Back in November I got it in my head to make a bright plaid duffle coat–and here it is! It was definitely the most involved project I’ve ever done, in terms of steps and specialty materials, but nothing about this was really very complicated. It just took time, which was a lovely way to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s. (It also helped that my Bernina sewed through everything beautifully and without complaint. Unasked-for life advice: Buy the deluxe sewing machine, you will never regret it.)

Anyway! Here is my NEW COAT:


The pattern includes pieces to interface strategic points of wear (front and back yokes, armscyes, behind the pockets) but I added a back stay out of muslin, as well. I debated interfacing the full fronts but decided against it; we’ll see if I regret this and the fronts gets droopy.

I used weft interfacing everywhere except the shoulders and back yoke,where I switched to hair canvas. I also added shoulder pads and the first sleeve heads I’ve ever used (following this how-to).

The combo of hair canvas, shoulder pads, and sleeve heads makes for a heavily tailored shoulder–here it is standing up on its own (!).

I’m pretty happy with how the tailoring additions worked, though: I cut a straight size 12 and the shoulders were just a hair too big. I opted to keep them too big because I plan to keep lifting, so the shoulder pads and sleeve heads help to fill out that extra quarter inch until my muscles do.


Part of what made this such a fun project to get wrapped up in was planning and executing the details to make it fancy, like a $400 ready-to-wear J. Crew coat. I added satin bias trim in between the lining and the facing, and I added a double welt interior chest pocket (following this tutorial).

I’m also really tickled by the zipper I found. This is a YKK “Everbright” with a custom pull, which I didn’t think you could get outside of the Garment District. But then I stumbled on Zipper and Thread out of New Jersey, who will do single zippers in a custom length with your choice of pull.

I also added a coat chain for hanging, for even more fanciness:

This was just beautifully drafted. I already knew the Grainline block works well for my body (I didn’t even have to lengthen the sleeves!) but I was really impressed by how everything went together so precisely. The faced hems were a revelation and the only way I’m doing a bagged lining ever again–they ensure an even turn and no droopy hem.

I have just two minor quibbles–one is that Grainline just adds a bottom extension to the shorter version to get a long version, rather than including a new pattern piece for the longer version (I drafted one anyway to eliminate that seam). My other issue is that the underlap of the front zipper is the same size as the overlap, which means you have to press like hell to get the center front to lie flat. Including a separate piece for the underlap that’s a little smaller to accommodate for turn of cloth would have been more in line with how precisely drafted the rest of this is.


I love this coat. I don’t think I realized it would be close to a 30 hour project so I kind of wish I had splashed out on slightly nicer fabric, but I do love all the Bob Ross colors in it. While making it, I was also worried the style would be a little too classic/preppy to work with my wardrobe, but it looks good with all my boots and knit tops.


Pattern – Cascade Duffle Coat from Grainline Studio
Coat fabric –
Quilted lining and fusible hair canvas – Farmhouse Fabrics
Sleeve lining – stash
Weft interfacing, shoulder pads, and sleeve heads – Wawak
Toggle closures and satin bias trim – Pacific Trim
Coat chain – Etsy
#5 separating zipper – Zipper and Thread