How to make a quilt coat – Daphne Jacket by Vivian Shao Chen

wearing the Daphne quilt jacket front view

Since I began sewing my wardrobe one of my goals was to make a quilted coat out of all my scraps and I finally made that happen! This was one of my biggest projects yet and I thought I would share my process and some basic quilting techniques I learned along the way. If you want to practice piecing and patchwork, my PDF sewing pattern the Jenny Project Bag is a great introduction to patchwork!

Daphne quilt jacket hanging on a hanger

The Pattern

The pattern I used to construct my quilt coat is the Daphne Jacket by Vivian Shao Chen which is a beautifully designed pattern for woven, heavyweight fabrics like wool coating, boiled wool, quilted fabrics, etc. and is has an advanced beginner level of difficulty.

I highly recommend the Daphne Jacket pattern for a quilt coat / jacket! Like all of Vivian’s patterns I have used (the Orchards Dress, Nepheline Blouse, Laurence Top and Bisque Trousers) the instructions are well written, easy to follow and thoughtfully designed.

The Daphne Jacket design is simple and intentionally left without elements like collars, buttonholes or linings to make it more approachable for beginners. There is however, instructions included to line the jacket and a super clean binding method to make this jacket fully reversible. It’s a little more time consuming sewing this binding method, and gets tricky the bulkier your fabric is, but I think it’s so worth it!

I originally started my quilt coat with a different pattern in mind, The Ilford Jacket by Friday Pattern Company, but when I became a tester for the Daphne Jacket I decided to switch gears because I thought it would be better suited for my quilt design. Feel free to use another pattern if you want – the process is pretty much the same!

Along with sharing my process, some topics that I will also be touching on are:

  • How to cut squares out of scrap fabric
  • How to join quilt squares together
  • How to baste quilt layers together
  • How to attach bias binding to a quilted jacket
showing all the squares cut out for the quilt coat

This page contains some affiliate links to products and I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links (at no extra cost to you).

Supplies

There are a few supplies that you will need to get started on your quilt coat although you may already have most of this if you sew regularly! Just in case, here are the main must-have tools for quilting.

  • Sewing machine (obviously) – I’m still using my Kenmore that I’ve had for 14 years now! It’s possible to quilt on just a standard home sewing machine 🙂
  • Walking Foot – Very helpful in preventing puckering and guides the fabric through smoothly when quilting.
  • Quilting Ruler
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Quilt Batting – I like this 100% cotton batting – a twin size was plenty! This Hobbs Heirloom Premium 80/20 Batting is also a great option that I’ve used before.
  • Curved Basting Pins – these safety pins with a curved back are specifically designed for quilting to make it easier to poke through all the layers from the bottom to the top
  • Clips – these were really helpful for the thick seams and when securing the binding
wearing the quilted Daphne jacket showing the back

Steps for making a quilted jacket

This was my most time-consuming sewing project yet! I loved the process however and find the methodical and repetitive steps of quilting to be really enjoyable. The short-ish version to making a quilt coat are:

  • Prewash your fabric
  • Cut out your squares or other shapes out of your desired fabric
  • Figure out how many squares you will need / how big of a piece of quilted fabric you’ll need for each pattern piece – don’t forget to make two front pieces and two sleeve pieces (mirrored)!
  • Sew your squares together! Make sure to iron the seams before sewing together the rows – keep reading for more tips on this.
  • Cut out you backing fabric and quilt batting
  • Assemble your layers – backing fabric right side facing down, then the quilting batting and finally the assembled squares / pattern. Smooth flat making sure your batting or backing fabric isn’t bunched or wrinkled
  • Using curved safety pins, pin your layers together
  • Quilt your layers together using a walking foot
  • Cut out your pattern pieces from the quilted fabric
  • Sew a basting stitch 1/4″ from the edge (or within the seam allowance that the pattern states)
  • Assemble your quilt coat following the pattern
  • Wash – for that lovely squishy texture – and wear!

