On the occasion of a new pattern guide, I ventured into making myself a cropped winter coat in bright green wool.

A coat is not a particularly quick sewing project. I have done a few in the past. The latest was this trench. But I kind of enjoy making coats. As I already had quite a few long winter coats, I decided to make a short one this time. It’s a lined, double-breasted coat with a large collar.


Without further ado, here are the two fabrics I used, a green wool, and a black lining fabric with stripes:

I got the wool from Lafab Tessuti and the lining is from a local fabric store here in Milan. The wool is rather heavy weight and really warm. For this kind of a coat, you’ll want the lining to be a bit heavier weight, too. You could even use satin or cotton.

Besides these, you’ll need interfacing, stay tape, and buttons. Shoulder pads are optional, but I’d add the sleeve heads in any case.

All the coat designs in the pattern guide are based on the dartless bodice block that has been adapted for coats. My coat had a front and a back piece, a front facing, two collar pieces, a faux pocket welt and facing, and two sleeve pieces.

I interfaced the entire front facing, both collar pieces, hemlines, pocket welts, plus the buttonhole and faux pocket areas. (In this picture, the pocket areas haven’t been interfaced yet, as I wasn’t sure about the position.)

The interfacing is the kind you use with coats. Thick but soft at the same time.

You can also see I marked the buttonholes and button placement with basting thread.

The Bound Buttonholes

I prefer sewing the buttonholes and pockets to the front piece first thing. This way, if I screw it up, I just need to cut a new front piece.

For this coat, I decided to go with bound buttonholes. You make these in two phases. The first phase is attaching the little buttonhole welts to the front piece.

I didn’t interface the welts because the wool was already heavy weight. The buttonhole needs to be about 3mm wider than the button, and the welts will be something like 1-1,5cm longer than the final buttonhole.

For example, my buttons were 3cm wide, making the buttonhole 3,3cm wide. And so the welts were 4,5cm long. As for the height, the welts will be folded lengthwise in half, so you need to calculate twice the final height plus seam allowance.

To make things easier, I prefer to make the welt height and seam allowance identical. This way, I can sew along the center of the welt pieces when attaching them: In this case, I cut the welt pieces 2,5cm high.

Pin the welts on the right side of the coat’s front piece, where you marked the buttonholes. The raw edges pointing towards the center. Sew along the center of the welt pieces, stopping exactly where the marks are.

Then, slash in the center, just like when making welt pockets. Stop at the corners without breaking the stitches or cutting too far.

Push the welts through the hole to the wrong side and press flat.

Sew at the base of the triangular shapes to finish the short ends (see the arrow).

To be continued: The buttonholes will be completed once you’ve finished sewing the rest of the coat.

The Faux Welt Pockets

This coat is rather short, so there isn’t enough space for pocket bags. But as pockets are a nice design detail, I added faux single-welt pockets instead.

The sewing procedure is very similar to the bound buttonholes. Only this time, you prepare the single welt beforehand by closing the short edges and pressing the piece flat.

A facing piece covers the other edge.

Interface and mark the area before pinning the pieces. Sew the welt piece edge to edge and then match the facing’s seam length to it; the two seams must be identical.

Slash in the center and push the facing through the hole to the wrong side. The welt should point upwards. Press flat.

Then, stitch the short edges along the base of the triangular shapes. You might find it easier to use a zipper foot here.

Attach the remaining long edge of the facing to the welt’s long seam below the pocket. This is quite a thick seam, BTW! The facing will cover the hole completely.

Finally, top stitch the short edges of the welt to fix them in place. You can also top stitch under the welt to flatten the seam.

The Lining

Now that the front piece was ready, I prepared the coat lining.

This included the sleeves.

The c-back of the lining has a pleat built into the pattern. Basically the c-back seam has the pleat allowance integrated, so there’s a particular way to sew it. Here’s a video.

For this coat, I only stitched the seam down at the top and the bottom. When you then press the seam allowance all on one side, the pleat will appear.

Stay-Taping the Roll Line

The facing is also a part of the inside of a coat. Before attaching the front facing to the rest of the lining, I hand stitched a stay tape along the roll line.

Take the measurement from the pattern piece, as the fabric might’ve already stretched. The stay tape should be about 0,5cm shorter than the roll line to create tension.

Pin it in place and stitch, using the catch stitch. The stitches should not be visible on the right side of the facing. The interfacing is very useful here.

The Collar

At this point the lining/facing was completed. I also closed the shoulder seams and side seams of the main layer.

I like to attach the collar before the sleeves because the sleeves make the coat heavier and I find it’s easier to handle without them.

Here’s a video about the whole collar process but I also have pictures.

First, you close the undercollar’s c-back seam and press it open. Then, you sew the two collar pieces together along their outer edge.

In this case, the collar had rounded corners, so I notched the seam allowance before turning the right sides out and pressing the collar flat.

Here’s the collar ready to be attached to the coat neckline. The undercollar is slightly smaller, so the seam will remain hidden.

The order:

  1. Attach the undercollar to the right side of the coat. Match the notches and seams.
  2. Sew the facing to the coat’s c-front seam and lapel. You can also sew part of the hemline to complete the facing piece.
  3. The lapel had a rounded tip, too, so I notched the seam allowance before turning the right sides out and pressing the lapel flat.

4. Then, you attach the upper collar to the facing’s/lining’s neckline.

5. Press the seams open and trim off any excess bulk around the collar notch to flatten it.

6. As the undercollar and the upper collar are still two separate layers, you now need to stitch them together. So, start by pinning the two neckline seams together. And then, sew either by hand or using the sewing machine.

Personally, I prefer sewing by hand as I never seem to be able to match the seams perfectly when attempting to do this with the sewing machine! It takes more time, but I don’t mind.

