Grainline Cascade Duffle, aka the Coat of My Dreams!

Ummmm, if you’re been around this blog at all before, you probably know that I loooooove coats. I love making them, I love wearing them, I love thinking about them! So it’s a little embarrassing to tell you that this coat has been in the works for nearly two years! Whoops! I took advantage of the break between the fall and spring semesters to dig out this UFO and sew it up, and wow, I’m so pumped that I did! It’s been a soul-crushing month/year/you name it, so it was nice to have a project to force myself to work on instead of obsessively reading news all day every day.

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes


This is the Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat, view B. I snapped up the pattern as soon as it was released, but this was in late winter 2015 and I tucked it away, planning to make it in the fall when it was seasonally-appropriate to make it and wear it right away. Last January I got motivated to start this coat, so I steamed the fabric, cut out all the pieces, fused everything, and then… got distracted by a big costuming project with a looming deadline (also a coat! at least it was on theme!) and stuffed it into my cedar chest, where it sat for ages, until I had to pack it up to move. I finally pulled it out a few weeks ago, nearly a year after I’d cut everything out!

A note to PDF users: this might not be super fun for you. Uncharacteristically, I bought a hard copy of the pattern- I just couldn’t face the thought of printing and taping that many sheets of paper! I was so glad I did, because life is just too short to spend it all putting together a pattern orrrrr tracing (I admit it- I was saucy and cut the pattern out without tracing… I REALLLLLLY hate tracing).

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes


The fabric I used is a wool coating from Mood Fabrics NYC that I bought ages ago, intending to use it to make the Named Yona Wrap Coat. I stalled on that project when I couldn’t think of a way to match the stripes nicely across a two-piece raglan sleeve. When the Cascade pattern was released, I was so pumped that I hadn’t used this fabric for anything else! I really love the combination of colors in this coat- navy, camel, cream, and grey. I can wear it with so many different things in my closet!

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes

I used this sunback lining from B&J Fabrics (I’m pretty certain it’s this exact one, although I bought it in store instead of online). Sunback is sometimes called “kasha”; it’s a flannel-backed satin, so it’s smooth and slippery like lining fabric on one side, and has a brushed nap on the other. This particular type is 51% acetate and 49% cotton. I’m partial to it for coats as it adds some extra warmth.

For me, personally, sunback isn’t enough for a winter coat, so I also interlined it using lambswool from Steinlauf & Stoller. I just used a single layer (it’s sold in a sort of double layer, so you could easily cut out double layers if you were so inclined). Steinlauf & Stoller doesn’t sell online, but you can call them and order over the phone if you can’t find lambswool locally.

I used my usual coat interfacing, Pro-Weft Supreme Medium-Weight from Fashion Sewing Supply.

For the coat trimmings, I used a YKK separating zipper from my favorite zipper source in the Garment District, SIL Thread. I bought toggles from Pacific Trimming. The pattern includes templates if you want to cut your own leather/faux leather and make toggles yourself, but that wasn’t something I wanted to get involved with at all! For the zipper bands, I used one of my favorite Japanese cottons from my shop for a little peep of print whenever my coat is open. And I lined my pockets with bits of flannel leftover from one of my favorite Archer buttondowns. 🙂

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes


I cut out a size 4, which is my usual Grainline size (my hips fall into a smaller size on their chart, but I don’t mind some extra wearing ease for a coat). I didn’t want to make a muslin, since it’s kind of pointless to do that unless you’ve got a heavier-weight fabric that’s similar to coating. Instead, I just measured the flat pattern pieces and compared those measurements to another coat in my closet. I was under the impression that I’d done my usual 1/2″ narrow shoulder adjustment, buuuut, upon further review, I didn’t. That’s one drawback to sewing up a project a year after cutting it out- you can have a little confusion! 😀 My only sizing adjustment was to lengthen the sleeves by 1/2″. It probably wasn’t necessary, but too-short sleeves drive me CRAZY, so it seemed like the right thing to do.

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes


I needed to make some pattern alterations to be able to use this wide stripe efficiently. The original pattern has a yoke and a low waist seam, but I combined these three pattern pieces so that I could cut out the coat back and fronts as just one piece. It would have been a real pain in the neck to try to balance the stripes across three pattern pieces, and it would have sucked up way too much fabric. I cheated a bit and cut the center hood piece on the cross grain so that it’s just solid grey- I didn’t want to have too much stripe chaos going on back there!

