Some of you may remember that my first quilt coat did not go so well. I bought a coat pattern that I thought was my size, but turned out to be an AU size and not a US size… so it was actually 2 sizes too small. I was devastated! It was such a huge disappointment (understatement of the year)! But after some recovery time, I sold the one that was too small and started over again!
I learned some things with my first one- which made it a little easier the second time around. I wanted to share some of the things I learned as well as finding strength in numbers. So I started a Quilt Coat Sew-Along! It was a six week event filled with giveaways, tips, and funny reels on instagram (which you can find on my instagram profile @kileysquiltroom). Since it went so well, I decided to compile everything into a blog post for anyone else who wants to make a quilt coat! You cant follow the weekly breakdown that I put together or take it at your own speed! Enjoy, and good luck!
Picking the Right Patterns
There are so many quilt patterns out there! How could we possibly pick just one? Well, you don’t have to! You can make as many quilt coats as you want! But for your first quilt, I suggest that you pick a pattern that has a small design so that it will fit on the jacket pieces and still look like the quilt top/design that you love. Think about if you want your quilt coat to have an all over pattern or just a block on the back, pockets, ombre effect, etc. What feels like YOU?
The first time I made a quilt coat I used my Comic Relief pattern. But once I cut the pieces out of the quilt for my jacket… you could no longer see the shapes or get the full effect of the design. On top of the coat being too small (and being distraught about it) I also had several comments about the jacket looking like it had a swastika on my back! Ugh! It was like rubbing salt in the wound.
So this time- I went for a simple construction. I still used my Comic Relief pattern but instead of turning the pieces into a pinwheels, I made all the pieces face the same direction. I think that if you want a quilt coat with an all-over design, you should choose a pattern with a smaller design/block so that you can still get the full effect of the design on your jacket pieces. If you just want an accent block on the back- be sure that the block is small enough to fit your back panel!
Here is a list of quilt patterns that I think would make a great quilt coat!
- Simple squares or rectangles all over- you could follow a disappearing 9 patch pattern
- “Better Together” by Quilter’s Candy
- “Ebb and Flow” or “Iris” by Penelope Handmade
- “Classic Checkerboard” by Beech Tree Lane Handmade
- Something with straight lines or “bars”
- “Weighted” or “Deco Weave” by Hoffmama
- All over HST patterns also great
- “Ombre Herringbone” or “Arrow Block” by Beech Tree Lane Handmade
I’m sure there are more out there that I’m not thinking of at this moment. But that’s a good start to show you what I’m talking about and to get your creative juices flowing!
Here is a list of coat patterns that work well as a quilt coat. Just keep in mind that most of these patterns are not written to be made out of quilts. So some of the pieces (like lining material) or instructions wont be applicable. Just read through it ahead of time and make your own notes that will make sense with what you are doing! Don’t be afraid to alter your pattern to your taste either! I used the Heidi Cardigan by Style Arc and I adjusted the sleeves to be straight instead of tapered. This is your coat! Make it the way you want it!
Cut Fabric and Piece Quilt
Here is the comfortable section of this process. You’ve probably made quilts before if you are now attempting to make a quilt coat! So piecing together your quilt top is going to be a breeze! As I was assembling my quilt top, I laid it out on the floor in several different arrangements to make sure I liked the effect it would have on my jacket. Once I settled on a lay out, I sewed all my blocks and rows together.
Quilt the Quilt
The way you quilt your quilt coat is really important! The quilting is what brings your quilt top to life! It’s the “top coat” of your nail polish. There are so many options on how to quilt it. First, there is the hand-quilted look. This will really give it that comfy, homey, loved-filled look, but it will take awhile! Second, there is machine quilting yourself. This is the faster and more cost-effective way, but you are limited on designs you can choose. But the classic lines or crosshatch will look good on anything! Last, there’s longarming. I usually go this route because I know how to long arm and use to have one myself. I rent time from the girl I sold it to so that I can quilt my own quilts. It’s fast, easy, and sturdy!
If you send your quilt to a longarmer or you longarm yourself, I suggest picking a pattern that is a fairly nondescript all-over pattern! This will make your jacket look cohesive and professional. I find most of my patterns for the longarm on Urban Elementz. I went with the “fish-net” pattern and I absolutely LOVE it!
