Making a coat can seem like a daunting task— but they come together like any project— one step at a time. You are probably more ready than you think! Let’s build some courage and confidence so you feel as ready as you are…
Many folks in the sewing world are self-guided learners— I know advanced beginners who have tackled fancy coats and several experienced sewists who haven’t tried yet.
Therefore, the idea of breaking things down into beginner, intermediate and advanced patterns didn’t make much sense. I do think that it can be helpful to consider your skill and experience level— I haven’t completely thrown out that gauge. But, more importantly, I want you to consider which skills you’re ready to add to your repertoire.
Pick the category that best applies to you, then find your category below with three suggested coat patterns to consider. I’ve tried to include a variety of styles and options— I’ve included patterns with max hip measurements around the 60” measurement or higher.
Category A if you have never made a coat before, would like to build some coat making skills but don’t feel ready or motivated to learn how to install a bagged lining.
Category B if you haven’t bagged a lining before, but feel ready to learn. These patterns have been chosen because, apart from the bagged lining, most of the other required skills you’ve probably come across before. The goal is to learn without feeling overwhelmed
Category C if you have experience with lining OR really love a challenge! These patterns are more involved overall. On top of that bagged lining—details like welt pockets and kick pleats and areas that need precision are included here.
If you chose A. Unlined Coats with better-than-serged details:
The Vivian Shao Chen Daphne Jacket: (FB 60”, H 62”) Featuring a shawl collar and optional reversible design, this is a great one to dip your toe into some of the foundational coat making skills.
Friday Pattern Company Cambria Duster: (FB 56”, H 58”) This pattern is a lovely intro to foundational techniques and walks you through the skills it takes to bind your seams for a beautiful finish.
Muna & Broad Shaolhaven Shacket: (FB 64” H 71.5”) If you’ve made a collared shirt, a shacket may be the easiest transition into coat making. This is another un-lined coat with a collar, bound seams and facings it’s a great way to build some skills without hitting overwhelm.
If you chose B. Learn to Line!
Love Notions Octave: (FB 57” H 59”) This pattern can be made lined, or unlined and offers several view choices collar/hood, and a belt tie closure. No buttons or zippers to worry about, if that’s not your thing.
Chalk & Notch Joy Jacket: (FB 58”, H 59”) I had to add this to the list because it was MY first bagged lining. This pattern does have a zip closure— but the instructions walk you through each step.
Daughter Judy Grant Coat: (FB 60” H 66”) This one is probably the trickiest of the three in this section, only because there’s a corner on the neckband that needs some care and precision— and it’s a good intro to the corner skills you need for welt pockets.
If you chose C. Lining Plus:
Sycamore Road Carmen Coat: (FB 58.5, H 65”) This one has it all! A dramatic notched collar, welt pockets, a vented back and full lining. Theres even opportunity to learn some light tailoring in this one. When you are done, you have a showpiece of a coat.
The Sew Sew BOG Bomber expansion: (expansion to the Modern BOG jacket pattern) (FB 55”, H 60”) I wanted to include a low waste pattern on the list because they’re often economical with fabric and coat fabric can definitely be on the pricier side. This one is a bit of a two-fer, because it’s an expansion on the Modern BOG jacket pattern— which I’d place in the unlined category for the coat making new-bies— but the bomber expansion takes coat making up a notch! We have welt pockets, liners, zip installation— AND a low waste, bomber jacket design.
Cashmerette Chilton Trench Coat: (HB 62” H 62”) I couldn’t make this list without including at least one trench coat. Trench coats tend to have a lot of steps and pieces. This pattern is meant to be a bit more fitted than some of the others— but has cup and sizing options to help make fitting fairly easy. It also includes princess seams which make adjustments even easier. For most sewists, I think this will be a project that is challenging AND forgiving and isn’t that the best way to grow?
Final coat-making tips:
- Consider your fabric: bulkier fabrics can be more challenging for some machines, and silkier lining fabrics (I’m lookin’ at you, Bemberg!) are notoriously slippery and may be need a little extra care to work with.
- Utilize tips and tools and friends: A walking foot, hump jumper, tailor’s clapper, and proper needles are just a few tools that can make a big difference when making your own coat. If you get stuck— pop into the Surge Group and let us know! We probably have some suggestions that might make whatever you’re struggling with a little easier.
- Make something you want to wear.
Written by Mandy Plummer, @handmademandy