Monday, July 13, 2015

Many wrongs make a right

I couldn't honestly say for the title of this blog post, "2 wrongs make a right" because it would give you the mistaken illusion that I only made one or two minor mistakes with this garment.

The truth: I unpicked at least a dozen seams and that's not even counting genuine problems like the thick fabric throwing out the presser foot and making a wonky seam; 4 yes 4 needles breaking before I switched to a microtex and even it got blunt half way through and needed changing; the needle getting stuck and throwing out the tension; - there were pointless mindless mistakes such as sewing the wrong sleeves into the wrong holes, sewing in pieces upside down and back to front and inside out   (repeat several times).

The waltz of mis-steps began with deciding that the fabric was not quite the right colour and deciding to dye it a cooler teal rather than the slightly warm blue it started of as.

The act of dyeing turned the lightly felted wool into thick spongey boiled wool.  Of course, I had already spend several hours tracing and altering another pattern only to realise 1) I no longer had enough fabric because it has shrunk so dramatically and 2) the new fabric was too heavy to make into a coat.

That's when I thought, if life serves you boiled wool, make a duffel coat.

I looked around at duffel coat patterns and choose this one from Ottobre  "some fresh air" wool duffel coat, Ottobre 05-2011-18  mainly because it was there and it was free.

The Ottobre duffel coat is actually just a "2 dot" pattern which means it is considered to be suitable for advanced beginners.  The original pattern is quite easy, actually. I complicated it enormously be deciding that a duffel coat was not a duffel coat without yokes (I drafted these in), that no coat worth its salt should have the lining extend to the edges (I drafted in facings) and then of course I decided it would be more flattering if I could fit it more precisely to my shape and added bust darts, and waist shaping darts front and back.

I also narrowed the shoulder line and reduced the size of the hood, which, so wide and high is only a look that the grim reaper can pull off.

Overall I'm happy with it -  I would never attempt this kind of pattern again without an industrial machine though - the fabric was too hard to handle on my domestic model.

The lining fabric is a beautiful viscose and heats up very quickly to the body. In the Ottobre version they used raincoat fabric as lining. Shiver. 


  1. Well you look as cute as Paddington with your lovely duffle coat and I am once again in awe of all your fancy modifications. The pockets look like they could fit plenty of marmalade sandwiches. Also, the sleeves look like they have enough movement to allow you to wield an oversize scythe, should you want to accentuate the hood!

    1. It is snuggly warm Miss Smith but the hood was huge before I took it in. I'm rather glad it didn't fit as that would mean I would have to have a very large head indeed. Or be on a mission from the underworld.

  2. What a great coat! You do look as cute as Paddington! I adore the sense of humor you and your sister share.