Hot! Winter Coat

The Challenge: Winter!

The Facts:

Fabric: Mid-weight woven plaid fabric and red lining
Pattern: Butterick 5145
Year: contemporary
Notions: 9 leather covered buttons (could be faux leather)
Time to complete: Forever! One full day and three evenings
First worn: December 3 for photo-shoot
Wear again? I plan to wear it through the holiday season. It’s so warm!
Total price: The fabric was thrifted, the buttons and interfacing were about $25.00


I’ve never made a coat before, so  the winter challenge was the perfect opportunity for me to give it a try. I did a little research on coat-construction and found that it is highly recommended that you underline all of your pieces with interfacing. I didn’t have enough fusible interfacing so I used sew on. I had to carefully sew it on without it stretching or sliding out of place. It took a lot of time.

I followed the directions carefully and had very few hiccups. I took my time, and I was rewarded with this beautiful coat.

I had everything completed except the hem and the buttons, so late Saturday, I practiced making buttonholes. I tried bound buttonholes, tried using a gimp thread under the stitching, and different kinds of thread weights, but finally I decided to just use a heavy duty thread on the top and a normal cotton thread in the bobbin. Although the bound buttonholes look pretty nice on the internet, I just didn’t feel like risking any mistakes. Especially after all the hours I had put into the coat so far.

On Sunday, I stopped at Beverly’s on my way down to visit one of my daughters. I purchased 9 leather buttons. Five for the front, one on each sleeve and two for the back. I made all the buttonholes and attached the buttons on Sunday night.

Monday, after work, I got right to the business of hemming the coat and hemming the lining. I spent four hours doing that part!  The daylight disappears so quickly this time of year, so my husband took some indoor shots for me. I made the little hat as an experiment a few weeks ago. It’s just craft felt, a bit of lace and an inexpensive flower. I think it looks pretty cute in the pictures, but I don’t think I would actually wear it. Below are a few pictures of the different stages of the coat. I’d like to try it again at some point, but I think I’ll use a fusible woven interfacing for the underlining next time. Happy sewing everyone!






Barbara is a resident of Northern California. She loves to sew and has pledged not to buy retail clothes for the year of 2012. That means she has to make her own, or buy it at a thrift store. I hope she doesn't spend too much on fabric. When she shops for fabric her eyes light up as she imagines the possibilities! She's like a kid in a candy store.


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  1. Stunning coat!! I would urge you to re-think the fusible interfacing and here’s why – they just aren’t that good : ) IF you decide to try it take it to a reputable cleaners to have it steamed on, some can do it on the yardage as a sheet. The ‘glue’ used nowadays is unpredictable and in a year or two you’re going to get bubbling where it’s starting to pull away from the fabric. I see more jackets and coats at thrift stores, in otherwise good condition that suffer from this issue, and this is how most jackets are made nowadays. Shoot, I used to buy pretty nice suits for theater that had started to bubble because we couldn’t see that from stage so I’d pick up $500 wool suits for less than $20.
    I think in the long run you’ll be happier with the way you’ve made this coat that if you had the fusible.
    P.S. I’m still working on getting that shirt pattern copied! Had a little flood at my house this weekend so all my free time went into clean up.

    • Thank you Loran, that’s very helpful. I wondered about the stability of fusible interfacing and the pros and cons of just sewing it on. So I did it the best way after all? Now I’m even more proud of it. I wore it to work today and got tons of compliments. Thank you for remembering about the shirt pattern. There’s no hurry, just when you have a moment.

  2. Looks great! I agree with Loran, I did a muslin underlining in combo with some high-quality fusible. I would have preferred to do it all with sewn interfacing, but just didn’t have the time. Love the fabric you found and the lining color. Fantastic job!

  3. Thank you, I learn so much from my sew weekly friends. It really wasn’t that difficult to sew it in. How and why did you use the muslin in your construction?

  4. That is fabulous! Looks just beautiful on you, and such an antidote to the boring black coat!

    Ditto what Loran said – flat lining is the way to go with tailored items like coat. Fusible interfacing too often un-fuses.

  5. What a happy, beautiful, well-made coat! I’m intrigued by this info on interfacing. Has anyone used the “fusible weft” stuff from Fashion Sewing Supply recommended by Gertie (Gretchen Hirsch) for tailoring? I have some– it feels really soft, not plasticy at all like most fusible– to make a jacket next year.

    • I checked out the Fashion Sewing Supply site, thank you! I like the fact that the interfacing comes in wider widths than you find in the stores. What a gold mine of interfacing options! I think I’ll purchase the sample pack and check out their products. Thank you for the nice compliments.

  6. Gorgeous job. That lining is a perfect compliment to the plaid!

  7. Third attempt at commenting, fingers crossed-
    Your coat is gorgeous Barbara, the plaid, the lining, the leather buttons, you in the coat and the time you spent on her certainly shows, she’s a winner!! Congrats.