Sunday, 21 March 2021

Fabric covered coathangers

 At our recent Simple Living Toowoomba workshop Neralie showed us how to make padded coathanger covers. I had a few questions afterwards about how she covered the hook so she very kindly made another couple of coathanger covers and took photos along the way so that we could have a tutorial. 

This tutorial is in her words:

This method  of covering coathangers will suit any flat coathanger with a fine hook. I bought plastic covered wire coathangers from Spotlight because they are cheap, but the wooden coathangers bought in packs of 6 will work too. Some of the very cheap plastic hangers might not be the best option.

First, I like to have the hook covered.  I find that plastic piping works its way off the end, so I have designed a way of covering the hook with fabric that will stay in place.  You could replace the fabric with wide lace or ribbon.

I cut a fabric piece about 4cm wide and twice as long as the hook.  Fold it in half lengthwise right sides together and sew the two raw edges together with a narrow seam allowance, then sew across one end of the tube.  Turn it right side out and iron it flat, with the seam on one side and the fold on the other. 

Take a good arm’s length of sewing thread, double it and thread it through a large needle, bring all four threads together, finishing with a large strong knot at the end. You need your needle to have four threads about 30cm long fastened with a good knot. 

From the open end of your fabric tube, wriggle the needle and thread through the tube like a worm, to bring the needle out of the closed end, making sure you don’t snag the needle on the fabric on the way through.  You need to end up with a fabric tube and a good 30cm of four threads anchored in the closed end of the tube. 

Now from the closed end of the fabric tube, take quite large running stitches up the folded side right to the end.  This is  your gathering stitch. 

You’ll need to leave enough tube space for the coathanger hook to pass through.  

Thread the coathanger hook through the fabric tube, pull  your gathering thread nice and tight so the end of the hook is firmly lodged in the closed end of the tube and the gathering thread is taut. Now you can use your excess thread to wrap around the base of the coathanger several times and up through the fabric to hold it in place. 

Finish with a good tight knot that won’t come undone.   You will have a gathered hook cover that will never work its way off the end of the hook and nor will it come loose from the coathanger.

Now, the cover itself.   

From your fabric you will need two pieces at least 6cm longer than the width of your coathanger and about 3cm wider than what your coathanger measures from the base of the hook to the bottom.  You will also need two pieces of some soft padding material the same length but about 2cm narrower.  You could use quilt wadding, old track suit fabric, flannelette sheets, even an old cardigan.  Finish off the bottom edge of the fabric and padding with a nice straight cut and lay your pieces out with the fabric right sides together, then the padding fabric underneath and on top, with the padding fabric being about 1 ½ cm above the edge of the cover fabric.  So, you will have 4 layers:  padding, cover fabric right side up, cover fabric right side down, padding. 

Lay your coathanger over the layers and use a marking pen to mark around the top of your coathanger, leaving a good margin of fabric and padding along the bottom of the coathanger.  We need this margin because the cover will be closed along this line and it’s difficult to stitch too close to the coathanger itself.  If you were using a wooden hanger, I would leave a wider margin of fabric because it would be more difficult to sew close to a wooden hanger as it’s more bulky.

 Now stitch just outside the marked line from the bottom edge, up around the curve of the hanger (you have removed the hanger of course) and up to where you marked the neck.  You will have to leave an opening here, just wide enough to pass the covered hook through later.  Back stitch either side of the opening and continue around and down to the edge on the other side. Check the back to see that you’ve caught all the fabrics, then trim the seam and check that your neck hole is open.

From this step you can decided on a finish for the bottom edge.  You could simply fold in a seam allowance and stitch it closed on the machine, or you could insert a contrast fabric frill, a strip of pretty lace, or a bit of piping, or even some prairie points if the coathanger is for a man.  (Google Prairie points….they are simple and useful trims).

If you add a frill, cut a strip of contrast fabric about 7cm wide and twice as long as the width of the coathanger, finish off the short ends with a folded and sewn edge, fold the fabric WRONG sides together along the long side. Sew a gathering stitch along the raw edge and draw it up to fit along the edge of the cover. Attach it on the right side of the edge of the cover, raw edges together. 

If you use lace, finish off the edges with a fold if it’s likely to fray…..and do the same thing.

I find one I have attached the frill it makes it easier if I fold it in and sew a top stitch on the right side  to hold the frill down. We finish off by folding in a seam allowance on both sides, pinning it in place, and I prefer to hand sew  with a hemming stitch on the back.  When you pin it down, place pins at each end, and one in the middle, then fill  in the gaps. That keeps it all from twisting or buckling.  

Now you see why we made the padding a little shorter than the fabric – to  reduce bulk when finishing off.   The last step is to tie a bow at the base of the hook. A ribbon bow will cover up the raw edges.  I always use some Gem Bond or another strong glue to hold the ribbon in place and to make sure the bow doesn’t come undone. Use Fray Stopper if you have it….I think it’s just glue anyway.

You can cover two coathangers and one hook with one fat quarter of fabric. A fat quarter is half a metre of fabric cut in half again, cross wise. So you have a quarter of a metre of fabric that is not cut from edge to edge off the roll, but cut half a metre in and half way across...thus 'fat'. They are can't ask for them to be cut. It's a cheap way of buying a useful piece of expensive quilting fabric, and all quilting shops and Spotlights have them. If you bought a fat quarter to cover two coathangers you'd need some contrast fabric for the frill and second hook cover.

Surprisingly enough, these make great gifts for men and women and kids.   If I do men’s coathangers I use striped fabric or find some novelty fabric to suit their interests.  There is plenty of fabric with motorbikes, cars, fishing themes, even Star Wars and Harry Potter fabric looks great.   For an older man you could make a dickie front with little black buttons and a bow tie instead of a ribbon.   Use up your scraps – sew strips of fabric together. Use lace to make decorative trims on the cover – add buttons or pieces of doilies.   You could even add a little pocket on the front of the cover to tuck in a piece of jewelry or a hair ribbon or a scrunchie to match.  When I do dress making for my grandchildren I use the left over fabric to make a matching hanger.  Lots of options to think of.

This is a very detailed tutorial that Neralie has written out so many thanks to her for taking the time to do it. Please let me know if anything doesn't make sense as I may have made some mistakes when copying and pasting from her original tutorial into this blog post. She has also done a tutorial for making Pyjama Eaters so that will be something for down the track. 

Have a great week everyone!




  1. wow love the hook cover, i just use the plastic tubing on mine, i make the knitted lace covers on the straight bar wooden coat hangers, have never had the tubing come off.
    awesome tutorial, easy even for me to understand :))
    thanx for sharing

    1. It certainly is a great tutorial, Selina. I have never covered a coathanger so will give it a try one of these days. My mum used to make the really thick padded ones but they take up a lot of room in the wardrobe.

    2. I just read this carefully Chel and I just might be able to manage it from the very clear instructions. They would make nice gifts that's for sure, and clothing sits much more nicely on a covered coat hanger than just the plain hanger. Thanks so much for sharing this and writing it up, I know how much time that must have taken. I'll go to Spotlight and see if I can find those fat quarters of fabric, I'm not a quilter so hadn't heard the term:) Take care.

    3. Pauline, the tutorial is great, isn't it? It was very generous of Neralie to spend so much time writing it out.

  2. I love the ruched effect on the coat hanger hook especially in satin. Very glam and a bit 1940s I think. Lovely project!

  3. Annabel, these hangers don't take up as much space in the wardrobe as the padded crocheted ones.


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