Starting a Winter Coat: Cascade Duffle by Grainline

Every year I say I’m going to make a coat, then I don’t. I started one in 2014 and the muslin was a disaster. I sourced wigan from you back then and didn’t move forward. Last year I pin fit the Cascade Duffle by Grainline and lost steam and time. I also muslined a Burda coat I’d long loved. But, it was a horror on me.


Friends, I have five (possible seven) cuts of wool coating and four cuts of rain coating sitting in my stash. And, when I say sitting, I mean stacked in corners, on chairs and crammed on shelves.

So, within the next year I’d like to make three coats. A camel wrap coat, a navy anorak/  rain coat with a hood and a plaid duffle coat. I figured the plaid duffle coat would be hardest, so I’m starting with that.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 7.32.48 PM

I’m going to document my process here. Mostly to help anyone else out who decides to tackle this with a similar body type.  Secondly to have an old fashioned blog post. I post so much more on Instagram now. But, I miss long documentations for reference. For the record, I don’t think Grainline is particularly friendly to my body type: busty and booty. But, I love, love, love duffle coats and have never found one in store that would fit across my chest. And, as this is not particularly fitted may still work!

Based on the finished measurements and wanting enough ease to wear a sweater underneath, I’m going with a 14 grading out to an 18 at the hip/ upper thigh.

Pattern Alterations:

  • FBA: 1″ darted FBA to the garment and a 1″ princess seam FBA to the lining and facing.
    • There is a lot of ease in this garment. But, I really like things to fit as well as possible. And, on other Grainline wovens I’ve made had terrible draglines without a FBA.
  • Lengthen center front / zipper placket 1″ and interfacing piece
    • Done because of the FBA
  • Lengthen two-piece sleeves and sleeve lining 1″
    • I like a really long sleeve and read a few reviews that thought the sleeves were short
  • Widen bicep / arm  and lining 1″
    • I find the Grainline sleeve crazy narrow. And, when I measured there was barely an inch of ease.
  • Merge bottom and front bodice together for front and back
    • I’m working with a plaid fabric and have no desire to match plaid there
  • Merge / overlap the hem facings for the front and back
    • Nice touch. But, I don’t need it for this.
  • Narrow shoulders .25″ on garment and lining
    • I was gonna do a full half inch but decided I wouldn’t mind if I had shoulder pads
  • Swayback adjustment .75″ on garment and lining.
    • For the garment I took it from the shoulder to eliminate the need for a center back seam.
    • For the lining I took it from the waist with a horizontal overlap/ dart and made sure to true the hem.


I usually trace indie patterns. But, with 40 damn pieces I threw caution to the wind. That said, I would suggest buying a copy shop version of this pattern. That way, if you need to recut a pattern piece you can pretty easily.

Above is my pin fit. I also tried it out on my body and it’s pretty good I think. Here are my general steps over the next month or so

  1. Cut lining, sew lining, hope it fits!
  2. Mark pattern for plaid placement
  3. Layout and cut garment fabric from one layer of fabric
  4. Interface garment fabric and make back stay
  5. Construct main garment
  6. Attach lining
  7. Finish by Christmas. I know that’s so far away. But, I don’t have as much hands on sewing time as I used to.

That’s it for now. I’ll work on the lining and keep you posted.


  1. Oh, hooray, I am excited! I miss those old posts where you would take me through a garment’s construction I am a long time beginner with practically no time to sew. I think I learn a lot from these type of posts, and yours are the best. So, yes, please tell me everything, and know that I appreciate every bit of it.

    • Thanks, Becky! I’ve been writing again for my day job and I just realized I missed writing for my blog. It’s gotten harder because I haven’t sewn much the last few years. And, I got lazy. That said, I find blogging holds me a bit accountable!

      On Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 10:06 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  2. Your story of stashed coat fabric sounds like me. I fell in love with a beautiful piece of polarfleece when it first appeared. That has been my coat stash. Then we moved to Buffalo NY. Serious wind and as a Californian I was “afraid of freezing”!!! The windbreaking cut , aka princess cut would ruin the design on the fabric. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.
    On Lanetz Living I found a vintage pattern from Yves St. Laurent. It is just beautiful. And it is finished now, and I wore it a few times last winter. I love it!
    You are a great seamstress, and your notes have influenced me re adjusting patterns to fit my self!.

    • I have a very good friend from Buffalo here in Baltimore and she tells me she can never go back because of the winters 😀 I also have some polar fleece jacketing that I thought I would make into a travel jacket of sorts. But, it’s at the bottom of my increasingly long to do list right now.

      On Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 10:08 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  3. Christmas is NOT far away! Enjoy your project as I will enjoy following along.

    • Once I read your comment I did the math. You’re right! It’s NOT that far away! We are going to Brooklyn to see my family for Christmas this year and I would love to have this completed by then. We are in California in February so that’s a good deadline for my rain jacket too.

      On Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 10:29 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  4. I agree, especially with Becky. Planning coats always reminds me that at one time Audrey Hepburn traveled the world with only 3 coats, a wool, a black dressy fabric, and a raincoat, each similar enough to share the same zip-out warm lining. I read that it was only a myth that the lining was mink.

