I've never been a fan of wire coat hangers, but somehow, even though I don't do a lot of dry cleaning, they end up in the home anyway. One way to make them a bit more user-friendly is to transform them from blah and boring into fun and fashionable padded hangers. Padded hangers make a nice housewarming gift that can be personalized to the new home's décor or charming additions to a bridal or baby shower present. Here is how it's done.
Squeeze the bottom of the coat hanger up to within an inch or so of the top. This "flattened" version is not only easier to cover, but makes the finished hanger look more professional.
Paint the exposed neck of the coat hanger with craft paint or nail polish to further disguise its humble origins.
Wrap the batting around the body of the hanger, using the hanger's shape as your guide. It doesn't need to be bulky, just evenly distributed. Quilt batting, already in sheets, is best for this but fiberfill can also be used if you're careful and don't move it around too much before the cover is in place.
Double your fabric, placing the right sides together and creating one long edge. Line up the bottom of the wrapped hanger with the folded edge. This will save you having to sew that long seam along the bottom.
Trace around the outside edge of the padded hanger's body and then approximately half of an inch outside of it for seam allowance. Cut along the outermost line.
Sew along one side of the hanger cover with the right sides together, then turn it right-side-out and slide the first arm into the sleeve.
Tuck in the seam allowance on the unfinished side and pin in place. Close the seam with a series of small stitches up to and through the neck opening.
Attach a button to each arm, about midway across the top of each side, if you plan to hang anything with dainty straps like tank tops or lingerie. The buttons can be as decorative as you like, or you can even make matching buttons from leftover or complementary fabric wrapped around other buttons or small wooden balls.
Thread a length of narrow tubing over the painted neck of the hanger to protect the paint and avoid that horrible scraping sound of wire on wire once the hanger is put into use.
Tie a little bow at the base of the neck of the hanger, securing it with a couple of stitches to the cover. It's a nice touch, but you can leave it off if it doesn't suit your style.
Blanket stitching the end of the batting will help it stay in place as you stuff the first arm into the cover.