A homeless coat pattern

carols_hcoat_image[This post has been amended, the problem is resolved. The pdf download is now available.]

This post should have gone up well over a week ago but it’s been one thing after another -which I’ll tell you about later and hopefully someone can help solve a recurring problem (amended, since resolved).

Carol Kimball and Carol Phillips (they refer to themselves as the Carols so I will too) designed a simple coat pattern that can be used to make coats for the homeless. The hooded coat folds up at the bottom when sleeping to keep the feet warm and it has sizable inside pockets that can be used to place insulation or belongings. For now, you can get the instructions on how to make the pattern and how to sew it on their site. You are encouraged to freely distribute their pattern and instructions provided it is not sold and credit attributed. I’m sure they’d also like to know if you make any so do write them.

With the intent of making this easier to distribute, I created the pattern in StyleCAD. If you have access to the software, you can download the file. There is an AutoCad version (dxf) or even, a pdf download of this pattern (40 pgs, >120kb) if you don’t want to make your own. We were trying to convert the CAD file into pdf so it could be tiled for print out for people who had neither option. As it turns out, that is easier said than done. Jasonda volunteered to do the considerable work of it but it will be awhile. There are instructions on the web but they involve tracing one’s pattern on letter size paper and scanning in the pages. That seems like entirely too much work especially since we already have it in digital format. I also found a site that offers a tiling service for oversize artwork but I haven’t been able to get the uploader to work. So, if you have better information on how to convert a digital CAD file into a tile format for printing on desktop printers, that would be lovely. I have CS5 but it hasn’t been much help thus far.

I also had another style I was trying to tile, the spiral dress (pt.2) I showed you a few weeks ago. I was thinking this would be an easy and also cute project for a little girl, just in time for the holidays. I tried everything I could to tile this [this has also been resolved], the image below comes from Illustrator where I was trying to make it pretty like. Again, easier said than done since Illustrator and I aren’t on speaking terms.


This dress (girl’s size 5), in spite of having a very full skirt, doesn’t take as much fabric as you’d think. Total yield is about one yard of 60″ wide fabric.

Anyway, I hope some of you will be inspired to make a few coats for the homeless, that someone will have a solution for our tiling quandary and I thank you for both in advance.

Amended yet again (12/16/11, 10:00 AM MST):
With Ann Vong”s help, I was able to resolve a few things and with Ann’s help, create a print ready pattern (pdf).Yay Ann! It should be complete now -except I don’t know how to create tile line up marks. The overlap is .5″. I’ll update the file later if I figure it out [since done, thanks to Ann who did it for us]. I will correct links for the pattern download in my comment below. You know you have the right file if it is named Hcoat_final_version.pdf. I was able to nest all the pieces into the larger piece so the print out is 40 pages.

Should you be having a similar difficulty with tiling and it hasn’t been resolved in comments, see the forum discussion on how to resolve the printing impasse.

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  1. Thank you for all your work on this, Kathleen (she doesn’t begin to suggest how much effort she’s been putting into this).

    And thanks to those who make the coats, and anyone who can make the pattern more accessible. I give instructions for laying out the pieces directly on the fabric/old blanket/tarp, with a 4-page PDF to print the hood.

    the Carols

  2. Jen says:

    I have been tiling patterns through a mix of Illustrator and Photoshop lately. Illustrator for the pattern layout and Photoshop for the tiling. It seems like that would work for this as well though it would take a LOT of 8.5×11″ pages unless you omit the insides of the large panels. I’d be happy to lend a hand if needed.

  3. Traci Akierman says:

    I stumbled across Carol’s website the other day and thought that I would try to mobilize some people in my city to sew some. It gets mighty cold in Calgary. I don’t know many people that sew but I’m hoping that if I can get it together to organize it, I might get some momentum going on Facebook.

    I have a friend that tiles large pieces of artwork all the time to print. I will ask her how she does it and let you know as soon as I hear from you.

  4. kay says:

    I have a stray sysadmin home on vacation…. he’s agreed to give it a go. Do you want both 8.5×11 and A4 if he can manage it?

  5. You guys are wonderful! Kay, as your contact has agreed to deal with it, shall we see how he progresses, with everyone else as backup?

    Yes, please, to the two sets of sizes. Homelessness is not limited to the U.S.A.

    Thank you (all) so much!

  6. Shelley says:

    I’ve also used PosteRazor to import large .jpgs from Illustrator that were printable for my MIL who wanted large print outs for planning a quilt wall hanging. I hadn’t considered it for a sewing pattern yet so there’s something to look into.
    I was able to open the .dxf file for the coat in the CAD editor of my home pattern software, and it seems to be fairly accurate. The center back of the coat back from neck seam to bottom measured 75 in.
    Hope you guys get it sorted out. Thanks for pointing out the site, it is a great and generous project.

  7. Heather says:

    Downloaded the pattern instruction and shared on facebook, also with my local enthusiast group. Will try to get at least one done this week. Very worthy effort.

  8. Another Kate says:

    If you can save file as .pdf then use Adobe Acrobat X or above. Select “Tile large pages” from the “Page Scaling” option in the Print menu. It also includes an “overlap” option and you can add cut marks and labels to identify each “tile” – incredibly helpful when it comes to putting them altogether.

  9. Ulla Hörnell says:

    Hi. Last time I said something here it was entirely wrong,
    I was fooled by the India Times.
    Not usual, I am sure.
    I think you need autodesk,
    (free “autocad”)
    Hmmmm, who am I going to blame this time if I am wrong again?

  10. Rather than hogging Kathleen’s site thanking everyone individually, everybody please know that we are reading and appreciating everything being posted here and in the Forum. We’re grateful to all of you for the finest holiday present possible.

    the Carols

  11. celeste says:

    I’m able to tile the pdf file from with in the printing options!
    I will try and add a coat to my projects, as I already had a service project planned out (chemo scarfs)

    I also look forward to the little girls pattern, my daughter loves dressess!!!!!

  12. Another Kate says:

    Celeste, you might need to download the pdf then open it in the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (rather than displaying it in your web browser and then trying to print from there)

  13. Kathleen says:

    I’ve amended this entry yet again [12/16/11 10:00 AM] to leave a link to a tiled pattern with all pieces nested inside the larger one. Print out amounts to 40 pages. Many thanks to Ann Vong.

    The overlap is .5″. The pattern also includes a 10″by 10″ square so you can check printer accuracy.

  14. A grungy-looking 40-page PDF with registration marks is now up on my site. Its total size is 668 Kb (compared to Kathleen’s intermediate version at 109 Kb).

    I’m hoping someone comes up with something cleaner, smaller and better, and thank you in advance.

  15. Ann Vong has sent a clean, beautiful pattern that’s now up on the site.

    Thank you, Ann, and everyone else who’s spent so much time and energy getting this concept accessible.

    the Carols

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