Hot! A Great BRRRRRitain Duffle Coat | Veronica Darling



The Facts 

Fabric:  Thrifted Red Heavy Linen, $5; thrifted tartan knit, $0.20; thrifted green waffle knit $1
Patterns: Simplicity 5965, thrifted $.10
Year: 1965
Notions: Vintage zipper, $0.20; thrifted quilt batting, $2; toggles $3.50 a pair
Time to complete: 8 hours (plus 8 hours thinking time!)
First worn: May 2011
Wear again? Yes, it's very warm!

Total Cost: ~$18.90

I've been thinking of this Duffle Coat for over a month before it was made, so please be wary that I am lovestruck this week!

Yay for all you fine UK seamstresses for meeting up in London meaning we had some great colours to choose from this week! And for me, the best part of the Union Jack for me is the colour red! As you may know, Australia is part of the Commonwealth, and we have the Union Jack in our left corner of our flag, which is very much red, white and blue.

P1060489My duffle coat started as a little dream when we were planning Book Week, and I found this red linen (that's super heavy) in my stash, thinking of Little Red Riding Hood (obvious choice) or Paddington Bear! Obviously, I put the project on hold for a bit, as I really needed time to think about it as I just don't make jackets, and I really wanted to make sure it was warm. It's getting very cold in Melbourne lately, so had to think how to make that heavy linen warmer.

Over the weeks, I paired it with different lining fabrics from the stash and spent a lot more time thinking. I thought about a lot of you seamstresses following Gertie's Lady Grey Sew Along, and then I'd also read Peter's Toggle Coat making process too recently, so I had batting and bulk on the braing! In the back of my cupboard, I had some quilt batting that I'd found at an op shop last year. You know when you thrift stuff just because it's there right then and there, and will probably be gone if you want to buy it later!?

So, you could probably say my planning period was just as much as the sewing time!


P1060501But the reasons why I had to stop and think a LOT:

– I'd never batted or quilted a thing before!

– Never self drafted a lining to a jacket (this pattern is just the outer shell)

– Never sewn or even bought duffle coat toggles before!


I didn't have enough of the hood lining fabric to line the whole jacket, so I used a green waffle knit from the stash to 'practice' quilting the batting. Now I know that perhaps a knit fabric wasn't the right choice for a first step into the quilting world, but I have a bit of pluck and a test toile of lining wouldn't hurt!

The lining back was easy to draft, I just used the back piece, but the front pieces were a little trickier, as I had to improvise a little around the front, straight edges. Using the most pins ever, I sewed the batting to the knit lining with vertical lines, and it all seemed to come together ok.



Somewhere along the way, I decided not to quilt the sleeves, thinking I'd be like the Marshmellow Man in Ghostbusters! And it certainly made the whole lining smoother to stitch together. The raglan sleeves of the pattern also meant the quilting wasn't too bulky where it was harder to sew (the arm holes, neckline etc).

Again, pinning was my best friend with attaching the outer to the inner as well, and I'm so amazed with how neat a lot of my hems and joins are. AMAZED!

There are a couple of 'improvised' joins, but they ended up tucked away on the inside, so I've already forgotten what they were!

My friend told me that she'd seen the toggles as a 'set' so I went on a hunt to Spotlight to see if it was true! As a serial thrifter for my stash and haberdashery, I don't often end up in real fabric stores, so I was amazed at how many 'Toggle Sets' there were to choose from!

Whilst the toggles were terribly hard to sew on (they moved a bit and it was a lot of fabric sandwiched together), but they're kinda cute with my bad stitching!

So the real test of a warm coat? Dog walking! I haven't called this post Great BRRRRRitain Duffle Coat because it's joyful and sunny!

It's been freezing in the mornings for us (BRRRRR!), and I really needed something easy to throw on quickly so I can take our darling dog out for a run! Of course I usually don't wear my heels down to the park!




Veronica Darling

Veronica Darling has been sewing well for about 4 years, blogging for 5 years and smiling for over 33 years. In 2011, she joined Mena's Sew Weekly in sewing through the year, and in 2012 will keep challenges slightly smaller in scale.


Comments are closed.

  1. Very cute! I love the plaid lining in the hood.

  2. It makes you look tiny! Very well done. It looks very warm. I too have recently made a lining for an unlined jacket (I used purple polar fleece) and had to make it work. Mine was a little simpler than yours and I botched the buttonholes. I also only used lining on the sleeves.
    You are certainly starting to need warm coats in Victoria this year.

  3. margueritedesigns

    This really does remind me of Paddington Bear – lovely rich red and toggles!

