How to Make No-Sew Kid Coats

How to make no-sew kids coats for your baby goats, simple to make from thrift-store sweat pants.
Phoenix, 2012
After several mild winters, this winter has started off with two storms and bitterly cold temperatures in December. I've never had my goats kid in December before, and I was hoping it would be another mild winter, but it wasn't to be.

Let me begin this post by saying that the kids are now two weeks old, and only wearing coats if it is really cold, like last night's nine degrees. You might think it's silly for them to wear coats, or that I'm pampering them much more than needed, but I don't use heat lamps, and this has already been an unusually cold winter. Goat kids are born without much body fat and it can be hard to regulate their body temperature as newborns. 

In the past I've made kid coats in several different ways. When Phoenix was a kid, I improvised a coat from a pair of thrift store sweatpants, and that is the design I use exclusively now. One pair of sweatpants makes two coats, one from each leg.

It's getting harder to find sweatpants with elastic around the ankles. I recently found a pair of black sweatpants at the local thrift store, and made a pair of coats that are smaller than the ones I'd made for Phoenix when she was about a month old. It's amazing how fast kids grow. And since first fresheners usually have a single kid, I thought two coats might be enough, but Felicity had twins, and I still had two more pregnant does.

The twins were three days old when I next went to town, the first day that the roads were drivable after an ice storm. I stopped at the thrift store to check out the current selection. I found two pair of sweatpants with elastic ankles. For a moment I debated about which one to buy, but decided to get both, since it would give me spares for kids to wear when I washed the others.

How to make no-sew kids coats for your baby goats, simple to make from thrift-store sweat pants.

At home I cut them into coats, and that same day both Phoenix and Firefly had twins. I'm thankful I was able to put coats on all of them to warm them up, especially Phoenix's chilled doeling that she ignored when she immediately had the buckling and focused on drying him off, ignoring her first-born.

I dried the little doeling off with a towel and tucked her inside my coat to take advantage of my own body heat for awhile, then put a coat on her to help keep her warm while she adapted to the outside world.

Each set of twins wears matching coats. It's nice how that worked out.

No-sew kids coats for your baby goats, simple to make from thrift-store sweat pants.

How to make no-sew kid coats:
Choose a pair of sweatpants with elastic around the bottom of the legs. This will be the neck of the kid coat. I use a large girls' size or a small women's or men's size. My local thrift store sells sweatpants for $2 a pair; one pair makes two coats, so the coats cost me $1 each to make.

Color doesn't matter to me, although I did get some comments about the violently hot pink/fuschia color of the first coats I made for Phoenix when she was young.

These easy-to-make kid coats will keep your new baby goats warm and cozy in chilly weather. No sewing required!

I make the neck of the coats longer so it resembles a turtleneck and helps to keep the kid's neck warm. I measured a kid from middle of the neck to where the tail meets the body, added an inch for growth, and cut the leg of the pants that length.

How to make goat kid coats from thrift-store sweatpants, no sewing required

Then I cut out the bottom of the pants leg to accommodate the hind legs and the navel. For buck kids and newborns, you'll need to cut this deeper than the one pictured above; Phoenix was a month old when I made this one and she'd lost her umbilical cord by then.

How to make goat kid coats from thrift-store sweatpants, no sewing required

I held up the coat to a kid's side to "eyeball" the best spot for the front leg holes. Sometimes I have to adjust the holes - bigger, wider, longer, or more towards the center or the other way, but it just takes some time to get it right. If the holes are a bit bigger it really doesn't matter; an active kid needs non-restrictive clothes anyway.

The easiest way to make the second leg hole is to fold the coat in half and cut a hole that roughly matches the first hole.

How to make goat kid coats from thrift-store sweatpants, no sewing required

To put it on, put the kid's head through the neckhole, then one foreleg into one of the holes you cut, the other foreleg through the other hole, then pull the fabric back towards the tail. To remove, pull the back end off the head, then down and off the legs. (On older kids it's easier to put their forelegs in the holes first and then pull it over their head and back towards the tail. Newborn kids are easier to "fold up".) This design stays on pretty well and doesn't require straps or safety pins, both of which I try to avoid around goats. The cut edge of the fabric doesn't fray so it doesn't need hemming, but if it only lasts one kidding season, it was still a bargain at $1.

These have really been a blessing this year during the very cold winter we are having.

