Coat Compendium

crabandbee.com | Named Clothing Yona coat

I started writing the post about my coat and realized that a lot of the information would be better suited to a list format. So, for those of you who are interested, this is a detailed summary of how I, a complete and utter tailoring novice, dove into the world of coat-making.


PATTERN CHANGES
I made two muslins for this project using 1″ seam allowances. This gave me a lot of leeway to sort out fit problems, especially for my broad/square shoulders.

Fit changes:

  • Small bust adjustment
  • Broad, square back shoulder adjustment (added 7/8″ to shoulder point of back raglan seam)
  • 1/2″ added to sleeve length
  • Some minor changes to the lower back arm scye

Design changes:

  • 1″ wider lapels & collar
  • 1″ wider overlap
  • 3″ longer length
  • welt pockets
  • 1 piece tailored collars instead of collar and collar stand
  • Button closure instead of wrap
crabandbee.com | Named Yona coat muslin
Original fit: front
crabandbee.com | Named Yona coat muslin
Original fit: back

SUPPLIES
I bought my coating fabric and buttonhole twist locally, and my interfacing/hair canvas at Fashion Sewing Supply on several other bloggers’ recommendations. My underlining and lining were purchased while ago at a local second-hand fabric store, Our Fabric Stash.

  • Wool coating
  • Mid-weight cotton (underlining for body)
  • Muslin (back, raglan sleeve and pocket stays)
  • Hair cloth canvas (interfacing for collar, lapels, hems)
  • Pro-weft fusible (interfacing for facings only)
  • Charmeuse-like rayon/acetate (lining)
  • Buttonhole twist
  • Beeswax (I got cheap/lazy and used an old candle)
  • Button (harvested from my friend’s old coat)
  • Base pattern: Named Clothing’s Yona
crabandbee.com
Coating and cotton underlining (silk organza not used)

TECHNIQUES & CONSTRUCTION
Based on my nascent understanding of tailoring, I would classify the techniques I used as traditional or custom, with the exception of machine-sewing my lining to the facing. My main resource for the coat construction was Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket, but I used a few other resources.

Techniques used:

  • Hand-tailored undercollar and lapels (Tailoring, and some guidance from A Challenging Sew’s post on padstitching)
  • Underlining
  • Catch-stitched seams
  • Welt pockets (Shaeffer, Couture Sewing Techniques)
  • Pocket stay (Shaeffer, Couture Sewing Techniques)
  • Partial bagged lining, except for hems
  • Jump pleat (some guidance from this EmmaOneSock tutorial)
  • Hand-sewn hem (Tailoring)
  • Hand-worked buttonhole (Nordheim, Vintage Couture Tailoring)
crabandbee.com | welt pocket construction
Stabilizing the welt pockets

The Tailoring book includes an order of operations for tailoring a coat, and includes instructions for raglan sleeves, but most of the tutorials to attach the sleeves and sleeve lining were appropriate for regular sleeves. This is what I ended up doing:

  1. Underlined fashion fabric
  2. Constructed coat back: sew CB seam & baste back stay
  3. Shaped undercollar: hair canvas & padstitching
  4. Shaped coat fronts: hair canvas, padstitching, tape roll lines & lapels
  5. Sleeves: baste sleeve stays, sew to fronts and backs, sew side seams and top sleeve seam
  6. Sewed undercollar to coat
  7. Constructed lining unit: sew facings (fronts and back neck) to lining, sew top collar to lining unit
  8. Attached facings/lining to shell around lapels and collar, trim and turn wrong sides together
  9. Added welt pockets and said a Hail Mary*
  10. Hand-tailored hems
  11. Top-stitched collar, lapels & coat front
  12. Attached lining to hems
  13. Hand-worked buttonhole
  14. Attached button

*Not recommended! This should have been step #3, I think. I had a last-minute realization that increasing the coat overlap made my patch pockets look ridiculous and had no other choice. This brings me to my next category:

BLOOPERS

  • Realizing the wider overlap made the front too crowded for patch pockets
  • Cutting my top collar up-side down
  • Not pattern-matching my center-back seam
  • Leaving my front underlining pieces out where my cat could wiz on them

YOU GUYS
When I asked Instagram if I needed an SBA (and how to go about it), Jo offered to send me pictures from her textbook! Gail, Amy and Kohlrabi Bohemia jumped in when I was trying to figure out what was happening with the back fit.