  4. OMG. Veronica! It’s perfect!!!! LOVE the quilted lining–how’d you do that? If I ever come down to Melbs then I’ll wear my hooded dress and you wear your hooded coat and we’ll both wear black heels and we’ll have a blast!!! I love that last photo with Doggie Darling too!!!

  5. What a great coat, it’s so fun and looks perfect for all types of activities inluding doggy walks, love your pup! She looks like she is smiling! And I know she is!!
    How cold does it get in winter, just curious?
    The toggles are the perfect accent, even if if they were difficult to attach…they sure are cute!

  6. Puppy! Love the outfit and the cuddly accessory. The red is stunning, and I love the style. Congratulations on drafting a lining – you are my hero!!!

  7. This is splendid! Love the red, love the hood, love the plaid lining, love the length, love the dog! You look adorable in it! I was right when you made your valentine’s day red dress- red looks great on you!

  8. EEEEEEP! you made a coat!!!!!! veronica, this is truly darling. you look so happy in it and you SHOULD, girl.

  9. judy roberson

    Love the quileted lining.. So pretty.

  10. This turned out really nice especially for never doing a coat and quilting before!!! I really like the way it turned out so cute!

  11. It is so admirable that you went out on a limb and made something that pretty much terrifies the rest of us! It looks soooo good and toasty. I love your bright blue tights!

  12. I find outerwear and jackets so intimidating- so mad props to you for tackling this one. It looks great, and your pup is adorable too!

  13. You look so adorable!!!! Your jacket is a smashing success! The colour is gorgeous and I love how you combined a bunch of different fabrics to come up with a beautiful and practical design. Well done!

  14. Awww! Love the doggie friend! You look amazing and the coat is so cool – it seriously looks like it could be for sale in a high end shop!

  15. It’s incredibly cute and suits you so much. I love it, and well done on the lining too, yay.

  16. This is so amazing and looks so toasty warm! It has a hood and pockets too! I think I’m in jacket love. And yay for Doggie Darling, I can’t believe you can still lift her!

  17. Thanks Elizabeth! Me too, that’s one of the things I pondered over so long… since it was going to be visible, it had to be a cute fabric!

  18. It’s getting COLD! Well done on your jacket challenge! How awesome we were both putting together a similar thing! Hope yours is warm too Jen!

  19. LOLZ!
    For the lining, I cut out wadding to match and pinned it to the wrong side of the green fabric, then stitched slowly and with the big walking foot instead of the normal foot. The walking foot allows more fabric to go through!

  20. Thank you Cathe! The toggles were totally worth the hassle, even if they’re kinda wonky!
    At the moment Melbourne is a top of 15 celsius (59 F) and a low of 8 degrees (45F), and it’ll probably get to a top of 10 or 11 on the really colder winter days (so around 50F).
    Not enough for snow in town, but on our mountains (about 3-4 hours drive for me), yep!

  21. AWWW thanks Meg! It was a big project, so I’m super happy it’s turned out well!

  22. Thank you Adey, and yes, I’m being more adventurous with red since you said!

  23. Hee hee! Thank you Oona, I’m SO happy with it, and it’s totally warm and wind proof! YAY!

  24. Thank you Judy, my first attempt! I’m so pleased!

  25. Thank you Jessie, I was pretty nervous all the way through and was trying to work out what my back up plan was if the quilting didn’t work out!

  26. Thank you Lisette! I was the same, quilting was NOT on my list of things to learn! It’s pretty daunting so I don’t know why I had to try it on that knit green fabric to make it harder, but luckily I used the walker foot and it made the process slower and smoother.

  27. Thanks Amber! She’s a cutie!
    It’s tough getting jackets right, I reckon! I have made a couple over the years and find the collars the giveaway (when it looks dodgy the whole thing looks bad) for handmade. Give it a go, on inexpensive fabric! This secondhand linen was really cheap, so if I mucked it up, I wasn’t going to be hugely outta pocket!

  28. Thank you Sarah, totally appreciate all your comments! Tres exciting that I actually managed it!

  29. ARGH, you are so cute! Thank you babes!

  30. Thanks Kazz darling! EEP!

  31. She’s 17 kilos now! The little piggy!
    The pockets are awesome too, they even fit my wallet, phone and ipod! AND KEYS! I don’t need a handbag!

  32. I love the coat. I love your passion about the coat to. You make me want to make one too (except I would probably get heat stroke) It turned out amazing…and the dog is adorable!

  33. Thank you Stacie! She's a cute little dog!

  34. You look great in red and I really like this coat. Good Job!

  35. Beautiful coat- well done :) And a very cute doggie too ;)