Going Underground

From my window I watch fluffy white clouds skate across a blue sky.  It’s late October, and Sydney should be in the throes of Spring, but we’ve had a cold snap and I’ve got tights on under my skirt and a woollen cardigan over my shoulders. So it doesn’t feel entirely inappropriate to post pictures of my new duffle coat, one of the few sewing projects to occupy my winter.

Duffle 1

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce you to the Albion Duffle Coat, as designed by Colette patterns. I’d like to tell you I’m proud of this, but it was a project I did with little enthusiasm, and so it really was a labour without the love.  It’s no reflection on Colette patterns – they are always a joy to make – I just didn’t fall in love with the making of this.  I made a calico muslin 6 months ago, based on my measurements, and it just swam on me – as in I took in about 6 inches at the sides!  So I re-cut the pattern in a much smaller size, and then cut into the wool. The wool is a gorgeous coating from fabric heaven (The Fabric Shop – and the ONLY place to buy coating from), and is a deep black despite what the photos may otherwise have you believe. And because I am a woman who prefers straight things with a twist, I cut fairy floss pink lining out.

Duffle 6

And then it was 5 long months of making myself go to the sewing room to finish the coat. It was just tedious – so tedious that I’m finding it hard to write about. I think this winter was more about knitting and not sewing, because I normally love sewing for winter especially winter coats. Believe me when I say I’m not showing off (I’m not that kinda girl – honest) but I make a winter coat every couple of years – in fact I haven’t bought a winter coat since 1990 (when I first moved to London and spent 40 pounds on a black coat with leopard print collar).

Duffle 3

I made a couple of modifications. The hood is detachable, and lined in black not pink.  I’ve got another hood cut out, and next year intend to make one with fake fur around the hood, so thought detachable hoods were the best option.  This meant I needed a collar, so I rummaged through my vintage patterns and drafted a collar from a fabuous 1960s car coat. (Can you imagine having a coat specifically to wear in the car??) I actually prefer the coat with the collar it makes me feel a bit ‘What’s it all about, Alfie’. And then I decided to put a zip in it, on the off-chance it ever gets really cold in Sydney, and I need to zip myself up.  It was pretty straight forward putting the zip in, and there are plenty of tutorials on the internet to help a girl know which side which zip goes on.

Duffle 4

I bought gorgeous buttons from The Button Shop, and used oversized elastic for the toggle loops.

Duffle 2

I was so damned relieved when this was finished I almost cried. It’s a classic shape the Duffle, and I’ve always loved it, but it was such a boring project to make. Have any of you Lovelies ever made a duffle?  How did you enjoy it? I’m sure I’ll make another one (every girl should have a red Duffle with tartan lining in her wardrobe), but this one just wasn’t a fun project.




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