A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Make-It-Up-As-I-Go Coat

Immediately after I made my wool jersey poncho, I started dreaming about a warmer one made in plaid wool.  This rust and teal 100% wool coating at FabricMart (sold out now) caught my eye, and I visited its web page every day until it finally went on sale.  I then bought 1.5 yards, having sketched out my poncho based on the last one that I made.

After it arrived, though, my plans changed.  I spent a lot of time draping it over myself, pinning here and there and redraping.   I didn't have enough yardage to make a full coat (even though Fabric Mart had actually sent me about 10 extra inches).   But I no longer wanted just a poncho.  So I pinned and draped a bit more, and then started cutting.  Essentially, I made this garment up as I went along.

I started by cutting my yardage in half crosswise.  Then I sewed the pieces back together where I had cut them, leaving an opening for my head.  Originally, I was going to sew up the sides to make sleeves, but I decided the plaid, which was no longer going to be on the bias as I had originally planned, needed to be broken up.  So I cut it down the front middle and made a button placket.  I put a dart in the back to make it fit my neck better.  Then I sewed up from the hem to make a side seam, pivoting toward the sides and sewing to the end to make sleeves.  

When I first tried it on, it was still a rectangle, and the sides flopped down in points.  That wasn't the look I was going for, so I decided to fold up the corners.

I cut the front piece where I had folded it, and then folded the back piece over to the front.  I sewed them down to create pockets.  The pockets aren't the most functional because they're placed in such a way that it's difficult to access them without reading across with the other hand.  But they are pockets and they're deep, so I can put keys and phone in them without worrying about losing them.

By the time I had done all that, our 50s and 60s had dropped into 40s, and I decided I needed this to be a warmer garment.  I found a large piece of bright red fleece in my stash to use as a lining.  I would have chosen a gray lining for this coat, but #stashbusting, so I went with the red.  Even worn open, the coat doesn't flop to the right side, so no one is ever going to see it.

Things were looking good at this point, but I wanted the sleeves a little longer.  I didn't have any more fabric, having used all but those triangle corners and the tiny bit I shaved off the front neckline. I found some heavy apparel flannel in my stash and made cuffs.  And I love them!  

For the placket, I went with the dark side of some 1" coconut shell buttons from the stash.  I didn't hem because I didn't want to lose any length.  

This coat isn't perfect by any means.  I didn't line it properly, so the fabric hangs a little funny.  And the sleeves are not fully lined due to fabric shortage.  But I am really happy with the way it looks and it is already my go-to jacket until we reach down-parka temperatures.  It did make me realize that I would like to make a proper coat sometime.  I love the collar on the Closet Case Files Clare Coat and want to try making it sometime in the future.

 Thanks for reading, and see you next time!



  1. I think it is a pretty cool garment! I really love those colors together--they pop!!

  2. I love this! Great job with the Make It As I Go Coat!

  3. Like wearing a blanket but even better!!! This looks so practical and lovely for a cold climate.

  4. This is fantastic. I love the way you made it up as you went along. My favourite way of sewing! The finished product looks fantastic.


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