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.
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:
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.)
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.
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.