Sew a bit of luxury this season, and make a custom coat

Making your own handmade coat is probably one of the most challenging but also rewarding things
you can make, and it’s only recently that I decided to make one!

Yuzu raglan coat from Waffle Patterns

Yuzu raglan coat from Waffle Patterns

I've always been put off making my own coat by how long it takes, the expense and also I worried about getting a good fit - so here's some things that I found out along the way when I made Waffle patterns Yuzu raglan coat that should be at the top of the list for consideration when making a coat:

What to consider when making a seasonal coat

1. Style
Check out what's current on the ready-to-wear market. This season concentrates on several key styles:
·      Shearlings, sheepskin and faux fur is the biggest trend
·      Over-sized coats including utilitarian looks like the edge-to-edge coat, ¾ length and capes
·      Practical styles like trench coats, military styles and raincoat
·      Classic designs – black, tweed and double-breasted retro coats are back but have been spruced up with the addition of things like graphic embellishments

2. Shape

There’s so many coat shapes pout there to choose from so where do you start to choose a design that will not only suit you but will be practical too?

Beginners might like to opt to make a loose-fit coat that won’t fill you with fear with fitting issues. These styles of coats are great for the weekend, and throwing on when in a rush! It’s also much easier to layer up and wear with bulky knitwear.  Edge to edge coats are very in vogue. The Maker’s Ateiler’s Utility Coat, Butterick 6845 and Kwik Sew 4319 are wonderful choices of this coat style. 


Three-quarter length like the Abbey Coat from Jamie Christinais ideal for wearing in the car driving
and these sorts of uses.

Abbey Coat from Jamie Christina

Abbey Coat from Jamie Christina

However a slightly fitted coat (if made well) is an investment, and suits most body shapes. This smarter coat is perfect for special occasions during the winter months or wearing to work and making a real statement. Getting the hemline right on this style can make or break a coat! Decades of Style 1940's Claremont coat is a gorgeous vintage pattern that exudes style.

3. Fabric
As a rule, a coat will last much longer if the fabric is of a good quality. It’s also less likely to suffer from piling and sagging. Fabric choice is so important, and like most things buy the best you can afford to make sure the quality is there.

·      Wool blends are more durable but there’s nowhere to hide with plain colours and every mistake shows
·      Shearling and faux fur is fun to wear but can be tricky to work with
·      Natural fibres are easier to work with and press nicely
·      Textured and pattern fabrics are more forgiving and will hide little mistakes more easily
·      Why not try mixing and matching fabrics like Burda 6845.

Burda 6845

Burda 6845

4. Colour
Dark colours are more practical for making a coat as they don’t show wear or the dirt and there’s less drying cleaning bills too. However a pastel colour or rich vibrant colour can look stunning but can become outdated quite quickly!

Isla Trench Coat from Named new Black collection

Isla Trench Coat from Named new Black collection

Beige is no longer considered boring –  neutrals are timeless and there are many shades to choose from including camel, grey, ivory, taupe and winter white.

Whatever colour you choose, bear in mind this coat will be something that you’ll want to wear for a long time so be sure you truly love the colour and won’t tire of it quickly.

The little details

Consider adding a contrasting lining. Many designers have been fairly reserved in the colour they’ve chosen for the main coat this season but have added a splash of colour with vibrant linings. Linings are a must on an investment coat as it helps the coat retain its shape and structure. Simplicity 1015 (shown below) features a button out lining so you can have the best of both worlds and wear it all year round.

Simplicity 1015

Simplicity 1015

Add over-sized buttons in a contrasting colour, make your own covered buttons or choose something different like toggles, large press-studs or frog closures for a one-of-a-kind look..

Leftover fabric
Make a matching corsage or handbag to match your coat with left over fabric.

Contrasting fabrics
Why not use a different fabric such as suede or faux leather for lapels, pockets, belts and collars or add a pretty bias binding around the collar.

Obtain fabric sample swatches, and take your time choosing the fabric. Any fabric choice should be done in natural light as you’ll be wearing it outside after all.

Spend time pinning the tissue on yourself to make sure the fit is perfect. Make sure you wear the sort of clothes you will be wearing underneath when fitting.

For beginners, always start with a simple coat pattern that you can make well such as edge-to-edge coat.

Think every step ahead before machine stitching. I’d recommend you tack every seam allowance first especially if it’s an expensive fabric.

Make sure the hemline is longer enough to wear with other garments in your wardrobe. There’s nothing worse than a coat that’s suppose to be full length showing three inches of dress hemline!

Make a copy of your coat pattern so you can refer back to this rather than starting again with the original pattern.