Sewing A Coat: What Scares You?

A couple of you admired my coat fabric in this week’s post, and were excited about the possibility of sewing your own coat too, but admitted you were fearful of coat sewing. I’m curious, what scares you about sewing a coat? (And how can I help?)

What’s getting in the way between you and the beautifully-sewn coat of your dreams?

Fall Coat Inspiration

Fall Coat Inspiration by sewaholic

Is it the tailoring? Does all that work seem like too much of a time investment? You could whip up at least two or more dresses in the time it takes to make a coat, but what would you rather have in your closet? Is it the actual sewing that seems intimidating? Some of you were interested in the sewing steps as I make the coat – what kinds of things would you like to see?

Or the fact that coating is expensive and so are the rest of the materials required to make a coat – and you’re afraid of screwing it up? Perhaps it’s because it’s such a large and important project, that even choosing the perfect pattern and the right fabric is scary?

I’ll admit, it’s the magnitude of the project that stops me from sewing more coats. It’s such a big sewing project – both time-wise and material-wise. I’ve been guilty of starting and not finishing a few projects this year. I really want to, that’s not the problem – it’s the fact that personal sewing gets pushed aside for business-sewing. I can imagine that many of you are in the same boat – there’s only so much free sewing time in our busy lives!

Now I’m committed – I have to make it this season! If you’re fearful of sewing a coat, I’d love to show you tips and tricks along the way to help with your own coat-sewing adventures! (And I think I’ve picked just the right pattern too – more to follow!)

So tell me: what scares you about sewing a coat?

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80 Responses to Sewing A Coat: What Scares You?

  1. Vicki Kate September 8, 2011 at 6:53 am #

    “the fact that coating is expensive and so are the rest of the materials required to make a coat ‚Äì and you‚Äôre afraid of screwing it up?”
    That hits it bang on the head!! That and the time constraints issue. When I make a coat I want to do it properly and as well as I possibly can with a fabric that I adore.

  2. Robin September 8, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    Hi Tasia for me as a beginner a coat looks completely out of my skill set at this point. With that being said I have purchased a coat pattern. For me it was just wishful thinking. And like Vicki Kate I am afraid of ruining my beautiful fabric.

  3. Beth September 8, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    The investment of time and materials scares me away from coat-making too. I’m confident that I could handle the actual sewing if I take my time, but I’m afraid that once the work is all done there will be something that isn’t perfect about it. I hesitate to put so much effort into something that I’m not sure is going to be ideal. However, I have taken on a challenging coat project–I’m making a casual sport coat/jacket for my husband.

  4. Annabelle September 8, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    I have this lovely 1940s coat pattern that I really, really want to make. What scares me is transfering the muslin to the real thing – since the thickness of coating fabric is quite different from muslin I feel like the entire fit could be thrown off. And there is the issue of finding just the right fabric that you will still love five years from now (lucky you, that part is already taken care of).

  5. Sara September 8, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    i don’t have access to nice coating fabrics locally so i’d be ordering blind from the internet. i don’t know a lot about the different types of wool coating (melton? flannel? etc) and i live in a very cold climate so i’d need a specific type of fabric and it’s too expensive to make a mistake.

  6. Seraphinalina September 8, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    I think it’s a mix of everything. Most of it would be he magnitude of the project. Will I still have interest? Will I be overwhelmed? Even if I buy the fabric, will I just get started or let it sit there and look at me? It’s not so much the dollar cost, but the fact that I am not sure I would finish.

  7. Rachel September 8, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    For me it’s several things. Cost of materials, I live in a small town where good apparel fabric is difficult to come by. Ordering fabric off the Internet seems a little like a shot in the dark. Then there’s the skill level involved, I don’t know if I have it and I don’t want to mess up horribly. But it would all be worth it if I could overcome these obstacles and make a cute little cape for winter or make a coat that fits nicely and buttons like it’s supposed to.

  8. Nethwen September 8, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    For me it’s not having fitting skills. RTW coats don’t fit well at all, but I don’t yet know how to fit patterns and coating fabric is so expensive…

    So I would like to see any fit changes you make: how you knew you needed them and how you fixed the problem.

    And I love the fabric you picked out. Such beautiful colors without being overwhelming.