An even shorter version is: thrift or find an already assembled quilt and skip straight to cutting it out with the pattern pieces! For more detailed steps on how I made my quilted coat / jacket – keep reading!

laying the squares over the pattern piece for the quilt coat

Cutting out the squares

I decided on 3 1/4″ squares for my quilt coat and used a 1/4″ seam allowance for a final size of 3″ squares. In total I cut 366 squares – 70 squares (x2) for the front pieces, 60 (x2) for the sleeves, and 106 for the back. In the end there were a few spots where I didn’t cut into a square at all, but it was good to have the pieces bigger just in case!

showing squares all laid out next to pattern pieces for the quilted Daphne jacket

Check out my tutorial How To Cut Squares for Quilting or Patchwork for more detailed steps!

I used my 6″ x 24″ quilting ruler, a common size used by quilters, to cut my squares. Since I was cutting out my squares from scrap fabric, it was a little more tedious than if I was cutting from a bigger piece of fabric yardage. Some helpful tips when cutting out squares for quilting are:

  • Square up your fabric – use the selvage edge, if you can, and make sure you have a straight edge to work from to measure out your squares
  • Make sure to not cut on the bias – again, the selvage edge can help you with this, but you can always look at your fabric and find the intersecting horizontal and vertical threads and line your ruler parallel to those
  • Cut strips at your desired width, and then cut the squares from those – when I had a larger scrap piece I did this to help speed up the process.

Here’s also a video of what I do for small scraps of fabric:

One thing to keep in mind, is that after sewing the squares or shapes together, the final piece ends up smaller than when the squares are just laid out flat. When figuring out how many squares I needed, sometimes I had to add a row after realizing it wasn’t going to be enough.

showing squares next to pattern piece for quilted Daphne jacket

Sewing the squares together

After laying out my squares on top of my pattern pieces and figuring out where I wanted my squares, it was time to sew them together! I sewed individual squares together in rows first, ironed the seams, and then sewed the rows together. For more detailed steps, check out my tutorial How to Sew Squares Together for Patchwork or Quilting.

When ironing the seams, the most common way to iron them for quilting is either to the right or left (shown in pictures below). This helps create durable seams, matching up seams is easier and the corners turn out much cleaner. So for the first row, iron to the left and the next row iron to the right and when sewing together, the seams will lock together (I learned that this is called “nesting”).

I learned this only after pressing most of my seams open and had already started quilting! I switched to ironing to the sides and noticed a huge difference in how neatly my rows and square corners came together. If you plan on quilting through the middle of the squares then I don’t think it matters if you press the seams open or to the side – ironing them open does make everything lay much flatter!

showing the seams pressed open on the quilted piece

Basting the quilt layers

Before assembling the layers, I made sure to iron my backing fabric and my quilted pieces. Then I laid my backing fabric flat and cut out around my pattern pieces, leaving about 1/4″ – 1/2″ of extra fabric around the edge. This just makes it easier when making your quilt sandwich later. I did the same with the batting, using the backing fabric pieces I already cut as a guide.

Then it’s time to layer your fabric, or called “basting” in the quilting world, in the following order:

  • Place your backing fabric right side down
  • Batting layer goes in the middle
  • Quilt top pieces right side up

I recommend doing this part on a flat surface like a table or hard floor. I took my time making sure there weren’t any wrinkles between the layers – starting from the middle and smoothing outwards.

Using those curved safety pins I mentioned above, pin your layers together – starting in the middle and working towards the edge, smoothing as you go. A good rule of thumb is to place the safety pins about a fist width (about 4″) apart. You can use straight pins if you start to run out, but when it comes time to sew the layers together, it’s easy to get poked – I learned this from personal experience!

showing quilted top with safety pins in after basting

Sewing / quilting the layers together

There are many ways to machine quilt but for my jacket I chose to do straight quilting in between the squares, or in the “ditch.” I wanted to see the whole square of my fabric and since there are a mix of light and dark fabrics, I didn’t want to see dark thread on my light fabrics and vice versa. You could also choose to quilt diagonally through the squares or vertically through the middle.

quilting the layer together closeup of walking foot

When quilting I recommend using a walking foot which helps to evenly feed the layers of fabric and batting through the machine. It is possible to quilt with a regular foot, but it definitely is easier and goes smoother with a walking foot. It’s recommend to use a stitch length of 2.5 – 3 and I found that quilting with a stitch length of 3 worked best for me and the thickness of my fabric.

about to cut out pattern pieces of the quilted Daphne jacket

Cut out the pattern pieces

When the quilting is all done, it’s time to cut out your pattern pieces! First, take a deep breathe because you’ve made it about half way! At this point I was so ready to start assembling my jacket and see it all come together.

