Coat Making: Inside Yona

Pre-treating the fabric

Wool is a wonderful fabric to work with and one of my favourites. My preferred washing & pre shrinking method is to serge the edges and send the fabric to the dry cleaners. Some people put their’s on driers with hot damp towels.

For this coat I steam pressed at home. I set my iron on constant full steam (wool setting) and hoovered over the wrong side of my fabric leaving to completely cool before cutting. I didn’t have any issue with colour bleeding or fabric dysmorphia.

The quickest test to know if you need to pre shrink your fabric is to cut a 10x 10 cm piece of fabric on the grain and steam it or treat as you want the main fabric. Always checking if there are wrinkles or a change in dimension.

Pressing Tools

Good pressing is as important as sewing an accurate seam.

Tailor’s ham: Looks like a tightly stuffed pillow. Filled with sawdust, it has one area covered in closed weave wool and the other in cotton. The curved edges help set 3D shapes like darts and collars. Also great to press sleeves, cuffs and waistlines.

Tailor’s Clapper: Made of hardwood, is used to flat bulky facings, collars, edges,  etc. After steaming the seam, press the clapper on top of the seam and hold for a while. It traps the moisture and makes the most beautiful seams.  The end can be used instead of a point turner.

Press Cloth: Silk organza or 100% cotton tea towel. Always sandwich your projects. It will protect your board and the iron when pressing fusible interfacing.

Sleeve board: Perfect to help pressing any awkward places like inside leg seams, pocket openings and of course sleeves.

Patch Pockets


My biggest regret on this coat is to not have sewn my patch pockets by hand. Even though my stitches are nice and straight, One of the pockets had a little stretching that could have been avoided.

Used thicker interface to help the pocket hold it’s shape better. When using thick interfacing I tend to cut my fusible without seam allowance to avoid bulking my seams.



The cut, choice of interfacing & underling and where those are applied will determine how the outwear will appear, fit, hang and last. Fabric weight and characteristics really directed me away from the classic hard tailoring. Goodbye pad stitching. I wanted my coat to look sharp but not heavy or overworked. Most fusible interfacing aren’t advised, at least not applied directly on the shell fabric so I applied on my underlining.

I drafted the coat facing and collar underlining pattern disregarding seam allowances and avoiding going over the crease line.


I really love making coats. I’m so tempted to make another one. I find the process of picking the materials and the construction process really rewarding. I haven’t started my change of season wardrobe plan just yet. Have you?


Ps: did you like the website facelift? I still need to go over the oldest posts and resize the images. Some old posts aren’t showing because I still haven’t categorised it.

  • Great tips. Thank-you so much. I’ve never made a coat the proper way and I’m looking forward to it. I love the new-look website too – looks great!

    • Thanks Kate. You should. Its very rewarding and fun

  • I got a great recommendation for interfacing for coats from Anne at mercury handmade – speed tailoring from Gill Arnold. You have to order direct from her but its great stuff. it didn’t change the characteristics on my wool at all. I can send you a swatch if you like? Email me if you want me to.

    • Thanks Jo. Just email you xx

  • Rachel, que surpresa ao visitar o blog hoje! Parabéns pelas mudanças! Está lindo, leve, cool e moderninho. Adorei.

    Beijo imenso,
    Vivi Basile

    • Obrigada querida. boas costuras…

  • Gorgeous inspiration, Rachel. I haven’t made anything tailored for a long time. I’ve been after a proper clapper for a long time. Where did you find yours? Feel a new jacket coming on x

    • Your colourful coat is an amazing coat. My clapper was bought CBB Rochester

  • Hi! There is just so much to think about with jackets… the warmer means you need more insides too… right? I made a couple of coats when I first started out sewing because I was carefree and just dived it. But I absolutely would take care now, because I rushed them, they weren’t coats to keep forever. Oh well!

    I love the website, and have been wanting to start my own domain name with a facelift on my site too. Well done! It’s so tricking doing all the web stuff. I wish I knew more!

    • Houseofpinheiro

      Yes, on a previous one I added pj fleece as interlining. How is sewing school? Are you enjoying

  • I ADORE making coats- they’re just so fun! It’s always cool to read how other people handle tailoring and what they decide to do. That’s one of the best things about coatmaking- so many ways to go and you get to decide which techniques to use!

  • Kirsteen Mackay

    Thank you for these tips. Sewing my own coats is my goal so this is a very useful blog post for me.