  9. Sewingdina September 8, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    All the things that you mention Tasia – to spend all that time on something for it to turn out awful or to be unhappy with the fit. Also I don’t have any unfinished sewing projects (yet!) – I’ve always finished everything. I would be out of action for ages before having something to show for it! Any tips and tricks you can offer will be gratefully received. I think it would be also be a good idea to read through a coat sew-a-long, such as Gertie’s.

  10. Sara September 8, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    The only thing that scares me is that I don’t think my sewing machine could handle the thicknesses. I made a muslin of a coat for my daughter using some relatively thin blanket-like material and my machine had a hard time going through more than two layers.

  11. woolcat September 8, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    Definitely the second reason you gave. I would be devastated if I made some lumpy, ill-fitting thing out of gorgeous expensive fabric! Also the idea of a permanent UFO out of said fabric – that I fail to finish when I want to, and it sits around unfinished and unworn until it is 5 years out of date and will never fit me in this lifetime.

    Still, I can dream, right? I am really wanting to make a jacket – probably corduroy – this winter, to wear in spring, so perhaps I can glean some good techniques from your coat project. Especially things like making the collar sit nicely. That is a really make or break detail on a coat or jacket.

  12. K-Line September 8, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    I made the Lady Gray and I wear it proudly but, gotta say, it took weeks of near constant work, hand tailoring, learning new technique and scary sewing. Not to mention that I was pretty frugal with my materials (though not cheap) and it still cost me 175 bucks. I couldn’t sell this thing (not that I want to) for enough money to make a profit. Really, it would cost 5K.

  13. karen September 8, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    I can’t wait to watch you make a coat as it’s one of the things I would love to be brave enough to do. I think it’s the bulk of the sewing that scares me – those thick, thick layers. I’d hate them to be badly fitting layers! t

  14. Stephanie September 8, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    I’m worried about fitting and making mistakes and just not knowing anything about coat making. I’ve seen some of Gertie’s posts from the Lady Gray sew along and it’s all pretty intimidating. I also need to learn more about how to make it warmer! I am pondering making a coat this season but I may just chicken out and make a cape.

  15. Shawnta September 8, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    For me it is the monetary investment and not really knowing if a good product will be the result. I too do not have access to good fabric and ordering online is very scary. I have not been successful ordering a proper heavy weight knit yet so who knows what I would get for coating. I also don’t know if my two machines could handle it.

  16. Andrea September 8, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    I think my lack of tailoring skills and the sheer bulk of the layers is what puts me off. Also, the time investment may be a bit daunting. When one works full time hours, sewing shouldn’t feel like a monumental job so I think I would really have to fall in love with a specific pattern and fabric combo (or wait until I retire!) before I tackle a coat.

  17. Veronica September 8, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    I made myself a coat when I was in high school – more years ago than I’d like to admit. I have a pattern and fabrics, linings, etc to make one and plan to get to it this fall. I REALLY need a coat and buying one for fitting reasons has never been an option for me. So what is stopping me? Time to sew and the fact that there are so many other, faster projects that I need to get to first. Right now I’m 3 Lonsdale dresses and a couple or 3 blouses away from starting my new coat.

    I did some tailoring – a first for me despite my high school coat – earlier this year. That was an intense project and it did take a lot of time. But I also enjoyed the process and it did come together fairly well. I had some fit issues and so need to fix that suit coat, but it will happen after my new winter coat is made.

    And then there are my cats. I’ve not been real successful at keeping cat hair off the woolens. :)

  18. Lindsay T September 8, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    I love making coats and outerwear! Maybe you and your readers can start with a cape or a simple, loose-fitting coat with no collar, just to get the feel of things and avoid having to worry too much about things like underlinings and interfacings and perfect fit. When you live in a cold climate (New York for me), a girl can never have too much outerwear.

  19. Amanda September 8, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Oooo, did the end of this post hint to a new Sewaholic coat pattern in the works? That would be so neat! I was just thinking the other day I’d love to try taking on a coat with tailoring, etc. Would be a fun winter project when there’s not much to do outside.

