Instructables

Draft & Sew a Custom Fit Reversible Coat

FeaturedContest Winner
I am a bit of a hack when it comes to sewing... I don't really know what I'm doing, but faking it until I make it has worked out reasonably well.  Approach your project with a masterful gaze and keep the seam ripper handy!

I sketched this coat while spending an unusually cold weekend at the beach this past Halloween, spent the holidays wishing I had constructed it while in blustery East Texas, then seeing the notice of the Sew Warm contest in the February 25th newsletter, Instructables has motivated me to finally get on with it! 

This -able will walk you through measuring, drafting a pattern, cutting the fabric, sewing a reversible funnel neck coat (avoiding set-in sleeves because they are the bane of my drafting, and sometimes sewing, existence), and making fabric covered buttons for it.  A multi-able, of sorts.

If you get lucky, like I did, having a few components at hand and thrifting a couple of fleece throws/a jar of buttons for a dollar each, you can make a cozy coat for $3.25 USD.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Bits 'n' Pieces

Picture of Bits 'n' Pieces
-basic sewing skills
-notepad/writing paper
-pencil/pen, marker/chalk
-flexible tape measure
-ruler/semi-rigid tape measure
-gift tissue/news paper/leftover Christmas gift wrap... any large scrap
-scissors
-tape to repair miscuts/tears or piecing together [pattern paper]
-cozy fabric,  two equal sized pieces -- coordinating/contrasting/different/identical -- roughly 3 - 5 sq. yds. total.  Retired blankets, flannel sheets*, store-bought fleece... any warm fabric will do.  I will be using (2x) 50" x 60" fleece throws**; washed and wrinkle free (I skipped this part, as you will see)
-sewing needle and machine, if you have access
-thread
-many pins (quilting pins are helpful when using thick materials)
-8 - 16 largish (3/4" to 1-1/2" -- big enough to operate with gloved fingers) [buttons, checkers, scrabble tiles, craft marbles] (anything that could withstand a tumble dry on low heat) or you could assemble a grip of matching/coordinating buttons and skip the covering part)

optional:
-caffeinated beverages
-Mozart's piano concertos
-kitty helpers

* flannel is a woven material which will fray -- use proper stitching techniques (serge, use zig-zag in addition to straight, French seams, double hems, &c.) to maintain seams and hems, adding extra allowances as needed.  For the sake of this -able, directions will only be written for using non-raveling materials such as fleece or (felted) wool.
**is enough material to make a reversible coat with a largest body measurement (be it bust/chest, waist, or hips) of 40".  Larger sizes may require more material depending on how one drafts their pattern pieces.  As an alternative, the coat can be made non-reversible, which would require slightly more than half the amount of fabric, allotting more seam/hem allowance at collar, button panel, cuffs, and hemline.
RadhikaN2 years ago
I appreciate your work. You followed nice steps to before sewing a dress. I glad to read your article. Thanks a lot.

Yebhi Coupons
Totally making this for my daughter and then maybe one for me :) I love it!!!!
jacquimarri3 years ago
I'm gonna make the pattern for this right now. :) This is an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing. :D
great job! i need to try this!
i love the side on the right :D
sbregher4 years ago
Love it!  I love sewing; and I think you did a fabulous job. Might take me while to draft all the pieces,but then I'll have an easy pattern to follow!  I can see making many of these coats!  Fleece is so warm, I think I might make mine single layer-except for the collar.  I like the contrast!  Again, great job!  Thanks for taking the time to put this instructable together!
sprockette4 years ago
super helpful...i've been pondering the details of a reversible black/white coat for months.
imagine how many outfits it'll match!
sefchona4 years ago
 I am totally making this. Some day;)
I've been looking for a nice jacket to make, and I love this design.
I live in South Florida so I'll be making it with some light weight fabric. Thank you for sharing.
Your drafting technique does not "read" clearly on the first go-about-- the pacing of this instructable could have been improved by separating the steps a bit more. THAT BEING SAID, this instructable is incredibly detailed and informative. I appreciate your efforts to explain the complicated process.
What a handsome coat, too!
I will be taking a crack at this, I think. I'll toss some photos up when I'm done.
analogcatastrophe (author)  dutchypoodle4 years ago
I know exactly what you're saying.  Being a long time [blogger] may have crippled me in formulation because I have been spoiled by the ability to customize formatting with html, putting images inline with their respective steps.  I did struggle with how to go about putting it all together and I have since considered editing it to where there would be no more than five images per step (ie. making manymany more steps), but where would logical breaks fall, if not where they lie?  Thank you for confirming what was nagging at me!   (And also for your kind sentiments!)  I will definitely give it a long, hard staring match and see what I can come up with :)


I second this request!  You've done a fantastic job of the coat and an enormous amount of work documenting it and the result is wonderful.  But I haven't been able to figure out how the shoulders go together after fifteen minutes of study... I have these suggestions:
  • Refer to the pattern pieces by name instead of number, so the reader doesn't have to remember that piece 1 is the front, and piece 4 is the shoulder inset, etc.
  • Split out the drafting into steps exactly where you have placed double newlines in your text (i.e. before each bit that starts "Using measurements ...")
  • Split out the assembly instructions at Collar/Yoke, Shoulders, Body, etc. so it's easier to match up the pictures with the instructions.
Awesome work and awesome coat!  I'm definitely going to use that collar on something, it's just gorgeous.
analogcatastrophe (author)  rachel4 years ago
Thank you for this very helpful comment.  I was initially worried if I had broken it into so many steps it would be entirely too long, but I think you're right.  I hope to have a fresh edit up by tomorrow evening :)

Is it the section on tacking the insides of the shoulders together that isn't clear or the section dealing with attaching the insets (piece 4) to the collar/yoke (pieces 1A, 1, and 1B)? 

It's difficult to edit in retrospect since I was winging the whole thing as I went along, therefore making all the sense in the world (in my head :p), and wrote directions in real time while [fabricating] and taking pictures.  Next time I will proto first, then follow my own directions to make [whatever it is] for an instructable.

Thanks again!
It isn't that either of the sections isn't clear in of themselves, just that I couldn't sort out the information that was there and match it with the photos.  My brain blurred with the amount of text and the numbering scheme.  Other people may have been able to understand it fine, of course.

There's nothing wrong with writing up as you go!  You just chose your first instructable to be something rather complicated.  I'm gonna bet that your next  will be both awesome and clearly laid out :)
tarzioo4 years ago
wow! you did such a fantastic job!!!  I am in love with this jacket!! Thank you for posting this instructable =D  I am going to try and talk myself into making this now lol. I am terrible with sewing =\
analogcatastrophe (author)  tarzioo4 years ago
And thank you for the compliment :)  Like I was telling RuthZeman below, I would be thrilled to see it if you make it! 

I am not so great with sewing, myself.  My hand stitching holds, but is hideous (I long for nice, straight, even stitches!), so I bought a super-saver machine about six years ago, but I have to go reaaally slow or I will wreck everything.
RuthZeman4 years ago
The jacket is fantastic looking! I can't wait to try this!
analogcatastrophe (author)  RuthZeman4 years ago
Thank you!  I would love to see your results :)