Useful Coat Sewing Tips - A Confidence Boosting Post

Monday, January 18, 2021

If you've ever thought about making your own coat and then talked yourself out of it because it seems too daunting, then this post is for you!

I would say the biggest obstacle to tackling coat sewing (and this is for any coat) is your mind set. So, keep these three things in mind as you make your way into this new, unknown, yet exciting world...

Mind Set:

Like most things that seem hard when you're new to sewing, making a coat is right up there as the ultimate 'hard' thing. It can seem like there are endless new techniques and a bunch of weird new lingo to learn (what even is a sleeve roll and what does it do?!). All of this will have you questionning whether you can do it and I'm here to tell you that you most certainly CAN tackle Willa, even if you're not an 'advanced' seamstress.

Honestly, the general construction is pretty straight forward. If you've sewn in a dart and set in a sleeve before, then there's not a whole lot of additional technical know how needed.

Yes, there are some additional prepping steps before you start sewing, there are a few little extra steps that will give your coat a professional finish (hello sleeve roll!) that you don't actually technically have to do, and there are a few tricky steps that you need to take your time with. But, I'll be holding your hand every step of the way during this Sew Along, with a mix of photographs, additional drawings and video tutorials.


You're making a coat not a simple t-shirt. Remember this and don't rush. It's a marathon (of fun!) not a sprint. You don't make a coat everyday, so revel in the process, do all of the little things that maybe take an extra 10minutes and fall in love with the sewing process, rather than the finished project.

And make a toile. No really, don't skip this step, you'll be so much more confident whether you have to make a few pattern changes or none.  If you end up not needing to make any adjustments, it might feel like you just wasted a whole bunch of time, but if you turn that around, I say you've not only practised some of the trickier steps ahead of using your good (possibly expensive fabric) BUT you've also made it easier to jump in and cut into your good fabric, because you know the end coat will fit.  If you end up needing to make adjustments, again, you'll be confident making a start in your good fabric, knowing that you'll end up with a garment that fits, and sometimes, it's starting the cutting that can be one of the hardest things.

Maybe it'll take you a week, a month, a year to complete, but if you take your time, you'll have a finished garment that you will love, wear and cherish for a lifetime. It's worth taking your time and paying attention to the details here. You'll also pick up so much useful sewing knowledge along the way that you'll be able to apply to all of your future sewing projects. 

Plus, how proud and confident will you be now that you've MADE A COAT. And it wasn't even that hard...


One of the biggest hurdles for me when coat making (and boy did I make A LOT of coats during the making of this pattern) is the sheer amount of fabric you need. Depending on what you choose to use for your final coat, it can be heavy, long and thick, plus you have to cut out an additional lining (which is pretty much like cutting out and making another coat, and then you have to join them together...) as well as interfacing. And all of that fabric, when you add on pockets, belt/hang loops and a belt, can be HEAVY and bulky.

The part of coat construction I always tend to dread is when I get to the joining of the outer coat and lining. There is so much fabric to manoeuvre through the machine. But, I can do it and YOU can do it too. Approach coat making knowing (like with most other sewing projects) that there will be annoying parts. Take your time, take regular breaks, but most importantly, push through, it's so worth it.

Also, make sure you have everything before you start. Get your machine serviced - depending on what your outer coat fabric is, you'll be giving your machine a thorough work out. Clean your machine regularly throughout the construction process, your poor little feed dogs will probably get clogged quite quickly - as many outer coat fabrics and the way they are woven, mean all of those little fluffy threads will make your machine their new home in no time. I suggest having a quick clean of your feed dogs and bobbin case each time you sit down to sew (or after each sewing session, so you're ready to go next time).

And lastly, make sure you have a packet of appropriate needles for your chosen weight of fabric. Once you get to adding on pockets/belt loops etc, there are many layers to go through, so having heavy duty machine needles are essential.

For more in-depth info on fabrics and tools you'll need for your Willa Coat, check out the Fabric & Tools Sew Along post here.

If you're still not sure you can sew a coat, I encourage you to check back with the Sew Along regularly and follow the sewing process in it's entirety. I promise you'll come out wondering what all the fuss was about and ready to jump in.

You can purchase your Willa Wrap Coat pattern here and view the full Sew Along schedule here.



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