How to Make an Indian Blanket Coat

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Get even more warmth from a blanket by making it into a coat.
Get even more warmth from a blanket by making it into a coat. (Image: byryo/iStock/Getty Images)

An Indian blanket coat was originally exchanged for furs by traders working for the Hudson's Bay Company. The Plains Indians fashioned Hudson's Bay virgin wool point blankets into coats and wore the garments in place of buffalo robes. The point blanket was transformed by the Metis into a capote -- a wrap coat complete with hood and fringing. Point blankets and pre-made blanket coats are still available at select locations of the Bay stores across Canada. You can make a less expensive Indian blanket coat yourself for outdoor wear or as a decorative throw at the cottage.

Things You'll Need

  • Wool blanket (full size, full/queen or queen)
  • Measuring tape
  • Yard stick
  • Chalk
  • Sewing scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Bowl
  • Darning needle
  • Woolen thread

Choose the size of coat you will need. For many adults, a full size is adequate, but others may require a full/queen or queen size for a proper fit.

Fold the blanket in half on the floor, bringing the top edge down to evenly meet the bottom.

Measure about 16 inches down from the fold of the blanket. Mark the point with chalk. Draw a horizontal line across the blanket at the level you marked, using a yardstick to keep the line straight.

Measure one-third of the way in from each end of the chalk line. Mark these positions with chalk. Cut through both layers of the blanket from the edges to the marked positions on each side.

Draw chalk lines from the points where the cut portions stop down to the bottom edge of the front of the blanket. This will form a T-shape on the blanket front. Lift the top layer and cut up from the bottom edge along the chalk lines until you meet the cut portions. Remove the cut squares and leave the middle front portion intact. Set the squares aside for later use.

Measure the mid-point of the T-shaped front at the bottom of the leg of the T. Draw a chalk line up from this point until it bisects the leg of the T. Cut up the marked line. This will form an open front that stops at the folded top.

Flip the top layer back. Pin one of the squares set aside earlier onto the bottom of the back layer so that it forms an extra layer of warmth and is evenly lined up with the existing bottom edge. Fold the top layer back over the front.

Place a bowl large enough to fit your head as a template along the top fold. Draw a semi-circular chalk line using the edge of one-half of the bowl as a guide. Cut along the line to remove both layers and form a circular head hole. Fold the back cut edges forward to meet the front panels. Pin the front and back sides sides and bottom edges of the arms together allowing for a turned seam to avoid unraveling of the wool.

Try the pinned garment on. Mark where needed in chalk to adjust for fit. Adjust pin location accordingly. Turn garment inside out.

Thread a darning needle with woolen thread. Sew along the side and arm seams using a blanket stitch. Form a hood using the remaining extra piece saved earlier. Fold the square in half. Pin one side closed with a turned seam. This will be the top of your hood. Pin the open bottom to the inside edge of your head opening with another turned seam. Stitch the hood to the coat along the pinned seam using a blanket stitch. Stitch the pinned areas together. Stitch authentic or fake fur along the edge of the hood for added style and warmth.

Turn sleeve and bottom edges under. Pin and sew. Customize your coat with buttons, a zipper or a wrapped-front closure.

Tips & Warnings

  • If visualizing the process is difficult for you, use a paper pattern as a trial run before cutting your blanket.
  • This garment is meant to be a facsimile of an old Indian blanket coat. Exact fit and high fashion should not be expected.

References

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