Ducks Fly Together {Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat}

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People tend to laugh at Queenslanders when we talk about the cold, but it’s all about perspective, right? Sure, our wintery days might end up a mild 22 degrees, but last week the mornings were starting at 6 degrees and while it might warm up outside, our houses are designed to keep the heat out and it’s often warmer outside than inside the house. It’s not unusual to add layers while inside the house and shed them when out in the sunshine.

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ANYWAY, the point is that I do occasionally have a need for an extra outer layer. Plus I enjoy the process. Be nice to your Queenslanders.

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My need for a new coat began when Potter and Co posted a sneak peek of this lovely pink herringbone wool. It was love at first sight. In my early 20s I had a RTW coat from a cheapy chain store in a similar colour and I loved that thing to death and ran it into the ground after a few years. It was time to create a similar version and relive my youth.

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I have a couple of coat patterns hanging around, but a fancy wool calls for a fancy pattern and the nicest one I have is Grainline Studio’s Casacade pattern. It has a lot of pieces. So many pieces. Separate linings and outer and interfacing pieces. Neat little hem and sleeve facing pieces. Two piece sleeve, yoke, upper and lower outer pieces. Many, many pieces. It’s all worth it though. It feels very fancy and couture once it’s finished.

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This isn’t my first Cascade coat rodeo, I made the short version a few years ago. I thought I blogged it, but maybe I didn’t because I’m having trouble finding it. Here she is:

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The tartan is cool and all, but I don’t wear it a lot because I tend to live in prints and it clashes a bit. Hence the sensible pink. Also, how nice is it to have a warm butt? The shorter version isn’t as toasty on the rump. I remember struggling with my first Cascade a bit at the time, but I’ve learned a heck of a lot since then so wasn’t too worried about giving it another go. There’s an excellent sewalong for it and the instructions are good. Don’t fear the coat. But don’t think it’s something you’re going to smash out in a couple of hours either. It’s slow fashion at its best.

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It’s possible I was somewhat overconfident going into this one and I did end up having a couple of issues. Not huge deals, but definitely a few things to think about.

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The wool is quite lightweight, which is ideal for our winter. I don’t need anything super heavy. It also makes it nice to sew, because you’re going through about 6 layers of fabric at the centre front. No broken needles, I’m pleased to say. It did however, stretch and move a fair bit. I unpicked and sewed those pockets on about three times before giving up. They wanted to stretch and move no matter how many pins I used. I didn’t prewash the wool as it’s dry clean only but I did steam the hell out of it as recommended, to preshrink it before cutting. Go me.

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My downfall was possibly the use of the devil’s very own fabric, satin. I really wanted a slippery, slidey but fun lining and those ducks/egrets/cormorants realllllly appealed to me. The colours are ideal. I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge when I started cutting and it was leaping out of the way of the scissors and generally just being a pain in the bum. Then of course, there’s the pressing – the delicate balance of actually trying to get it to stay flat versus melting it.

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In the end my lining has ended up too big and is bagging a bit on the sleeves and at the hem. I could unpick and attempt to fix, but I’m not going to. It doesn’t hang below the hem so I will just deal. The satin seemed to grow or shrink as I sewed it, depending on whether it was sitting closest to the needle or feed dogs. Words were said.

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Another couple of things for next time:

– I think I need heavier interfacing. This one was quite lightweight to match the wool, but I feel the bands would sit better with a more gutsy interfacing.

– The zipper bands should be interfaced. I really don’t know why they aren’t and I’m really annoyed at myself for not doing it. I know better.

– The bottom of the coat wants to sit open. I can’t get those bands to sit flat. Might be my giant hips, might be because it wants another closure, might be because my interfacing is too flimsy. Could be a combination. I will say though, I searched through blog posts and instagram hashtags and found that almost every single other maker has the same flippy band at the bottom. So at least it’s not just me. And am I really bothered? No. Do I feel like I have to point out every flaw in my sewing? Yes. Ha.

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Challenges aside, I bloody love this coat and will wear the heck out of it for the 12 days of winter we actually have.

PS Toggles seem hard to find, but Grainline have a good tutorial on making your own. Mine are from Spotlight, but I’ve had them stashed for a couple of years.