Wool coats tend to be expensive because the fabric is durable, wrinkle-resistant, warm, and moisture-wicking. You can have a wool coat and also save some money by making your own wool coat. If you are new to sewing, look for a classic-style coat pattern labelled Easy or Beginner. Wool coats can be itchy, so get a pattern for a lined coat. When you buy the wool fabric, choose a worsted wool or wool blend if you want a lightweight coat, or a woollen fabric if you want a heavyweight coat.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 5 yards wool fabric (estimated)
- 4 yards lining fabric (estimated)
- 1 yard interfacing (estimated)
- Pressing Cloth
- Steam iron
- Straight pins
- Tailor's chalk
- Sewing machine
- Tailor's ham
- Shank buttons
- Hand sewing needle
- Hand cotton
After choosing a pattern in the appropriate size, locate the size guide on the pattern envelope. After finding your size, check the width of the wool fabric you have selected. The guide will tell you how many yards of wool you need to purchase. Repeat this step to identify how many yards of lining fabric and interfacing you will need.
Preshrink the wool, lining, and interfacing by placing the pressing cloth over fabric and then using the steam iron. Use the steam iron's wool setting for the wool. Set the temperature for the lining and interfacing according to the type of fabric you are using. Do not try to preshrink fusible interfacing this way or it will melt.
Pin the coat pattern to the wool fabric and cut out around the lines marked for your size. Mark the fabric for darts and any other special seams noted on the pattern by either pinning all the way through the pattern and fabric, or lifting the pattern halfway up and making a tailor's chalk mark. Transfer the pattern pieces marked for lining and interfacing to those materials, and cut out around the lines for your size.
Pin the wool pieces together according to the pattern designer's directions. Sew the wool pieces together using a sewing machine set to make a straight, medium-length stitch. Press the seams open, but do not put the hot iron directly against the wool. Place the pressing cloth over the seams before ironing.
Slide the tailor's ham into shaped seams, such as the shoulder seam, so it is inside and resting against the right side of the fabric. Cover the open seam with the pressing cloth and press the shaped seams.
Pin the lining and interfacing pieces according to the directions. If you are sewing them directly to the wool fabric, continue to use the medium-length straight stitch. If you are sewing two pieces of lining together, use a shorter stitch to make a secure seam on the light weight fabric.
Hang the coat up when it is completely sewn except for the hem, buttons, and buttonholes. Allow the coat to hang for a full day before adding buttons, buttonholes, and finishing the hem. Make the buttonhole using the sewing machine's buttonhole setting. Sew on the shank buttons and finish the hem by hand.
Tips and warnings
- Worsted wool and wool blends are the light wools usually used for suits and upholstery but can be used for light overcoats. Woollen fabrics are thicker and are used for heavy coats and blankets.
- Use an 80/12 sewing machine needle if you are working with worsted wool, or a 90/14 if you are working with woollen fabric.
- Take your time reading the pattern instructions. Each designer has his or her own way of putting the pieces together. It is easy to get out of order and end up spending longer ripping out seams that are wrong than it would have taken to do them in order the first time.
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