Cascade Sew-Along: Gathering Your Supplies
Today I'm going to walk you through everything you'll need to make your Cascade Duffle Coat. I know a lot of you have already shopped for your fabrics & notions, in that case you can use this post as a check list to make sure you've got everything you need to dive right in.
The most important thing you'll need when making the Cascade is your main fabric. The suggested fabric for the shell of the coat is medium to heavy weight coating fabric. There are many ways that shops describe fabrics suitable for coating, such as Melton wool, Boiled wool, felted wool or occasionally just the term coating weight is used. Double face wool is nice because, being two layers of fabric woven together, it's quite warm. The downside to double face wool is that you may have trouble with the front bands and the facings being too bulky. For the red plaid sample coat I removed the navy backing wool on those pieces to reduce bulk. In case you're not feeling a solid color, wool coating comes in a variety of prints and textures as well including plaid and check, I even found this little cabled texture coating. If you'd like more in-depth information about choosing a wool, you can check out this post from last winter, Tips for Choosing Wool Coating.
A few places that I've ordered from before that offer high quality wool coating are Mood, Britex, Emma One Sock and Fancy Tiger Crafts which has amazing Pendleton wool coating (you'll have to call or email to view what's available and order). There are of course many shops that sell wool coating but these are the shops I've ordered yardage from and been extremely happy with. If you have a local shop that sells wool definitely check that out since you'll be able to feel the fabric first hand, or I do highly recommend ordering a swatch if you can.
If you're living somewhere where a full on wool coat might be a bit much, you might consider trying the Cascade in a lighter fabric such as canvas, twill, denim, or waxed canvas. When looking for a twill, canvas or denim you'll want to make sure they're at least bottom weight or heavier, and I would recommend not using fabric with stretch as they can tend to stretch out and wind up a bit wavy at the edges when you're working with them as much as we will be with this coat. Pretty much every fabric store offers up some form of one of these fabrics so you should have no problem finding them.
Waxed canvas is another great option for a lighter version of the Cascade. Since it's treated with wax the canvas becomes a water resistant (though not waterproof) and ages over time similarly to leather. It's really a beautiful fabric, though unfortunately it's a bit hard to find in the retail fabric market. The swatches above came from Grey's Fabric in Boston, though most have sold out at this point. As far as waxed canvas by the yard your best bet is probably Etsy. Bag Supply Company is just one of the companies that shows up when you search "waxed canvas" in the search bar. If you're feeling up for a challenge, check out Thread Theory's Otter Wax, you can use it to wax your own canvas!
For the lining of your Cascade Duffle, I recommend using Bemberg 'Ambiance' which is a 100% Rayon lining. It's slightly more expensive than other lining fabrics but it's hands down my favorite lining. Bemberg is so much easier to work with than its poly counterpart and being Rayon, it breathes and stands up to wear quite well. Did I mention they don't collect static? So nice. You can find Bemberg 'Ambiance' at Vogue, Fabrics.com, Mood, or check your local shop of course!
You will also need fusible interfacing for your coat. I've covered interfacing quite a bit on this blog before but for my coats I used a medium weight tricot fusible to get the job done. I find that the tricot allows the fabric to move and give the way wool naturally does. This isn't a tailored coat so you don't need any fancy tailoring interfacings, and you are free to use a woven interfacing if you prefer. The only interfacing I would implore you to stay away from are any bonded interfacings as even the thinnest ones act as cardboard when glued to your fabric. You can view my previous posts on interfacing here:
If you choose to insert the zipper into your coat you'll need either an 18" or 22" separating zipper. These zippers are readily available at most craft and sewing stores so you shouldn't have any difficulty finding one.
Coats & Clark is available at JoAnn fabrics making it perhaps the most readily available zipper out there. YKK is stocked at a lot of smaller sewing stores and my all time favorite zippers of all time, RiRi are the least readily available zipper of this bunch. This is the zipper I used on my coats. You can find them if you live in NYC at Pacific Trimming and probably somewhere in LA, though I'm not familiar with shopping there but they are much more expensive than the other two zippers. I'll be stocking up again at Pacific Trimming in Feb since this is my last one!
When you purchase your zipper, make sure that the end of the zipper looks like this. There are a lot of different kinds of zippers out there!
You're going to need three toggle fasteners to make your coat. These Dritz ones are available in black & brown and are probably the most readily available pre-made toggle buttons. That said, the 'leather' tab is horrible to sew through, even with a leather needle. On the plaid coat I cut the button off the Dritz tabs and created my loops and tabs, and for the first coat, the original grey one, I created those closures myself using three purchased buttons identical to the ones above. I purchased my buttons at M&J Trimming in New York (the selection in store is much better than their website) and the toggle closures on the red plaid Cascade were obtained through Britex in SF. I don't believe they're on the website but I'm sure you could call to inquire.
If you're making your own toggles and are going the traditional route in addition to the buttons you'll need leather scraps (search 'leather scraps' or 'leather remnant' on Etsy and you will be rewarded), leather cord, krazy glue (or some other strong glue that holds on leather), and leather cord.
You'll need thread of course, I just used Gütermann all purpose polyester thread. You may want to spring for the big spool of your color, or grab a few small ones.
I forgot to take photos of the needles you'll need but since we'll be sewing through so much fabric I would recommend a thicker all purpose needle for the bulk of the coat. For the toggles pick yourself up a pack of leather needles, you won't regret it.
The typical cutting supplies will be needed, rotary cutter or dressmakers shears, depending on which you like, and a small embroidery scissor for all the grading of seams I'm about to have you do.
A tape measure, ruler, and seam gauge will all come in handy.
You'll need some way to stick your toggles onto your fabric to hold them in place while you sew. You can use regular old scotch tape, or try a fabric glue stick. I purchased the Sewline glue stick at Drygoods in Seattle and the Collins glue stick at Blackbird Fabrics.
I always like to have my bone folder handy, it makes turning points so easy and there's never the risk of puncturing the corner with a sharp edge.
I used extra fine pins for assembling the lining and these long thin (very sharp) quilting pins from Clover for the coat. Since you're going through many layers of fabric the long pins are nice as they can hold a bit more. These clover pins seem to be sharper and thinner than regular quilting pins which I really like.
As far as sewing machine feet, the two I used are my 1/4" foot and my walking foot. The walking foot definitely comes in handy when going through all those layers, it keeps everything moving smoothly and evenly through the machine.
I really like to use chalk pens when marking wool and bemberg. The top chalk liners are available at pretty much every small sewing store and they're great because they come in a wide variety of colors to stand out against your fabric. The bottom chalk pen is new to me, I just picked it up at Drygoods when I was out there over Thanksgiving and it's been great so far. It has the finest chalk tip which of course I love.
There are a few other things that you might find useful when making your Cascade Duffle.
1. A tailors ham and sleeve roll. Not only do these help you get in and press the curves of your coat, when pressing wool you want the wooly side facing up towards the coat, this helps to keep the steam in and create a better press on your coat.
2. You may find a press cloth or clapper useful. Honestly I don't use either (though I do know how and have used both) but they can help to achieve a better press on your wool by again, holding in the steam so that the wool will set. I just use my hand or forearm for this which I kind of don't recommend unless you also have no heat sensitivity left in your pressing arm.
3. Obviously you will need an iron but I'm between the two so I didn't have one set up to photograph.
So that's it! On Monday we'll be starting to assemble the coat so gather those supplies and lets do it!