Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wooly Coat: Fabric and Cutting Woes

Okay, so I've basically spent the entire weekend cutting out fabric and investigating (aka stressing out about) interlining for my coat. I can see why coats are so time consuming. There's basically 4 different layers of fabric to be cut:
  1. Shell fabric
  2. Sew-in interfacing for the front panels, collar, and sleeve tabs
  3. Interlining (required here in the Canadian prairies)
  4. Lining
I got all of the interfacing and lining cut out, and 3 pieces out of 11 of the wool shell fabric. I've tried every pair of scissors I own, including a brand new pair, and the wool is winning the war. Just getting those three pieces cut out did this to my finger:

That sucker will blister by the morning, I know it. :(

Anyways, I'm stressed out about the interlining. As I mentioned here, our winters can be pretty brutal, and a warm coat is a must. But on the other side of the ice scraper, I hate being too hot. So I'm not sure what to do about the interlining here. Tanit-Isis has reminded me that I can't NOT have an interlining, but what do I go with? The wool I'm using is melton, which means a super tight and relatively thick fabric. The lining is also quite thick as it's a flannel-backed satin.

Option 1: Micro-fleece
I received a micro-fleece sheet set for Christmas this year, and my apartment is too hot to use them on my bed (see note about about my love of being hot), but the fabric is so thin and drapes nicely, and I figured that I could sacrifice the fitted sheet for the interlining. But now I'm afraid it'll be too hot, and the pouffy material makes the coat extra thick.

Option 2: Brushed Cotton
I ran down to the fabric store today to find buttons and some muslin for another project, and decided to pick up the brushed cotton above. I considered flannel, but everything was too stiff, and the wool is stiff enough on it's own. The fabric is thin, but I've had this material for pj's before and I know that they can be quite warm. I think it'd add another layer of warmth without being too bulky. But will it be warm enough?


So one feels like too much while the other feels like not enough. What do you think? Should I go with the more bulky and probably too warm fleece? Or go with the thinner brushed cotton?

And last but not you like my buttons?


  1. Id say better to air on the side of warmer than not warm enough! But thats just me and im ALWAYS freezing.

  2. I recommend you get yourself some electric scissors! I have these: - and I love them for thick fabric.

    Have you considered making a "inner shell" like a Burberry coat? The kind you snap on and off when temperature changes.

    I am making a coat for myself and have all the same worries. I go for rather too hot than too cold. The lady in the store recommended that I make some mittens in the same fabrics to test the combo.

  3. From what you have on hand, I'd say interline the bodice with the fleece and the sleeves with the brushed cotton. That being said, I can't help but wonder if the fleece is the most warmth for the bulk, but I may be overly suspicious.

    For the record, my coat is wool(ish), not melton but very thick and a bit fluffier, with interlining and flannel-back satin lining, and I find it good for warmth from about -5 to -15. By -20 it's pushing it to stay warm (lots of sweaters etc.). I actually wish I'd underlined the whole thing with flannel, plus interlining in the bodice. Your melton will probably cut the wind a bit better than my fabric, though.

    Are your fabric scissors metal-handled? This is why I couldn't buy metal Ginghers last summer---I damaged the nerve in my thumb years ago with dissection scissors and I could tell even in the store that it just wasn't going to be possible. You can do what I (eventually) did with the dissection scissors---wrap the handle in a bandaid or three (or even just some strips of fabric.) It helps a surprising amount.

    1. Nah, my scissors are mostly the cheap plastic handled scissors you can get for a few bucks at Farbicland. I have one pair of nicer scissors that were originally about $70 (I picked it up at a 50% sale), but I hate them. The cut isn't as smooth as my $3 cheapies, and the handles are uncomfortable. And even with this wool, they don't cut nearly as well as the cheapies, so I'll stick with those.

      I think I need to either bandage my finger next time, or cut only one layer at a time. Bah. Bandage it is!

  4. I think the idea of body in micro fleece and sleeves in brushed cotton sounds safe... Not that I know a THING about -20 degree weather!

  5. Wow! Jackets sound intense. I like the inner shell idea Anne had.

  6. Hmm. Good ideas all around! Anne, I love the idea of a snap in inner shell, but I'm not sure if my skills are up to that. Not yet, anyways. But I'll definitely keep that in mind for my next coat. It'd be nice to have a fall coat that transitions to a winter one.

    I wasn't planning on lining the sleeves at all, but using the cotton for them is a good idea. It wouldn't add bulk at all.

    I'm still a bit torn about the fleece, but i think I'll go with it anyways. I don't want to go to all this trouble and have it not be warm enough. And if it's too warm? Well, I'll figure that out later. :)

    Thanks for the input, everyone!

  7. Just thought I'd mention that I made a winter coat a few years back with all the linings and I wish I had made the outer layer (melton wool) a size bigger to accomidate all the layers.

  8. I say going with the cotton just b/c I'm in the same boat and I HATE being too hot. But like Steph said - I have no clue about that kind of weather. I'm a wimp and cold with our Bay Area 40 degrees.


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