    I think cost factors are the biggest fear for me with a coat, especially a tailored one. You have to invest in a bunch of materials, as you said, and a coat can require a lot. I have a red knee-length RTW coat that I love, and I would love to make another knee-length version! Makes winter more interesting if you have a few coats to choose from rather than just one :)

  20. Tanit-Isis September 8, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    Funny, the first “real” thing I made when I decided to step up my sewing a couple years back was a lined coat. For my daughter, with free fabric, but it didn’t even occur to me that it would be particularly hard…

    I do love sewing coats. They do take a lot of time, but something about the heavier fabrics is just so satisfying, and in the right weather you can wear the result *every day* without freaking out your colleagues.

    Although the materials are expensive, I think a nice tailored coat is one of those things where sewing actually makes financial sense (maybe not if you factored in the time, but certainly the material cost). The kind of long, tailored winter coat I like would cost hundreds of dollars from a store, and probably still be too short in the sleeves, never mind any other fit issues.

  21. Sandy September 8, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    For me its the tailoring that has always intimidated me. But because I’m very tall, it sort of necessitates me sewing one.

    I did one many years ago, with a group. It was one of the best fitting coats I’ve ever had. I wore it so-o-o-o much that I literally wore it out! Thank God, my sewing group is doing a coat sew long this fall. So I’ll begin working on one this month for the next 2 months with help and encouragement from my fellow sewing addicts.

    Then I’ll be doing one for my daughter.

  22. Portia September 8, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    It’s the bulkiness of the fabric. I don’t know if my machine could cope; and what about pressing seams? I always imagine i couldn’t get neat, cleanly presses seams with a normal iron.

  23. Becky September 8, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    I actually have sewn a couple of coats– I have both a lighter weight and a winter coat that I’ve sewn myself. Spring/fall ones, I have no qualms about. The thing that’s difficult for me with heavier coats is just finding the material. I’m quite sensitive to wool, and it’s hard to find fabrics that are warm enough that don’t have them. I managed to make something work with a suedecloth and a very heavy quilted lining (2 layers of the extra-warm batting), but it’s quite stiff as a result. The coat could probably literally stand up on its own when it’s buttoned up! So when this one wears out, I’m not sure what I’d do to replace it. It’s made it through 3 winters so far and hasn’t worn out yet, so hopefully it’ll last at least a few years longer…

  24. Stephanie September 8, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    It’s funny, because I actually made two coats (a peacoat and a trench coat, both in wool) several years back, when I had far less sewing experience. I don’t know what’s holding me back, especially since every winter (without fail) I bemoan the lack of cute peacoats that flatter my shape. Well, no more =D I’m sooo making a coat this winter!

  25. Ellen September 8, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    I’ve tried making a coat before for my brother, without a muslin, and it was a predictable shambles!
    Coats aren’t completely off-putting to me, but they have many more design aspects to them then the average dress and require a great deal more planning. It’s also something you want to last and so not only do you have more pieces to wrangle with you have to put more thought into the construction.
    One thing that did help a great deal with the construction of the aforementioned coat, however, was buying a similar coat from a charity shop and ripping it apart to see how it was made. I couldn’t have hacked attaching a coat lining without doing that first!

    Also, it is just a UK thing or is good coat material incredibly hard to find? I spent a whole weekend trekking round Birmingham (not exactly lacking in fabric shops) and still couldn’t find anything sturdy *and* good-looking.

  26. Valerie September 8, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    I made a coat last winter, and I was really excited about it when I started making it. However, after 18 hours of sewing, I was left with a coat that I liked, but didn’t love – big disappointment! I guess the fear for me in trying to make another one is that the same thing will happen. With a garment whose fabrics are so expensive and the work is so extensive, I need a guarantee that I’m going to be in love with it at the end!

  27. arlene f September 8, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    I have the supplies I need to make a really nice winter coat for this year. I bought it last year… I’m concerned about the fitting and how I’m going to transfer my alterations while taking into account the ease of a coat pattern!
    I have chosen a fairly simple pattern Vogue 2884, the front seam could get tricky but the whole design should cover up a whole lot of my imperfections (I hope)…..
    good luck everyone

  28. Karin September 8, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    For me it’s the fear that my sewing machine won’t be able to handle all the thick layers! Imagine 4 layers of coating fabric under the foot of an average home sewing machine. Sometimes you have to do this where seams join,etc.

