Male Pattern Boldness is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!

Dec 11, 2010

Toggle Coat vs. Duffle Coat + ARRIVAL OF THE TOGGLES!

Refined readers, you'll be happy to know that for what I could have spent on dinner for two in a moderately priced Japanese restaurant, I bought four leather toggle sets yesterday, complete with genuine horn toggles and four matching buttons (for sleeves and detachable neck strap).

I love them: they're beautiful, heavy, each slightly different.  I can't wait to attach them.

But we're not there yet -- still much to do.

Yesterday I bound my shoulder seams.  Because of the addition of the front and back yokes, the shoulder seam is comprised of as many as six layers of wool (front and back sides underlined, and front and back yokes).  That's thick, but my Singer 15-91 sailed right through it.  I made my own double folded bias tape out of cotton sateen cut at approximately 1", trimming the seam allowances to 1/4".   Most of you know how this works...

There are many more seams to bind, including sides of torso (now stitched up) and hood (attached).

Thanks go out to reader Tory for suggesting I stabilize the plaid with a little weft-weight interfacing.  That helped a lot on the pockets and pocket flaps, pieces that needed to be turned and topstitched and where I didn't want the plaid stretching out beyond the edge.

Some pocket construction pics.  I was glad to have my wooden clapper.

Before attaching I drew an outline in chalk to make sure I was stitching them on straight.  White chalk is perfect for this fabric; it rubs right off.

Pocket flap (forgot to topstitch along the top -- oh well; it's covered by the flap).

Pockets, like a hood, are time consuming.  You must create a perfectly matched set and you're working with bulky material.  Tears may be shed.

Patient readers, do you know the difference between a toggle coat and duffle coat?  I do (now).  A toggle coat refers only to the closures -- toggles, generally made of plastic, wood, or horn (they no longer make them from walrus teeth and thank goodness).

A duffle coat refers to the fabric itself, a coarse wool originally woven in Duffel, a town in the province of Antwerp in Belgium.  It's all explained here.  Therefore my coat, made from a lighter, smoother wool, while styled like a traditional duffle coat (lined in plaid, two big outside pockets with flaps, etc.), is a toggle coat, not a true duffle coat.

Interesting, right?

Friends, I hope you're all busy stitching away.  Today will not be a productive sewing day for me as I have a family function, but rest assured my toggle coat won't be far from my mind.  I think I can have this coat done in a day or two and I know you won't want to miss the big reveal.  Monday or Tuesday?

Thanks again for all your support; I think of this as our coat, really.  Just tell me where to send the bill for the toggles.

Have a great day everybody.

Be lazy!


  1. Peter, I am so impressed with your progress. Nice job and I too am looking forward to the big reveal. Can I just say that I am slightly envious that you live in a city where you have so many available resources, don't take that for granted as I did. Raised in Calif. now in Wi. no more toggles, no more fabric stores...sigh. Sorry I digress....Keep up the great work.

  2. It looks wonderful Peter! I agre with Lynne, you are so lucky to have the resources you do. I can't imagine being able to walk a few blocks to great fabric stores... although it's probably best that I can't. :) Have a great weekend.

  3. Oh Peter! I love to see the pocket flap lifted to reveal the plaid. It's such a nice touch. Those toggles look decadent and amazing. Every time you fasten your coat it will feel luxurious against the fingers that made it. I feel like this project is only missing a special "male pattern boldness" label.

  4. If you love collected vintage things and are anywhere near Hell's Kitchen, you might like the coffee house/bakery Cupcake Cafe at Casa on 9th ave/40th St. Besides amazing italian style espresso drinks, tea, bakery stuff etc. the customers sound a lot like you. And the owner Mike is a cranky hoot!

  5. It's looking so great! The toggles are a nice investment. Thanks for showing us some construction photos.

  6. What a professional you are !! I love your coat so far it just looks so perefct and neat. One day I will get that good lol !