Also if you’ve chosen a pre-quilted fabric, then you can start here! It’s pretty self-explanatory at this stage, and I just followed the pattern directions for cutting and assembling the jacket. I cut on the fold for the back piece, and then cut out opposite pairs of the front and sleeve pieces.

showing the basting stitches around the edge of the quilted piece

After cutting out my pieces, I sewed a basting stitch 1/4″ away from all the edges. This really helped keep my edges neat and the seam matching accurate. It can also keep the layers from stretching out and warping, especially when I had to stuff the whole jacket through the short arm of my sewing machine. 🙂

showing the pocket of the Daphne jacket in progress

Sew the jacket together

Following your pattern instructions, sew your cozy quilt pieces together! As I mentioned above the Daphne Jacket is designed for thick or quilted fabrics, so the construction was fairly simple. The trickiest part for sure was attaching the bias binding to the inside seams using the method written in the pattern. I used 1″ binding tape and that width worked well to go over the thickness of my seams.

showing the inside of the quilted Daphne jacket bias bound seams
showing the inside of the quilted Daphne jacket back view

This binding method creates a beautiful flat seam that allows the jacket to be fully reversible! Some parts did not turn out super pretty but I made it through! You can also use a serger to finish your seams or a different binding method you may have used before. Pick whatever method works for you!

If you do plan on using the Daphne Jacket pattern and choose the binding method, the hardest part for me was the underarm going towards the end of the sleeve tube. I had to sew realllly slow and scrunch up the sleeve as I went being careful not the sew on the layer below. At one point I thought it wouldn’t be possible with the bulk of my fabric, but I kept inching along and made it through!

wearing the quilted Daphne jacket close up

Binding the edges of the quilt jacket

l chose to bind all the edges of my jacket, including the pockets. I found I needed 1 1/4″ bias tape for the edges – I like the small binding edge it makes but it was a little finicky to work with, so I could have used 1 1/2″ just to make folding it over a little simpler. Check out my tutorial How to Make Bias Binding Tape for tips on making your own bias tape.

To bias bind the edges:

  • Place right side of bias tape to wrong side of fabric
  • Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance
  • Press / iron away from the jacket
  • Fold over to the right side and fold over 1/4″ of the tape (you could even pre-press one edge of the bias tape 1/4″)
  • Press in place
  • Edgestitch on right side

Sewing the bias binding on the corners of the jacket was a little tricky for me, but this video tutorial for sewing a mitered corner (below) helped a lot and is the same method I used. The video also shows how to join the bias tape at the end, and turn it over neatly at the corners. My corners didn’t turn out as neatly as I wanted, but I was eager to finish and was overall happy with how they turned out.

Final Thoughts

And that’s it! Whew. This project was definitely a labor of love for me and a celebration of all that I’ve made so far in my wardrobe sewing journey. I can look at each square on this jacket and remember which project I had made.

I’ve been wearing this jacket a lot around the house or throwing it on first thing in the morning for school drop-off or going on afternoon walks with my family. I’ll be sad when I won’t be able to wear it in the Summer!

Even my two boys said “you finished it!” when I put it on for the first time. They saw all the stages, from the squares all over the kitchen table to tiptoeing past the carefully laid out pieces by the back door to making funny comments about how many pictures I took of the finished product 🙂

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading! Hope that my notes from my experience sewing this Daphne Jacket have helped or inspired you to make your own quilted jacket. Or if you want to start with a smaller project, my Jenny Project Bag is a great intro pattern into patchwork! Happy sewing!

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22 thoughts on “How to make a quilt coat – Daphne Jacket by Vivian Shao Chen”

  1. Your jacket is a beautiful work of memory and art. Thank you for sharing your detailed and clear sewing process. Well done and many thanks!

