OK folks. Back to non-glamour sewing. It’s cold here. It’s cold for about 10 months of the year. I own three pairs of Uggs. I knit wool socks. Mr. Bug’s and my main fight is over whether 78 is too high to set the thermostat (I say nay.) Accordingly, walking the dog requires sportswear similar to that needed to climb mount Everest. Or so I imagine.

My winter dog-walking coat is a toasty, puffy, boring, $35 dollar LL Bean find. It’s black and white and reversible and filled with down. But it’s going on seven years old and dingy. I’ve looked for a new coat, similarly warm, lacking in excessive ties and not ruinously expensive. I found nothing. Nada. Apparently all down coats are only meant for fashion these days, not warmth. I gave up the search and decided to just make what I already have work – it’s still warm, just dingy. Behold what a half yard of organic cotton flannel and a nice sharp sewing needle got me… before on the left, after on the right. Yes, that’s a pile of wool batting laying on the floor behind me on the right. That’s how I roll.

 

Here’s a close-up of the terrible dinginess on the white. It was so bad it made me feel icky wearing it, even at night when nobody but Lucy the hound would see it. Ewwwww…

Here’s a quickie step-by-step of what I did to accomplish this amazing transformation.

Step 1 – cut the facing to the right length

Lay a piece of the facing material (about 6 or 7 inches wide) over the coat (folded in half on one long edge) and trim the length even with the bottom and the top of the coat. Cut along the fold to separate the two facings.

Step 2 – Draw a neckline on the top of the facing

Trace along the neckline (shown in pink.) Not pictured – cut along that line. I cut it a bit more straight than the neckline to make it easier to attach the facing pieces to the collar.

Step 3 – Measure the length and width of the collar and cut collar facing

Measure the collar length and height. My collar measured 24” wide and 3” high. I cut out a strip of fabric 26” wide and 4” high to give myself a little extra room.

Pictured – measure the height of the collar.

Step 4 – Lay out the facings, attach and sew

Lay out the facings as shown. Attach right sides together (flip collar facing down and lay right side over the front facings) and sew the facings to the neckband, leaving about an inch unsewn on the inner corners to fold back the edges in the next step.

Step 5 – Press seams and topstitch

Press seam allowances towards the neck band and topstitch the neck band seam allowance. Fold the long inner edges over twice, press and topstitch. Do the same to the bottom edges of the facings. Once done with this step the only unfinished edges left will be the upper neck and outer front facings.

Step 6 – Pin facing to coat and sew.

Pin upper edge of collar and outer edges of facing to the coat, right sides together. Sew the facing to the coat with quarter inch seam allowance. My coat closes with snaps, so I used a zipper foot to sneak past the snaps.

Step 7 – Finishing

Flip the facing to the inside, leaving a bit of the facing showing. Use zipper foot to stitch in the ditch (or close enough) to leave a bit of facing showing and give the edges a bit of body. Tack the facings down on the inside. For my coat I cut a little hole for the covered up snaps to poke through. I tacked the facing down around the snaps and finished the hole with some fray stop stuff.

 

Step 7 – Cut cuff facings and finish one side.

Cut rectangles (mine were about 5” by 18”) and finish one long edge by folding over twice, pressing and top stitching.

Step 8 – Attach cuffs.

Pin cuff facing to cuffs, folding under the short end underneath (so it looks nice and neat when folded out!) Sew onto cuffs with a quarter inch seam allowance. Turn facings to the inside, slipstitch the open short end shut and tack the facing to the inside of the sleeve. If you’re up to it, slipstitch the entire long edge of the cuff facing to the inside of the sleeve so your hand doesn’t get stuck inside the facing when you are putting on your coat!

That’s it! Quick and easy and a nice way to stretch out the useful life of a coat! Yay for reusing!

patty brower

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