How to make your own duffle coat (if you dare) with Ana Valls and Coco Wawa Crafts
We’re going to level with you.
Although our duffle coats are made in the UK, here in the office we don’t do any hand stitching of duffle coats.
Yes, we gasp in admiration at the soft duffles in lovely colours. Yes, we take the orders and, yes, we ship them all over the world.
But the actual hand stitching? The meticulous cutting, pinning and finishing? We leave that to the experts.
Because you don’t have to be a genius to work out that making a duffle coat – as opposed to buying one – is proper hard work.
So imagine how impressed we were when we came across Ana Valls’ blog that showcased the duffle coat that she’d made.
By hand! And it’s pink!
We had to know more. So here’s what Ana, who lives in London but comes from the beautiful Spanish town of Salamanca, told us.
What made you decide to make a duffle coat?
I already had a duffle coat from Benetton [Editor’s note: “Shhh!”] that I bought a couple of years ago and that I loved.
I like a lot the “schoolish” kind of feel it brings to any look. I don’t know why but it reminds me of how Wes Anderson characters dress and I looove Wes Anderson movies.
Also the pattern from Grainline Studio was just perfect so I went for it!
Ana showing off her handmade duffle coat
Did you have a duffle coat as a kid?
Actually yes! It was navy blue and beautiful! It’s been a while since I thought about that coat! I loved wearing it with a grey pleated skirt I had and a burgundy jumper. Very “uniform-like” when actually I didn’t have to wear one at school.
I think there was a time when they were quite popular in Spain but as it is not common for pupils to wear uniforms, they were used more for weekends eating at grandparents houses or even for going to church! (those who did…).
What material did you use to make the duffle coat, and where did you get the accessories?
The fabric, which is a lovely and soft wool, comes from the Knitting and Stitching Show. I went there last year and found the perfect shade of pink I was looking for to cheer up on those long, dark winter days.
As for the lining, I bought it at Fabric Godmother, a lovely online fabric store and as it is a very slippery rayon was just a bit difficult to sew. But I think it came out nicely in the end.
Regarding the toggles and zip, I found them at John Lewis. I usually buy supplies online but just found the perfect buttons at their haberdashery department in Oxford Street.
Did you add padding to the coat?
Actually not! So it is not the best for very cold weather but more for autumn/cold spring.
How did you decide on the lining?
I wanted the lining to be quite different from the outer, but wanted one that would go well with it. I also love polka dots so it was quite easy in the end
The panda is so cute! Where did it come from, why did you choose it and how did you attach it?!
Hahahah, it is actually a graphic vector I added online but I am glad it looks so real! Actually I may find one and stitch it for real.
What was the trickiest part of making the duffle coat?
The lining of the coat BY FAR!!! The rayon was so slippery, difficult to cut, difficult to sew…. Also I used for the first time a technique called “bagging” to join both the lining to the outer and it proved tricky! My boyfriend and myself spent around an hour staring at the coat trying to figure out how to do it.
How long did it take to make the coat?
I think it was a couple of months from tracing the pattern and cutting the fabric to finishing it, although some days I had only ten minutes to work on it.
And what do you think of the finished product?
I love it! But as we seamstresses (or wannabe seamstresses) always think: it is full of mistakes. I think it looks nice but the lining still feels a bit tight on the inside.
Have you had any comments about the coat?
Yes! People really liked it. My mom also added that it needed a good press.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that sewing is really cool and makes you feel amazing. Give it a go!
Many thanks to Ana for sharing her duffle coat making story. And if you are tempted to give sewing a go, head for Ana’s website for tips, supplies and inspiration.
All images courtesy of cocowawacrafts.com