Wool Blanket Anorak Extravaganza

Discussion in 'Self-made Gear' started by pik, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. pik

    pik Scout

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    Sources and new links (in rough order of similarity):Materials and approximate prices:
    • $60 = 4 Italian military blankets (Sportsman's Guide)
    • $16 = 8 sq ft 4 oz elkskin split (ebay)
    • $10 = outdoor thread, bootlaces for use with toggles
    • $3? = two used queen-sized sheets (flower pattern :cool:)


    Started off nice and easy with an outer layer based on Rick Marchand's anorak pattern (not really worth a picture, basically the same as his). I'm not exactly delighted with the result, but this step was time nevertheless well-spent in getting to know the wool and sewing machine. The machine's presser foot, in particular (old machine made for sewing tablecloths and bedsheets), wouldn't give me anything more than three layers of wool :rolleyes:.


    Here's exercise #2, slightly more complicated, a hood design in the style of an old cotton/wool reversible anorak I saw online (pictures link to flickr; there are more pictures there):
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    The two main seams are top-stitched by hand; all others are machine-sewn. (The extra seams come from fitting my design onto the scraps leftover from the Rick anorak.) I like this hood, if only because I made the design. It allows the head to turn nicely without pulling, and in general fits quite well. The only thing is that it doesn't lay nicely when it's off - kind of just retains its shape and sits awkwardly right behind the head (if it were to be attached to a jacket).


    Exercise #3 is edispilf's anorak pattern:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    This is a great pattern and tutorial from edispilf. Top-stitching makes all the difference, especially when you can do it on the machine. I extended the arms 3" and the body 2", and made the taller collar as found on edispilf's later models. I did sort of a double-top-stitch on the collar, so the wool collar is top-stitched on the outside, and the light fleece lining - cut from an old hat - is top-stitched on the inside (however, these were hand-sewn simultaneously). The result is that the seam and all related edges are hidden upward inside the collar, between the wool and fleece.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I underestimated the strength of leather and am consequently stuck with this leather trimming thing. Perhaps 4 oz (thickness of a US quarter) wasn't necessary. My leather needle will only go through if I push it through on a board :D. So I'm thinking maybe poking holes with nails or something and then sewing normally using those holes. Any ideas?


    Better pictures &c. to come as this develops,
    E. Hammer
  2. Michael

    Michael Scout

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    looks good mate I have to get of my ass and make one
  3. Sgt. Mac

    Sgt. Mac Elder Staff Member Administrator Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II Bushclass Instructor

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    Well look at you go!! Looks like an excellent start right off the bat. Lookin forward to your other posts and pics on it
  4. Easy_rider75

    Easy_rider75 Bushwhacker

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    Excellent work Man
  5. TeeDee

    TeeDee Scout

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    Great post Chap!! Thanks for linking the source infor aswell.
  6. kgd

    kgd Dr. Fishguts Bushclass I

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    Great stuff, looking forward to seeing more of your work!
  7. Mtnfolk Mike

    Mtnfolk Mike Supporter Supporter

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    very cool.. great post..:)
  8. SigNY

    SigNY Scout

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    Great post! It is my plan to give this a shot soon. Thanks for linking it all together.
  9. morq1

    morq1 Scout

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    WOW DUDE!!!! Great work!! Thanks for putting it all together..
  10. Eric_Methven

    Eric_Methven Scout

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    Excellent post. For the leather trim, you'd probably be better using an awl to make the holes first and then hand stitch. Do no more then five holes at a time though, then stitch these, then do five more holes. That way you will have a LOT more control as the stitching holds it in place behind and you only need worry about the five holes in front.

    If an awl isn't convenient, then try using glover's needles. These are very sharp and have a triangular point to them, so they go through leather much easier than a conventional round needle.

    Have fun, good luck and keep us posted.

    Eric
  11. canoeguy

    canoeguy Guest

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    Very nice work Pik!
  12. MoxemDeliph

    MoxemDeliph Guide

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    Thanks much Pic. I knew there was atleast three or four anorak designs floating around here, but now that you consolidated it, its much easier to find exactly what Im looking for.

    Mark
  13. pik

    pik Scout

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    got some leather on this weekend

    Okay, so I've tried a few things to get holes in this 4 oz elk skin. First I bought a cheap leather needle, which broke immediately. Number 18 sewing machine leather needles didn't break, but couldn't make it through the material. I then ordered some Tandy number 8 and 5 sewing awl replacement needles (figured if they didn't work I could still use them in the future - got some braintanning in mind). These are definitely the best quality of everything so far, but I think their bigness worked against them here, and they really couldn't make it through either, at least not in a way that I would be able to repeat a few hundred times.

