New Project: Winter Coat for My Man

In addition to a few other projects for myself, my mister has been pleading for a new coat so I’ve decided to break down and make him one. Actually he’s been pleading for two new coats – a winter coat and a trench – but one thing at a time, right? I rarely sew for Shawn (Mr. S) and its kind of sad really. I need to be better about incorporating his needs into my sartorial sewing world. We wouldn’t be able to afford the type of coat I’ll make, and really I love the prospect of delving into a bit of menswear. I thought it would be fun to take a journey together with you, especially as I’m working on the toggle coat version from the japanese pattern book. If you haven’t seen it, and don’t know what a japanese pattern book is, I suggest having a gander in this Etsy shop (I always buy japanese books from her and she’s so nice and her CS is excellent!). Japanese pattern books contain several different patterns in one book (all the instructions are usually in japanese) and this one in particular has some really beautiful men’s outerwear. I actually have a few different japanese pattern books, but this is the first time I’ve actually used one.

Duane from Mainely Dad has been a great resource as I’ve been working through the beginning stages of this project. Duane has made all of the coats from this japanese book – here’s his toggle version! And they are all insanely beautiful! I can actually credit Duane with giving my mister the idea that I could actually sew up a coat for him too (thanks Duane – no sarcasm here, truly). I actually did start tracing off a trench coat earlier this year for my man, but that abruptly ended when, I found that in addition to tracing off the damn lovely pattern, I had to add seam allowances too! You guys & gals, I can be hardcore, but that’s really asking way to much of me. This is what sparked the idea and need for Double Tracing Wheels, different pattern papers and sheets of tracing paper. If you ever do anything like this, all I can say is, you really need to get yourself hooked up here because those tracing wheels and sheets of tracing paper are nothing less than magical! They shaved hours (I would say about 4 hours, seriously) off the tracing process alone.

So if you were wondering, to trace off the pattern, I put down some dotted pattern paper first (I could have used the medical exam paper too, no biggie, whatevs) then I put the tracing paper sheet – blue – face down on top of that and put the pattern sheet on top of that. Put down a couple of pattern weights here and there and then used that handy dandy tracing wheel, to not only trace the pattern, but add the seam allowance in one whack. I added a 1/2″ seam allowance – by the way, these tracing wheels do not do 1/8″ increments, which is really neither here nor there, but you know. For the hem allowances I added either a 1 1/2″ – sleeve – or 2″ – body – hem allowance to the bottoms.

The perfect fabric came into my possession at the American Sewing Expo too. It’s that Double Cloth Wool Coating from Wool House. When I presented it to my mister, and draped it over him to get a sense of how the color would work for him, he claimed that he wanted a cape instead of a coat. He told me to just serge the edges and put some sort of closure around the neck. By the way, he’s so full of shit that his eyes are brown (truly they are). I’m planning to add/draft a lining for the coat, in addition to adding a zipper placket down the front. I’ll show you both when I get to that point. The lining for the body is going to be a black rayon satin and the lining for the sleeve and hood will be grey silk charmeuse that I’m thinking I’ll quilt to lambswool for added warmth. The coating is actually pretty heavy, so I don’t know that I need to lambswool the whole thing, plus Mr. S keeps his thermostat pretty high temped as it is.

So there ya go. I’m actually sewing for another human being besides myself. See? I can be generous…. Ever sewn for your man, woman or significant other? Tell me, any pointers? Any tizzy fitting fits I should be aware of? If nothing else, you at least have to tell me that my plans for the coat are pretty amazing, right? I mean, silk charmeuse in the sleeve – I must really be in love! All I can say is, it’d better be cold this winter!

Baby, it’s gonna be cold outside,

  • oonaballoona - his eyes are brown. HA sunni!!!

    i snarled at the computer when i saw your post. ruggy just said last night, as i was oohing and aahing over fabric online, “are you going to make your loving husband something soon?”. DAMMIT. i’m trying to wrap my head around a shirt, and here you’re making a COAT.

    this is going to be gorgeous, must remember to sit far away from ruggy as i drool over your progress…ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Sounds like a fun project. Do share how the lambswool goes. I’ve never used it but I get cold easily so it sounds right up my alley!ReplyCancel

  • Katherine - wow! big project!! can’t wait to see how it goes πŸ™‚

    and now i have to check out that etsy store πŸ˜‰ReplyCancel

  • Sallie - Is it bad that I want to make this coat for myself? Its really pretty perfect!

    I made my husband two shirts – I’ve found that he’s far less picky about the way things fit than I am – but MORE picky about the style. In general he’s pretty easy to sew for. Plus its kind of fun to work together a bit to make something. I bet you two will have a good time!

