Me-made May seems to find me sharing new tools with you! Last year, around this time, I shared some of the notions I’d brought into the studio for my garment-making journey. Today I wanted to expand on that list and get more specific about the essential notions I use to make a quilted coat.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve made quite a few quilted coats, and, along the way, I’ve learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. Not just in terms of the actual construction of the coat, but also the notions I turn to every time I make one.
The good news is you don’t need a ton of items. A few select notions will set you up for the best outcome and for a pleasant stitching journey.
Let’s dive in!
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Fabric is a huge component of your quilted coat, it’s the main star and needs a blog post of its own 😊
Three, in fact, I’ve shared about:
- Capsule Wardrobe: How Your Closet Helps You Pick Fabric for a Quilted Coat + Free Guide
- 3 Tips on How to Pick Fabric for a Quilted Coat
- Planning Fabrics for a Quilted Coat
I’m including them here in case you need some guidance on the textile front. The rest of this post is focused on the notions you’ll need 😉
Essential Notions to Make a Quilted Coat
I thought it might be helpful to break down the essential notions to make a quilted coat into categories so you can follow the logic of the notions that have made the list. Here are the notions I pull out every time I’m stitching up my own quilted jackets.
This will come in handy for taking your body measurements to nail the size you should be making. It’s also handy for measuring out larger pieces of fabric and batting.
I’m not entirely sure where I heard this tip, but instead of purchasing traditional sewing tracing paper, I picked up a roll of this medical table paper. It works like a charm and is a fraction of the cost of the other.
My hubz went on the hunt for me to find colour catchers and they wound up in my holiday stocking! I’m so happy I have these sheets on hand as I toss them into the wash (and dryer!) when I’m pre-washing my fabric.
I’ve yet to have any fabric bleeding issues, which I’m sure this is partly based on the fabric I purchase and the fact that I always use these Colour Catchers!
Tape & dispenser
When I worked in an office, I loved setting up my desk with my essential office supplies. This tape dispenser is one of those fun items that bring me back to those days. Now, I find this tape dispenser super handy when wrapping presents and piecing paper patterns together 😉
This could be anything – a pen, a pencil, a crayon – I tend to go with a Sharpie because I have a ton of them on hand and they glide nicely on the tracing paper.
Since I don’t want my Sharpie to mark up my quilting rulers, I use a regular ruler I’ve had since elementary school for tracing my patterns.
I’m never without fabric scraps, so it was a no-brainer to whip a set of these cute DIY pattern weights. It’s a free pattern Grainline Studio offers their newsletter subscribers. They work like a charm and bring a pop of colour to my sewing table, which makes me happy.
Pressing is such a key component of quilting and garment making. You really won’t get far without proper pressing. My go-to has been Rowenta irons. I’m on my third – ha! I miss the original one I used to get, but this new one is doing the trick.
Wool pressing mat
This is certainly not a requirement; a regular ironing board will work just fine. But I have noticed that I’m able to achieve flatter seams with the wool pressing mat, so now I stack it on top of my regular ironing board.
This one is kind of optional, in that you can totally make do without it, but if you want lovely crisp flat seams this guy will do the trick!
There are the rulers I turn to every time I’m working on one of my coats:
Rotary cutter & blades
Cutting tires my hand and arm out like you wouldn’t believe, so I’ve learned that having a proper rotary cutter and fresh blade are key to alleviating the pain and getting amazing cutting results.
Blades matter – the sharper the blade, the safer it is. Which is why I love these blades by LDH Scissors.
Do a little research before committing to a cutting mat. I’ve found that they’re not all made equal, despite them all having similar prices. This one I picked up several years ago has been serving me well.
I LOVE my tailor’s scissors. They’re a joy to use and cut beautifully.
Again, buy a good pair. I started by buying super inexpensive ones and found myself changing them up often. This pair is probably my fave.
Half-Square Triangle Essentials
Rotating cutting mat
This leveled up my HST trimming game when I brought it into the studio. Like regular cutting mats, they’re not all made equal. I encourage you to read this blog post where I share my review and why I love it so much!
