Sewing Your First Coat: 5 Tips For Success

5 tips for sewing your first coat. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Are you in the market for a new coat this season? If you’ve never sewn a coat before, this is the time to make one, even if you’re still a fairly new sewer. Coats are easier to sew than you think, and they’re usually significantly less expensive to make than buy. Here are our five tips to help you sew your first coat:

Tip #1: Take a look at RTW and designer coats you like first, for inspiration. Pin them to a Pinterest board or clip examples from magazines. Getting organized—by determining what you like and don’t like before you look for patterns and fabric—will save you lots of time. Also go to the store and try on coats to see which styles flatter you most.

looking at coats for sewing inspiration, on the McCall Pattern Company blog
source

Tip #2: If this is your first coat to sew, stick with patterns featuring a loosely-fitted shape with minimal details. And you’re in luck, because that’s the style in coats this season. Take a look these RTW coats below, for example:

looking at coats for sewing inspiration, on the McCall Pattern Company blog
J.O.A. coat, Shopbop; Doublecloth coat, J. Crew.
looking at coats for sewing inspiration, on the McCall Pattern Company blog
Funnel neck coat, Ann Taylor; By Malene Birger coat, Stylebop.

Tip #3: Choose a solid-color, quality 100% wool. There are many coating options out there, but for your first coat project go with a medium-weight wool in a solid color, so you don’t need to worry about matching plaids or patterns, and so the layers aren’t too thick to sew. Texture is ok as long as it’s a tight weave. Trust us, wool is wonderful to sew and press, and it keeps you nice and warm. (Steam-press it to pre-shrink it before cutting out your pattern.)

sewing your first coat: examples of wool coating fabrics
Wool coatings, l-r: Fabrics & Fabrics, Gorgeous Fabrics, Fabricmart.

Tip #4: Select a lining fabric that’s warm and easy to work with. We like satin linings with a flannel backing, often called Sunback or Kashi linings. The flannel-backing provides extra warmth, and the thickness of this fabric makes it easier to sew.

Tip #5: Pressing is as important as the sewing. Press coat edge seams open first, then press them to the side as directed. Use pressing tools to help you press seams in tight areas, like collars and corners. A well-pressed garment makes you look like a sewing pro, even if you’re still new to sewing.

pressing tools to make your first coat. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Pressing tools available at Nancy’s Notions.

These five tips will help you get started on your first coat. Seasoned sewers, please feel free to add your tips for first-timers in the comments section. Coming next: Coat patterns for beginning sewers.

Finishing Techniques For Knit Garments. Plus, Sneak Peek!

McCall's M7244 Plenty by Tracy Reese dress sewing pattern.

Happy Friday! Here’s a sneak peek of a new McCall’s pattern I just love. It’s a Plenty by Tracy Reese dress pattern and it will be available very soon, along with the rest of the new Fall collection for McCall’s. The reason I’m sharing it here is one, it’s really cute and flattering. Two, the torso is lined with power mesh (tricot)—love this idea!

Here’s the original designer dress turned inside out. The fabric is a textured knit jacquard that’s ivory and black on the right side and solid black on the wrong side. See how there’s a neck facing attached to the black power-mesh lining on the bodice?

Detail photo of McCall's M7244 Plenty by Tracy Reese dress sewing pattern.

I have several knit dresses planned for my fall sewing and I want to borrow this finishing idea. I’m gravitating to the thought that a power mesh lining could help smooth things out, like a layer of lightweight Spanx. And finishing the edges with facings makes me happy, because I’m never really pleased with the knit bands I make at the neck and arm hole (they’re lumpy). So I am definitely going to borrow these two finishing techniques for the knit dresses I have planned.

Have you been using facings and power mesh/tricot linings on your knit garments, and I’m just really late to the party? Do tell. I think this concept works better on more stable knits, like ponte and double knits. Speaking of fabric, I went to my local Jo-Ann’s this past weekend to buy some craft supplies and ended up leaving with three cuts of knit fashion fabric, including this gray textured knit. Very pleased with my purchase.

Here are some more photos of this Plenty by Tracy Reese dress, because we know you like these kinds of detail shots. Coming next week: the new fall collections video. Stay tuned!

Detail photo of McCall's M7244 Plenty by Tracy Reese dress sewing pattern.
The bodice and the lining are serged or stitched together as one to the flared skirt.
Detail photo of McCall's M7244 Plenty by Tracy Reese dress sewing pattern.
Want, want, want this textured jacquard knit the designer used.
McCall's M7244 Plenty by Tracy Reese dress sewing pattern.
Gotta love a v-neck for a flattering line. We feature this dress in the soon-to-be-released fall collections video. It’s even cuter worn in real life.