This oversized coat is meant to layer over other garments and to convert easily into a sleeping bag. It is sized to fit medium to large men, as women and children are given priority to sleep inside shelters. It is simple to sew (even for beginners) with as many straight edges as possible.
The coat is held closed with a minimum number of ties. Recommended: fleece, old felted blankets, tarps, so no seam finishing. The front laps almost double and the inside back has pockets for belongings or insulation (newspapers). The back of the bottom has a flap that can flip up over the fronts to make a bag that keeps the feet warm.
The concept of a coat/sleeping bag goes back at least as far as Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, with many people “unventing” (independently coming up with) options. Though neither Ruth Ciemnoczolowski nor I were the first to come up with interior pockets, I was impressed enough with the ones on a coat she had made (sized specifically for newspaper for insulation) that those are used here with her permission.
A coat can be made from a blanket at least 8′ x 10′ (2.4 x 3 meters) or 4 1/2 yards of fabric 60″ wide (4.1 meters 152 cm wide).
How to participate:
Download the instructions for drafting the pattern and making the coat.
Make as many coat-bags as you have the time and dollars for.
Funnel them through your local charitable associations so that your efforts go to your community’s area(s) of greatest need.
Get your friends and sewing groups together to make these.
Check with local used clothing (for old blankets) and fabric stores for donations.
Ruth’s coat was featured in Threads magazine, issue #154. Thanks also to Kathleen Fasanella, Ann Vong (who created the final pattern), Jasonda Desmond and many who commented on the Fashion-Incubator website and Forum.
In April 2015 the PDFs were extensively modified to make the instructions clearer. The patterns and construction of the original coat remain the same.
If you’re working from a tablet or a smart phone, please consider go to your local library or office supply store for printouts of PDFs.