HST specialty ruler
This one is not required, you can absolutely trim your HSTs with a regular ruler, but this 4-in-one ruler makes it so much quicker!
Patchwork Piecing Essentials
At some point in the patchwork piecing journey, you’ll need some pins. These are my go-to pins.
I used to discount the importance of thread in my sewing until I heard it referred to as the glue that holds your project together.
That was a total light bulb moment, and I haven’t looked at thread the same since. So much so, I’ve written a few posts to encourage you to think of thread as a fun design element.
- Quilty Texture Through Thread Play
- Why I love Aurifil thread
- Ultimate Aurifil Thread Shopping Guide
- Favourite Thread Weight
- Ultimate Thread Storage Solutions
It doesn’t matter whether you have an entry-level sewing machine or a top-of-the-line computerized one; whatever you have at home will do just fine. I started out on a basic Singer and managed to quilt a 90” x 90” quilt on her. This isn’t something I wouldn’t recommend as it was quite the challenge, but it can be done. I switched to stitching on a Juki TL-2010Q back in 2016 (I believe) and love her to bits! You can read what I love and what I don’t in this post.
Open-toe presser foot
Your sewing machine probably came with a few different feet and the one I love using for patchwork piecing is my open-toe presser foot.
Mistakes happen! A seam ripper is your best tool to help you rip a stitch and start again!
You’re probably wondering why thread is appearing on the list again! And that’s because thread is yet another design element in your quilted coat.
Lots of options here.
I’ve used 50wt, 40wt, and 28wt so far in my quilted coats. Refer to my post on the Ultimate Aurifil Thread Shopping Guide to find a shop that carries the thread weight you want to play with.
As I tell my students, I would never attempt this project without a walking foot. Need I say more? 😉
I’m a pin baster and I wouldn’t get far without some curved basting pins.
Totally not required but was a basting game changer for me. I went from pain and dread to speed and pain-free by using the Kwik Klip when pin-basting my quilts and quilted coat panels.
OMGeee did this ever speed up my quilting without having to pre-mark everything. If your sewing machine didn’t come with a walking foot guide bar, then I encourage you to pick one that suits your machine. This is the one I got for my Juki.
Coat Piecing Essentials
There’s a lot of fabric and bulk to contend with when making a quilted coat. These clips work wonders at keeping everything together. I initially tried with pins, but they just got bent out of shape. Save 10% with code shannon102
Pearl cotton thread
Design is in the details and for me, that means adding big-stitch hand-quilted details to my bias binding. Pearl cotton thread in size 8 is my go-to. Read this post to find a shop near you that carries pearl cotton thread.
I’ve tried quite a few different thimbles over the years and this is the one I always come back to.
To accommodate the thicker thread, these are the needles I use for my big-stitch hand-quilting. Learn how to big-stitch hand-bind in this tutorial.
Essential Notions to Make a Quilted Coat
When I see all the essential notions to make a quilted coat listed out, it seems like a lot of stuff – ha! I promise it’s all items I use every single time. Here’s a recap in bullet form so you can easily see what you already have or don’t have in your sewing essentials.
- Seamstress tape
- Tracing paper
- Colour Catchers
- Pattern weights
- Wool pressing mat
- Starch alternative
- Tailor’s clapper
- Rotary cutter & blades
- Cutting mat
- Tailor’s scissors
- Embroidery scissors
- Rotating cutting mat
- HST specialty ruler
- Piecing thread
- Sewing machine
- Open toe foot
- Seam ripper
- Quilting thread
- Walking foot – don’t even think of attempting this project without one
- Basting pins
- Kwik Klip
- Guide bar
- Seam gauge
- Pearl cotton thread
- Embroidery needles
I hope you found this round-up of the notions I use regularly when stitching up my own quilted coats helpful.
Do you have any essential notions that you rely on when making your own quilted garments? Share them in the comments below!
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