DIY · in English

DIY Parka Jacket – Lessons Learned

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A while back, I got a pile of material from a friend for my sewing projects. One of the materials was an old women’s spring coat. The top material was waxed cotton and for most parts, it was in great condition. I decided to use it to make a parka for my little man.

This project was quite an ambitious one, even if I have sewn coats before. All the material I used was reccled apart from the fake fur on the collar and the velcron. The lining was probably new, but I got it second hand, so someone had abandonned it anyway. The end result was really rewarding although the process of getting there was filled with a lot of sweat (no blood and tears though..) Here’s how it came out:


I decided to make a short recap on all the lessons learned from this project. Hopefully some of you might not make all the mistakes I made by reading these.

1. Always Do the Fitting on the Pattern Before Cutting the Fabric

This was the top lesson I learned from this project. I missed this step of the process and hence, the sleeves came out too narrow. I had to open up the armpit and add some fabric there to get a looser fit. Luckily this saved my project and it looks good after this alteration.

2. Try to Find a Pattern that Matches Your Vision

I used a pattern for duffel-coat. This caused some problems when trying to fit in the zipper and velcron. This also has to do with lesson 1. The duffel-coats usually have narrower sleeves. So using time and effort to find a good pattern is really worth it.

3. Decide on the Details Beforehand

I had pretty much decided on what details I would want for this coat. However, I did come up with some new ideas on the way. That’s why it took me so long to finish the project…

Also this is vital, as all the details are mostly done as a first step when sewing a jacket. They are pretty difficult, if not impossible to add after all the other parts are attached.

Details from the parka:

IMG_0033 IMG_0035

4. Enjoy the Process of Learning New

As you are trying to learn a new technique, one of the most important things is to give the process time. It will not happen in a heartbeat, and it doesn’t have to. If you remember to reserve time for the learning, you can also give yourself a permission to enjoy it. The whole western society is based on efficiency and this type of stopping and reflecting can be difficult, it was for me anyway. Still it is rewarding to notice, that after the project you are much more competent and confident in embarking on a new similar one.

That’s why I started making a duffel coat for my older son. By first doing the ever-important step of pattern fitting:)



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