  29. BearsPaw55 September 8, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Tasia: I’m glad that you’re feeling us out on this issue. It would be so great to see a Sewaholic coat pattern! I’ve never made a lined anything yet, so I would want to make a trench coat first, to see how my short/slanted-shank sewing machine could handle the job (and to get the practice on that lining). We short-waisted pears don’t always look well in coats with waistline ties (looks too much like a bathrobe on a pregnant woman), so a princess line or other shaped coat would be more than wonderful. Please keep up the good work! Carol

  30. Regina September 8, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    I made my first coat last year from a Project Runway inspired pattern. I was very intimidated to say the least when I first started, but taking it step by step it came out beautifully!! It’s one of the nicest pieces I’ve ever made! I will NEVER let anything intimidate like that ever again…this only limits my creativity and ability to try new things. Believe in yourself and go for it!!

  31. jadestar September 8, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    I totally agree with Sara above about not having access to coating fabric and having to buy bliind online with no true understanding of wool. Also being taller than the average woman (5 foot 10), and pear shaped I am intimidates by the pattern adjustments required. :(

  32. Holly September 8, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Fabricland is having a sale on new look and simplicity patterns right now ($1.99 each) so I bought an *easy cape pattern and an *easy coat pattern both by new look. I bypassed a simplicity one I really wanted because it seemed a little intimidating for right now. I found 3 meters of coating material at the salvation army for $3.99 so it will be used for my hopefully wearable muslin for the shorter version of the jacket! I’m excited about making them but I’m going to wait a bit as coat making when it’s 28 degrees outside doesn’t seem right :) I’d love to see all the steps of you making yours.

  33. CGCouture September 8, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    For me it’s the expense. Well, that and the lack of color choices. I have two coat patterns that require at least 3 yards each–and that’s just for the outer shell–there’s no way I can afford $40/yd from a certain online retailer that has coatings that actually appeal to me. Especially when I know that I can go to the discount store and buy a coat similar to the one I would be making for around $75-100 (or possibly less during sales/end of season) and it’s hard to justify making one then. But then, I only shop at discount stores, so I would have to ensure that whatever I make is cheaper than what I would realistically buy.

  34. Amanda S. September 8, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    I never make coats because I can find them marked down in January at super low prices. Most people don’t make the investment around here because the winters are so mild, so I try to buy one nice one a year. When the coat in the store is cheaper then buying the materials, it just makes since to get the store bought one. But then again I don’t seem to have a problem with finding one that fits. Good luck to you! I’m looking forward to reading about your adventure!

  35. Lisa September 8, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    I have actually sewn a coat ( two actually) I wore this first one to death but I made several mistakes. The second was of a much higher quality than the first one but I don’t love the shape . ( sigh ) I need to make another more perfect coat but it does fill me with dread . I think it’s the time it takes . There are so many steps in making a coat but once you start it’s not as bad as you think it’s gonna be. I can’t wait to see your coat and the progress ( basically how you make a coat properly )

  36. Marie-Noëlle September 8, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    I would say that I am more lazy than intimidated. There are so many steps to achieve a coat.
    Nevertheles, I decided to sew a middleweight coat perfect for transitional times. Your post is so timely, thanks for it. Following you will be a great motivation. I am using McCall’s 5525.

  37. Rebeca September 8, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    I’m halfway through the construction of my first coat. I’ve been working on it for six months already, so go figure. My choice of fabric was disastrous for a beginner like me: a fragile tweed. All the 12 or so pieces of fashion fabric had to be interfaced. Add the lining pieces and you get a lot of bulk and weight. Fitting that is difficult. Now I’m trying to add some pockets, and after ruining three samples of welt pockets, I’m terrified to try to do the same on my coat! Should change to hidden inseam pockets, but don’t know if they will be comfortably placed on a princess seam. Then there will be the shoulder pads, even thinking of them makes me shiver.
    Mine is a self-drafted pattern so there are no instructions, tutorials or sew-alongs that can help me with my coat design especifically, but if you ever organize a coat sew-along, I will jump at the opportunity of getting unstuck!
    Greetings to Tasia and her nice readership!