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes

Another modification I made was to draft new pockets. I really don’t like standard patch pockets! I put them on my first Gerard coat, as the pattern instructed, but they’re annoying to put your hands into and I really use my pockets since I have a pretty long walk to and from the subway. My original thought was to swap the patch pockets out for welt pockets, but when I started to look at images of duffle coats for inspiration, they ALL had patch pockets. I thought the coat might look kind of naked or weird with welt pockets, so I took inspiration from the kangaroo pockets that you usually see on hooded sweatshirts and drafted something similar to those, with a triangular angle to it to slightly mimic the toggles that I used. I’m really happy with the final pockets! They’re really comfortable to use, they’re super warm, since they’re flannel-lined, and they have room to jam in a pair of fingerless gloves, keys, and my phone. I’m not gonna lie, though, it was a total brain-bender to figure out how to draft a pocket piece with a self-facing, and a complementing lining piece! My brain just doesn’t work that way, so I had to mock up pieces with paper and fold them until I could figure out how to do it.

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes

The final change I made to the pattern was the position of the pockets. They are meant to sit lower down, about 1/3 on the cream stripe and 2/3 on the bottom navy stripe. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut the pockets that way and match the stripes. Not matching wasn’t an option, so instead I opted to position them higher and honestly, it doesn’t feel weird to have them sit higher. It feels comfortable, so it’s all good!

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes

Tips & Techniques:

As I mentioned briefly above, I interlined the coat with lambswool. I referenced my favorite tailoring book, The Complete Book of Tailoring, (Amazon, but not an affiliate link) by everyone’s favorite sassy seamstress, Adele P. Margolis. If you’re into classic tailoring, I definitely recommend this book- it’s out of print, but you can pick up used copies for less than $20. I followed her directions for inserting each piece individually by hand and catch-stitching it to the very edge of the pressed seam allowance, which makes for about the least-bulky results imaginable. It was slow, but totally worth it in the end. I used the garment pattern pieces to cut out the coat front and back, and I also cut out the upper sleeve, but after basting it in, I thought it would make my sleeves too constricting. Word of warning: the sleeves aren’t for the bicep-fabulous! They’re pretty slim-fitting, which actually looks really nice with the roomy silhouette of the coat, but if you know your way around the gym, you probably want to give yourself some extra room.

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes

The thing I dreaded the most about making this coat was stitching on the toggles. I really, really, really didn’t want to do it! It stressed me out to think about not being able to seam rip them if they didn’t go on straight. I bought an extra one, which Jen recommends, to do a dry run before sewing one on the actual coat, and I noticed that the foot sort of stuck to the exposed parts of the toggle. Jen mentioned that some people put scotch tape on their sewing feet, but she didn’t do that because she didn’t want to leave any residue. So I decided to just put tape on the toggle itself, over every area that the presser foot would touch, which worked a charm. I used my 1/8″ edgestitching foot, a leather needle, and upholstery thread (bought from Pacific Trimming… it’s not as thick or stiff as the thread we buy at my upholstery job). My stitching is really ugly and I’m definitely not going to show you a closeup, but I’ve just vowed not to look too closely at the toggles so that it won’t bug me too much. 🙂

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes

The pattern instructions for the bagged lining don’t tell you to hem the coat, but I went ahead and did a blind hem by hand for added structure and stability.

Final Thoughts:

I’m super, super happy with this coat, and I’ve worn it every day since I finished it a week or so ago! It’s such a nice, classic style, and I’m really excited to wear it for years to come! I would recommend this pattern to anyone who wants to tackle a coat, and if you get stumped by the written instructions, you can always reference the photos in the sewalong hosted on the Grainline blog. I probably can’t make any more coats at this point, since my closet is fairly well stuffed with them, but this actually fills the hole left by my old peacoat, which was the perfect thing to wear in between jacket and parka weather. And I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to turn a UFO into a garment! I felt so productive getting this out of a bag and into my closet!

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes


In case you’re curious, the hat I’m wearing in these pics is my favorite cold weather hat, the Fidra pattern by Gudrun Johnston. It’s knit up in bulky Brooklyn Tweed Quarry (colorway: Lazulite), so it’s both a fast knit and really warm for bitter days. I made it about a year ago, and I’m still loving it!

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat | Ginger Makes

OK, friends, what have you been making these days? Anybody obsessed with coat making? Planning your first attempt at one? Do tell! As for me, it’s back to school now, so this is probably my last big/fun project for some time! Boooooo! 😦

Autumn/Winter Daydreaming: Coats, Coats, and More Coats!

Hi, dudes! Hope your weekends are all off to a great start! I’ve been in a bit of a sewing pickle lately… it seems too late in the season to keep sewing summer clothes, but it’s been so hot lately that it’s not much fun sewing cool weather clothes! I’ve made a couple of fall pieces that I haven’t worn or photographed, but I’m just not feeling too inspired to sew more at the moment. So, what have I been doing instead, you ask? Daydreaming about coats!

