Autumn Wardrobe | Northwoods Toggle Coat

Another year another new winter coat right? This coat has been a long time in the making. I designed the coat quite a while ago but started on it last winter when I made the pattern, got it cut out and attached the Thinsulate interlining to the body. Then I stalled out…hard. It was SO THICK! How would I ever be able to move around? I felt like a slightly paralyzed grey marshmallow in it and I could tell that I was not going to enjoy wearing this coat. For me, if I’m not comfortable it doesn’t matter how good it looks, I’m not going near it. So I set it aside until I was ready to come to terms with the fact that my original plan needed to change.

Cut to two weeks ago, I took out the Thinsulate and continued on with the new non-interlined plan. I figure that in Chicago either it’s wool coat weather or it’s puffy coat weather and no amount of Thinsulate will change that. This is something I learned, but apparently had forgotten until now, when I bought a Thinsulate lined J. Crew coat years ago. That sucker was nowhere near puffy warm.

Once I took out the Thinsulate, the coat went together pretty quickly. I only started yelling at the coat once, when I was trying to pull the entire coat out of a hole in the sleeve after I bagged it…that was definitely a feat in an of itself. I even left a pretty big hole!

I’m really excited about the hood. It’s not the typical oversized shape usually found on toggle coats, instead I patterned it to be a bit closer fitting in the crown with room for a scarf around the neck. It gets so windy in Chicago that if my hood doesn’t fit close to my head then there is literally no way it’s going to stay up, and if it doesn’t stay up, what is even the point!?

The Details
Pattern : My Own
Fabric : Wool Coating + Plaid Flannel from Mood (both fabrics are no longer available)
Toggle Buttons : M&J Trimming
Leather : Remnant from Etsy
Scarf : Hilary Grant Knitwear
Boots : Madewell
Bag : Hudson’s Bay Company
Chai Latte : PQM (best in the city, get it with almond milk!)

I’m beyond pumped about this coat. It’s the coat I’ve always wanted and never been able to afford, much like last winter’s coat. It’s got room for a pretty good sized sweater and it’s really really warm, I was sweating on our shoot and it was pretty solidly in the 30’s which is a good sign. It also feels SO good to have this thing out of a bag on the floor and onto my back. Phew!! Winter, I’m ready for you now!

46 replies on β€œAutumn Wardrobe | Northwoods Toggle Coatβ€œ

  • Caitlin

    Your coat looks so good!!! I love how you added the plaid along the zipper for extra pizazz. Plus the hood is just awesome. A good hooded coat is hard to find (I’ve been looking forever!).

    And I see you celebrated with some David’s Tea! I looked this up when you were talking about it earlier, we don’t have one here. Seems like they have a ton of different special blends?

    • jen | grainline

      Thanks! You are not kidding about a good hooded coat…they are a real pain to find. As for the David’s…they do love a special blend. My favorites are the salted caramel, glitter & gold and good old regular chai in the caffeinated department and the licorice twist is amazing if you’re looking for decaf. It’s super cheap shipping to order online, I still can’t believe Chicago got them!

  • Susan

    Gorgeous coat and I love the fabrics you chose! Absolutely lovely design. I admire your ability to push through the issues you had and come out with an incredible finished product.

  • maddie

    The coat looks so great! I’m glad you took out the Thinsulate and finished up this project. I hope it keeps you warm for the winter season! I hear it’s going to be a doozy!

  • Olga

    This coat is awesome — I love everything about it! I don’t know if the front and back yokes are a traditional toggle coat feature, but they look so good, I am definitely adding those if I ever make a coat like this.
    The thought of sewing a coat always seems kind of daunting to me, but at the same time, once everything is cut out (and interfaced), it’s kind of satisfying to sew (since coat-weight wool does not shift or stretch and pretty much does what you want it to). Is the plaid flannel lining also wool or is it cotton? Also, where did you get the nice metal separating zipper?

    P.S. If you ever decide to sell the pattern, I’ll be the first in line.

    • jen | grainline

      Thanks! I think a lot of toggle coats have some sort of yoke detailing, but I’m sure it’s not an all or none type of situation. The flannel lining is cotton and the zipper is by RiRi, picked it up in NYC last time I was there. They’re expensive but worth the extra cost if your’e going to all this trouble, such a smooth gliding zipper!

  • Andrea

    It’s perfect. And this post is perfect timing — I’m making a toggle-button jacket and couldn’t seem to find toggle button sets (with the cord and patches ready to go) anywhere. M&J Trimmings to the rescue. Thanks for the link. Enjoy your awesome coat!!!

    • jen | grainline

      Thanks! I just bought the buttons and made the toggle tabs and strings with some remnant leather, hope they have what you’re looking for, if not, I know that JoAnn carries toggles with the cord and tabs attached now by the snaps. Can’t wait to see your coat!

  • nettie

    This is unbelieveable!! I love it so much! I am always SO impressed by your finishing! The grey is the perfect color, too. I’m sorry your original idea didn’t work out, but this is a damn good plan B result.

  • Lauren

    Hi! I am in awe, this looks fantastic! I hear you on clothes and not feeling comfortable in them…sometimes I wear stuff I hate the feel / fit off and have inner tantrums wishing I could just rip them off – but often this is at work or walking down the street, so I don’t πŸ™‚

  • dixiediy

    i’m loving toggle coats this year! there’s something about toggles that feels like a northern forest to me (or something like that) i love the plaid on the inside, too. the gray is really versatile but the lining makes it fun. i’ve never used thinsulate (not that i need it, i live in texas) but i’ve always kind of wondered what it would be like to work with.

  • poppyandredclover

    Oh my, this is perfect! I especially love the slouchy-yet-tailored shape of the hood – it’s just perfect for cold winds. I always have huge troubles finding a decent coat – especially since the quality of RTW coats has declined so rapidly over the past few years. I had to invest a good fortune for a high wool percentage… so the possibility of making my own, even though it’s intimidating, seems perfect! I really loved your last one, too! Well, I think you convinced me to give it a try next year (and if you ever sell this pattern, I’m 100% sure I would). This is so nice – I’m ever so impressed!

  • Thea | mon ami

    What a beautiful coat! Congratulations. You are inspiring and I love watching you grow your hand made wardrobe. I final got started on your scout tee pattern (which I bought about a year ago) and ended up making 3 in one week – I’m hooked! Thanks for sharing.

  • Amy

    This is beautiful! I love toggle coats. And hoods. Bravo for plugging away and pulling out the thinsulate. I have a similar project that seems to plead with me every time I get near it. (It has a hood.. and I like your idea of fixing the crown… I have a big head and they’re always too small!) Stay warm!

  • Tracy King

    Slightly paralyzed grey marshmallow had me laughing out loud. My kids were giving me that look which asks if I’m going crazy or something. The coat looks great and was obviously worth the time and thought you put into. Thanks for showing us πŸ™‚

  • Lia

    SUCH an impressive finish! It’s completely beautiful! Put me on the list of people who would happily and immediately buy this pattern. : )

  • Emma

    Well done-your coat looks brilliant! I think making your own is the ONLY way to get the perfect coat at the perfect price. I just found your blog so looking forward to having a better look and seeing what else you’ve made!


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