Winter Coat 2: Outside

Are you ready?

Are you sure?



Haha, just kidding – I mean, I did get a much-needed haircut, yes, but what I mean is I FINISHED MY YATES COAT! And just in time, as you can see.

First of all, bagging a coat is amazing and I want to do it again. Like, immediately. I don’t have projects planned or even anticipated that will use this technique, but it made me feel like James Herriot delivering a calf in a Yorkshire farmyard except the calf is a coat and the momma cow is that same coat and I’m a good bit drier and warmer and better-rested and more indoors, but either way I want more!!

 Bagging was also the first time I used the Yates sew-along. The diagrams just weren’t cutting the mustard for this step, but the photos worked like a charm. It’s a funny loop, then a goofy-looking mess, and then pow, a coat, just like that!


Okay, fine, there’s pressing and topstitching, too. I found a small block of smooth wood when cleaning my hall closet and pretended like it was a clapper. It worked really well, in fact! I have Julia-Child-style asbestos hands so the lack of a handle didn’t bother me, but watch out for your fingers if you give my found wood technique a try. 😉 There is shine where I pressed too enthusiastically, despite using a presser cloth, but none too serious and mostly on the inside/wrong side.

Oh, and thread chains! I nearly skipped the thread chains because I was getting impatient to reach the finish line, but that’s a false economy. They take ten minutes and are shockingly fun to make. Mine are almost too long because I kept thinking “One more knot! Okay, three more knots! Three more after this one!”. I couldn’t work out how to reach inside the coat and join the sleeves on the side without the bagging opening, so I opened that sleeve lining seam a few inches, too, and did it locally. I don’t mind a little extra hand-sewing to save a lot of head-scratching.

I didn’t do my topstitching in one fell swoop, either. I topstitched the hem with the lining side up so I wouldn’t catch the lining pleat. I sewed the lapels and coat front with the coat side up so they would look as nice as possible. I also skipped one area of topstitching – the back neck curve along the collar. I couldn’t get it to look nice no matter which side I sewed from, and plenty of coats seem to omit that line of stitching.

The pile of this wool covers a lot of sins! I don’t think you can tell that I stopped, started, unpicked, restitched, unpicked, sewed again…


And for a final touch, I didn’t cover the snaps! Aw heck, they’re black, it’s all gravy. 🙂

New England fall is generous with colors, but New England winter is very sparing. It’s beautiful too, but one year I saw a photo of a budding Australian garden in the middle of my Northern Hemisphere winter and immediately burst into tears, so I thought a very bright lining might be a wise pick to feed my color-hungry eyes.


My one week review: I’m very, very happy with the finished coat. It’s not perfect, but I feel good in it, it looks reasonably professional, and I’m confident that the guts are well-constructed and hopeful it will last a long time. I’m a little nervous about the pocket openings stretching out, but I don’t want to borrow trouble.

If the narrow size range works for your body, I think the Yates pattern makes for a good first winter coat sew. The directions were clear and supportive. The supply list was not obscure. Also there were about a thousand pattern pieces, which feels like good value, ha!

I’m happy with my additions, mainly the shoulder pads. They definitely move the coat further towards a masculine silhouette – not that far, but farther than I could accomplish without shoulder padding – which works nicely with my winter wardrobe.     


There’s quite of bit of melting snow on my lapel in some of these photos. I blame attempted whimsy.

Snow toss.gif

Darn you, whimsy!

Oh, and as mentioned last time, I still owe a breakdown – thanks to the above-average spending of time and money I did this in a more detailed way than usual, and you can see it here! I came in about $10 under budget, but without gift cards/credit I’d actually be about $60 over. The abbreviated version is still below.

If I made another Yates I could save money in a few areas – of course the pattern cost wouldn’t be debited next time, and I’d get something cheaper for my lining fabric, or possibly use kasha so I wouldn’t have to buy underlining separately. If I shopped around for wool a little more or hit a sale, I could probably get the costs under $150. But I’m not going to worry about that. Right now I’m going to focus on protecting my investment and taking good care of this coat, so it can keep me warm for a long time! Even when I hit myself in the face with wet snow!

Oh did I mention I MADE MY COAT?!

Pattern: Grainline Yates coat

Pattern cost: $20.00

Size: 10 bust/sleeves with 1” full bicep adjustment, 14 hip

Supplies: see spreadsheet for details – out-of-pocket cost of supplies, $181.80

Total time: 31.75 hours

Total cost: $201.80

10 thoughts on “Winter Coat 2: Outside

  1. Very impressive, lady! I kept saying I’d make a coat soon for ages but it still hasn’t happened yet lol.

    Your post always make me chuckle. Tons of pattern pieces feels like a good value! Hahahaha you almost made me spill my coffee 😉


    1. Aw thanks Faye! ^^ I don’t think you’d regret putting it on your list – it sat on mine for a looong time before sewing!


  2. That lining!!!! This looks amazing. I have always admired the Yates Coat but thought its cut was maybe a bit too straight up and down for my body. Now seeing how great it looks on you, I may have to reconsider. Although I’m still undecided as to whether coats are actually the best use of my sewing time (not withstanding the ridiculous awesomeness of the bagging step!)


    1. Thanks Beck! 😀 It took ages, but now everything else seems like a relatively fast sew (and a cheap one, ha). I think a lot depends on climate harshness – I’ll be wearing this through April, probably. Which reminds me, I have GOT to sew more sweaters. Brr!


  3. Holy moly, your cost and time spreadsheet is GOALS.🙌 I wanted to make a coat this year but the cost is ultimately what held me back – now I am regretting it! These snowy photos! That lining! Very impressive.


    1. Just you wait, my next post is my spreadsheet for the whole year. 🙂 I both love and hate knowing every red cent I’ve spent!

      It definitely wasn’t a cheap process, but it would help if you’re a smarter shopper than me (I bought my wool in midsummer, a stroke of genius, ahem). Good luck if you do decide to make one!


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