    So I went with nails. :D For what it's worth, I took some with angled points, so as to hopefully mimic the qualities of glovers needles, then nailed the leather folded over so the holes lined up:

    [​IMG]

    Then I saddle-stitched the leather on through the pre-punched holes, except for four-layer (overlap) areas, where I punched holes as I went. You can see the leather on the sides held the holes better, but the piece around the top of the neck was fuzzier (think "worn workglove") and that made it a real pain to find the holes.

    [​IMG]

    In the meantime, I've also varnished my wooden toggles, which managed to make them unreasonably shiny. So I got out the spike from last year and made two antler toggles à la Pake. Here is the tentatively finished neck area with one of two toggles attached:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, it isn't closed very tightly, being the toggle is so close to the edge. I'm thinking about adding another piece of leather to move the toggle out further, so it closes the neck all the way. The second toggle will go above the first, to close the collar.

    And speaking of Pake, expect a cotton anorak post in the next week or two.
  14. Grits

    Grits Guide

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    Great post! Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing.

    If you look at old toggle-closing coats and such, the toggles are usually off-set from the opening by about one inch on both the toggle and the loop side. When I Googled "toggle closure" images, I got some pics that showed what I am talking about, but I don't know how to post here.
  15. Easy_rider75

    Easy_rider75 Bushwhacker

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    Very cool stuff Bro
  16. Sgt. Mac

    Sgt. Mac Elder Staff Member Administrator Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II Bushclass Instructor

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    Very nice man, looks great
  17. Jon Foster

    Jon Foster Guide

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    Excellent work.

    I have a couple of long woodsman's hunting shirts I'm making. They are similar to this. I also have a wool cape I'm doing. They are to be used in the woods and for the renaissance festivals we attend.

    Jon.
  18. Stormstaff

    Stormstaff Guide

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    I wish I was handy enough to do something like this
  19. mountain1

    mountain1 Guest

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    that's really, really cool. been wanting to try something like that myself.
  20. Trekon86

    Trekon86 Guest

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  21. pik

    pik Scout

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    To those who are thinking of trying something like this, or even thinking they are unable to do anything like this, I should say that I felt just as intimidated at first looking at the polished work of edispilif and others. (Not to mention this was my first project of this kind in general.) "Shoulder yoke what? How many pieces? All I've sewn is an eight-inch pillow in eighth grade FACS class." But I cannot overemphasize the increase in confidence that accompanied doing a few patterns on the sheets, some machine sewing on the one-piece Rick, and then some hand sewing on the hood. Not that a second edispilif wouldn't turn out better (it would), but I guess what I'm saying is 'we all put our pants on one leg at a time.'
  22. walkabout

    walkabout Guide

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    I want one so bad! but im so broke that humpty dumpty laughs at me! im saving my pennies to get one ready for the coming fall, they are so perfect and versatile for what we do that i would be a dunce not to get one.
  23. pik

    pik Scout

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    Just a final update here - added another piece of leather as planned, to move the toggle away from the edge. And I decided to leave the bottom as is, seeing as I managed to leave the original blanket edge there (with the original blanket stitching). So I figure 'don't fix what ain't broken.'

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  24. canoeguy

    canoeguy Guest

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    looks good!
  25. Yellow Lab

    Yellow Lab Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Great job! For me the only thing I would do is round off the antler. I would not trust myself not to impale myself while doing something....:)

    Again - great job and thanks for keeping us up to date.
  26. walkabout

    walkabout Guide

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    Pik, should i wash the blanket before i start on the pattern? or just go as is?
  27. AlteredMentalStatus

    AlteredMentalStatus Bushmaster Bushclass I

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    just pure awesomeness bro
  28. pik

    pik Scout

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    Skim through This wool blanket STINKS how do I clean it?

