Emma hates wearing layers – so much so that, since the cold weather started, she has consistently chosen to stay home in order to avoid wearing a jacket. She needed a new jacket, so I took her to the store to choose some fabrice (from fleece remnants) in hopes that she would like wearing a jacket she helped make. This jacket has no collar and no hood – unusual, but that’s what Emma wanted.
1)Select (or allow your child to select) two colors of fleece fabric – it took less than a yard of each color for this jacket, and I found all the fabric in the remnants section of my local fabric store (half price from the already-reduced sales price)
2) use an existing item of clothing as a pattern, allowing extra width for your seam allowance and since a jacket needs to fit over other clothing. I know this dress is in all the photos on my site; my daughter does own other clothing but this is one of her favorites.
3) Cut half based on the clothing item, then fold over and cut to make it symmetrical. Cut a small notch in the fabric in the neckline to mark the center. This is the back of the jacket
4) Use the back of the jacket as a pattern for the front of the jacket – allowing extra fabric in the middle for overlapping edges in the center front and seam allowance. Cut down the middle of the front piece to make the two sides of the front of the jacket.
5) Cut out sleeves, again based on an existing garment with extra width for seam allowance and for the sleeves to fit over other clothing
6) Cut out copies of all pattern pieces in second fabric. This photo also shows the shape of a typical sleeve (the sleeve gets gathered a bit using a basting stitch to fit into the armhole.
6) For a warmer jacket, add batting to the front and back pieces – probably not sleeves since it gets too stiff on a small child and two layers of fleece are already quite warm.
7) Stitch together as two jackets – one in each fabric
8) Sew the two jackets together, leaving an opening to turn right side out (the bottom back of the jacket works well and is easy to blind-stitch shut). I recommend stitching the ends of the sleeves together last since it’s easy to get wrong otherwise (at least for me).
9) Mark positions for buttons and buttonholes. This jacket was actually a bit thick for buttonholes on my budget sewing machine, so I sewed elastic loops on to go around the buttons. Since this is a reversible jacket, I sewed buttons on both sides of the jacket.
The finished coat
I like my elastic-loop button solution, but I feel like it’s a bit awkward for little hands. Next time we’ll go with traditional buttonholes, even if I have to stitch them by hand!
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.