My very first wardrobe sewing project was the Kelly Anorak from Closet Case Patterns. I had a lot of sewing experience with accessories and simple projects at that point, but hadn’t sewn anything with sleeves. Ever. So it was an adventurous introductory project, to say the least!
But I like a challenge, and my naivety and gumption paid off. The end result was a really nice spring/fall jacket (thanks in no small part to the great pattern instructions and sewalong on the Closet Case blog). My confidence was through the roof after that project.
I’ve since sewn FOUR jackets (in a four month period, mind you!). The process is somewhat addictive, honestly. I rarely bought ready-to-wear jackets and coats for a myriad of fitting challenges. Being able to address those challenges head on and create custom outerwear has been one of the most rewarding parts of sewing for me.
My most favorite and challenging jacket project has been my puffy coat, hacked from another Closet Case pattern, the Clare Coat. A recent move to the Midwest made it apparent that I would need some serious warmth and functionality in my winter outerwear. I couldn’t find a puffy coat pattern, so I took to the web and started researching puffer jacket DIYs. The best tutorial I found was on the Mood Fabrics blog, so I started there!
I saw this project as a “tester”, or maybe you could even call it a wearable muslin. I knew that it would involve a bit of trial and error (and possibly a few ripped and re-sewn seams). I also knew that I wanted to focus my effort and learning on the basics of constructing the coat instead of getting too fancy with the details, as a bit of wear would better inform a future puffer jacket design. I wanted this coat to be modern, comfortable, and minimal. My biggest functional modification was enlarging the pockets, and honestly, I could have gone much larger, especially at the pocket opening!
I went with an offset exposed zipper for the front closure (Closet Case also has a tutorial on this style zipper as a part of the Clare Coat sewalong). I bought the zipper on Etsy from Zipper Stop and kind of had to guess at the color and keep my fingers crossed that it would match…it was pretty close!
The coat body and lining are made out of HyperD 1.6 oz nylon from Ripstop by the Roll, and I quilted the exterior shell with two layers of a medium loft, super soft quilt batting that I picked up at Joann Fabrics (Mountain Mist is the brand). The quilting was the most labor intensive, but once that was complete, I assembled the coat as usual according to the pattern.
I also slimmed the waist of the pattern slightly to give the coat a bit more shape (although, I should have probably sized up the entire coat before making this change). And I rounded the corners of the collar to help hide the fact that it didn’t line up perfectly when zipped all the way. :)
I wear this coat almost daily. I throw my small wallet, keys, sunglasses, and phone into the pockets and I am off! I plan to make another one next winter, and will likely add larger pocket openings, interior hidden pockets, a hood, and make a few adjustments/enlargements at the back and hips for a more natural fit.
I sewed the coat before I started blogging, but you can see a video series of my entire process on Instagram!