It's cold outside, let's hurry up to sew warm coat using felted sweaters and other materials and scraps ... but be warned that this project has a lot room for creativity, designer's view, color theory, fun, flexibility, mistakes, breaking sewing machine needles, freedom, deviation from plan, thrifting, addiction to destruction but always warm and happy ending.
Note: As far as sewing is concerned, I'm self taught by doing it. I have learned a lot about sewing techniques, materials, and sewing machines over the years. In this project, I used both Singer Confidence 7470 sewing machine and Singer 14CG754 (2, 3, 4 Thread Overlock Machine with Differential Feed) Serger.
You can buy them from your local Joann Fabric Store when they are on sale (Joann also offers a very basic class for new owners) or get a good deal for Singer sewing machine and serger online and save a trip to the store.
Step 1: Materials and Machines
1. Study and evaluate what you have, find a sweater that can be used as the bodice of the coat.
2. Find material that can be used as the skirt of the coat.
Try them on the lucky recipient, they should be possibly altered to fit the recipient. In my case, I found a felted adult sweater for the bodice and a coordinating wool skirt that isn't worn by anyone for the lower part of the coat.
3. No coat is warm without hoodie, so I found some vintage knit fabric for the hoodie.
4. I like a decorative brim on the hoodie, I decided to use the embroidered hem of a skirt for the hoodie brim.
5. I also found a wool pants, the waist band and buttons will be the front button band and buttons of the coat.
6. I also like the hoodie has tie to keep it stay over head during really cold and windy condition, so a piece of 54" ribbon is used.
Well, if you wonder how I have everything I need. That's because I have a bit of junk collector reputation among friends, they call me to their house to inspect things they don't want and take what I want. So maybe building a collector reputation is your first step for projects like this.
7. Serger and sewing machine with buttonhole foot
8. Other basic measuring, cutting and sewing tools
Step 2: Make a sketch of the coat
We'll see how close or far the coat will be to the sketch.
Step 3: Prepare and assemble the bodice
Cut the sweater open in the center front.
Trim away the bottom part of the sweater to the position of waist.
Remove the waist band of the pants for button band of the bodice, undo stitches and tear away interfacing in the waist band to reduce bulk.
Pin the button band to the front of the bodice.
Stitch the button band to the front of the bodice with double stiches and trim extra.
Step 4: Prepare and assemble the hoodie
Use a tape ruler measuring how wide the hoodie opening should be while the wearer stands, mine is 27".
Fold in the front end of the brim to make a tie casing if you want the hoodie to have a tie.
Cut the fabric for hoodie (In my sketch, I thought I would make classic elf hoodie, I ended up making a simple elf hoodie with the mono-print fabric), I didn't use any pattern, just went for an imaginary hoodie shape. if you are not sure, use the hoodie of another clothes as reference.
Sew the hoodie brim and body with wrong side together on serger, the seam will be worn outside.
Sew the hoodie and bodice with wrong side together on serger, and close the seam on the hoodie, the seam will be worn outside.
Thread the hoodie tie into its casing.
Let the wearer try on the jacket to see if something is off. There sure was for me, I decided the hoodie didn't look elf-y, so I pinned the hoodie into a more elf-y shape and trimmed it on serger. Look at the last photo of this step, I think it looks much better after trimming.
Step 5: Prepare and assemble the skirt
Draw a line around the skirt to indicate the shortening place, (optionally) draw a second line about 2" below, stitch along the two lines all around to keep the pleats in place.
Cut just above the first stitch line to remove the waist.
Find the center pleat and cut the front of the skirt open in the fold. Stitch the top layer of the pleat in place, it'll the buttonhole band, serge the raw edge of the bottom layer of the pleat, it will be the button band.
Pin the bodice to skirt with wrong side together matching center back, center front and sides. If the bodice is wider than the skirt, make two darts in front and two darts in back of the bodice, vice versa if the skirt is wider.
Let the wearer try on to make sure the bottom of the bodice and top of the skirt sit at waist position, the coat is at right height. If not, the remedy is to either trim away the extra or add a waist band.
Serge the skirt to bodice with wrong sides together.
Fold the seam toward bodice and stitch over it.
Mark buttonhole position.
Use buttonhole foot on sewing machine to make buttonholes and sew the buttons on.
Step 6: Finishing Touch.
Let the lucky person try on the coat. My piece looked good to me except something is missing on the waist. Originally I planned a sewn on waist tie, then I remember she has a dress belt which should go well with this coat. And it did.
Looking back, there are 3 changes from my original plan:
Classic long elf hoodie with pom pom was replaced with simple pointy elf hoodie.
Black hoodie tie was changed to green tie.
Sew on waist tie changed to dress belt.
I love doing this kind of project involving deconstruction and reconstruction, using materials otherwise not used for whatever reason. It's happy ending for everyone. Hope this project gives you some ideas and encouragement.
Please vote it for the Sew Warm Contest if you liked it after it is accepted into the contest by the contest moderator. Sew warm, stay warm.