  2. Such a lovely and unique piece!
    I can’t wait to make one, hopefully this autumn.
    Did you use quilting cotton fabric or linen?
    Thanks for giving us the detailed work process to smooth the sewing path,
    Judith

    1. Hi Judith,
      Thank you for your kind words! It was such a rewarding project and was excited to share the process! I used both quilting cottons and linen. I’m happy to hear you have plans to make your own! 🙂
      Bethany

    1. Hi!
      The lining fabric is a quilting cotton by Moda fabrics that I got at my local quilt fabric shop. It’s from their French General line – super soft!

      -Bethany

  3. Hi Bethany, I love the jacket. I’m going to try my hand at making one. I’ll be using a quilt that I picked up recently. I do have a question. My measurements are HB 37″, B 36″, W 34″ and H 42″. According to the instructions I am to use the full bust measurement. That is #3 on the Body measurement chart. Is that right???

    1. Hi Ute,
      Thank you! I’m happy to hear you’re going to make your own! Those measurements sound like size 3 will be great for you 🙂 Good luck!

      Bethany

  4. This is a beautiful piece. Your sewing is impeccable.
    I’ve been trying to hack together a jacket. I’m not liking it.
    I think I will start fresh with your jacket as inspiration.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Debora!
      Thank you so much for your kind words! It makes my day to hear that my quilted jacket was inspiring to you! Good luck on your own jacket making adventures 🙂
      -Bethany

  5. Hi Bethany,
    I love the jacket and hope to make one. Do you think it’s easier possibly to make an already made quilt not just because of the squares that you had to lay out but because of the batting?
    Can you tell me what size quilt you believe would be needed for a 1X or 2X or size 18 jacket?
    Lastly, were the pockets added at the end so that they were only on one side of the jacket?
    Thanks for your info and grade instructions!
    Helene

    1. Hi Helene,
      Thanks for reading and I’m glad to hear you want to make your own quilted jacket! A queen size quilt should plenty for the size you want to make. I’ve been wanting to try making one myself from an existing quilt, because it would take all the work out of making my own quilted fabric first 🙂 The pockets were added to the front before assembling, but they could definitely be added at the end if you wanted to check the placement. They’re just sewn on top with matching thread, but you can see the outline on the reverse side just fyi (since there is no lining).
      Hope that helps!
      -Bethany

  6. Thank you for sharing your make of this lovely jacket! Two questions: Are the sleeves inserted flat or in the round? And… Is then flat binding finishing method compatible with hand stitching?

    I’m very good with hand work and have attached quilt binding by hand. Intensive but was worth it to me.

    1. Hi Nadina,
      Thanks for your question! The sleeves are joined flat and then the sleeve seams and side seams are sewn all in one go. And yes I think sewing the binding by hand would work just fine! It would probably be easier hand stitching the binding at the underarms than by machine. I always like to hand stitch the binding on quilts as well! 🙂
      -Bethany

      1. Thank you! I’m very inspired by your beautiful rendition of this jacket and thank you for your detailed post on your method!

        I shared this post with the Vintage Sewing Society group I belong to.

        Thanks again! 😊💓

  7. Hallo leuk om te lezen ik heb de bias band 1 kant gestikt en de andere met de hand genaait heb een strook van 5cm gebruikt ik heb een dikke basting waardoor dit beter werkt moet alleen de mouwen nog doen bedankt Els Goessen

  8. Thanks for sharing and for the detailed pics! I’m starting to think about making one and your post is the most inspiring. Since cold weather is upon us, I might just use polar fleece as the batting. Bless you for sharing!

    1. Hi Marie! Thank you for your kind words! I’m happy to heat that my quilted coat has inspired you 🙂 Good luck on your own sewing adventure!
      – Bethany

  9. Hi, you mentioned that the lining is a Moda fabric. Does it have a name ? I looked up the French collection and can’t seem to locate it. My daughter loves that pattern.

    1. Hi Tiffany,
      Yes it is a Moda fabric, specifically Petite Odile by French General (pattern #13611). I found it at my local quilting store so I’m not sure where else you can find it, but I hope that info helps!
      -Bethany

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