March 23, 2015

The Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat: Complete!

What’s better than speed sewing?

Many, many, things. Actually: most things. You certainly won’t see me on a race-against-the-clock sewing TV show, because I would undoubtedly sew everything upside down and back to front, and I’m not sure I could get away with claiming it was avant garde, even with the useful tool of my cute accent* (* only works in America).

And yet, I find myself doing it. After a few weeks of making very slow progress on my Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat, I decided to sprint for the finish and spent all of Saturday making it and Sunday morning bagging it. So….

Ta da!

Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat

Ag! I’m in love! As I mentioned previously, I’ve been after a navy blue duffel coat with white cord for aeons and I finally have the one of my dreams. The wool is an absolutely gorgeous double-cloth fleece beauty from Mood – I don’t generally have great luck buying online from them, so I ordered swatches and this one leapt out. It has a fantastic hand, drapes nicely and is deliciously spongy.

Grainline Studio Cascade Coat

I paired it with midnight blue Ambiance lining, and peeks of plaid (more on that below).

Theoretically I’m outside Grainline’s sizing, but when I looked at the finished measurements I realized I’d be OK thanks to the ease – and indeed, this is a straight size 18. Obviously there’s a lot less ease in the bust than called for but actually it’s just the right amount for me. Although I didn’t alter the pattern, next time there are two things I’ll do. First,Β I didn’t realize the hood is also graded up until after I’d made it – my bust may be a lot bigger than a size 0 but my head isn’t (!) so next time I’ll grade from the 18 at the neckline to a smaller size. Until then I can smuggle squirrels in my hood. Second, the sleeves run a little on the short side – I did a really small seam allowance for the sleeve facing but probably could have done with another half inch. Apart from that, the pattern is a dream – all the notches match, the instructions were straightforward, and I love the styling and details.

Grainline Studio Cascade Coat


Talking of details, let’s jump in! After extensive pondering and community consultation I went with a light brown/bronzy leather colour and made my own toggles using 2.5 mm off-white waxed Japanese cording from Pacific Trimming, and horn toggles from MyGann on Etsy. Β Then for the zipper band and inside bias, I used some lovely plaid cotton flannel from Grey’s Fabrics.Β I love the hidden zipper on the pattern – both practical for keeping you warm in the winter, and a place to add a fun accent.

Grainline Studio Cascade Coat

I underlined the entire body of the coat with Thinsulate, which, on the first outing out of the house, was much appreciated. At the last minute I also added shoulder pads, and I’m glad I did as it gives it a slightly Β more structured look.

I took quite a bit of time trying to get everything perfect, but alas, there will always be mistakes – in particular, when I bagged the lining I “took off” a little more on one side of the zipper than the other, but I didn’t notice until after I’d graded all the seams so there was no going back! For the famously tricky toggles I used a leather needle, and after an ill-fated attempt to use contrasting topstitching thread I reverted to matching regular thread which cunningly hides the wobbles.

Grainline Studio Cascade Coat

I will admit: this was a bit of a beast to get through the sewing machine. I have a pretty powerful Bernina which glides through jeans without a hiccup, but bagging this coat broke 6 (six!) heavy-duty needles, and involved me having to yank the layers through (yes I’m aware this is why the needles were breaking…). That’s mostly because there are many, many layers at the center front. So, just be aware that you’re going to need a fairly good machine, or to use a lighter weight fabric than me.

So the final verdict is: I’m thrilled with my new coat! It was much easier to make than my other coats thanks to the lack of bust shaping or tailoring, but I think it still looks pretty spiffy. And I look like Paddington.

Grainline Studio Cascade Coat

Do you have a soft spot for duffle coats, dear readers? Have you ever wanted to dress up like your favourite Peruvian bear? And are you as hopelessly addicted to coat-making as me? I’m already plotting my next: a traditional trenchcoat…

105 thoughts on “The Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat: Complete!

  1. Andie L. says:

    Your coat looks amazing! Great job. πŸ™‚

    I feel like coat projects just mean broken needles at some point…

    1. Thanks Andie! I really do love it. I guess I’ve broken needles on most coats, but this one was a bit of a doozy. Luckily needles are cheap πŸ˜‰

  2. i love the tartan piping and zip! great job!

    1. Thank you! It’s a similar tartan to the kilt I had to wear to school so it’s a little bit of a nostalgia for me.

  3. connieoi says:

    Wow. That looks great. It’s amazing how good a garment looks when it fits properly!! Especially for those of us who are shorter and rounder than the templates for off the peg clothes…

    1. I so agree! Learning to sew made such a difference to how I look in my clothes.

  4. Carol S says:

    Fabulous job. Fabulous coat. I’ve been dreaming of making one since you started. Hopefully for next winter…..