  38. Jodi Bonjour September 8, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    A dress you wear maybe once a week, a coat is worn everyday. I want to do a good enough job to want to wear it daily. Plus I’m new to tailoring and I don’t know what changes I would need to make it fit. I’d love someone to walk me through it.

    I’ve been hoarding this pattern for a couple years and was hoping to make it as soon as the baby weight is mostly gone. soonish?

  39. Maria September 8, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Thanks for addressing coats since I was one of the people that mentioned it yesterday and one of the people who are nervous about it.

    I think mainly it’s the tailoring aspect. Sewing up a simple skirt or dress is pretty straightforward once you know basic sewing techniques. Coats on the other hand are a big deal. You can whip up a skirt or dress in a day, not so a coat. Fabric is more costly. And, for most people we might only make one coat a year – so it’s usually pretty special.

    Bearing all that in mind, it feels a little intimidating to sew a coat. You want to get it right the first time.

    Any guidance or tips on tailoring and what types of materials to use for the best results would be appreciated. Thanks for all your help, Tasia.

  40. Claire September 8, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Wow, reading all of this has scared me now! I’m on my third ever sewing project and it’s a knee-length coat (the first two were a pair of trousers and a man’s shirt). Maybe I’m jumping in at the deep end? Basically, I’m hourglass and couldn’t find a coat to fit me so decided to make it. The pattern rating was ‘average’ as opposed to ‘above average’ for the trousers, so I figured I’d give it a go. I’ve almost finished it – bound buttonholes and everything! Here’s how I allayed my fears:

    – I read A LOT on the internet about everything, but mostly about fabric choice. I decided to make it from melton and underlined in cotton flannel. This seems like the most sensible choice because I get cold and live in Britain, with some business trips to Beijing ovwer Winter, wher it’s even colder. Since I’d already decided I was making a plain black coat (sorry – I need a ‘funeral coat’!) I could buy blind online having looked at samples of wool mixes on markets etc. It didn’t disappoint! The fabric and notions have cost me total ¬£40, mostly bought online.
    – I made a muslin and then asked the internet! I put it on /r/sewing on Reddit and asked for their advice – very helpful. It seems that the muslin fit isn’t far off a heavyweight coat fit. I made some more major adjustments following the muslin, then just minor adjustments on the real thing.
    – I took it really slowly! It’s taken me all Summer, but now I have a lining and a coat – I just need to put it together, hem it and put the buttons on.
    – My mother-in-law kindly offered to swap my cheap Aldi machine for her 1970s Singer Samba machine which coped with all the heavy fabric. Thank you, Valerie!

    Incidentally, I can recommend Vogue 8438 as a good starting point. I made B with the cool collar. Well, if I’m going to wear a black coat it should be interesting!

  41. Lashell September 8, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    When I decided to do a coat I started off small and made a wool jacket. I used a tailoring book to help me with some of the inside construction, I used some wool coating I bought for $25/yd at Mood here in NY. I loved the way it came out and wear it all the time in fall and spring. I can not wait to venture into a longer, intricate, more tailored coat, my jacket has faux flap pockets. I find that regular wool coating you would find for a basic coat is very easy to work with from cutting it up, to ironing and sewing. If I would like to see anything it would be your inner construction and sewing to techniques to achieve a RTW look.

  42. Heather September 8, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    I agree with the comments here too, it’s the amount of work and time, will I still like it when I’m done, yikes about cutting into the expensive fabric, and kasha lining is expensive too.

    I’d like to see tips on grading seams, seam finishes with wool coating and kasha lining, bound buttonholes with thick fabric, i.e. how big should the buttonhole be in comparison to the size of the button, and turning the collar with that much thickness.

    I am hoping to make a walking suit – hip length winter coat with matching skirt, so you just change up the sweaters and accessories and always look put together.

    Has anyone out there made the Lady Grey in velvet? I have some dark teal velvet with 3 inch vertical waves in the pile that would look great as a Lady Grey but (see reasons at top of this post) – so scary!

