For our skilled coat makers, every new pelt is a blank canvas awaiting a masterpiece. Here’s a glimpse inside the making of a one-of-a-kind sheepskin or leather coat.
he inside of a coat maker’s studio has a music all its own. Sewing machines hum. Artisans discuss designs and compare notes. Everywhere, skilled hands stitch, cut, and trim the hides, piecing them together to create the end product: a beautiful, lasting, heirloom-quality coat.
Many meticulous, hands-on steps are involved in the creation of an Overland coat—and each one requires years of training to master.
Each coat requires between 5-8 individual leather pelts in its construction, which first must be carefully matched for color and texture. This is one of the most important processes in a quality leather jacket: while lower-quality leather jackets use cheaper, overly dyed leathers to mask individual color variation, higher-end jackets show more of the underlying leather grain and hence have more variations in color and feel that require proper up-front matching.
From the 5-8 selected pelts, 40-70 individual leather pieces are carefully cut by hand. Because each pelt is a natural material, there can be wide variances in how much of each pelt is of the most premium quality, and each cut piece needs to be of a specific shape. Like a jigsaw puzzle, master cutters carefully use forms to most efficiently cut all the needed pieces for the coat from the selected pelts, while paying close attention to making sure only the premium sections of the pelts are used—the industry average is to use roughly 80% of the pelt area once all the pieces are cut, but Overland’s yield is closer to 60-70% as the cutters are more discriminating about only using the absolute best leather. Lining fabric is cut separately.
The 40-70 cut leather pieces that will make up the coat are inspected, ensuring proper shapes and a cohesive look.
Fusible is applied to the leather or sheepskin as appropriate. In leather jackets, it's applied between the leather and the lining to provide structure and shape, especially around the seams. With sheepskin coats, which are crafted from a single pelt, fusible helps to reinforce the seams and allows for a flat internal seam and finished look.
It’s a challenge that can’t be scaled. That’s why, when it comes to shearling, as the size of the coat-making facility expands the average quality decreases. Small facilities like ours are the ones that specialize in quality.
—EMRE, COAT MANUFACTURING PARTNER
The coat is carefully sewn together, adding in the lining. Sewing leather is a craft that takes years to master, given its unique and varied properties. Higher quality coats are sewn using single needle tailoring, which is more labor-intensive but provides superior stitching longevity. The threads themselves are nylon-reinforced for extra durability, and the seams are manually hammered down and flattened.
The assembled coat is carefully reviewed for proper sewing.
Buttons, snaps, and closures are added to the coat. The difference of an Overland coat is in the details. Every carefully considered accent conspires to make the garment truly unique.
The coat is manually pressed, removing any wrinkling from the leather. When this step is complete, the garment is ready for one final, meticulous review.
The coat is measured and checked, ensuring that each garment has been properly constructed to fit as intended. Once the coat has been fully inspected inside and out, then it’s individually bagged and readied for shipment.
By the time you first wear your new Overland coat, it has been on a considerable journey from inspiration to perfection. Sure, we could could cut corners, but we’ll settle for nothing but the best when it comes to quality craftsmanship. As the size of coat-making workshops expand, their average quality tends to decrease. That’s why we choose to partner only with small, family-run facilities who share our passion for superbly crafted outerwear. As a result, every one of our sheepskin and leather coats is a wearable work of art—and one you’ll treasure for years.