To say that I learned a lot during this project is an understatement; I’d been wanting to make a coat since last winter but got too nervous (and also distracted!) I’ve been slowly storing up knowledge since then, which made the process a lot more approachable. I’m very much a beginner, but feel free to ask me any questions you might have about what I did. A lot of the photos in the post are from Instagram and you can see them all chronologically using the tag #crabandbeecoat.

Happy coating!

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35 thoughts on “Coat Compendium

  1. It doesn’t make any difference that this was your first foray into coat making as you have researched and gained the knowledge to take you way beyond beginner status (in my opinion). Such a treat to get a glimpse of your way of working things out and such a fab end garment!

  2. Amazingly methodical and patient approach – I am super impressed. And this post will be a great resource to anyone else looking to make a similar coat. And it looks great!!

    1. It’s not often in life I get to spend as much time as I want on something while still moving forward! Just glad I remembered most of it by the end. Thanks, Ingrid!

  3. I love projects like these because you just learn SO MUCH! Still love this coat. Congratulations on completing it. I’m going to refer back to these notes in the future, I’m sure!

  4. It looks like you learned so much! I’m going to be perusing your links and reading up on these techniques. You did such a meticulous job tailoring your coat and it looks great!

    1. I really did – it’s kind of amazing to think back on how little I knew when I started and how much more there is to learn. Thanks, Anelise!

  5. This turned out so beautifully! When I made my coat, I found it really hard to decide on a logical order of operations. I was gathering information from so many places that it was hard to understand what needed to happen when! I’m sure this post will be really helpful to others making a first coat- you’ve got a really organized approach to a big project!

    1. It does feel disorienting, trying to start! I thought the Tailoring book did a pretty good job sketching the order of operations, even if I still ended up with questions. I’m glad it looks organized now, because it didn’t feel like it when I was going through the process!

  6. I LOOOOOOVE your finished coat!! If it wasn’t for the fact that I’d probably need the opposite narrow shoulder adjustment and maybe an FBA, I’d totally get on a plane to steal this coat from you, right now! Also, I take the Tara/Maggie Siff-comparison back because you are at least twice as pretty! Probably even a few times more!
    And, if this is even possible, knowing all the awesome tailoring techniques you used, make this coat even more gorgeous! Thanks for documenting everything in such a detailed way, I’m sure I’ll come back to these resources for a future coat!

    1. Thank you so much! I think you would pretty much drown in my coat – I’m coming to grips with just how broad my shoulders are compared to standard sizes! 🙂

  7. Morgan, this is so great!! Thanks for posting this guide on how you made your coat. I already had similar plans for my Yona, and I’m glad to see they worked out so well for yours.

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I’m glad I made a more concerted effort to document the process next time; it’s nice to remember/share what I actually did.

  8. Awesome. I am duly impressed. I am making a coat now but it is a quick and dirty one. Nothing proper about. You are making me rethink that! That coating you used is so awesome!

  9. It looks really great. I’m super impressed with the detail and effort put in to mastering all of those different techniques. And I had a sympathetic chuckle on the fourth blooper. Oooops. Thank goodness for washing machines!

    1. Oh man…. that cat. I had already underlined the back pieces and sewn them together, and had left the front pieces out for Orson to do with as he pleased. No extra fabric, either. I serged them, washed them, and they shrunk slightly but they were still usable. Good grief!

  10. I have to thank Ms. Heather Lou for linking this absolutely WONDERFUL post! First of all, LOVE your coat. Secondly, thank you for being my coat savior. I’m literally stuck in coat limbo (everything’s cut…no clue where to go). I have the same book but for some reason, things aren’t gelling (until now!). Thank you so much for the information but most importantly FABULOUS job!!

    1. I’m so glad! It took me a full year of absorbing knowledge to feel ready to start – sometimes it just takes awhile for things to click. Happy coating!

  11. You did such a great job! And yes sometimes fear will creep in when trying something new but once you do everything step by step you will be fine. and you will be surprised by your progress and what you can do! 🙂

  12. Thanks for listing your suppliers and resources, it’s so useful to hear about the places other people have found to be useful. Great job it really is a stunner, the weather in the US has even made the news over here so you must have had plenty of opportunities to wear it.

    1. I agree – you never know which tutorial or book is going to be the one that makes it all make sense. Luckily for me, I’m on the west coast and we haven’t seen any of the crazy snow! The coat has been fine for our milder temps.

  13. Your coat looks great! I’m having issued with the backs of my coats as well, maybe I should’ve googled before finishing it and inserting a lining.

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