Cutting Out the Quilt Coat
You’ve probably bought your coat pattern as a PDF and need to have it printed. I print at a copy shop nearby because it is usually a lot of pages. Make sure that they print at 100% and NOT fit to scale (unless the pattern suggests otherwise- READ YOUR PATTERN FIRST). You’ll have to cut and tape all the pages together, lining up all the markings and lines. Then you’ll have to cut it all apart again.
Once you have all your pieces cut out, you have a couple of options on getting these shapes on the quilt. Some people lay the template pieces on the material and pin them in place so they can just cut around the pieces. This works well for lots of people. I prefer to trace the pieces on to the material and then cut them out. So I placed the template pieces on my quilt where I wanted them and then used a Frixon pen to trace them all. Then I cut them all out on the lines. Keep in mind that some of your pieces may need to be traced twice or as a mirror image (like sleeves, hood pieces, or pockets, etc.).
Then comes the uncomfortable part. The cutting. The first time I did this, I sat in front of my coat with scissors in hand for a good 10-15 minutes just staring at it and questioning all of my life’s decisions up to that point. Finally my husband was like, “Just do it already!” (what does he know!) so I did! The second time, I was feeling a bit of PTSD about the first one not fitting and worrying that this would happen again. But after taking a few deep breaths, I dug in!
Assemble the Quilt Coat
Now that the hardest part is over- you can focus on making it all worth while by sewing it back together into the most beautiful and comfortable quilt coat you’ve ever seen! If you have never sewn clothing before- don’t be intimidated! It’s a lot like sewing curves in a quilt- which you have hopefully tried! If not, you can take a look at my How To Sew Curves tutorial. But basically, you want to use lots of pins, match up edges and markings, and take it slow!
Once again, be sure to follow your instructions on your coat pattern, but be aware that there might be some steps that are unnecessary for a quilt coat! Don’t be afraid to change things up if you need to!
The Finishing Touches
To finish off your jacket, you need to cover all the raw seams! I made two different types of bindings. The first type of binding I made was a double fold binding to cover the visible seams in the jacket. I used the same fabric as the lining/backing of the quilt. I cut several strips at 2.5″ and sew them together end-to-end. Then I press each edge in toward the center so that the two sides meet. I then pin the binding over the raw seams and use a running hand stitch on both sides of the binding. This way the stitching doesn’t show up on the front side of the jacket and gives the quilt coat a seamless and classic quilt feel!
The second type of binding is a regular binding like I make for my quilts. I cut several 2.5″ strips and sew them end-to-end. Then I press the long stripe in half lengthwise. I used this on all the raw edges of the jacket, sleeves, hood, and pockets. There are lots of opinions on how to correctly attach binding, but I like to machine bind. Starting on the raw edges on the back/lining side, I sew 1/4″ all the way around. Lastly, I fold over the folded side to the front of the coat/quilt and stitch down just a hair from the fold. The key to making this look clean and professional is using the same color thread as the binding fabric!
Last, but not least, I attached a tag just below the jacket neck line! I bought mine from Ever Emblem! They have iron on labels and fold over labels! If I had been thinking straight, I would have stuck a folded one into my binding when I closed up the raw edges along the neckline. But I spaced it! Luckily, I also have the iron on kind! So I ironed on a label and then stitched along the edges to help keep it in place permanently!
That’s a Wrap!
You made it! You can now go strut your stuff to your next grocery run! I am anxiously awaiting cooler weather so that I can wear mine out! It has been way too hot to go anywhere with a quilt coat. But if you ask my husband… he will tell you that I’ve been finding any excuse to wear it around the house anyway! I am super proud of myself for overcoming the set-back of my first coat not working out. I am so glad I decided to make another quilt coat- it has been totally worth it! Thanks for sticking around to watch or for being brave and trying it out along with me!
According to InStyle magazine- quilt coats are a rising trend (as seen by Melissa McCarthy wearing a quilt coat on the cover of their April 2021 Issue)! So we will all be rocking the most fab jackets this fall/winter! Get ready to feel like a rockstar!