the jacket pretty much requires it.

  10. You, my friend, are a fucking genius. My apologies for swearing but the jacket pretty much requires it.

  11. I don't know how your brain works to manage to come up with this amazing upcycle.

    I'm a little sad you didn't add the chains...just for the noise and scaring the crap out of everyone you pass.

    I think you *need* to wear this to the blogger meet-up.


  12. OMG, you're a freaking genius. That jacket belongs in a museum of some sort, though I can't think of what kind of museum, so we'll have to make one up. I want to send you ALL of my clothes. ALL of which taunt me. Every. Day.

  13. Huge improvement. Reminds me of Yohji or those crazy jackets from Commes des Garcons. Blogger Runway Perfect!

  14. Wow, from Ladies Who Lunch to Ladies Who Punch! An awesome feat of transformation, genius the way you used the straps.

  15. You are on fire, Melanie!! What a transformation! I love your origami jacket very much - both with the army boots and jeans and with the black and white skirt and crazy shoes. It's pure Art! I loved the photo of you looking up - great shot, and the break dance made me scratch my head, thank you for revealing your secrets! :) As always, you made me laugh, and left me speechless with your amazing creativity! xxxx

  16. I am in lurve, LURVE I TELL YOU, with that jacket! You killed it, you skinned it, you turned it around, you made it see who's Boss (that would be you). Also, the hair is enormous in literal and figurative senses. It so suits you.

  17. Oh my! What a cool jacket! I love it! It was far too big for you before and didn't look good- now it is THE BIZ!!!!x

  18. Oh and re the photobomb, HOW DARE THEY! I have a nice green outside my house and I keep trying to pose on it with tripod and all these horrid dog walkers with their pooing beasts keep getting in the way!!

  19. Oh Melanie. You have levitated up to another level of super chic-ness. I believe that O, besides being magic, has photographed you with love because I am seeing a whole new you, beautiful and plaidiful. It's been said before because it's true. Genius!

  20. Mein Gott! My jaw dropped when I saw what you'd done with that jacket. Sheer brilliance. I bow to your origami skills and visionary bravado. Vivienne has much to learn from you.

  21. This look is too cool. I am salivating for your recreated tartan jacket!

  22. you just won the best upcycle of something plaid award! Damn, that's amazing. I have an Issy Miyaki pattern that looks similar. One of these days I'll find some fabric and make it. Hmmm, does anybody find it strange that the person who spent the last 21 years sewing every day has made 2 things since july?

  23. You rock. this is ACE!!!!!!!! Who could have thought such a dumpy thing could become such a winner!

  24. wow!!! i did not expect that! it's just fabulous!

  25. Oh my gawd, this is sensational! I couldn't even imagine you were going to take that old thing into such amazing heights! Vivienne Westwood eat your heart out!

  26. Amazing transformation , a mix of origami and punk. Clever, creative you.

  27. I love it! And the last Picture - adorable! Isaac Mizrahi would be satisfied.

  28. Amazeballs! I can see you're the kind of person who enjoys Running with Scissors. Yay! ;)

  29. wouu, amazingly fabulous job revamping an ordinary jacket into something that Rocks!!, oh yes, I like a tartan jacket, but this New Thing is overwhelming me with its fabulousness!!
    Loving all that rocking attitude, pogo included!

  30. Coolness ! Rock chic at it's best .

  31. Pure awesomeness! I love the first look and your hair is perfect.... and it shows off your pretty face! Everyone's comments summed up the jacket quite succinctly. You better keep the jacket on your "I will keep this forever" side of your closet... if you don't, I see many here who would be willing to swoop in and relieve you of it (including me). So so cool!

  32. Raving and ranting here... this jacket is sooooo good. It is indeed completely Vivienne Westwood. Better even. I love it. I adore it.
    The outfit with the black trousers and big shoes is perfect. The outfit with the awesome black and white skirt is awesome.
    I love this. My compliments. Great achievements.

  33. Punk with a twist :-) That jacket turned out so great! I love the whole silhouette, mixing body hugging with baggy. The combat boots are fantastic - I had some similar 20 years ago, and still miss them! Your hair is awesome! I tried so hard during the 80s to get my hair to look like yours, pathetic considering the amount of natural curls on my head :-D The platforms are to die for - gorgeous with your new jacket! Good job again!

  34. You are amazingly fantastic. A sew-er after my own heart. A stylist to the maximus. Too cool for school and all that jazz. I have been inspired to go for broke.

  35. You are a talented genius and should start your own line. I would buy that jacket in a hot minute. You are also hysterically funny and a brilliant stylist. Both looks work for me.

    Accidental Icon

  36. I think this might actually count as the best, most innovative bit of re-worked up cycling that I've seen anywhere, ever. The whole outfit (x2) is a collection of pieces of fabulousness too. The boots…those shoes…the hair...

  37. Christ. You scared me for a second with that first line. I'm a staunch believer! I salivated when I saw the blazer. This was quickly followed by waves of covetousness. I could never think of altering such a beauty, but I scrolled down. Kept scrolling. More. Mooooore. Holy shit! You made the blazer into this crazy cool crop jacket?! Mind blown.

    You're selling it so hard, too. I couldn't think of a better way to showcase that beauty. I absolutely LOVE your hair, too. I've been thinking about doing something similar with mine for awhile now, but I keep hesitating. Bah.

    - Anna

  38. I absolutely love the way you cropped that jacket. I love that look in the alley...fab photos as well! Those boots are that punk vibe.

    The outfit with the skirt is simply superb. I do enjoy a good mix of prints:)

    There is this bad ass vibe about both of the looks that I really like!

  39. The original tartan jacket is something I would have turned my nose up at and walked on by... But your Vivienne Westwood-inspired revamp,is genius! And with the maxi skirt - perfection!
    How DARE anyone interrupt your back alley photo shoot? Don't they realise you're FAMOUS?! xxx

  40. Pinned the break dance pose. I have been thinking of doing some clothing reconstruction. Currently on the hunt for some black flair leg pants.

  41. Sister you just seriously rock!!!

  42. OMG, how did I miss this?? Fecking brilliant!!!!!!!

  43. What an artist to be able to create such a piece! Your talent is amazing!! jodie

  44. outstanding remodel - the "sisters" won't allow me to wear a jacket like that :-(

  45. Fantastic, Melanie!

    When I start like this, like you did, I usually end up ruining the item in question;-).

    It's remarkable and crazy (cool) what you can get away with and actually looks good on you. Like your TinTin-hair. Love it!


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