The making of a raincoat pattern

One of the very few gaps in my wardrobe is a lined raincoat. I have many North Face style waterproof jackets, but they aren’t very elegant and I wanted something a bit nicer for travelling. I also prefer to wear things I’ve made for myself.

I have this Vogue pattern from the 1990s in my stash and thought it might just do the job.


However, have a close look at the model’s pose – she’s clearly pulling the back tight to give the coat a more fitted look. I took the pattern off to my pattern making class and Sarah and I checked out the pattern pieces. Turns out that there is more than 30cms of ease in the upper body – 30cms! This would absolutely swim on me! It also became apparent that the sleeves are large batwing numbers and I’m not sure that that is what I had in mind. (And, as an aside, how is that jump suit with the stirrups – remember them??)


Again, the line drawing doesn’t really make the shape of the sleeves obvious. So, I was faced with a choice – to grade this pattern, making some changes as I went along, or to start again and design the raincoat of my dreams. A no-brainer really :)!

A whistlestop tour of Pinterest and I had a collection of ideas which manifested themselves into this design


We started with Winnie (Winifred Aldrich, Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear), and chose the basic shirt block.


and then chose the hood I wanted, which was a combination of these two below.


We then started the drafting process, which I always think is totally fascinating. We start with sheets of A0 paper and draw the pattern on, following Winnie’s step-by-step instructions


Lots of rulers are necessary for this step!img_9536

Then the pattern is traced onto tracing vilene and seam allowances added img_9541

It’s nice to be able to put the pattern together to get an idea of construction. img_9542img_9545

One of the things I love about my pattern making class is the fact that we practice anything that might be tricky. Here is my pocket example, all beautifully made so I can follow the steps should I need to.


This is the fabric that I’m using. The dark fabric is the lining, which I bought at an op-shop. Three metres of magnificent wool for $3, bargain! The red is ripstop nylon. This wasn’t my preferred fabric but was all I could find. If the coat turns out the way I expect, I am going to make one from oilskin.


So, I have a pattern, I have fabric, now all I have to do is magic it all together!!


38 thoughts on “The making of a raincoat pattern

  1. I shall follow this project with interest as I may need a nice raincoat too. I just wear an anorak but as you show this can be improved on. I love the jump suit too, although I think it is the photograph rather than the pattern.

    1. Yes, I have a whole wardrobe of anoraks (forgot that’s what they were called in the UK!!), but I would like something a bit classier. I am going to have to seal the seams and spray the coat with waterproofing as it’s only showerproof atm, and I’m heading your way in November, so I might need it.

  2. Anxious to follow the progress of this one – you are amazing!! Here I am just sorting out adding a lining to an unlined coat pattern – you truly are an inspiration to keeping pushing myself!

    1. I think it’s quite hard to create a lining pattern – you have to think about it quite a bit. It helps if you have something that you can use as a reference.

  3. What an exciting sewing project you’re presenting here. I love(d) these Vogue Attitudes patterns from the 90s. They were so inspiring with their fashion-forward photos, but god, how many makes did go right in the bin in these pre-google years! The ease was so always huge. Here I love your own sketches and the professional drawing process you’re following. This coat is going to be a hit in red!

    1. I hope it will be ok. I lost my nerve on the red a bit and thought I should have bought black, but am pleased with it again now. Lots of steps before it’s wearable though…

  4. I love the pattern making process too. It’s so nice to get exactly what you want! I’m loving these colours together, looking forward to the finish!

    1. It’s a great book. It’s easier if you write each step out on a sheet of paper and label each line to correspond to the number in the book. If you don’t understand this, let me know and I’ll send you a picture of the form.

      1. That makes sense, thank you. I’ve had a good read – I’m a sucker for reading instructions manuals so like how it’s quite methodical. I’m hope to get cracking once the weather changes and I’m playing less golf. I’ll be in touch if I get stuck though! 😀

  5. I am rather envious of your pattern making class Sue. I did take a pattern making class with TAFE about 20 years ago but I didn’t get to use it very much before my sewing hiatus. I somehow lost all my notes during one of our house moves. I do remember enjoying the process though. I look forward to seeing your completed raincoat.

  6. This is going to look great! I’ve made a raincoat a few years a go, and have worn it a lot! I also made another one recently using a shower curtain but haven’t blogged it yet 🙂

  7. This will be fabulous I’m sure. I really wish more Patternmaking classes took this approach. I think it’s an insurance issue that stops them from allowing the students to use machines on their turf, but really it’s essential. The classes I’ve attended in Sydney were fabulous, but could have been so much more fruitful if only they would allow the students to knock up a toile and then tweak the pattern with help from the teacher – real time! Will be following your progress with interest, I too have a suitable fabric in the stash! But of course!

    1. Yes, I’m lucky because there are all sorts of machines in the studio and I almost always make a toile in class so that tweaks can be made, however I am on my own with this toile – eek!

  8. The pattern drafting looks really interesting. Homecraft Textiles have some waterproof fabric that is beefier than ripstop nylon if you are interested. They have a very pretty jacaranda colour, but I think that’s the only option.

    1. That colour would totally clash with my yellow skin!! I think I’m going to treat this first red one as a wearable muslin (if it’s wearable of course!) and then make one from oilskin.

  9. The process of pattern making is fascinating to me and am so looking forward to reading more about your coat’s magical journey as you magic it all together!

  10. This looks like it’s going to be great (and I hope to see it ‘ in the flesh’). Stick with the red – so much more cheerful in grumpy weather than black, and more visible!
    Winnie is usually fairly reliable. I’m glad I use cm rather than inches as my maths is sometimes spotty. I’m sure you will be fine and enjoy the process. No-one else will have the same coat either. Score!

  11. This looks great. Your own pattern was certainly the way to go! I’m way behind with my blog post reading so will now go liking to see if there are further posts. I went to a pattern making class, now sadly over, but it didn’t take us far enough.

    1. I think that pattern making classes really need to be ongoing. I just pay for a one-on-one when i have the need. There will be a further post soon!

Leave a Reply