Cascade Duffle Coat – Finale



I sewed leather –  I did and I liked it! All pics taken at beloved Bondi by the man of the house and his new DSLR. It was windy – see hair for evidence!

You’d be forgiven for thinking this damned coat took forever, but I have to admit there’s been some queue jumping. Toggles were elusive. Oh sure, Spotty had daggy wooden ones, but not 3 and no suitable cord. My saviour – All Buttons Great and Small  had a notable absence of delicious toggles, though I did buy 3 plastic ‘kids crayon blue’ ones that looked appallingly cheap once paired with the fabric – blah!

So then to 3 other button sellers – nope. Buggar this, global warming has accelerated with all the carbon emitted from my car in search of the elusive toggle. Deep breath, inhale… exhale… bought some FIMO. Yep, I made marbled toggles in blue and white. Waited till the following weekend for a drill to make holes and the backs of them blew out – exploded – aaaaargh! Princess to the rescue, cos she flew home from school for a week ‘sick’. Honestly, I DID NOT just bring her home to play ‘toggle elf’. Princesses’ handmade toggles were made with holes insitu and were perfect. Place your orders now folks – she’s a whizz!


The cord was excruciatingly elusive though. I declare Australia is in the duffle coat making shadow, no lovely toggles, no lovely cords. I must have purchased many metres of yachting sheet (thats yachtie speak for ropes FYI!). Ships chandlers were curious and could not fathom what I wanted with 1 metre of “that pretty red one please”. It was relatively entertaining. Thank you to the gentleman at Fenners haberdashery in Mona Vale – of all places – the northern beaches. He had 3 cords that were perfect. In real life the cord is less yellow, more off white.


Initially I tried interfaced Nani Iro cotton for the zipper band – yeuuk! Just not the vibe I was after and so I trundled over to NSW Leather and wrangled me $30 worth of sheep hide! So buttery soft and stretchy It had to be interfaced; but not before I’d done my research – it worked! I ironed the crap outta that leather (avec teflon plate), almost concerned I’d ironed the grain out of it. It started looking almost like pleather. How clever, I’ve created imitation pleather with leather, its light as a feather in any old weather, I look so put together and now poor Dr Seuss is turning over in his grave… But seriously – its beautiful to work with. Of course there are no redos, but if you’ve judiciously toiled your pattern, I recommend you jump in, its not as tricky as it seems!



Grainline’s Cascade Duffle Coat is undarted and none apparent in the back yoke, everything is square. I eased the bejeezus outta the front lower armscye, almost 2cm over 3cm, it pressed flat with a bit of coercion and gave the chesticles some breathing space and reduced impending side boob gaposis. Many other adjustments to list but… yawn!


fabric – wool/plastic fantastic something or other from Spotlight $8.95/m

fully fused by hand – next time I’ll take it to the block fusing man, cos – effort.

lining – double faced stretch satin cos I had it in ‘stock’, too heavy in reality – this thing justifies excess baggage at check in. Always use the stretch horizontally if you’re forced down the spandex route, otherwise it will hang down below your backside like droopy drawers.

Hacks – raised the shoulder point 1cm to accommodate shoulder pads. Also added sleeve heads.


Gripes – what is with the excess hood lining? The sew-along has you ‘pleat’ the hood lining because its too big having not accounted for the facing attached to it. Next time I’ll recut the hood lining subtracting the facing – this must have been an oversight rather than an intentional design choice me thinks.


Patch pockets – hand applied with pick stitching though next time I’d do them by machine because I don’t think they justified the time spent. Thank you to Bree from Bernina who came to my house and talked me down off the ledge over my sewing machine battle. I can now confidently apply a pocket invisibly with a hemstitch I didn’t know I had!! Jan O’me is in for a routine medical.

Verdict – love at first wear, I am one happy camper in this coat! Bring on the UK trip I say! AAAAnd… Happy Birthday to me tomorrow – its a biggie! 21 again!

could the photographer pls tell me my pants are rolled unevenly please!
could the photographer pls tell me my pants are rolled unevenly please!
gratuitous Bondi beach panorama - 'cos new camera!
gratuitous Bondi beach panorama – ‘cos new camera!


Add yours →

  1. Oh no…Lesley, I have recently pinned a duffle of this shape in my Pinterest (a classic navy one on Michelle Williams) and now I have to make one, too, in addition to the Jackie coat. This is stunning and I love every detail you added. And princess’s toggles! Absolutely fabulous! PS I would have guessed 18 rather than 21. Happy B-day and buon viaggio before I forget. PPS I remember how stunning all of the beaches are in Sydney. It’s such a gorgeous city. I have dreams of running the City to Surf again.

    • PS I have to ask you about the easing for the chesticles. Is that really all that was required to get the extra space – no pattern adjustments? I should be better at FBAs given that I need to do them, but I’ve been thinking about how to do undarted adjustments.

      • Well, it worked is all I can say. The coat is relatively unfitted and I was reluctant to go a size bigger, but being just a little smaller in the chest, by 2cm from memory, seemed to fit well. I did toile it though S as you would I’m sure. There is a no dart FBA on the curvy sewing network, but really I didn’t do anything other than ease the flappy bit at the armscye! Good Luck with it. Oooh, I love the Vogue Designer peacoat they’re doing a sew-along right now. Its an Anne Klein coat and looks tres chic!

      • Oh no…don’t give me more choice…I love the Vogue coat but for practical reasons the longer duffel is probably a more sensible make for me (cold and all). Thanks for the additional info!

  2. Happy Birthday! Fabulously done! I love it ! Enjoy! Great photographs as well!
    Joyce 🇨🇦

  3. Lovely big photos showing your meticulous work. Send those over to Grainline; it really shows off the nice design.

    I’m very envious of the sunshine you’re getting. The way the weather is here today, you’ll need a raincoat (the next project?) and a boat for your forthcoming visit.

    Have a very happy birthday!

  4. Its lovely Lesley! Those leather zipper bands are so cool, what an awesome idea. I feel your pain about the toggles, I think I bought the last three black toggle buttons in Wellington! Then it took me forever to find cord I liked too. Your hand made ones look perfect, I would never have thought of fimo! Enjoy your trip, and Happy Birthday 🙂

  5. Your so clever! Have fun in Ol’ Blighty! X

  6. These husband-photographers never seem to spot things like uneven cuff, billowing hair or tucked in knickers, do they?
    As for the duffle coat – it is a triumph, even if the toggle story ran and ran. With explosions. But what a great result. I wish you a very happy birthday and I am so looking forward to your visit over here. It was sunny today – we had a barbeque and Eton Mess – so you may just be lucky.

  7. sewitorthrowit 23/10/2015 — 8:36 am

    This coat is beautiful. And handmade toggles! Love it.

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