The Red Riding Hood Winter Coat

Way back in 2009 I picked up a piece of cheery wine red wool at a good price in a fabric shop that was closing. I wanted to make a winter coat from it, but there wasn’t enough for what I had in mind. Soon afterwards I stumbled on a piece of wool in the same quality, but a shade or two darker, in a charity shop, at an even better price. This could work, and I quickly cut out some of the pieces for it. And then life happened. And happened again, and again. I would pick it up, do some work on it, and then it would creep back into the UFO pile.

When I got it out this summer, seven years and two children later, it didn’t fit very well. I had to do some hard thinking, and then, with the help of piecing and added panels, will it to do as I wanted it to. In the end, the finished result turned out all right, if not perfect. The style had changed a little since I cut out the first pieces, but overall for the better, I think. The coat itself is made from the lighter red wool, which also lines the hood and pelerine collar made from the darker red wool – the winters here are mostly wet and windy, and the cold goes straight through you. Extra layers of wool are a good thing. 
The coat is also piped here and there in the darker red wool. In the pictures, the contrast between the lighter and darker fabrics show best in the hood.

For the construction of the hood I took my inspiration from 18th century hoods, with the pleats radiating out in the back. Since mine was made from double layers of thick wool, the centre of the pleats wouldn’t quite close, so I covered a button in a scrap of wool and stitched it over the hole.

When it was time to line the pelerine collar, I didn’t have any piece of fabric large enough, so I ended up piecing it together from twelve smaller scraps. The facings in the front is also pieced together from four pieces each, and both the sleeves and the lining of the hood ended up being pieced from two pieces each. I wanted a long row of buttons down the front, and luckily I’d salvaged a dozen buttons from an old, worn-out coat I’d made, which would do quite well. I put two of them in the back, and the remaining ten down the front. Even the lining was reused from something else. All in all, the coat looks nice, maybe even expensive, but it’s all clever scrimping and recycling. Elegant economy, as they say in Cranford.

One morning about a week ago it was snowing, and of course I’d have to take the opportunity to get pictures of the coat. After all, a backdrop of snow is much prettier than a backdrop of mud and sad looking, beat down grass.

 Ever had to completely remodel a project after taking it from an extended time in the UFO pile? 

19 thoughts on “The Red Riding Hood Winter Coat

  1. Wow, Sarah! En mycket fin jacka.


  2. I like very much the buttons you choose for this coat. It looks very comfortable !


  3. Wow, Det har du gjort bra, med all piecing 🙂


  4. Wow! Vilken otroligt vacker kappa! Och jag gillar verkligen hur du har använt dig av sådant som du hade hemma. Tycker alltid det känns som en liten extra accomplishment när man inte bara går ut och köper allt man kan behöva utan använder lite (mycket!) kreativitet för att se hur det går att lösa. 🙂 Väldigt fint jobb!


  5. Thanks 🙂 I didn't so much chose them (for this project) as just making do with what I had, but I do think they worked out quite well.


  6. Tack! Det är tråkigt att skarva, men det är tillfredsställande att lyckas få ut ett plagg utan att det blir så mycket spill.


  7. Ja, det känns bra, nästan som att man borde få ett extra poäng för klurighet – resultatet av en uppväxt med mycket begränsade tillgångar. “Make do or do without” sitter i märgen vid det här laget 😉


  8. Oh, my. That is GORGEOUS.

    What pattern(s) did you use?


  9. Thank you! I made the pattern myself, I'm too economical/cheap to buy one 😉


  10. This is fantastic! Very inspiring, as I wish to make a coat someday (it may happen far into the future, as I'm still learning sewing and I want it to be well-made).

    I'm curious (as the pictures aren't very large) if it is possible for you to draw a diagram of construction/where seams are (actual seams; not the piecing) and what it looks like under the pelerine? I am trying to learn how people make coats, and yours looks excellent: as you said, expensive, well-made, as opposed to how lots of home-made coats can turn out. I suppose it's kind of princess seamed? And what shape are the sleeves? Coat sleeves, or something more plain and straight?

    I also really love the hood. I probably would like a hood, though maybe detachable, or perhaps I'd have a capelet with hood on it to where when I need that, and the coat be separate. That's another thing to figure out.

    The problem with modern wool coats is that they line them in plasticky stuff that makes you freeze (in cold Minnesota weather, where it gets very cold and dry for at least some of the winter), and only one layer of woolly stuff on top of that. I think I may try to reline my current coat with cotton, although I'd probably just put that over the lining, as to get that out would require taking the whole coat apart. I suppose if I really wanted to try that, though, I could do it this summer… except I forever have the ambition of concocting a coat by the next winter. ^.^ Also- coats ought to be longer, and plenty to be shapely like yours. The wind loves to find your legs and freeze them to numbness (so I made very long legwarmers).

    (Sorry for long commentness!)


  11. I debated for a while whether to make the pelerine and hood removable or not, but as I had an awkward piecing just at the neckline, I decided to have them permanently attached 😉

    The seams run up to the shoulder seam, not to the armhole. I like that look better, and have used it on several coats.

    Cotton is a bad lining for winter – it gets cold if damp,and does not keep the cold out. There are interlinings for coats made from wool, that helps a good deal. But if you really want a warm coat, having a wool lining as well is the best. No other material can compare to it (except other wool-like materials, like alpacka and such). It will make the coat a tad more difficult to put on though, as your arms won't slide into the sleeves.


  12. I suppose I rarely get wet, so I often don't worry about it. I usually don't wear a coat when it's very wet; it's usually so dry here in the winter. But, it's true, I should heed that. And I wouldn't terribly mind a wool lining, so long as it doesn't irritate my skin (which it seems to be starting to do, alas!).


  13. I love your coat, it's very beautiful (:

    CM | XIII.


  14. That's a beautiful coat! Love the details!!


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