    • I’d never heard that story. It sounds magnificent. I find coats are like shoes. You might not wear all of them at the same time. But, they each have a specific purpose.

      On Sun, Oct 15, 2017 at 11:37 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  5. Love the new blog format! Is a 1″addition to the bicep going to be enough to have a sweater underneath?

    • Totally fair and really good question as I’ve read 3 to 4″ is best for a jacket. This will only give me 2″ from the adjustment. But, I’m also going to sew the sleeve with wider seam allowances so I can borrow a little bit from there when needed. It seemed a little bananas to need to add 2″ to the alteration. And, the last time I did such a big one it changed the cap and I had to add to the armscyce. So, there’s a little bit of a wish and prayer here for sure.

      On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 12:49 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


      • Biceps are the GRR of my attempts to figure out how to fit my body. I keep reading and trying to understand the relationships between the parts of that complicated joint, but really can’t get any satisfaction, especially since my big biceps are combined with narrow shoulders

  6. I like the longer blog posts, too. Instagram videos are especially fleeting—and don’t allow for comments. The duffle pattern looks like a great style. This duffle coats I’ve seen in the stores are always so HEAVY. I like lightweight and warm—like fur.

    • For a while I wanted to get one from the company that makes them for the US Navy. But, they didn’t make the all wool version anymore. Then I was OBSESSED with the Burberry and Gloverall versions. I managed to try on both but just didn’t have $400 for it. And, they didn’t fit me great. I’m not interlining this one. But, it’s double wool and has a satin backed flannel lining. I’m hoping it becomes my every day winter coat. Cheerful but warm.

      On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 1:17 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  7. Ha – I started the sentence about figuring the plaid duffle would be the hardest and thought “right, so do that one last…..” – BUT NO, you are starting with it. So brave. I’ll be following with great interest.


    • 😅 I’m feeling REALLY confident after two successful plaid matching projects. I figured it’s best to get it out of my system while I’m ahead! Also, the other two patterns are Burdas so I have to trace. I’m obviously just putting that off!

      On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 6:35 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  8. I’m sew (ha ha) excited for your duffle coat! I also miss longer and more informative blog posts, so I’m looking forward to what you’re able to share. Glad you’re willing to bring us a long for the ride!

  9. Oooo…this might be the motivation I need to get cracking on a couple of coats since I have all the wool for a few coats. I will be following along with great interest. =)

    • You were MY motivation. Last year you told me to just get on with it 😀

      On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 8:50 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  10. Hey Celie girl,
    Good luck and good sewing on your coat(s)! They are not as difficult or tortuous as you are letting it become! Think of it as a heavy fabric dress with a lining, you can do this! Take a breath and just be!

    • My last (first) coat was a huge personal success. But, it’s been a while and I had oodles of sewing time to push through. Once I get everything cut and prepped it should be smooth sailing!

      On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 9:27 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  11. I’ve wanted to make another coat for a while too, but not enough to actually…you know…*make* it, so I totally understand where you are coming from here. Can’t wait to see your finished coat, but I don’t envy you plaid matching on 40 pieces… 😵

  12. hmmm….that is a lot of adjustment to get a pattern to work for you. I am a huge fan of Burda coat patterns, and their sleeves fit and sew like a dream….just saying.

    • My next two will be Burdas. This one has a lot of details which impressed me. But, it also meant having to make alterations across multiple pieces (i.e. FBA on garment, lining (separate pattern with this) and zipper placket). The sleeves I’m a little nervous about. But, my last Burda muslin I increased the width WAY more than I should have!

      On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 11:48 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  13. YAY!!!!!!! I am so excited to see this one on you. I bought it because hello?! DUFFLE COAT but haven’t pulled the trigger. And boy do I have a fantastic coating for it!
    Oh and like many here, I have such a coating stash…a nice longer length tote full of lovely fabrics that mock me whenever I look at them 🙂

  14. Excited to see how you progress! I adore coats too and keep buying coating (I live i fiery CA!) but the pumpkin colored fabric I just bought has me looking for candidates to make. I’ll have to see what you’re up to coatwise.

  15. Have you looked at any of the Lekala drafted-to-measure patterns? Even if you just downloaded one to compare against your current patterns, it might be helpful. Good luck with your coats!

  16. This coat is on my list, too! I bought fabric when it came out, but then started worrying it would be too thick. Maybe I’ll take a page from your book and just give it a go. 😀

    • I truly am just sucking it up 🙃. That said, plaid matching may be the death of me.

      On Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 10:44 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  17. You’ve been missed on this medium! I feel you about coats. So many pattern pieces. So many things can go wrong. I too have nearly a plastic container full of coat weight fabrics that I’ve been super reticent to work with… instead I’ve been wearing the same green trench coat for nearly 9 years now. At the time it was the most expensive thing I’d ever ever bought, but goodness it’s gotten it’s value back and then some! You’ve reminded me of a) how much I love wearing coats and b) how much I really need to buckle down and sew one. Goodluck!!!

    • And looking back – you so totally can make coats, and make them look great! That Burda trench you made back in 2011 is like, on f-i-y-a-h!

  18. It’s been a while but as I recall, you have wonderful tailoring skills. I look forward to following your journey. Thanks for the depth, something so missing on IG.

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