Newborn goat kids are fragile and are easily chilled, but heat lamps aren't safe. Make these quick-and-easy kid coats to keep your goat babies warm and cozy. No sewing required! #goat #homesteading

How to make no-sew kid coats to keep your goat kids warm in cold weather. | from Oak Hill Homestead

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  1. Cutest little coats ever! What a great idea.

  2. Thank you, Staci. They really do help the kids stay warm - and they helped me know which kid was which!

  3. Cute! I'm already worrying about how to keep our first goat kids ever warm, and they won't be born until March (which is still very icy in Wisconsin)! Now I have an idea. I'll make sure to have sweatpants on hand. :) Thanks!

  4. Erin, if you can find some thicker sweatpants they'd be even warmer. I haven't tried using fleece (such as pj's) but that might work too.

  5. What a great idea, thank you!!

  6. Thank you. It was an idea born of desperation several years ago. We usually have one really cold spell when it dips down to around 10 degrees (although it's usually in late January or early February, not this early in the winter!) People put blankets on their horses, so why not on the goat kids? I've made several different kinds over the years, but this is by far the easiest to make and the easiest to keep on the kid!

  7. Those are some lucky (and stylish) kids! Thanks for sharing this on the Maple Hill Hop! Stay toasty!

  8. Kathi-
    I LOVE this idea. Thanks for sharing it today on FARMGIRL FRIDAY. I am preparing for my first kidding season and the idea of sewing up a dozen coats was intimidating. This is going to be so helpful.

  9. I'm glad it will be of help to you, Heidi. Sewing a dozen coats would be a LOT of work! The very first kid coats I made years ago were sewn, and had a middle layer rather like a quilt... this is SO much easier.

  10. Anonymous10:18 AM

    Oh, I totally LOVE this! It has upcycling AND goats--who could ask for anything more?

    But seriously, my husband and I are thinking seriously about getting goats in a year or so (if we can swing a move) and this is something I would totally do. I just love this idea. I'll bet I can do something like this with kids' sweat pants for my little dogs who are in need of some more winter sweaters!

    I wanted you to know that I'm choosing this post to be featured as my favorite at the next From the Farm Blog Hop. Come on by on Friday and check out all the co-host favorites alongside yours!

    Kristi at The Mind to Homestead

  11. Thank you for featuring this post at From the Farm Blog Hop, Kristi! I bet this would work for your little dogs too. I've thought it probably would but my dogs are too big. ;-)

  12. Anonymous7:18 AM

    That is awesome! So easy and so cute!-Stephanie

  13. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead3:25 PM

    Thank you, Stephanie!

  14. Hi Kathi!
    I just love this idea! All these years I have been using toddler clothes that just don't quite fit my little ones, I am definitely going to raid my boy's drawers this weekend!
    Do you need to put a "bum" strap on it so it doesn't ride up in the back? That is one of the problems I tend to have when using a shirt, it hangs to low and it can ride up as they play.
    Thanks for the great idea!

    1. Tracy, I haven't had any trouble with the coats riding up or twisting on the kid's body. The sweatpant leg is essentially a "tube" and it stays put very well, but if you do need a bum strap it would be an easy thing to hand-stitch on. It was ingenious of you to try toddler clothing. I used an adult-sized t-shirt on an elderly doe and had the same trouble you described; it hung too low underneath. I made a knot on the top (on the doe's back) to gather up the slack, but yes, I still had the problem of it riding up towards the neck.

  15. This is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing

  16. Wish I had known this 12 years ago when our Holly was little. We had never had a goat before and my mom bought our daughter one for Christmas. She ended up with hypothermia and had to go to the vet. We had a heat lamp in her pen but still couldn't maintain it enough. We bought baby clothes to dress her in. She was adorable! She's a fat and Sassy 12 year old! But I still put a fleece vest on her when it's really cold.

  17. I don’t know how old this thread is, but thank you so much! Going to try this on my lambs with a mom who rejects a lamb every year. Not so much about warmth, but a trick ��. Although this may come in handy for another ewe that has weak thin lambs every year. I had four prepped in 10 minutes and just need to wait to see about the holes for the legs. That should only take a couple of mins to whip in the holes and put on, I usually have a hour or so before she decide ps which one to reject.

  18. Oh yes,my babies have sweaters from sleeves of old pjs, and i make blankets for them,they sleep all night,in a box by wood stove,my dogs have beds made from couch cushions, and they have blankets also.

  19. Thanks for sharing your ideas and pattern. I initially made ours from old wool socks, but then got idea to use sleeves of 2nd hand cashmere sweaters. They stretch great and keep them warm no matter the humidity. I sleep better knowing newborn babies are warm!


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