    Also, lambswool. swoon.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - That is one beautiful coat! I took a peek over at the blog you linked and his version is beautiful! The only “man” thing I’ve ever worked on is a button-down shirt for my nephew. He’s 18 years old and wanted me to teach him to sew, which I thought was pretty cool. So we worked on that. It’s a little big on him but he’ll grow! lol

    Can’t wait to see your finished project πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • LinB - Only truly difficult thing about sewing for men is to remember remember remember to make the garment close left-over-right, instead of right-over-left. In our culture, that is sometimes the only thing that differentiates a male garment from a female garment; and it is a big ol’ no-no for a man to wear a woman’s shirt/coat/pants. There’s a subliminal, conditioned response that tells our minds “something is wrong with this picture” when a man wears the “wrong” garment. (Think of Steve Carell’s character and the woman’s suit, in an early episode of The Office.) Otherwise, all the steps to assemble a garment are pretty much the same as for a woman. Same sort of subconscious response for a U.S. citizen when they see a man wearing European-cut trousers (European tailors cut trousers to “hang right” rather than “hang left”), but why are you looking there, anyway?ReplyCancel

  • Laura D - y’know, that’s why I decided that Burda patterns suck. Not only is their sizing whackadoo (My four-year-old is a two according to them) but they have no seam allowances, even in their printed patterns.ReplyCancel

  • lisa g - i’m very excited to watch your progress here. i have a coat in progress for myself and i’m pretty sure a bit of unselfish sewing will follow, including dress shirts and a coat for the hubby. thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Mainelydad - Sunni, Thanks SO MUCH for the huge shout-out. I hope your readers who are interested in sewing menswear will take the time to explore my archive. I’ve always strived to make my blog as informative as possible in hopes that it will help other sewists. I’m looking forward to watching your progress. Here’s a little tip for you and anyone else delving into the Japanese Pattern world. Keep track of all your adjustments. You will be able to apply them to any of the other patterns in the book and save yourself the fitting headaches. Cheers and happy sewing! DuaneReplyCancel

    • Jenny - Mainelydad, your coat was beautiful! and I hope you’re feeling better…. Very nice blog by the way!ReplyCancel

  • Kerry - That looks like a great coat pattern, and your ideas for the fabric sound beautiful – what a luxurious coat!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy Piersall - I seriously can’t wait to see this completed. That pattern and fabric are AMAZING!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I’m seriously so impressed!!!! I haven’t sewn anything for my man yet cause I don’t feel “good enough” yet but I’m definitely getting prodded by him for a shirt. A coat will be long down the road for me… besides, he has more clothes & jackets than I do! ^__^ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - I have been doing so very much selfish sewing lately, but with October upon us, that goes out the window. I have 4 costumes to make! I sew for my baby girl a lot, but not often for the boys. My husband has resisted nearly every suggestion that I ever sew or knit anything for him. I really don’t know what that’s about, but I’ve given up being offended by it. Maybe if he sees your coat, his position will change!ReplyCancel

  • Far - Hmmm… I’ve never sewn anything for the hubby yet other than rehemming pants and changing buttons. I have a cotton/linen fabric for him that I plan to sew into a shirt, but probably when I’m further along in my sewing skill! hehe.. Looking forward to seeing your project unfold. And lambswool, where would one get one of those for sewing?ReplyCancel

  • Cactus - I will definitely follow your progress. DH has requested an 1880s sac coat and I am dragging my feet starting it. I KNOW I can do it, one step at a time. I have all the materials. I just need to START. Maybe I can get some confidence following your progress. πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - The only thing i’ve sewn for my dearest is a set of curtains for a train layout for his train club. I think there were 20 big panels of straight stitching. Not something i dream about in my sewing fantasies, but for him? Anything!

    I think it’s great that you’re thinking of this coat project. It’s challenging, and something he will enjoy for a long time. Good for you!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - I sew shirts for my husband quite often (, but if he gets wind of you sewing a coat for your Mr., he’s going to be awfully jealous! He’s been trying to get me to make him one for years and I always give him an “I’m too busy” excuse. πŸ˜‰ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - I made a shirt for my dad and a skirt for my mom for Christmas last year, after I took my first sewing class. My parents live on the other side of the country, so there was definitely no fitting happening! In fact, only my mom had any idea I was doing this, and only because I made her measure herself and stealth measure one of my dad’s shirts. Amazingly, they both fit perfectly. I’m sure I would never attempt that now (making a surprise garment), after reading so many sewing blogs and discussions on careful fitting and toiles and tissue fitting.

