Sunday, January 10, 2016

Winter Coat (a four-day-mission)

Hey all,
So I decided to make a winter coat from scratch. Without a pattern. And it actually turned out quite good?

...what is this sorcery?


I had this thick gray wool fabric I found from a secondhand store for 4 euros, and I decided that what the hell, if this fails, I'll only lose a few euros and some of my time.

So I made a pattern. It is a combination of an existing coat I own and some wild imagination (inspired by this coat here). I didn't have any pattern paper at hand because I'm more of the type who just measures and pins fabric and chops away, but this time I decided it might be better to be precise since I'd have to cut out the same pieces from my lining fabric as well. I had an old Burda pattern I'm pretty sure I'd never need (because it's a simple shift dress and I've made several of those before without a pattern), and so I simply drew my coat pattern on top of the uncut Burda pieces. (So that's why it says "Burda" on some of my pieces if you zoom in on the next photo.)

(I had to make some adjustments as I progressed but basically that was the pattern I used.)

I made the pieces a bit too wide at the waist on purpose, because I was planning on adding decorative corset lacing to the back. So I did.

I figured out where I wanted the lacing to be and then sewed the rings on the center back piece, then sewed the back side pieces onto the center back piece.

I then assembled the front (front side piece + front center overlapping lapel piece) on both sides and sewed the side seams and shoulders.

I sewed and attached the hood.

I made a facing for the hood and later hand-stitched it (ew hand-sewing) so it stayed on the inside of the hood but the stitches aren't visible on the outside.

I then attached the lapel facings and sleeves.

I made a facing for the back seam where the hood is attached, and also used some gray bias tape to make a loop from which to hang the coat.

Then I took some of the fabric I got from my grandma-in-law last summer.

That one right there.

All of these fabrics are Finnish vintage (!!!), and I decided it was time for this fabric to be used. I cut out the lining using my pattern, assembled the lining and left it waiting to be attached.

But first, I needed to make buttons.

I wanted to make the buttons from the coat fabric but it was too thick to make these kinds of buttons, so I opted for a darker gray fabric I had left over from a previous project. I bought these DIY buttons from the cheap store called Tiger for 2 or 3 euros.

Then it was time to make buttonholes. I had seen pictures of bound buttonholes on Pinterest and I wanted to make those. I decided where I wanted the buttonholes to be and got to it.

Sure, bound buttonholes are time-consuming to make but in my opinion well worth the effort. If you're interested in making bound buttonholes, here are two good tutorials: Craftsy has a well-explained basic tutorial and Lolita Patterns also tells you how to make the backsides of the buttonholes pretty as well (because in the very basic version the back isn't very pleasing to look at).

I also figured out where the buttons should sit on the opposite side and sewed those on. (By hand, ugh.)

Next I made single-welt pockets on the front side panels using this easy tutorial on YouTube.

Then I attached the lining with the help of another YouTube tutorial.

I hemmed the sleeves by attaching the lining and the main fabric together on the inside of the sleeve so no seams were visible on the outside (more hand-stitching, oh yay...)

Then I decided I wanted the sleeves to have suede details! (If I ever get this idea again, whack me with something.)

I drafted a pattern (inspired by the corner of a tablecloth I have :D) and cut it out from secondhand suede scrap piece (which cost me like 50 cents). I cut the pattern on fold to make it symmetrical.

I put a few dabs of fabric glue onto the suede pieces to hold them in place and then I sewed. And sewed and sewed and sewed. It took hours. Many, many hours. The suede was difficult to sew through and since I'd already hemmed the sleeves, I had to be extra careful to only catch the topmost layer of fabric so the lining would still move freely in the sleeve after the suede was attached. It was a pain in the ass (and fingers, because I pricked them all the time while sewing the decorations on). Buuuuuuut then again, I like the end result.

So then it was only a matter of hemming the lining and the actual coat fabric, and the coat was done!

And this is what it looks like when I'm wearing it:

I also took the coat outside for a test ride. It was very warm and cozy. Perfect!


So, this project took me four days to complete. I didn't count actual hours but I'd say this took me something like 30-40 hours, including the making of a pattern from scratch. So even though the materials cost me only about 10 euros altogether, if I were to count an hourly salary for myself, this would be a friggin' expensive coat. :D

So, what do you think of my winter coat? (And my new blog cover photo?) :)

scoundrel / Satu

PS. I also changed my blog name... the old one wasn't very descriptive of what this blog is about these days... so from now on this blog will be "Sew Scoundrel". Just because. :D You can also find my sewing-related photos on Instagram under the hashtag #sewscoundrel :)


  1. Holy hell girl, this jacket is amazing. It was well worth the effort :]

    1. Thanks! And I think it was definitely worth the effort too, but I still wouldn't want to make another one of these anytime soon :D

  2. the jacket is amazing . . . I wish I can make it someday . . . the hood's size is great. here I can't find a jacket with big hood but I always want to have a big hood jacket . . . would you like to share the pattern in pdf version? thanks ^^

    1. Thank you for your comment! :)
      I don't have the opportunity to make a pdf pattern, but I can share the measurements of the hood. See the picture below:

      Hope this helps! :)

  3. this is really amazing!! you've filled me with a desire to make a winter coat even though it's turning into summer now :) how much of the grey wool fabric did you have?? and how much fabric did you need to use for the lining??

    1. Thank you! I think I had like three yards of the gray fabric and something like three yards of lining? I ended up using most of the gray fabric and about two yards of lining (I needed less lining fabric because the lining is shorter than the coat and the hood is not lined).
      And as for making a winter coat at this time? Make it! Then you have a coat ready for next winter :)