  43. Casey September 8, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Looking forward to your coat postings! :) I still have a coat I cut out last year waiting to be finished (the Lady Grey coat from Colette Patterns). Most of what has stopped me from completing it is the darn tropical weather in my part of Florida! Honestly, there is nothing that zaps my desire to sew a coat more… I’m trying to give myself a deadline of finishing it by Christmas though (since it’s got lots of hand sewing and other fiddly details–I don’t want to rush on those!), and am determined to see it through! I think otherwise, if perhaps I lived in a climate more suited to sewing coats, I might be more inclined. Not that my closet needs any more coats (I have a knack for finding some fabulous coats at thrift shops… ;). lol!

  44. Alice September 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    ooh, it’s the layers for me too! and a little bit about the expense of the fabric, too (though i reckon if i’m getting hours of sewing fun out of it, that’s worth some $) I have the vogue 8465 ( ) pattern, and would love to do one of the short views in a wool/cashmere blend. I’m also keen on vogue 1198 ( ), which is pretty on-trend.

  45. Jo @ a life in lists September 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    I think it’s a combination of the cost, and the fact that what is mostly seen of my outfit during the winter is my coat, so I like it to be really good. And I’m just not sure I’m up to making something that I’m so fussy about!

  46. Liara September 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    What scares me most about making a coat is having it end up looking homemade. I have some coat patterns from the Big 4, but they only go through the sewing steps. The patterns I have don’t talk about sleeve heads, or pad stitching the collar or all the other details that would make a coat look professional. Because I don’t even know what those details are, I’m hesitant to put my hopes into something that people will know I’ve made myself, and not because it’s beautiful or special, but because it looks homemade.

  47. Katy September 8, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Hmm, I’m not scared, per se, but I tend to wear a very limited range of coats, namely waterproofs, as it rains a lot in the UK and I don’t do brollies! I could do with a ‘nice’ winter coat, but not sure where I’d find the appropriate materials – I’m very allergic to wool, and I’m thinking cotton will be a tad chilly (unless I try and make a down jacket lol). A little later in the year I’ll see what I can see at the local fabric shop, and see if I can find a pattern with a hood at least!

  48. Elizabeth September 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Really I’m feeling ready to take this on. I hate working with lining fabrics, but I found a fun piece of polyester that’s a little more stable than most lining fabrics, and I managed to score an awesome piece of teal coating for something like $5/yd because someone just wanted to get it out of her stash. The time doesn’t concern me. I just figure it’s going to be a multi-month project and I’ll break it down like I did my wedding. ;) My biggest concern is the actual construction–I have short little arms and that’s a lot of big bulky fabric to manhandle.

  49. Erika September 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Having almost completed my first coat, the process doesn’t really scare me. It timecomsuming for sure, but so very worth it. I made a looong list, and every thing crossed off on that list was a victory =) Tangible goals along the way worked for me. And some fun in-between sewing…
    I’d love to see your pressing methods, and how you decide which one to use. My next tailored project will be a spring/fall jacket in a medium wool and velvet collar facing. No need to say that the thought of pressing velvet flat intimidates me, right? =)

    So curious about the pattern!

  50. Lucy September 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    A coat is on my long-term wishlist because all you can ever get in NZ are black, navy or grey ones – small population means shops only stock what they know will sell – and I’d love something more interesting that actually fits me.

    But I might wait a bit longer…I’m suddenly seeing all these terms flung around and I have NO idea what they mean (pad stitching?). Definitely looking forward to reading about your coat-sewing adventures!

  51. Corinne September 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    all of the above, but essentially the padding, tailoring etc.

  52. Elizabeth September 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    For me it’s definitely a variety of factors as listed by everyone else:

    1) The expense of fabric suitable for making a coat.
    2) The tailoring, time, and effort.
    3) The physical challenge of getting so much thick fabric through my machine.

    My biggest reason, though, is not really knowing whether or not the coat will be warm enough to legitimately wear through the winter. I live in Canada so obviously this is an issue if I want to make anything other than a casual fall/spring coat. I haven’t done exhaustive research on the subject so it may be out there, but I haven’t found much in the way of information on how to choose fabrics and other materials to actually allow you to make a coat that won’t let you freeze when the temperature dips below zero.

  53. Amy September 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    I live in a hot climate where I wear coats maybe, oh, 2 months out of the year, but they are my favorite thing to think about making! I just wish I had more reasons to wear layered, tailored clothing. I like the challenge of a coat, but also I have this disease where, after I have worked on something for so long, I grow bored of it–and really have to press myself to wear it.

