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Sewing a waterproof onto fleece?

happycatuk | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hiya folks,

Am looking to relace my long, duvet-style winter coat that I was bought many Christmas’ ago as the faux-fur trim is looking rather tired from so many spins round my washing machine 🙂

I have in my (far too expansive, gulp) fabric stash 4m of very lightweight, semi-shiny black waterproof fabric, and a similar amount of windproof, fairly light-weight navy fleece.

Am I being insane to consider combining the two to make a long coat which will be quite warm yet light and waterproof? Would I need to interline it with an additional layer for warmth and, if so, what should I use – another layer of fleece? I’d also like the end result to remain washing-machine friendly, so I imagine I’ll have to quilt the fabrics together somehow (not something I’ve done before, but I do now have a walking foot, so ..?)

So – good idea? Bad idea? Has anyone else tried to do this? Or shall I try and rework my old coat, lol? Help, please! 😀


  1. GailAnn | | #1

    Could you make the coat of the waterproof fabric and line it with the fleece?

    Or UNDER-line the waterproof fabric with the fleece, then line the whole thing with something slippery so it will slide on over your clothes.

    The deciding factor might be how cold it gets in your area.  Gail

    1. happycatuk | | #2

      Hiya GailAnn,The more traditional approach of lining the coat with fleece did cross my mind, but I don't confident about doing that as the waterproof fabric is so much more lightweight than the fleece, and I fear that it will 'bag out' along hemlines (unless I leave it hanging loose at the hem, which is an option but would then cause problems with lining it so it, as you say, will slide over my clothes.) I guess my main worry is pairing something that is so lightweight - the waterproof - with something much firmer and comparitively heavier - the fleece. By quilting the two fabrics together I would add strength to the waterproof (though if I made it a detachable lining, I would get two coats for the 'price' of one, hmmm...)It can get reasonably cold here in the UK (especialy with frosts etc) but the main problem over the past winters has been wind and rain which makes it feel alot colder, and I do feel the cold quite alot. I also want to add a hood to my design to make it thoroughly weather-proof!I supose I really want to know the impossible; will it be warm and comfortable, or am I heading for a sewing disaster, lol!

      Edited 9/23/2007 9:32 am ET by happycatuk

      1. cafms | | #3

        If you quilt your waterproof to the fleece it won't be waterproof any longer unless you go back a seal all your seams.

        1. happycatuk | | #4

          Hmm, yes, that is also another problem with my initial plan .. however the coat I am replacing is quilted and padded and, when it rains, the exterior fabric can get pretty sodden but the density of the (albeit lightweight) padding prevents it from feeling cold and damp inside. Wouldn't a partially pierced outer fabric still perform better than that? I've noticed alot of quilted winter coats in the magazines - unless I'm purchasing a 'performance' garment, surely an off-the-peg quilted coat would perform as well/as badly as my home-made attempt?

          1. Gloriasews | | #5

            If you want the coat/jacket to be really warm, line it with Thinsulate, then with lining material so that it slides over your clothes.  Don't quilt it, as you will lose your water proofing.  You may have to waterproof your seams, though, as other posters have suggested.  A hood would really make the difference in keeping you warm, too (also line it with Thinsulate).  When it's windy & cold, the hood keeps the cold from blowing around your neck & ears & keeps you really cozy.  Also, using the Thinsulate, it stays stable & won't bag or stretch like the fleece may do.


      2. Gloriasews | | #7

        I agree with Teaf5 in that making the coat in separate layers is more practical, as each layer can be worn separately for as much warmth as needed.

        Check at your library for Sewing Outdoor Gear by Rochelle Harper - it may give you some help & inspiration.  Happy sewing!


  2. Teaf5 | | #6

    It would be much easier, and you'd probably find it more convenient to make two separate coats of the same pattern, with the waterproof one slightly larger so that it will fit over the fleece one. Columbia makes such jackets, using double zippers on each layer so that you can wear them together or separately--and I adore all the options that gives me! Commercial raincoats often have separate fleece or flannel interiors that snap or button inside the waterproof coats for the same reason. Each layer is finished as a complete unlined coat, and they are sized to be worn together.Combining two such differing fabrics in one garment with traditional techniques might be quite complicated, but finishing each one separately will be relatively easy.

  3. Tatsy | | #8

    I don't really see the issue with the lightweight lining.  Most coats and suit jackets are made of a heavier outer fabric and have a very thin lining.  More of an issue is how they drape.  It would seem that the fleece would have more horizontal "give" than the waterproof so it would be far more likely to bag--or is this one of those stretchy, filmy vinyls with no body? 