    I don't think washing them really helps anything, so I would just start right in. Or if it still smells a bit, hang it outside on a sunny day. (But just FYI it has already been washed and dried two or three times.)
  29. walkabout

    walkabout Guide

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    I was just wondering, i should of known you washed it just because it didnt smell like sweaty dog nuts! lol im going to start over the weekend preping out the pattern, right now im just crunching out the details on paper and trying to figure in what type of hood and pockets im going to go with.;)
  30. NWesterman

    NWesterman Guest

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    this is one of the nicer wool blanket anoraks I've seen!
    and have to say, you have a pretty kick-ass flikr account too!
  31. edispilf27

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    That is looking really good amigo! If you want to use heavier leathers on your machine, cut the leather a little bit larger than you need... and wet it through. wet leather is much easier to punch through... but it willl stretch while you stitch and shrink when you are done. use some scrap first to see how it works out.

    nice work :)
  32. AlteredMentalStatus

    AlteredMentalStatus Bushmaster Bushclass I

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  33. canoeguy

    canoeguy Guest

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    Nice work man!
  34. rattlesnake_wrangler

    rattlesnake_wrangler Scout

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    It turned out great nice job.
  35. jeepcop24

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    just looked at this I've got to either try it or get one made inspired I am!
    Thanks
  36. SafetyJoe

    SafetyJoe Guest

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    Awesome post. Thank you very much.
  37. brotherbear82

    brotherbear82 Tracker

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    That's beautiful work...you gained an anorak and the confidence and skill to make many more, that is priceless.
  38. Bushpuukko

    Bushpuukko Guide

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    Nicely done! I see a STICKY coming from this one.
  39. Dadio

    Dadio Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Thanks for the inspiration! Been wanting one of these since I first stumbled across this thread, and finally got around to it this weekend. My wife helped a lot and taught me how to work the sewing machine, as I had near zero experience. Took inspiration from several of the examples in this thread. This one has a fleece lined hood and hand warming pocket (with small cell phone/wallet sized pocket inside), a paracord drawstring, buttons from a German Army surplus sewing kit, and some scrap leather for the tabs. Made the back long enough that it covers my rear when sitting. Now just waiting for the temp to drop down another 40 degress or so..... The colors aren't really correct in this pic; the fleece is much more navy than this, and the wool is standard army blanket green.
    [​IMG]

    Not a bad piece of kit for a $25 blanket and four broken needles! I am, however, banned from wearing it at my daughter's soccer games.
  40. TNRat

    TNRat Tracker

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    All pictured work looks great. I am impressed to see we still have basic talent and skills in our country. So much of it has left with the younger generations by choice.

    The lined hood gives me an idea. The Cadillac of these hoods would be the same set up lined with silk.

    Too bad we can't use wool around here for very long although it would probably be fine today with the weather!
  41. sidecarr

    sidecarr Scout Bushclass I

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    Great work.
  42. jb101

    jb101 Tracker

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    Nice work, like the different materials
  43. Branm008

    Branm008 Guide

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    Agreed, wool in the south is only good for 4-6 months out of the year.
    Still in the looking process of finding some wool blankets so i can start up some anoraks and a bedroll ive been wanting to do.

    -Brandon
  44. John Fenna

    John Fenna Scout Bushclass III

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    Great blanket work!
    I have used a Dutch Army blanket to make a Hoody Smock
    [​IMG]
    and a Merino wool blanket (that cost me about 30 cents in a charity shop!) to make a Swan Dri type shirt
    [​IMG]
    as well as other blankets (origin unknown) to make pullover tops and cloaks (a much underrated bit of kit!) - wool blankets are a great source of bushy kit!
  45. AirPirate

    AirPirate Tortured Genius Supporter

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    I'm totally going to use Rick Marchand's patern. Exactly the ease of construction I was looking for.
  46. petrifiedwood

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    Thanks for posting this.

    I bought my wife a sewing machine a few weeks ago and she decided it was too complicated to learn. So I guess it my sewing machine now! :D

    It's a Singer "heavy duty" model. I'm only just beginning to learn how to use it but hopefully I'll be proficient enough to make nice even seams and hems like you have posted here. I only last night figured out that I had to use a much finer needle than the one that came in the machine in order not to seriously mess up the fabric I was experimenting with.
  47. T-Bone

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    What a great thread. I'm sorry I missed it the first time around. It would have been a great help as I just made mine on the fly.
    It looks like I am going to have to find some more blankets.

    We are in the same boat, petrifiedwood. My wife's grandmother got her a sewing machine for christmas one year, and I am the one who learned how to use it. Now it is unofficially my thread-injector.
  48. petrifiedwood

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    Cool!

    Yeah I'm hoping to eventually use it to sew webbing together for lash points on tarps, and make other simple articles of outdoor gear with it. I'm still learning about which needle to use for what fabric, and what type of thread the machine can work with, etc.
  49. Okbushcraft

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    Cool thread, any new pics of this being used this season?
  50. pik

    pik Scout

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    I've since traded this anorak to rattlesnake_wrangler, so maybe he has pictures.

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