    For others who are intimidated by online ordering, I have very few local stores and I have learned a lot about fabric by ordering swatches. If I’m looking at a specific color or fabric, I’ll order a swatch and then order a few extra types of swatches just to learn about other weaves or weights. I’ve just started a little textile swatch notebook so I can refer back to it often.

  54. Marla September 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Absolutely everything!!!!!

    • Joanna September 8, 2011 at 11:57 pm #


      Me too :(

  55. Denise September 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    I remember being scared the first time that I made a coat. Now, I feel more comfortable doing it. Why not try doing a child’s coat the first time? You learn similar skills, but everything is smaller, costs less as there’s less materials to use, and if it doesn’t turn out the way you want, the child won’t really care!

  56. manecoarse September 8, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    That the fabric will be too thick to sew well.

  57. Julie C September 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    I wouls say that for me it’s the lining. I know it sounds kind of crazy but I don’t quite undertstand how it’s done…. If you can, please tell me!

  58. Gail September 8, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    I love the rust coloured coat worn by the lady with orange carry all.
    BTW I’m not scared of sewing coats – but in Sydney we have very little need for an overcoat.

  59. Blanche Neige September 9, 2011 at 1:43 am #

    A lot of things scares me in making a coat : the tailoring, the number of pieces, the lining. Coats looks to me more technical… The coat fabric are also expensive, and i’m afraid that the result couldn’t be “that great” for the money and time spent.
    But i still plan to make one, the first time is always the harder!!!

  60. Rachel September 9, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    I don’t have a scared as such, but I have something that’s kind of stopping me from making a second coat. I spent ages making a coat for the southern hemisphere winter last year, and I LOVED it ( However because I went overseas for 5 weeks of the winter I only got to wear it for about half of the season, but was really looking forward to wearing it again this year. Fast forward almost a year and as the weather cooled down I tried on my jacket, and was distraught because since I’d lost a bit of weight since last winter the coat is FAR too big for me – particularly in the shoulders. Looking at it now I can see that it was always a bit big in the shoulders but that it wasn’t noticeable as i filled out the rest of the coat, now the rest of the coat is too big it just looks ridiculous and I can’t bring myself to wear it so it’s just sat in my wardrobe all winter unworn and making me sad.

    I’l make another coat one day, but i’m still waiting for the hurt of this one to go away and turn into “oh well, it was a learning experience”

  61. indigorchid September 9, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    Ooo, coats! I’m planning on sewing a tailored blazer – coats and jackets actually fascinate me! They do feel like big projects, both for the big price-tag, the sheer volume of fabric you need, and perhaps that it’s in the outerwear category? I’m sure a lot of this is just psychological!

    Ok, I think the fit and the lining are the two biggest hurdles for me. If I’m going to make this investment of time and money, it better fit perfectly! And that is daunting! Also, the prospect of handmade touches that have the potential of screwing things up – like bound buttonholes! Getting the lining in there (and potentially patterning it) also feels a little tricky.

  62. Shelly September 9, 2011 at 3:37 am #

    I would love to make my own coats. I have bought a few patterns but it’s the fitting and the cost of fabric that scares me. I don’t really know much about fitting and I hate poorly fitted garments so just can’t bring myself to try until I have the proper skills. I’d hate to ruin expensive fabric.

  63. Sewingdina September 9, 2011 at 4:14 am #

    I think some sewing bloggers might have unwittingly put me off sewing a coat! They may innocently mention it has taken 4 years or something. Even though they have made it clear the project has been picked up and put down it may have left me with the idea that they take years! Your own cape didn’t take you long. A guide as to how long it might take to complete a coat would help broken up into say 3 hours sewing a week.

  64. Sewing Princess September 9, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    I made my first ever coat last year. We made the pattern from scratch at the sewing course. Yes, it took a few weeks, but I wasn’t sewing everyday either.
    I was positively surprised by the process. If you don’t create a complicated pattern, it’s manageable.