    1. Thanks for your kind words Carol. You should definitely give it a go! Just give yourself a good head start on winter so you maximise the time you can wear it πŸ™‚

  5. Tanya Maile says:

    Absolutely love it! My favorite Cascade by far!

  6. Katie says:

    Such a classic – you look cosy and adorable. Six needles broken – wow!

    1. Cosy and adorable was what I was going for! Thanks, Katie πŸ™‚

  7. Much more glamorous than Paddington! I love the idea of you smuggling squirrels. Giggle.

    1. I reckon I can fit at least 3 in there

  8. Ann says:

    Beautiful, classic coat! I love me a good duffle. I’ve hung onto my navy Gloverall for probably 20 years. It’s a little threadbare and 2 sizes too small, but alas, still lovely. Your tartan is very similar to the blackwatch flannel that lines mine.

    I bow to your tailoring skills.

    1. Thank you Ann! I think a good duffle coat really is timeless.

  9. Absolutely lovely, Jenny! I’m not sure Paddington, bless him, was ever this stylish. This coat looks sensational on you! Also, I’m obsessed with those secret bits of plaid–such a fun design choice.

    1. Thank you my dear! And yes although I tend towards the bold, I like the secret fun bits, even if that means I need to flash people πŸ™‚

  10. Michelle says:

    The coat looks amazing! And, you’ve absolutely nailed the Paddington look! πŸ˜€

  11. Hilde says:

    Great job! It looks very very cozy!

    1. It is indeed! I’m wearing it in minus 6 (celsius) weather today and I’m still toasty, so that Thinsulate really does its job well.

  12. Amanda S. says:

    I love it! And yes, I’m addicted to coat making but I live in Texas where one doesn’t need a coat for many months out of the year. Also I’m putting that wool on my wish list as it looks absolutely devine!

    1. I don’t know what I’d do if I lived somewhere warm! Make all the swimsuits, maybe? And yes you should definitely snap up some of this wool – it’s really fantastic quality.

  13. Sara says:

    Really nice! I’d love to make a coat like that, but out weather is rarely cool enough to justify it…

    1. You could make one out of a lighter cotton twill and not line it… !

  14. Rhoda K says:

    Wow – beautiful coat. I, too, love the tartan bias!

    1. Thanks Rhoda! I’m glad I found the patience to seam rip all my facings and put it back in πŸ™‚

  15. Jane says:

    This is my favourite Cascade duffle so far, by a MILE! I love everything about it and I especially like the closer fit – that’s exactly the fit I’d want if I had one. Actually it’s very similar to one I had years ago – I wore it all through university, I loved it to bits! And yes, you look just like a very stylish Paddington! xx

    1. Oh, thank you Jane! Funnily enough I think it’s very *you*! You should probably make it πŸ˜‰

  16. Sue says:

    Oh I love it! The peeking of plaid makes this just over the top lovely!

    1. Cheers Sue πŸ™‚

  17. IN. LOVE. This is my favorite version so far! So classic!

  18. Nakisha says:

    Piping is the best thing ever πŸ™‚ I love it! It looks so snuggly!

    1. Would you believe this is actually the first time I’ve used it? Call me a convert.

  19. V Reed says:

    Oh my gosh! Paddington would be so proud! The coat looks absolutely fabulous! Seeing yours, I’m nearly tempted to jump off and try one of my own, perhaps in a nice twill, as I don’t have a need for a heavy wool duffle living in Oklahoma.

    1. I think a twill version would be gorgeous

  20. Ruth says:

    It looks great, and so cosy! I love the flashes of plaid on the inside too.

  21. elana says:

    It’s so exciting to see the final coat all finished! Beautiful, fantastic, glorious job. I’m so inspired to go sew a coat right now.

    1. Thanks Elana, you should definitely ride the wave of enthusiasm and make yours straight away!

  22. Well I HADN’T been very interested in this pattern at all, but yours just looks incredible. And I’ve never made a coat before but I feel it’s something I should attempt before the winter hits… I’m predicting a cold one this year (not as cold as Boston, probably, but our housing situation is a bit different – central heating is almost unheard of)

    1. Cheers Sophie-Lee! I think it would be great for you actually because it lends itself to being slightly lighter than other coats, and it’s a really easy first project given the lack of shaping and tailoring. Go for it!

