Today I’m going to take you through selecting fabrics for the Yates coat. We’ll touch on places to find high quality coating, some budget coating options, as well as things to think about if you’re considering a fabric with a print, plaid, or nap. Okay, let’s dive in!
First things first, I always recommend getting a swatch of whatever you’re considering. Coating is not cheap and you need quite a bit of it, so you don’t want to accidentally order something that won’t work. I’ve ordered swatches from places that were not described properly, had surprises with color (between the original photo lighting, the shop’s color matching and your screen’s color settings it’s almost impossible to get a true idea of the color), or even though there’s a ruler pictured, not fully grasped the scale of a plaid or print. Even though it seems time consuming to order a swatch, you’ll really end up saving time (and money) by doing so.
A lot of you have been asking about how to find high quality coating. I’ve ordered via Mood, Britex, Emma One Sock, The Fabric Store, and Stonemountain & Daughter, and been very happy with my fabrics from each place. Any of those would be a pretty solid place to start. With Mood I would strongly recommend getting a swatch as, in my experience, things have definitely been mis-labeled online and the colors are usually off likely due to the sheer quantity of fabric they’re uploading to the site. If you’re looking for something a bit more budget friendly, Fabric.com does have some nice options for the price. We made a few of our samples in their melton wool/poly blend and it’s a bit stiffer than I’d usually like but it worked well for the purpose.
As far as what to look for, there are many ways that shops describe fabrics suitable for coating. Melton wool, boiled wool, felted wool, or occasionally just the term coating are all used to describe appropriate fabrics. Any of these in a mid-weight would potentially work great for the Yates coat. I would recommend avoiding anything too thick, for example a double faced coating, as you’ll have trouble getting a really crisp look due to the bulk.
Now let’s discuss fiber content. For a coat that offers any sort of warmth, you’re going to want to start with a wool base. Cashmere will add additional warmth and softness but can tend to pill and doesn’t hold up as well to wear and tear as wool since it’s a weaker fiber. For this reason you’ll often find wool/cashmere blends. Our navy sample is a wool/cashmere blend and the one I made myself out of the same fabric has held up really well over the past two years. On the flip side of things, if you’re one of those people who wears your clothes to death, you might want to consider a wool/synthetic blend. The coat might not be as soft but it should definitely be able to handle whatever you throw at it. Keep in mind while shopping that as a general rule natural fibers will be easier to work with and will press better than synthetic fibers. If this matters to you I’d make sure to keep the synthetic content at 20% or under on any blends.
If you’re considering a fabric with a stripe, plaid, or check, you’ll want to make sure that you order enough to be able to match your plaids. The amount extra you’ll need will depend on the size of your plaid, both in length and width. The larger the repeat the more extra fabric you’ll need. Using napped fabric is similar because you’ll want the nap to fall in the same direction throughout the entire coat. Reversing the nap direction will result in the coat appearing to be different colors on sections of it. Usually brighter with the nap falling towards the hem and darker with it facing up. Rather than worrying about repeats, you’ll only need enough extra fabric to cut the the coat so the top of each piece is facing the same direction.
When color-blocking you’ll also want to try to get two fabrics relatively close together in both weight and fiber content, that way both halves of the coat will act similarly. The pink fabric I photographed in the pile above comes from Mood which has a few different color-ways of the same fabric. Something like this would be perfect for a color-blocking situation. If you can’t find two fabrics that are similar in weight, you can easily interface the thinner fabric to approximate the weight of the thicker one. We’ve got a great post here on determining yardage which will likely come in handy for plaids & nap, but will also be useful if you decide to color-block! Our yardage requirements don’t include this as there are many different ways each individual may decide to place colors. Keep in mind that you’ll want to cut piece 9 (the front facing) out of the upper fabric since that folds to the outside of the coat to form the lapel.
That’s a lot of info, but I hope you find it helpful in guiding your fabric selection process! Please note that, outside of the blush wool from Mood, I have not seen the swatches pictured and linked here in person and therefor highly recommend grabbing a swatch of any you’re interested in. Based on the descriptions they seem like they’d work, but you know what we talked about above!
We also have two previous coating posts relating to the Cascade Duffle Coat that you might find helpful in your search for fabric; you can find these two linked below.
If you have any questions or great places to purchase wool, let us know in the comments below. I’m sure you have a million awesome places that I haven’t purchased from so lets use the hive mind to help each other out!