    The fabric was more expensive than a dress, but I lucky enough to have a outlet type shop nearby so it came down to 20 $/meter. I need 2.2 so I think it’s still value for money. Getting a RTW cashmere wool coat would have cost me much more (In Europe you don’t get anything for 70USD even on sale at Zara)…and I can proudly say I made it.

    • Sewingdina September 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

      @Sewing Princess: What a great coat!

  65. Bella September 10, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Could my machine, which is not heavy duty, handle it?

    • Denise September 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      @Bella: I just finished the Lady Grey coat again (wanted to try a new technique for the hem). I have a regular Kenmore sewing machine that’s about 15 years old, and used a heavy wool melton. There was no problem, except towards the end when I was sewing on the carriers, since I was sewing through so many layers of fabric. I just had to to take it really slowly, but she handled it okay.

  66. Melissa September 13, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    To be honest, coats scares me. Good thing about living in a tropical country is that there’s not much need for a coat, thus eliminating the need to buy wool to even attempt on coat-making. On the other hand, I do plan to make a jacket and I am trying to decide should I make it or just buy one from the store, knowing sometimes that they over-priced the darn thing that possibly cost less to make.

  67. Kirsten September 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Coats can be scary but after all the hard work and time you put into it, it is quite satisfying once it is completed and you begin wearing it.
    Last winter I bought a gorgeous cream coat for a pretty penny but because of the colour I didn’t wear it as much as I would have liked, so I set out to replicate the coat in Black.
    Firstly I had to draw up the pattern from the original coat in order to know how much fabric I needed, this in it self took some time. The making of the coat took quite a few weeks and a number of trips to the fabric shop to get the coat completed. Just in time for the last 2 weeks of winter.
    As I am self taught and hadn’t yet started looking online for guidance the one thing that I would change when making the coat next time is to make a muslin first so that the fit is exact and to would also avoid any further trips to buy more expensive fabric.

  68. Caramia November 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    The cost AND the fact that I’m making a maternity coat – trying to use a non-maternity pattern and adjust it accordingly. STRESS!!!!

  69. CallMeSu December 12, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    The scariest aspect of sewing a coat for me is the lining and the collar portions. There seams to be alot of tailoring work on the inside of the coat and I’m afraid I don’t yet have the skillset to acheive the clean and finished look that I want.

  70. Hillary July 29, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    I’m nervous about all of the above particularly since I’m a novice. And I’m not sure my trusty little Brother machine can handle a heavy wool. My husband has asked me to make him a hooded coat this fall. I will certainly make it out of muslin first, but what I’m wondering is – should I do the mock up out a heavier weight material to account for the fact that the final coat will be heavy wool? Or doesn’t it make a difference? I’m just worried that I will finish this very expensive, time-consuming project and it will be too small (as has happened with so many of my other projects).


    • Tasia July 30, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      Hi Hillary! It’s always pretty important to make your mock up out of a similar fabric to the final garment. Weight of fabric really can affect fit. This will also give you an idea as to whether your machine can handle more bulk or not! Be sure to use the right grade of needle and thread as well. Good luck! Sounds like a great project. :)

  71. Christine October 4, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    I am new at this sewing stuff so I guess what intimidates me is…everything! Haha. But more than anything finding the right pattern and fabric. I’m trying to find a simple classic below the knee length Fall coat pattern so I can make a luscious coat out of brocade. It’s hard to find a good source for fabric because I want to make things out of eco-conscious fabric as well. So I’m trying to find some really great silk brocade. Any advice?

    • Tasia October 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      When I think of really great silk brocade, I’d check my local store (Fabricana in Richmond BC) or look online for specialty shops. Perhaps somewhere fancy like Mood Fabrics might be a good place to start? Or Gorgeous Fabrics? Hope this helps you get started!

  72. Nicolai September 15, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    I am afraid that I have no idea what way to connect things. Luckily, the internet has plenty of guides, so I’m hoping to learn.

  73. Fran November 23, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    Hello my question is: I’m making “shabby chic” winter coats….using organic cotton fleece and organic stretch velvet…I have an Eco Green Clothing company…..the collars on my coats seem to “pull” due to the weight of the coat and even though i am using a serger to attach all seams there seems to be constant tearing of the fabric on the back of the collar where it’s attached to the rest of the coat…..what to do????
    Thanks so much


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