I put together a quick list of what I wanted to make this fall and winter, and it turns out that all I want to make is coats! Off the top of my head, I came up with a list of six (SIX!!!) coats/jackets that I want to sew (only four were for me, but still). Shocking! I’m making a jacket for my mom and one for my sister, using Pauline Alice’s Ninot jacket pattern, but I really need to narrow down options for myself. [ETA: There’s a discount code for Pauline’s shop good until Sun 9/7 PM- use “1YEAR” for 20% off!!] So I thought it would be fun to have an old-fashioned pattern geek-out focused on outerwear! It’s a long post, but if you make it to the end, there’s a fun surprise! (Note: all photos are property of their respective pattern companies, and are used with permission).

Pauline Alice Ninot Jacket

I already have the Gerard coat pattern by République du Chiffon. Dudes, I love this style. It’s really, really (probably intentionally) similar to an Isabel Marant coat that I love so much that it makes me feel kind of weird and sweaty. (Sidebar: if I were rich and frivolous, Isabel Marant would take ALL my money. Good thing I can sew!) I’m not 100% sold on the dropped-shoulder look on me, but I still want to try this pattern. (If you’re not sold on this pattern yet, check out this version on the Made by 6 blog! If I ever saw her in real life in that jacket I would grab it and run!) Bonus: this pattern is in English, so if you’ve been wanting to try RDC but don’t speak French, here’s your chance!

République du Chiffon Gérard

Next up, the Yona Wrap Coat by Named. Setting aside the irritating premise of a “Native American-inspired” collection (it’s not like there’s a giant group of “Native Americans” with one singular history and culture, people!), I’m drawn to this coat. It’s similar to the Gerard coat, but has one of my favorite details, a raglan sleeve, plus a fun cocoon-y shape. I also really like the fabric they used in the sample. Stripes FTW!

Named Yona Wrap Coat

Here’s another pattern I found that’s super cute- the Malu Coat, by Schnittchen. I’ve never used one of their patterns, but I really like this look. I rarely like/use hoods (I prefer a stand-up collar and a hat), but this one just looks so cozy and sweet.

Schnittchen Malu Coat

Here’s a fun one! It’s a new Burda plus size pattern, Paneled Wrap Cardigan 9/2014 (but let’s be honest, it’s totally a coat). Check out the line drawing- this design is chock-full of delicious seamlines! Wouldn’t this look amazing in a soft gray wool with tons and tons of topstitching?

Burda Paneled Wrap Cardigan (Plus Size) 9/2014 #137

Alright, I’ll reluctantly leave my favorite territory, Slouchy Coat Land, and venture into more classic territory. Here’s a timeless coat, V8884. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at sewing a trench coat for the longest time, but I have a RTW one from my pre-sewing days and can’t really justify owning two trench coats. Someday when mine dies I’ll sew one up… wouldn’t it be fun to have one in a crazy color?

Vogue V8884

OK, I didn’t just pick this next one because it’s animal print… but that didn’t hurt. This is Vogue V1365, a double-breasted wrap coat. There’s something so glamorous about a coat like this- I’d pair it with a floppy felt hat and oversized glasses and let everyone (OK, no one) think I’m an undercover starlet!

Vogue V1365

Speaking of classics, it doesn’t get more classic than Burda’s Barbour jacket for fellas! I’m not sure I’m up to the task of stitching up a coat for Man Friend, but I loooooooooooooove a man in a Barbour, so maybe I should just go for it! I’ll definitely do it if I come across some nice waxed cotton in my travels. Gorgeous!

Burda Men’s Barbour Jacket 10/2010 #137

OK, so this one is an imaginary pattern, but I’m crossing my fingers that Jen from Grainline releases a pattern for her delicious toggle coat! Does it make me a stalker to admit that I already have fabric set aside for one of these? Please don’t take out a restraining order on me, Jen! I just want my own Paddington Bear coat!!! [ETA: Pattern coming for this coat in the fall!!!!!]

Grainline Studio Northwoods Toggle Coat

Alright, that brings us to the end of this parade ‘o’ coats, so here’s your surprise! When I wrote to Silke of Schnittchen fame for permission to use her photos, she offered to give away THREE Malu coat patterns to Ginger Makes readers! How sweet is that! They’re not even PDFs- they’re paper patterns- and shipping is included! So, if you’d like to be entered to win, click here and give me your name and email! I’ll close the giveaway on Friday, September 12th at noon EST and choose three winners at random shortly thereafter. Good luck!

OK, it’s question time! Did you find any of these looks inspiring? What are your favorite coat patterns? Do you like sewing outerwear? Any tips or plans for sewing coats or jackets? What’s on your sewing table?