Episode 508

julie tierney

Coat of Many Layers by Julie Tierney

Upcycle a comforter or sleeping bag into a one-of-a-kind coat. 

Download the pattern here.


  • Comforter or sleeping bag without feathers
  • Separating coat zipper (length according to center-front measurement)
  • 2 two-way zippers (length according to the side seam measurement; see "Source")
  • 3 packages of double-fold bias binding
  • All-purpose thread
  • Removable fabric marker
  • Pliers or nippers (See "Source.")
  • Serger (optional)

Sew It

Download the pattern; cut out the desired size according to the sizing below. Tape the pages together according to the numbers in the corners.

Size Small: 30" to 32" bust; 24" to 29" waist

Size Medium 33" to 34" bust; 30" to 33" waist

Size Large: 35" to 36" bust; 34" to 36" waist

Make a fitting sample of the coat using fabric and a 1/4" seam allowance. Keep in mind the zippers will add approximately 1/4" to 1/2" to the side seams when finished. Adjust the pattern as needed.

Position the pattern over the comforter or sleeping bag. If the comforter or sleeping bag is quilted, incorporate the quilted pattern into the coat design. A standard comforter is usually quilted with squares. Align the squares perpendicular to the pattern-back lower edge to create a diamond pattern on the coat front.

Pin the pattern to the comforter; cut out. Pin the layers at the cut edges to prevent stuffing from escaping during cutting. If the stuffing is uneven, pull some of it out to remove lumps.

Sew It

Serge the pattern piece perimeter. Or select a straight stitch on a sewing machine and stitch close to the edge to encase the stuffing and flatten the seam allowance.

Using a measuring tape, measure the center front and side seams separately, and then purchase zippers that match the measurements. Shorten the zippers if necessary, or have the fabric store shorten them for you.

Zipper Tips

Learn how to shorten a two-way or separating zipper so you'll always have the correct zipper size.

  • Measure from the zipper lower edge to the desired length plus 1". Mark using a removable fabric marker.
  • Remove the teeth from each zipper tape. Use pliers or nippers to pull or cut each tooth.
  • Remove the original zipper stops and reattach them above the last tooth on each zipper tape. Trim the zipper tape just above each stop.

Unfold the binding short ends. With right sides together, stitch the binding short edges together to create one continuous strip. (One binding edge is wider than the other, so ensure that the correct short edges are matched when stitching.) Refold the binding.

Fold the binding over the coat edges, beginning along one sleeve seam, enclosing the coat perimeter; pin. Miter each corner by hand or using a mitering tool. Lap the binding end 1" over the binding beginning; trim the excess.

Using a slow stitching speed, with the binding snug against the coat raw edges, edgestitch the binding from the narrower fold to ensure the wider side is caught in the stitching.

Fold the coat along the sleeves, matching the center-front edges over the coat back.

Open one side seam zipper. With the zipper pull at the sleeve end, align the zipper along the binding wrong side, ending at the coat lower edge. Place the binding edge next to the zipper teeth, but not close enough that it'll get caught in the zipper; pin. Repeat to pin the opposite zipper tape to the opposite side seam. Carefully zip the side seam to check the alignment; unzip.

Edgestitch the binding inner fold to the zipper. Repeat to insert the remaining side-seam zipper.

Insert the center front zipper per the side seam.


Products used in this episode:


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