    In any case, their complete delight at what I made was pretty awesome and made me want to sew for other people more often. My dad has hinted pretty strongly that he’d like another shirt for Christmas this year, so that’s my next project.ReplyCancel

  • Sveta - Coat!! This is serious! i made linen trousers and shirt for my father, now think to make shirt for my bf too%)ReplyCancel

  • Lene H - The last item I made for my DH was winter pants. He kept wiggling and griping through the 5 minutes of fitting he was willing to go through, and afterwards was annoyed, that the pants turned out a bit loose and short in the legs. GRRR!
    NOT going there again, and DEFINITELY not making any coats for him!ReplyCancel

  • Kara - Thanks so much for this post! I’ll be trying to absorb as many coat-sewing tips as I can! It’s something I’m scared to try because messing up isn’t really an option. Good luck sewing for your man… I haven’t ever sewn for anyone but myself.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - What a big project! Can’t wait to see how it turns out! I’m nowhere near being able to tackle a coat,excited to see the stages as you go!ReplyCancel

  • maddie - You have one lucky man. That’s for damn sure!ReplyCancel

  • Vaness - You will never feel too cold in this kind of winter jacket…I really love it…Good luck sewing for your man…ReplyCancel

  • Janee Connor - The first big project I sewed for my dh was a sportcoat. He received it as a gift, at least 6 times – the first, on his birthday, was fabric, lining, pattern and buttons in a box. His question, naturally, was “Is this a do-it-myself project?” but the truth was, with the work it required, I wasn’t cutting anything without measuring and testing a muslin first! After that, I wrapped it for every occasion – anniversary, Christmas, Valentine’s, birthday (again) – at whatever stage it had reached. I’m pretty sure it was nearly two years in the making, but he’s still wearing it – after better than 15 years! These days I mostly make him shirts, and sadly not many of those.ReplyCancel

  • Holly - I have the mens coat book and shirt book from the same seller on etsy and she is just the sweetest thing ever. Mt man has also been begging me to make him a winter coat so I knew this book was a must when I saw it on Mainely Dad months ago. I haven’t started yet but was planning on it soon so I can’t wait to follow your progress with it! The sewing world needs more modern mens patterns too πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Leah - Making Gerties Butterick coat for myself. For my husband, I have made many hawaiian shirts courtesy of the Islander Hawaiian shirt pattern. Great pattern, great instructions! Shirt comes out amazing every time. I’ve made it in all kinds of fun prints.ReplyCancel

  • Victoria - How exciting! Sewing for your man. I look forward to following your progress and can’t wait to see the finished product!!!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - I bought a suit pattern to make one for my boyfriend for christmas last year. There were three weddings this past summer and I thought that he would look great in a fitted suit. Well, I never got around to making it and ended up buying him a suit jacket that he picked out. I would love to make it for him, but know that it would be a lot of work and not sure if it would be worth all of the effort. Maybe just a jacket would have been sufficient.ReplyCancel

  • Elle Johns - Wow no I’ve never sewn for anyone-including myself!!! 

I sure wish I could-so impressive!

    Elle xoxo

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  • Norma Fay - This is quite the project. I’m nowhere near this talented. I can shop well, however. I just got a great new Puffer Jacket for myself, and one for my husband. They look great and they are so warm. Best of all, Burlington Coat Factory had them for about $75 less than they would have cost in any other store.ReplyCancel

  • Winter Coat for My Man – the Muslins - […] a project like this that’s going to take quite some time to finish, I think its always a good idea to […]ReplyCancel

  • gratitude - […] stuff all the while helping keep me, my small business and my spirits afloat. He totally deserves a coat! A huge chunk of gratitude and my heart go out to him this year – gosh I love him so! Gush, […]ReplyCancel

  • Winter Coat for My Man: Progress - […] thought I would give you all a sneaky peak of what’s happening with the coat these days. It’s pretty crazy that I’ve made it thus far, well I think its pretty […]ReplyCancel

  • Crafty Monogamy - […] this and have fabric and thread for another cowl necked Renfrew whilst I’m working away on my man’s winter coat. I’m looking forward to just breaking the pace a bit with something different that’s […]ReplyCancel

  • Sewing Library: Japanese Craft Books Cont. » A Fashionable Stitch - […] I hope you enjoy these! The color compositions and photo styling is so wonderful I think. Lovely and modern with a whimsical twist. In a bit of other news, I’ve had a pretty swell time beefing up the blog over the weekend. I’m still chipping away at it bit by bit, but hop on over and tell me what you think of the layout. I really do love hearing your opinions as they are important when I plan big changes. Have a wonderful Monday! I’m off to lunch with a friend and then its putting my nose to the grindstone as I try to finish up the coat! […]ReplyCancel

  • Stitching Spotlights 12.7.2012 » A Fashionable Stitch - […] friends! How’s your December shaping up? Mine is going pretty well. The coat is almost finished. Almost. I promised the mister he would have it by Monday and by George! it will […]ReplyCancel

  • Stitching Spotlights 12.14.2012 » A Fashionable Stitch - […] The coat is finished. Like, all the way done. Can you even believe that? Mr. S has been at death’s door with the flu so we haven’t yet been able to take photos. Nor has he had the haircut he promised me to get because I finished the coat – do you make deals with your significant other like this? I’ll make you a coat if you’ll please just get a haircut. Somehow, I’m pretty sure one is not on the same level as the other, but the things we do for love, am I right? Anyways, photos will happen this weekend or my name is mud. Promise. […]ReplyCancel