1775 British Garrison Living History

British Army Blanket Coat Instructions

Materials

  • 2 or 3 Point Blanket
  • Aproximately 11 yards of 1” wide blue wool tape for ties and rosettes
  • Linen thread

Patterning & Cutting

The diagram provided demonstrates how to lay out a standard military coat or coate pattern on a blanket and alter it to create a blanket coat. This diagram was laid out on a large, four point blanket.

The blanket should be folded in half lengthwise, so that all pattern pieces cut at double.

Lay the coat front on the blanket so that the center front edge is near the selvage of the blanket and the bottom of the pattern is facing towards one hem.  Measure the desired length of the coat (From shoulder to knee) and adjust the front pattern so the distance from the bottom edge of the blanket to the shoulder of the pattern matches this measurement.

Angle the pattern so that the fullest part of the chest is 1” away from the edge of the blanket, and the neck edge is 2 or three inches away from the edge of the blanket. This will create some overlap at center front, and a little more at the neck opening.  If the coat pattern is for  1770’s cutaway style, it should also leave extra material through the stomach to compensate for this.

Using tailor’s tacks, mark the location of the four ties on the coat front. The first should be an inch or two below the neckline, and the last should be at the waistline. The remaining two should be equally spaced in between them. The ties should be set back from the front edge of the blanket coat, at or a little behind the edge of the original coat pattern.

Lay the back pattern down on the remainder of the selvage edge, allowing for a 2” center back pleat overlap, and with the bottom of the coat facing towards the other hem.  Adjust it so the distance from the waist of the pattern to the hem of the blanket is the same on front and back. At this point, depending on your height and the size of the blanket, your back pattern may overlap your front pattern. If this is the case, leave the front pattern alone and plan to piece extra material on to the back pieces.

With chalk or a pencil, trace around the front and back pattern to make a blanket coat pattern, as shown in the diagram. To do this, you will need to add some ease, so that the blanket coat will fit over a regimental coat. You will want to widen the back and side seams slightly, and make the shoulder slightly wider. Probably about ½ for all of these, depending on how your coat pattern fits. You may want to drop the lowest point of the armsceye on the front pattern by ½” to ¾”. 

Starting just above the waist on both front and back, you will flair the pattern out to make the full skirts of a blanket coat. This line should angle almost all the way to the hem, so that the stripes will run as close as possible to parallel to the hem when the coat is complete.

With the skirt traced out, place the upper and lower sleeve patterns on the coat so that the stripe makes a false cuff just above the wrist. Trace the pattern adding ease, especially around the armsceye, and lengthening the sleeve all the way to the hem (this excess will be turned in later to reinforce the cuff).

Create a trapezoid for the hood in the remaining fabric in the middle of the blanket, or if fabric allows, on the center back fold (if this is the case, you will position the top seam on the fold, to eliminate one of the hood seams)

  • Front opening: 16"
  • Top hood depth from opening to point: 16" 
  • Neck opening: equal to the measurement of the neck on the front pattern and back pattern, including the overlap you added at center front, plus 1” to be folded under as hem. 

Construction

Sew the center back seam to the waist with a backstitch. Seam allowance will depend on the pattern you started with. 3/8” is what we recommend for blanket material. Overlap the center back pleat and use two rows of spaced back stitches to secure it in place.

Sew the shoulder seams and the side seams all the way to the hem with a backstitch.

Sew the long seams on the sleeves. Fold the extra length of the sleeves up inside the sleeve, and fell it in place without letting the stitches show through to the surface. 

Set the sleeve into the body. As with most period coats, the back sleeve seam should be positioned halfway between the shoulder seam and the side seam.

Sew the hood together. Depending on how you cut it out, this will be one seam or two. Turn the front edge of the hood under 1” and fell it down.

Sew the hood into the blanket coat body, by setting right sides of the fabric together and backstitching at 3/8” to ½” seam allowance. Then fell the seam allowance toward the coat body.

Make two rosettes of wool tape. These will be set over the center back seam at the waist. Cut a strip of wool tape about 7” long. Sew a running stich, at about 8 stitches to the inch, very near one edge of the tape. Use this stitch to gather the tape up into a rosette. Sew the edges of the tape together, and stitch the rosette down to the back of the coat, centering it over the side seam, at the level of the waist, where the pleats would begin on a normal coat. 

Cut eight 12” long strips from the tape. These will be the ties on the blanket coat. You will stitch them down at the points you marked before cutting the blanket coat out. To create decorative Brandenburgs with your ties, fold the tape over 5/8” away from the end of each strip. Pin it down to the coat front about 2” back from your mark with the 5/8” tail pointing down. Stitch the tape down, with stitches running all around the edge of the tie for about 2”. With a pin or your fingers, fray out the weft thread on the tail, creating a small fringe. Tie a knot close to the other end of the tie to prevent fraying.

Bind all the raw edges in the remaingin wool tape.  

Wear and enjoy!