Fabric and Notions for Outerwear

Kate Miller-Wilson
sewing button on a coat

For the adventurous home seamstress, making coats and jackets is easier than ever. Many Internet stores specialize in fabric and notions for outerwear, giving you plenty of options when it comes to materials.

Buying Outerwear Fabric and Notions

With the right materials and a bit of sewing experience, you can make anything from down-insulated mittens to an elegant wool coat. You can buy some outerwear sewing supplies at your local fabric or craft store. You'll find a limited selection at these stores, since they may not be devoted to this type of sewing.

For the best selection, many people choose to shop online for materials. The following Internet retailers specialize in outerwear sewing supplies:

  • RCT Fabrics - This site deals in sports fabrics, and they offer a variety of supplies including softshell fabric, weather-blocking fleece, neoprene, heavy duty zippers, and other fabric and notions.
  • Seattle Fabrics - Offering everything from windproof wool laminate to cordura nylon, this site has the fabrics you need to make sporty and stylish outerwear. You'll also find webbing, zippers and hardware.
  • Peak Fabrics - This shop sells fleece, moisture-wicking fabrics, nylon, and other outerwear materials and notions.
  • Thru-Hiker - This site specializes in outerwear sewing supplies for serious hiking enthusiasts, and it's a great place to get materials for making down outerwear. You'll find down insulation, breathable fabrics, heavy duty zippers and the hardware to make most sport outerwear.
  • Quest Outfitters - This outdoor fabric store sells Gore-tex fabric by the yard, as well as a variety of other specialty materials for making your own outerwear.

Types of Outerwear Fabric

Consider using some of the following popular outerwear fabrics:

  • Wind-blocking and weather-blocking fleece are great for light jackets, mittens, and hats.
  • Heavyweight nylon, like cordura, works well for thick coats, and lighter weight nylon is great for blocking the wind without adding warmth.
  • Softshell fabric stretches with you as you move, making it perfect for the shoulders of jackets or vests.
  • Coating-weight wool comes in a variety of grades and types, and it's great for making peacoats or other elegant outerwear.
  • Gore-tex is a brand name of waterproof material that is perfect for everything from raincoats to ski pants.
  • Insulating materials like down filler, fiberfill, and batting are also important for adding extra warmth to winter outerwear.
  • Moisture-wicking fabric moves sweat away from the skin to keep the wearer warm and dry.

Types of Outerwear Notions

As you make outerwear, these are a few of the sewing trims and notions you may need:

  • Heavy-duty zippers are important, since these garments typically get a lot of wear. You can find zippers in many different lengths and colors.
  • Buckles can act as closures and as decoration on coats and jackets. You'll see plastic buckles, metal buckles and heavy-duty nylon options.
  • Grommets, snaps and other metal accents can add style and functionality to your outerwear sewing project.
  • Webbing is sold by the yard and comes in cotton, nylon and other fibers. You can use this for belts.
  • Elastic is helpful to tighten the cuffs of snow or wind pants, keep mittens from gaping open, and cinch the bottom of jackets.

How to Choose

The materials you choose for your project will depend on the type of outerwear you're planning to make. Read your pattern instructions carefully, and think about how the item will be used. Finally, remember to take style and color preference into account before choosing your fabric and notions for outerwear projects.

Fabric and Notions for Outerwear