    One way to avoid the hem problem is to choose a contrasting fabric that goes with both--or use an extra piece of the waterproof-- to make a decorative band that is sewn in between the two layers as one of the very last steps of construction. Sew from the center front toward the center back, stopping with enough of an opening to pull the coat through--I'm guessing 5 or 6 inches.  (Work from both CF's toward CB.)Finish machine sewing the band onto one side, probably the waterproof since it is more likely to show the stitches, then close the other side of the opening with handstitches.

    I made a faux fur coat with a fleece lining for my niece last year, which was a big hit, so much so that her stepdaughter took it off to school with her. I added an extra inch to the width of the whole sleeve to allow for the thickness of the fleece and the pull of the nap.  Never heard a complaint.

    1. stitchagain | | #9

      Sewing a waterproof onto fleece?

      I would definitely not quilt a waterproof fabric.  Holes are a big no-no.  It is like quilting leather (ya I suppose that is done sometimes).

      Here in the pacific NW "layers" are what is the thing.  A waterproof coat over a fleece jacket.  That seems to be what keeps most people warm and dry and comfortable.  But I wonder how people in other climates deal.  My brother in the Midwest and his wife probably like the big down or thinsulate coats because it gets so cold there.  In the UK don't people were lots of wool sweaters and that interesting oilskin coats.  (I'm not sure what it is actually called but I have some.)  I have always been told that the UK has similar winter weather to us.

      I used to be fleece nuts, it is a great fabric.  There is so much to learn about all those technical fabrics.  I have a jacket I made out of a windproof fleece (one layer) and it is great - actually does a lot in a rainy situation without a raincoat.  It is a little small but I still keep it around.


      Now I tend to wear wool sweaters and shells, not always waterproof.  I have plans to make a dressy wool coat and a dressy nylon fleece quilted long coat but I am procrastinating.


      I would love to hear what the general outerwear attitude is in the UK and other parts of the US.


      1. happycatuk | | #10

        Am so glad I posted on here before I got too carried away with my winter coat plans!Right, a (sort of) summary: quilting is a big no-no, due to the perforations. Given that the fabric feels non-woven, there are no 'threads' aound the stitching holes to help minimise the perforations, so I would defat the object of wearing a waterproof fabric!Given the quantity and extremely light-weight nature of the black waterproof, something long/voluminous, with mimimum seams, should be the order of the day. I have Vogue 8210 (please see below) in my pattern stash which has kimono sleeves, what do you reckon?If it's long enough, and loose-fitting enough, it's conceivable that I could wear it over slimmer-fitting outwear garments that lack waterproofing, if I know I'm about to get soaked etc. I can also make a long coat, in a similar style but a size smaller, out of the windproof fleece I have to wear either on its own, or under the waterproof coat as a liner.If I add a hood to my final design, I think I will add it to the waterproof layer, interlining it with Thinsulate (or equive that I can find!), and line it with something nice as it will be visible during wear - otherwise it will be too lightweight to stay on during wear!I will also see if I can find the outerwear construction book mentioned in a previous posting before I start, too!As for the general outerwear attitude in the UK, all I can say is .. it's not very practical. Your options tend to be:* a lightweight, hip-length parka (usually in a dull colour like khaki), or similar short jacket with moderate waterproofing and a hood.
        * a knee-length wool coat with again, minimum protection against rain, in dull neutrals or jewel colours, either single or double-breasted.
        * macintoshes tend to be researved for showery days, rather than lined against the cold, and again are often to the knee in length or much shorter.Any padded coats tend to be outdoor-gear designed/orientated, and often don't have hoods.I guess the British want to ignore the fact that their winters are getting wetter and windier, and prefer to battle an umbrella against the elements!

        1. stitchagain | | #11

          Vogue 8210 is a beautiful coat

           I think lining is a good idea fleece or some thin wicking fabric, you could probably get some good advice emailing Rose City Textiles or Seatle Fabrics or one of the other companies mentioned on this forum.

          Thanks for the info about what others in the UK are wearing!


        2. Tatsy | | #12

          One thing I didn't see mentioned, although it's probably discussed in the outerwear book, is using a reversible zipper, which is great for most reversible coats.  For the Vogue pattern shown, I would definitely plan on using bound buttonholes.  They are much simpler than regular worked buttonholes on both fleece and any vinyl or stretchy fabric.  A seam sealant should take care of any leaks.

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