Make Your Own Basics: The coat

Make Your Own Basics: The coat

I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not to top off (har har) the Make Your Own Basics series with an entry about coats, but for anyone with a goal of eventually having an all or mostly handmade wardrobe, eventually you do arrive at the coat question.  And when my friend Jen at Grainline put out the coat pattern she’s been teasing the world with for so long, it pushed me over the edge — and might even be the one to get me to tackle a coat one day—

TOP: Yates Coat by Grainline Studio is a modern classic with notched lapel collar, hidden welt pockets and boxy shape

NEXT: Cascade Duffle Coat by Grainline Studio is a spot-on version of one of the most enduring and iconic of coat types

THIRD ROW LEFT: Oslo Coat by Tessuti is a lovely shawl-collared wrap coat

THIRD ROW RIGHT: Lisette/Butterick B6385 is a longer coat with waist shaping, vertical welt pockets and three collar variations that each give it a very different look

BOTTOM: Ellsworth Coat by Christine Haynes is an always-chic little double-breasted shape designed for jacket-weight fabrics such as canvas or denim, plus a lining

For a knitted option, I’m partial to the Polar Coat by Regina Moessmer, but be cautious about your yarn choice to keep it light enough to be wearable!


PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: Mittens and mitts



24 thoughts on “Make Your Own Basics: The coat

  1. When choosing a pattern be very careful about the detail of the instructions, if you’ve never made a coat. The collar, sleeves and hem can be very difficult to get right. Its worth all the extra time needed in order to get the layers of interfacing right as yo’ll probably keep your coat for several years. Some of the clearest instructions are in the Vogue patterns (like this one

    • Vogue 9289 has been around for years so there must be something quite good about it! Just wish the skirt weren’t so full. In wool this coat would weigh a lot. The pattern is on sale this morning at $5.99. Thanks for reminding me of this one.

      • Mary, this totally depends on the wool. I found a lovely, very lightweight wool several years ago and made a coat with a very full skirt. It’s the lightest of any wool coat I’ve ever owned, and still very warm.

  2. One of my favorites is the Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns. She did a tutorial for lining it – talked about lining sleeves that are a little slimmer with something that will allow your sleeve fabric on your shirt to slide through. Wow! Where was that when I bought a RTW that didn’t do that – sleeves are impossible to get through it! It’s the little things that make a big difference.

  3. The Tessuti coat is great. Haven’t used one of their patterns however your versions of the Robbie pant have inspired me!

  4. I’ve made one coat – an Issey Miyake pattern from Vogue. It’s huge and perfect for some of my more voluminous (or lumpy) outfits. There were some mistakes, and there’s no lining, but I do love it. I have the Built by Wendy coat pattern book at home and have thought about making one or two of the patterns. One of my issues is that I already have a lot of coats, many of them vintage, but I still think about making another one.

  5. Merchant and Mills has a great coat pattern, The Strand. It’s such a simple design and gives inspiration for many interpretations. Jen gives step by step instructions and tutorials on her blog, Grainline Studio, for her Yates Coat, plus so much help on purchasing fabric, interfacing and all things good. Stonemountain and Daughter probably has the most exciting and luscious fabric and they will send samples. If I start gathering supplies now I eight have a coat for next Fall!!

  6. An alternative to a coat would be a big ‘coatigan’, which are usually unlined. I quite like both the Seamwork ones, Oslo and Jill. I have visions of a Jill for myself in mustard yellow boiled wool, with welt pockets/

  7. I have purchased the pattern for Paulina Alice’s Hemisferic Coat – I can’t wait to make it for next fall!

  8. I would highly recommend the Polar Coat. I had forgotten that I gave Regina permission to use my photo…it was fun to see it on her project page again. I used Brooklyn Tweed’s Quarry. Polar Coat is a very quick satisfying knit and lovely to wear. Karen, you mentioned to be cautious about your yarn choice, to be light enough to be wearable…I agree with that as you don’t want to be wearing something stiff. But the yarn also needs to be able to hold it’s shape in order to look like a coat and not a long cardigan. I added another yarn to the woollen-spun Quarry that contained some cashmere and silk to get gauge making the combination wonderful to wear.
    I’ve also been wanting to sew a wool coat…the idea is still swimming around in my head. lol

  9. I took a course on coat-making here in Ottawa and was surprised! One bite at a time….lovely! Take your time, respect the thicknesses (practice on scrap) and go through absolutely every stage without looking for short-cuts (at least the first time).

  10. I’ve been eyeing Oslo for some time now. It reminds me of a nearly identical gorgeous black wool/cashmere coat my Mom had in the 50s that she gave me and wore to death in 1980s with my Doc Martens, striped faux Gauthier t-shirts and cigarette jeans with, naturally, a cigarette dangling from my red lips. Dang, I wish I those photos!

  11. I noticed the Yates Coat too. My favourite though is the Clare Coat from Closet Case Designs. Not sure whether my sewing skills are up to it. And my favourite knitted coat is Audrey’s Coat, which admittedly is my own design, but I put a lot of thought into what I wanted in a coat before I made it as you can read from this blog post: Temp actually 4C today and things are melting. Hope springs eternal!

  12. Coats are great to sew because you get to keep them forever ! I love to make coats, and honestly, it isn’t more complicated than making a shirt or a pair of jeans. The first one I made was a Cascade duffle coat, I took my time and followed the sew-along, and it went perfectly well. It is one of the garment I am the most proud of, I am still wearing it 3 years later and plan to wear it as long as I can fit in.

  13. Yates is one I’ve been considering, but I don’t like the pockets, so I’ll have to get the pattern in my hot little hands and figure out the best way to refigure them without sacrificing that great detail of the horizontal line.

  14. Icelandic Wool, the lopi, is great for coats that could become heavy/stretched: for it’s length it’s lightweight, lofty, durable, has good water resistance and super warm. really a ninja wool, IMO…

  15. I recently made the Papercut Patterns Sapporo coat in an amazing felted wool, my first coat. The pattern itself was simple enough and that dramatic cocoon shape doesn’t require a lot of fitting, but the amount of work (all that pressing! my goodness!) was really something. I came out of it appreciating the cost of well-made coats and also so so so proud of myself for finishing it. I get compliments on it whenever I wear it and can see it being a part of my wardrobe for many years to come.

  16. Pingback: Make Your Own Basics: The jackets | Fringe Association

  17. I have found the Pilvi coat/jacket from Lotta Jansdotter’s “Everday style” to be a great entry level coat – no collar, raglan sleeves (so little need to ease in) and a fold back front facing. Completely beginner friendly! So then I had to go and complicate things by using a knit outer fabric with a woven lining for heft and drafting my own lining….many thanks to Jen from Grainline for the extremely helpful photos for how to insert a bagged lining, my brain just wasn’t doing its spatial rotation thing the first 3 times I attached the sleeve and lining!
    Coats are fabulous bang for your sewing buck – you can be wearing pjs or a ratty gardening t-shirt but if you put on your nice coat then you look ready!

Comments are closed.