Trench coats, iconic garments that represent elegance, refinement, and even intrigue, have been popular for decades. Traditional trench coats are double-breasted, calf-length garments made most often out of khaki-coloured cotton fabric, although modern versions vary quite a bit from their more conventional cousins, with shorter, fuller models climbing in popularity. Sewing a trench coat, because of its complexity of construction, is best left for those with some sewing experience.
Measure your chest and waist while wearing the type of clothing you plan to sport under your trench coat. Take these measurements to the fabric store to assist in purchasing the correct pattern size.
Select a sewing pattern for a trench coat. Choose from a variety of styles and details on trench coats, including single- or double-breasted buttoning, pocket flaps, shoulder plackets, and patch pockets.
Purchase the necessary amount of fabric required for your trench coat. Most coats are made of a medium to heavier weight cotton twill, often in taupe or black. Modern versions can be made from virtually any non-stretchy fabric you choose. Be aware that extra fabric may be necessary for matching stripes or patterns. Beginners should avoid fabrics with patterns, since these are more difficult to match while sewing. The back of the pattern envelope explains which notions, such as buttons or buckles, you will need. Notions should be purchased at the same time as the fabric.
Prewash and dry your uncut fabric, if you intend to wash your finished trench coat. If you plan to dry clean it, you do not need to prewash the fabric, although it is recommended to prevent future shrinkage.
Cut out all of the pattern pieces for your trench coat, using the detailed measurements on the back of the pattern envelope to determine the best size for you. Be sure to cut out all of the necessary pattern pieces, as most trench coats will have at least 10 different pieces.
Pin the pattern pieces to the fabric and cut out each one. Transfer all of the markings on the pattern to the fabric, using the tailor’s chalk. These markings will help when sewing the garment together.
Pin the fabric pieces together as directed by the sewing instructions. Before sewing, test-fit the garment by trying it on. If any major alterations to the fit need to be made, do so at this time.
Sew together the pieces as explained by the pattern directions. Try the coat on again to retest the fit, after you sew the body pieces together. If any additional fit alterations need to be made, do so before sewing the rest of your coat together.
Hem the sleeves of your trench coat to fall just below the wrists, and the lower hem to the length desired. Traditional trench coats generally fall to the mid-calf, while modern trench coats can be as short as hip length or as long as floor length.
If you are making your trench coat out of vinyl, PVC, or leather, use paper clips or clothespins to hold the pieces together while sewing, instead of using sewing pins. Pins will put noticeable holes in vinyl and leather.