7. Last step was to top stitch around the edge of the collar, lapel, and c-front to flatten the seams. After this it definitely looked like a proper winter coat collar!

The Coat Sleeves

This coat has the classic two-piece sleeves. First, you sew the two long seams and typically press the seam allowance towards the undersleeve. However, to reduce bulk you could also press the seams open.

The undersleeve is slightly longer at the inseam. Use steam iron to lengthen the upper sleeve to match.

Sew two rows of gathering stitches between the armhole notches at the sleeve cap.

Press the hem and baste.

Gather the sleeve cap to match the armhole. The ease will create a slightly rounded shape (see above).

Then, you can pin and sew the sleeve in place, matching the various seams and notches.

Here’s a video on attaching the sleeve.

The Sleeve Hem

We already basted the sleeve hem and the lining’s sleeves have been attached. So now we can sew the two together. This is quite difficult to explain in words, which means, here’s another video!

Anyways, basically you first place the lining sleeves inside the main sleeves and match one of the seams. You can even pin them together. This is because it might be difficult to match the seams once the wrong sides are out.

Then, turn the wrong sides out and pin the rest of the hem. Sew at 1cm.

As the sleeve lining is longer than the main layer, you also need to hand stitch the sleeve hem in place before turning the right sides out. After this, you can remove the basting stitches and the sleeves are done!

The Shoulder Pads and Sleeve Heads

Initially, I was going to make my coat without shoulder pads. Observing winter coats at clothing stores I had noticed that most of them were without. However, when trying the coat on both with and without shoulder pads I came to the conclusion that it looked much better with them.

These were less than 1cm high, but you do notice the difference. It just looks more polished.

Here’s a comparison to see the difference a shoulder pad makes:

The sleeve head is this kind of fluffy, soft material. Sort of like felt or something. I cut a 5cm wide strip, measuring from armhole notch to armhole notch. You fold it lengthwise.

The shoulder pad and the sleeve head will be attached to the sleeve seam, centered at the shoulder seam. The shoulder pad ends up on the bodice side and the sleeve head on the sleeve side of the seam.

You attach them by hand-stitching. Don’t make the stitches too tight so that you won’t flatten the shoulder pad. The opposite edge of the shoulder pad is fixed in place at the shoulder seam.

I made a video.

The Coat Hem

Before closing the coat hem, fix the sleeve linings in place at a few points (at shoulder and under the arm) with hand stitches.

Press and baste the coat hem, just like you did with the sleeve.

Turn the wrong sides out and pin the lining in place along the hem, matching the side seams. Leave a hole around the c-back seam so that you can turn the right sides back out after. Sew at 1cm from the edge.

Before turning the right sides out, hand stitch the hem in place (because the lining is longer so it won’t keep the hemline fold up).

Then, turn the right sides out, carefully pulling the coat through the hole you left.

Hem the remaining part and close the hole by hand stitching.

Buttons and Buttonholes

The last thing that was left, was to finish the buttonholes and attach the buttons.

For the buttonholes you need to finish the facing side. First, pin and baste the two layers together around the buttonholes. Then, mark the 4 corners of the buttonholes with pins so that you can then slash the facing in the center, like you did with the main layer.

Then, fold the seam allowances to the inside and hand-stitch in place. Now I can share a video that includes both parts of the buttonhole sewing process.


I had marked the button placement with basting stitches.

Although the double-breasted coat has 2 rows of buttons, only the outermost ones are functional. I also added an extra button on the inside (with a matching buttonhole) to keep the c-front balanced. Although I must admit, it’s quite difficult to button it!

You know this game called Bobbin Chicken..? Well, this is how much thread I was left with when the coat was ready. Such a close call! Phew.

My Newest Winter Coat

I already got to wear my new winter coat. It’s officially the most colorful coat I have and I’m very much aware of it when I’m out and about wearing it!

Everyone else is wearing dark colors. I guess this is not your typical winter coat color. 😀

I also got a sudden urge to take pictures with other green things. In Milan there are several: the metro, buses, trashcans(!), cars, supermarket logos… 😀 All matchy-matchy.

In any case, if you want to start making your own winter coats from scratch, too, here’s the pattern guide.

The one I made is the cropped coat. I just made it slightly longer and with extra buttons.

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  1. Beautiful! I love the green in winter. You’re posts are such a fun read. Thanks for inviting us on another well written guided tour in clothing design and construction.

    • Thank you! 🙂 I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and the coat. Nowadays it seems like I’m posting less frequently, but the posts have grown longer. 😀

  2. Hi, there !

    Great tutorial, thanks !
    I love your lining. It’s a bit difficult to find good lining (at least where I am)… Most of the “satins” offered in stores are polyester satin, and I’m not really fond of polyester. I was even offered a polyester silk… Most of the time, even the labels on the the fabrics are incomplete or unreliable.
    What kind of cotton do you suggest for a lining ? I am still looking for something smooth enough so the clothes can slip easily in.


    • Hi Julie! 🙂 Glad you liked the tutorial. Yeah, I know it can be difficult to find certain fabrics. It depends on the place. In Milan there’s a good selection of shops as there are a lot of fashion schools (and fashion industry, of course). I usually just go to the fabric store and see the materials “in person”, picking whatever inspires me. 😀 There’s a satin-weave cotton. It might be what you’re looking for. A regular lightweight cotton is not very smooth, but otherwise it works as a lining, too. Or maybe silk directly? It will be super fancy though.

  3. the constr5 details are so interesting – I have must bought the coat drafting instructions and want to try a long winter coat. I was particularly interested on the stay tape and other collar details. Great Colour btw!

    • Thank you! 🙂 The stay tape would actually also go to the collar but I usually don’t add it, as I find that the collar looks fine even without it. Lazyness! 😀

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