  23. Lori says:

    This is an amazing coat and thanks for all the information. You did a great job with the fabric choice and the plaid choices. Fabulous!

  24. Marike Smit says:

    Cozy navy blue goodness! LOVE!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Marike!

  25. It looks brilliant – absolutely adore the little bit of check. I think that’s my favourited make of yours – entirely Paddingtonesque!

    1. I think it’s going to be one of my faves too πŸ˜€

  26. michelleinsea says:

    I love your coat! It’s really fun and it looks great on you!

    1. Thanks Michelle! It’s a lot easier than the Leanne Marshall puzzle so if you could do that, this would be a breeze!

  27. I LOVE THIS HARD. πŸ™‚ Great job.

    1. thanks, me too πŸ˜€

  28. Robin says:

    beautiful work! I love everything about it and it looks wonderful on you.

    1. Thanks Robin! I’m sure it’s going to get a lot of wear

  29. Rachel says:

    THIS IS AMAZING! I love the coat and simple and pretty colour ways! and nice toggles.. Can’t wait til it gets colder in Aus to sew this baby up… πŸ™‚

    1. I’ve been envious of all the summer photos coming from Australia but I’m sure this pattern is a great way to ease yourself into winter

  30. suzybeesew says:

    It turned out fantastic – I love the blue coating you used and the rope instead of the leather cording. The zipper is something I want to add when I make another one, it just makes the front sit so much smoother than only having the toggles.

    1. Thanks Amber! I love the zip feature – and it’s nice to do something fun with πŸ™‚

  31. Ginger says:

    Beautiful coat. This is such a classic style. I’m sure you will enjoy wearing it for many years.

    1. Thanks! I hope it lasts me a long time

  32. Joen says:

    Beautiful! Maybe you could find a faux fur to line your hood it may take up the excess room in the hood and make it more comfortable for you.

    1. That’s not a bad idea in our frigid Boston winters!

  33. Amy says:

    I love that navy blue, particular with the peek of plaid. I’ve been dreaming of making my husband a navy blue duffle coat and me a gray one, so I’ll have to swatch the fabric you used. I’ve had my eye on this pattern since it came out (I just love the addition of the zipper!), but I haven’t bitten yet. I remember you asking (on Instagram?) about the way the placket flips out at the bottom. I also noticed it did that on Jen’s first version of the coat (a few years ago). Now that I see it on you, it doesn’t really bother me since I’m in such awe of how awesome it is, but I was wondering what you tried and how you felt about it now?

    1. Oh yes definitely swatch it and see what you think – it’s certainly pretty hefty, maybe too much for Seattle, but you should give it a go.

      In terms of the placket flip – yeah I’m not sure what the solution is. As you said, i’ve seen it on Heather Lou’s version and on some of Jen’s earliest versions so clearly there’s something about the construction with the front center band that’s causing it. I considered putting a weight inside it (I did that in my first coat) but I’m not sure that would make a difference because it’s swinging out rather than up. That said: I barely notice it when I’m wearing it, so I think I’ll just leave be πŸ™‚

  34. It looks lovely, very cozy. Just think of the silver lining of the giant hood – an alternative to the squirrels would be a show stopping pompom hat…..

    1. I have been wearing it with my ginormous fur hat but I didn’t want to get the piss taken out of me πŸ˜‰

  35. That is a *seriously* gorgeous coat!! And finished just in time :). Congrats on a beautiful make!

    1. Believe it or not it’s still slightly too cold to wear it every day in Boston, so I call that a win πŸ™‚

  36. bimbleandpimble says:

    Lady, you are Peruvian bear chic here! Epic work- I love the plaid zipper stealth. Simply rad πŸ˜€

  37. Louise says:

    I’ve been lurking various sewing blogs for ages but never felt the urge to add a comment … until now. Your coat is completely gorgeous. I absolutely love it and it has finally persuaded me to have a go at coat-making myself. If my Cascade looks even half as good as yours I’ll be thrilled!

    1. Thanks for de-lurking, and welcome! You should definitely give this a go – it’s a super first coat project. I forgot to mention it but the sleeves also went in like a dream, which is usually the hardest part of making a coat. Good luck!

  38. Emily says:

    That looks great! I am inspired to make one…

    1. Thanks Emily – you should!

  39. Gina says:

    I love duffle coats! I had a purple one a few years ago that I wore to death – literally. I’ve been wanting to make one ever since, and I definitely want to make one of these for next winter. Your version is just perfect!

