How to make a quilted jacket with no quilting background, a secondhand book and lots of research…
You may follow me on Instagram and see I recently embarked on a labour intensive quilt project with the ambition of creating myself a dreamy dessert-inspired quilted jacket.
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My partner and I have just recently moved to Christchurch, New Zealand where it gets super cold. So this seemed like an appropriate project to embark on.
I am so excited to share that I have finally finished my quilted jacket and I’m so pleased with how it turned out.
After seeing so many beautiful quilt coats from the likes of Julia O’roke and Sea I needed to jump on the bandwagon and make my own.
Because I live in little ole New Zealand finding a pre-loved vintage quilt made by someones loving grandma in the 1900’s just wasn’t going to happen for me.
So my next best option was pre-loved quilting books. After hunting down a few excellent books I started to plan my quilt design and fabrics.
You can find so many second hand quilting books or magazines that are filled with pages of information.
Check out Ebay, Etsy or your local thrift shops before buying any new items – you’ll be surprised by what you can find!
Planning the Quilt Pattern and Fabrics
When I am trying a new craft I love to get onto Pinterest and Instagram to research. I have always loved cottage country quilts and the cosy feeling they bring to a home.
Instagram is where I discovered the lovely Sara from Farm and Folk who is an incredibly talented quilt maker.
She really inspired me to try out quilt making and to look into natural dyeing. Following her recommendations, I purchased the supplies below to make my quilted jacket.
- 2-3m linen
- 1m floral cotton
- A secondhand men’s shirt
- 2m linen for lining (I used linen that I naturally dyed with avocado skins and pips)
- Olympus 100% cotton Sashiko thread
- Olympus Sashiko needles
- Jacket pattern – I used the All Well Cardigan Coat hacked into the Simple Collar version
I found a shell/beige coloured linen that I loved for the main colour of this quilted jacket. I then matched it with a turquoise blue floral cotton and an old blue/white striped shirt that I found in a thrift shop for $2.
After lots of procrastination, I have finally decided to line my quilted jacket with some hand-dyed linen.
I created my own soy milk mordant to soak my linen fabric in before naturally dyeing the fabric. You can learn more about my method here if you are interested.
How to Make a Quilted Jacket
Step 1: Plan the Quilt Pattern
This step is so important as you want to like the pattern before starting a labour intensive project like this one! I used a really great vintage book that has scannable pattern template pages.
I settled on using a traditional sawtooth pattern.
Once the pattern is decided on you want to plan out your fabrics by colouring in the printed pattern or by making some samples with fabric. This is how you will determine which fabric works best for you.
I decided on using the plain linen as the inner squares and the borders. Then I used the stripe and floral as the triangular shapes and the outer border squares.
It’s also important to consider sizing too. How big or small do you want to make the quilt tiles. The smaller they are the more cutting and sewing required of you.
Take your time to plan and get things how you love them because this will be what your quilted jacket becomes.
Step 2: Start cutting out the fabrics
Once you have a solid pattern plan its time to start cutting out the fabrics to size. I found it easiest to label each piece in the pattern on an illustration of the sawtooth. I also added the measurements to cut to.
Then I began cutting out the bigger pieces first.
I would recommend working out how much fabric your sewing pattern requires then measuring one quilt block to get a rough estimate on how many to cut.
Step 3: Sew the quilt blocks together
Next is the fun part! Starting to sew the quilt blocks together. Start by sewing piles of the same thing together. For example, if you are making a sawtooth like me. Start by sewing the triangles together first by following the flying goose method.
You will be able to sew a lot quicker when done in batches.
Once the triangles are sewn you can cut them up and sew the next step of a flying goose.
Continue this until all of the appropriate pieces are joined.
Step 4: Trimming
You will need to square up the quilt pieces as you go to keep the quilt to size and squared. This is really important!!!!
Step 5: Making the quilt
Once you have lots of individual quilt blocks sewn up its time to piece them together into a quilt.
I had my quilt jacket pattern pieces on hand so I could piece them together in the shape of each pattern piece. This saved me making a giant quilt where lots of wastage would occur.
I would recommend doing this too!
I pieced together the sawtooth blocks on a row with the border pieces sewn inbetween. Then I joined the rows together.
Step 6: Quilting the fabric
Now is time to actually make this into a quilt. Pull out your backing fabric and that scrummy batting…
Find a flat, hard surfaced area to lay up your fabrics on. I placed my lining fabric right side down first and taped it to my tile floor using masking tape. I made sure to pull the fabric tight to keep it nice and flat.
Place down the batting on top of the lining and smooth it out flat. Then pop the outer quilted fabric down onto the batting and lining. Smooth this out and then tape it as you did the lining.
Once all three layers of fabric are in place grab a bunch of safety pins and begin pinning the layers together. This holds the fabric together to be hand or machine stitched.
Once a decent amount of pins are holding the layers together remove the tape from the fabric.
Step 7: Stitching the quilt together
This step is so therapeutic. You can use a sewing needle and thread to get that yummy hand stitched quilt look. Otherwise machine stitching is fine too.
I chose to hand stitch mine together and I really think it was worth taking the time to do.
I followed a instagram story made by Sara, an amazing quilt and hand dyeing enthusiast. She is my inspiration behind making this quilt coat.
Step 8: Cut out the quilt using a coat pattern and sew
So this is the scariest step I took. Cutting up my hard work!!!
I used the All Well Cardigan Coat pattern and I highly recommend it for the shape and style. This pattern comes with a hacking book guide which I used to make my collared version.
I just cut out the pattern pieces by chalking them out onto the quilt and using my rotary cutter.
It was simple to follow along but to be honest I just sewed it up how I thought best rather than following the instructions.
I cut binding and used it along the inside seams of the coat.
I hope this helps inspire you to try a new sewing project that may be a bit out of your comfort zone or a little longer to sew up like this quilt jacket.
I’m so happy I gave this a go and finished the project.