  7. Peter - this is beautiful work!!

  8. Beautiful coat. I can't wait to see the end result.

  9. Looking great! The toggles look gorgeous and I love the plaid you are using - perfect.

  10. The coat is turning out to be a work of art! Now as for Marlene. I'm sorry but she is just awful. Can you imagine an audience of today sitting through such dreck? That said, I realize that she was enormously popular in her day and had the best gams in town.(I do have a soft spot for 'The Scarlett Empress') And what's the deal with Jane Wyman all aflutter?
    Can't wait for the coat reveal!

  11. Peter, I just love your blog! Watching your projects unfold is like watching an action film! I love how you do that! :)

    You're going to have to beat them off with a stick when you go gallivanting around NYC sporting your new coat. It's fabulous!

  12. I like your comparison to a restaurant bill. I often made the same comparison and feel smug that I still have the toggles whereas the meal would be ... gone.
    If it weren't for my husband, I'd rarely go into restaurants. LOL, rather have the toggles!
    Looking good Peter!

  13. Looking forward to seeing the finished product! It's looking good! As for mine, well... the Christmas rush is still ongoing. I had to order some more flannel today because I could only get half a pair of pants and the top out of what I had... and I'd bought what they said to buy on the pattern envelope! So after I finish with the top, I still have 5.5 pairs of jammies and a doll to finish. The doll is at least sewn together and embroidered, as are the bits of clothes. I'm doing the hair now, and then I need to finish making the clothes, but I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Of course, by now, I can practically make pajamas in my sleep....

  14. Please peter, tell us what movies these came from. For me, heaven is sewing while listening to an old movie uninterrupted by family responsibilities. Of course, that never happens, but I can dream can't I?

  15. Thanks, all! The first clip is from "Stage Fright" and the second from "Destry Rides Again." Both fun.

  16. Hi Peter,
    slowly working my way through your inspiring posts on making this jacket. My partner has requested a similar jacket and I'm trying not to be overwhelmed. eeek! I'm hoping you may be able to send me a link to the place you bought your toggles from - they are divine and I can't seem to find anything remotely special... though I have found an amazing japanese book on making mens coats which has a similar pattern as yours. that's an exciting start.
    Many thanks!

  17. Hello Peter,

    Fantastic work. I'm a guy getting into tailoring clothes. Can you let me know where you got the toggles and the pattern? Can't seem to fine these anywhere online.


  18. The toggles are from C&C button in NYC.

    I found my toggle coat pattern on Etsy -- it's an out-of-print Vogue. However, here's another, a Butterick. It's unisex, and this is Size A, which is equivalent to a Men's Extra Small, Small, and Medium.

  19. Hello Peter,

    Thanks a million for that. I've snapped it up so I can bring it to my tailor, here in Ireland. He doesn't have a style pattern for that coat, even though he does military gear. I've to get the toggles too for him to make the coat for me. Is that C & C Button Inc of 230 W 38th St, New York?

    Thanks a million from Ireland


  20. That's the one. Good luck with the project, Tristam!

  21. Sorry, but did I miss the link for the leather toggles! Your coat is gorgeous!

  22. Karen, I bought them at C & C Button, 230 West 38th St. Thanks!

    1. Peter, I'm looking for some toggles for a mink jacket what type should I get & where to purchase them from ? It's for a 22yr. old woman..

    2. You can try the Mood Fabrics website. You'll have to decide what type you like from their selection.

  23. Hello Peter,
    my name is Frank from Germany
    Perhaps you can help me - Iam searching a cut pattern of a Duffle-Coat for myself
    In Germany I didnt found something - perhaps you can tell me a side where I can download it.

    Thanks a lot.

    Best wishes


    1. Hi, Frank. I don't know about downloadable patterns, but if you go to and do a search under men's toggle coat (or men's duffle coat) pattern, you'll find some very nice ones for sale. Hope that helps!

  24. Thank you very much for your help
    I have wrote to Burda and they have helped me too.
    I wish you a great time


Related Posts with Thumbnails