You may have noticed that I have a penchant for re-purposing sweaters.
I was at the thrift store and snagged this lovely powder blue lambs wool sweater. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to make a dress coat similar to this one I made for Project Run & Play.
I was going to share it for iCandy Handmade’s basic bodice series (such a smart series that shows you the many many things you can make just from a basic bodice), but saved it for this series because the powder blue color, although not white, was perfect for the tone and feel of Winter Whites.
You simply use your favorite bodice (one size larger) to make a cute little coat. In my case a…
It doesn’t have to be for a baby though! If you want to make a dress coat for an older child, simply buy fabric by the bolt (or get a huge sweater?) so you have enough fabric.
Now, grab your favorite dress bodice and let’s make one!
dress bodice pattern
outer fabric: wool, bottom weight, fleece, corduroy
a scrap of interfacing (optional)
1 yard or so of twill tape
matching or coordinating thread
A note about my fabrics: I used a wool sweater so it was a knit wool (stretchy). This tutorial will work for non-stretchy wool very well and maybe even better (because non-stretchy wool is easier to sew). Just make sure your outer fabric has some drape and/or structure.
My liner fabric is a quilter’s cotton from Joann. A thinner more flexible fabric is ideal, but I reaaaly like this print and thought it matched the coat well. It complemented the knit wool well and helped give it structure.
Okay, let’s begin.
1. Cut out your top pieces. You need:
2 front outer bodice pieces (make sure extend the inside edges long enough so they can overlap and accommodate seam allowance)
2 front liner bodice pieces
1 outer bodice piece
1 liner bodice piece
2 collar pieces*
2 sleeve pieces
*To draft a coat collar, I took my peter pan collar pattern and cut it on the fold while straightening one end into a line.
2. Construct the collar.
– Cut a piece of interfacing. Lay the two collar pieces right sides together (RST) and then add the interfacing to the bottom. Pin and sew, leaving the inside edges open.
– Cut notches at the curved parts, and reduce bulk at the seam allowance.
– Flip it right side out and top stitch close to the sewn edge.
**You can omit the interfacing if you want a softer collar.
3. Prep your bodice.
– Pin and sew the outer and liner bodice pieces at the shoulders, RST.
– Trim off the bulk at the seam allowance.
4. Bring the bodice and collar together.
– Pin the collar to the outer bodice piece, right sides out. Baste the collar on.
– Pin the liner bodice piece to the outer bodice piece RST.
– Sew around the neckline and down the inside edge of the front of the bodice. Cut notches at the curves, cut off the corners, and reduce the bulk by trimming away some of the seam allowance.
– Turn the bodice right side out.
– Top stitch around the base of the collar.
5. Attach the sleeves and complete the top of the coat.
– Pin the sleeves to the armholes RST. Sew/serge.
– Bring the whole bodice RST, and sew/serge along the sleeve and down the sides of the bodice.
– Sew the serged seam allowance down to one side about 1/2 inch or so, with a straight stitch, making sure to back-stitch at the start and stop.
6. Attach the skirt piece.
– Cut the bottom of the sweater or a piece of fabric 1.5-2 times the full width of the bodice (Depending on how full you want it to be).
– Hem the inside of the skirt piece. You may also need to hem the bottom. It doesn’t show it in the tutorial pics, but I later hemmed the bottom because it was too long and I didn’t like how the sweater ribbing pulled the hem inward. I only rolled my hem under and straight stitched because this knit wool doesn’t fray. You may need to cut a longer piece and double hem the insides if you are using fabric that frays.
– Pleat and pin the skirt to the bodice.
– Pin on a piece of twill tape over the seam and sew down with two lines of straight stitching (this is optional but gives a more polished look). Be mindful that your stitching will show up on the outside of the coat. Mine didn’t come out perfect, but I tried to keep it as even as possible.
7. Add a decorative back strap.
– Cut and sew a strap to your desired size. I used a thread spool to help me get a good rounded shape for my strap.
– Sew RST, leaving an opening at the side for turning it out. Trim down the seam allowance.
– Turn it right side out, fold the sides of the opening inward and top stitch around.
– Pin it to the back of your dress coat and sew it on by the buttons on the sides.
8. Add buttons and button holes to the front. I chose to put them on in parallel lines, pea coat style.
The collar is a little off (and twisted in this photo – what? didn’t realize that until now) but I still love it…enough to not unpick it. :)
Natalie has become quite the mover lately. I chased her all over the sidewalk trying to get a good picture of her in her coat. ….
I finally, wised up and moved the photoshoot inside.
Ahhh…there we go! (trapped)
I like dress coats because well…they flare out like a dress.
Have you ever tried to put a regular, straight coat on a baby who is wearing a dress? The coat cuts of the dress at the fullest part of the skirt and makes it bunch up. It’s just not very pretty. A dress coat solves that problem beautifully!
I also made one in fleece.
I didn’t line it and it’s not quite as rich looking as the wool but is still, sweet, cozy and warm. Fleece is a nice alternative because it’s very affordable and comes in about every color you can imagine.
That’s a wrap for today! A simple boy project is in the works for tomorrow. I know my projects have been a little girl heavy, so I’m excited to focus on my boys for a bit. See you then!
And be sure to go to Kojodesigns for a pretty copper barn light project!