Here is my plan for sheep coats.
Fully Assembled Sheep Coat
Fully Assembled Sheep Coat from inside, chest piece is at top, girth tucks on sides then leg straps on either side and tail tucks at the bottom.
Fully Assembled Sheep Coat inside out showing chest corner reinforcing strip.
Detail of chest corner reinforcing strip.
Detail of Leg strap Attachment
Detail of Leg strap Attachment
Last years’ model on a sheep. This version was missing the girth tucks and the leg straps are too long.
Another version from last year. Serged edges, girth tucks but leg straps not right yet.
Side view of the coat above. You can see the leg straps are way too big.
Coat design is fairly simple. For a size 34 coat I cut a rectangle of fabric 34 inches by 36 inches for the coat body. The chest piece for a 34 is a rectangle 10 inches by 12 inches for most sheep. They can be a bit larger if required. I make 2 small reinforcing pieces about 5 inches by 1.5 inches wide. I make 2 leg straps 3.5 inches wide by 15 inches long.
I use my serger to serge all the edges on all sides of the coat body, chest piece and reinforcing pieces. The leg straps are folded in half, good side out and I use the serger around the 3 cut sides.
See coat size table below.
Coat is assembled by taking the chest piece and sewing it to the 2 front edges of the coat body to give more room for wide chested sheep. Make the short side the height and the long side the width.
The 2 reinforcing pieces are sewn at the upper edge at the right angle where the chest piece meets the body. I sew down one side, fold over in half to turn the corner, sew the other side and turn to sew all around the edges. I discovered I needed these reinforcing pieces or the chest seams rip out.
Legs are attached at the back end and along the side with the serged edge parallel to the serged bottom of the coat and the rounded folded edge near the sheep udder. Be sure to leave a thumbs width behind the back edge of the sheep coat for ease.
I take a girth tuck on each side behind where the chest attaches to put a tiny gather there. I take 2-4 tail tucks along the top back edge so the coat doesn’t gape at the tail.
New parts for this design are serging all the edges but not rolling or making the seams more elaborate. It remains to be seen whether that works. I’ve done some serged edges on some repairs but never whole coats before.
The hard parts are attaching the 2 reinforcing pieces and turning the coats to get the most forward section of the leg attachment done.
The best sewing sequence is to cut and serge all the parts. Set up for assembly line sewing. Mark where the chest piece and leg straps will go on all your coats. After each seam re-fold and set up again for the next seam so it’s easy to pick up a coat and start sewing. Sew the chest piece to one side on all coats. Then refold and sew the reinforcing to that side. Sew the leg straps on the back section first for each side. Then turn the legs and sew them down. Sew the chest piece to the other side, sew the reinforcing to that side. Pin the girth and tail tucks and then sew them all in sequence.
Size Chart. All dimensions in inches
|Length||Width||Chest Height||Chest Width||Leg Strap||Girth Tuck?||Tail Tucks|
The fabric is critical to a good coat. There are lots of things we’ve tried that do not work, some Cordura, ripstop, canvas, sunbrella, etc. What does work well is 120 denier nylon Oxford weave material. It lasts well, breathes and the wool does not felt under it. Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to find. An acceptable substitute is Seattle Fabrics 500 Denier Cordura Nylon. It is coated but lightly and the wool does not felt under it if you do not let the coats get too tight.
We only coat our sheep when they come into the corrals in winter for hay. I typically plan on each adult ewe needing 2 or 3 coats over that time as I start in a smaller size and increase the size as their wool grows. Lambs may take up to 5 coat changes as they grow over that first winter. It’s critical to change the coats as soon as the sheep get tight in them or the wool will felt.