    1. There’s nothing quite so awesome as a classic duffle coat!

  40. Bunny says:

    This is fabulous, Jenny. Everything about it is just perfect on you. Great work, woman.

  41. Kassi Kasinger says:

    Beautiful coat. As always, you look chic and effortless.

  42. Simply beautiful! I love the plaid on the zipper section. It is such a beautiful detail.

  43. Laura says:

    Cool! It’s a life goal of mine to look like paddington…

  44. oonaballoona says:

    beeyootiful, i love that plaid peek! if i ever make one of these (and i’m sorely tempted by these BEAUTIES everywhere) i’m going for your size hood. there’s a lot of hair round here to accommodate.

  45. dokucug says:

    It is absolutely perfect!

  46. gingermakes says:

    I can’t even deal with how much I love this coat. It’s absolutely fabulous! I was burned out after back-to-back Gerard coats, but oh, how I wish I was wearing this coat right now!!!

    1. Aw thanks Sonja! It would totally suit you…. Winter 2015!

  47. amy brice says:

    WHAT? you made your own toggles? This coat is amazing. The fit looks perfect on you. I am impressed πŸ™‚

    1. Well I “made” them in as much as I bought the leather, cord and actual horn toggles separately and put them together πŸ˜€

  48. Mainelydad says:

    Your coat is spectacular. I love the tartan accent, and the navy color is perfect on you.

    1. Thank you! I love your latest Watanabe jacket too πŸ˜€

  49. Sally says:

    Fantastic coat!!! I love love love this pattern and you really made it into something timeless – the color, fabric, plaid, lining, toggles – just everything! Bravo! πŸ™‚

  50. Sewniptuck says:

    so lovely, what a beautiful green lining

    1. Thank you! I wear it all the time.

  51. Alessa says:

    It looks great and I love the little details like the hidden plaid and leather toggles!

  52. Ashley says:

    You’ve done such an amazing job on this coat, and it looks great on you! I’m just about to start making my own. Did you need to add the seam allowance or is it included?
    P.S. I listened to you on Seamwork Radio and your story is an inspiration.

    1. Hi Ashley – yes seam allowance is included in all Grainline patterns

      1. Sarah Bailey says:

        Good to know, thanks!

  53. Candace says:

    I’ve been drooling over this pattern for a while now and I’ve fallen for it all over again! Going to check out all your posts about the process and see if I can psych myself into it (maybe in a few weeks… ha!)

  54. Angela says:

    Thanks for reposting this, it looks great on you! I think once I’m a bit better sewer I will try it. The link to the pattern seems to have changed. It came up with an error but can be found on the site.

  55. Jennifer Triadafillou says:

    I’m so glad I found your site! I’ve seen mentions of you on CSC, but alas, never meandered past that.

    I have the wonkiest body EVER! I’m 5’5″, 100lbs, 29″ high bust, 35″ full bust, 24.5″ waist, with a 35.5″ protruding derriΓ¨re (which is French for big ole bubble butt.) I’m seriously ready to break my new Pfaff Performance 5.2 because, ya know, it’s the sewing machine’s fault XD. Did I mention I have these wide-yet-bony shoulders that are built for a linebacker? Yeah, I’m weirdly shaped.

    And what do I decide to do? I decided to make this coat, Papercut’s Rigel, and/or Papercut’s Waver as Christmas gifts. I figure sewing for others will be easier than criticizing myself. WRONG!

    My cousin/bff/sista from another misty is an upside down triangle shape! AAAHHHHGGG!!!!! How do I alter for that shape? She’s skinny as heck, but with big boobs and waist. My other sista is a triangle and I can do Sewaholic’s Minoru for her.

    Sewing God was listening and she brought me to you, a triangle that is a GENIUS!!!! You’re a sewing wizard/guru and I wish to the heavens you’ll do a fit class is the greater Seattle area, or Las Vegas when I move back!

    This coat is beautiful and the details are spot-on. You won’t find RTW like this, and it’s the special little internal details that make me smile whenever I take off my coats and jackets.

    I do need to look at Cashmerette for a jacket or coat pattern. My final bestie is RTW 26. She’s easy to fit, if only a pattern would have her size. I may just buy some of your patterns to sew up for her anyways, because you have that specialty.

    Truly, I should’ve emailed this and I’m sorry it’s so long. I’m so excited to go through the rest of your blog for sewing tips, as I’m sure there’s some gems in here.

    Thank you so much, and I’m in love with your Grainline Cascade!!!

Let me know what you think!