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Author Topic: DIY Wool Anorak  (Read 2583 times)

Offline Jawax

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DIY Wool Anorak
« on: February 19, 2018, 04:01:27 PM »
Just before an early season canoe trip last spring, a sudden cold snap sent me into a small town surplus store to see what they had for blankets to augment the summer weight sleeping bag I had brought..  I found a wonderful JNA/Yugoslavian army blanket for $15US and walked out happy.  It did the trick for me at night, but during the windy and drizzly days I began thinking that wool blanket might be better repurposed as an pull over anorak, having seen many or your photos of your boreal shirts.  After the trip, I stopped back in that surplus store and grabbed a similar second blanket they had at that price.


I didn't want to cut into the blanket without first making a proven pattern to follow.  Looking at photos of boreal shirts, the LOTN canvas anorak pattern online, and my own Wintergreen fleece anorak, I slowly pieced together a pattern made from some cheap 10 oz canvas I had laying around.  Once the canvas pattern was fully sewn together and seemed about right, I ripped all the seams and played them out on the blanket.  YIKES!.  My canvas pattern did not fit on the blanket!  Putting a measuring tape to it, I found the blanket was smaller than many standard army surplus type blankets.  It was made in 1970 according to the label, and had probably been washed in hot water way too many times.  Fortunately I had two, so reluctantly had to cut about a 12 inch strip off the second blanket.  C'est la guerre. 


With the pattern pieces all cut, I went to work sewing with my 1954 Singer sewing machine that only goes forwards and backwards.  Immediately I realized what I should have seen before - the wool was so thick that sewing this thing would be really hard.  No full-felled seams were going to happen, that was for sure. I could oversew (a second stick through 3 layers) parts of it like the hood, but not the arms.  By patiently ripping several tangled up seams and replacing several broken needles, I finally got through it.That section at the bottom of the gusset was a nightmare where I was trying to get through 5 layers.   


I added an elastic draw cord at the bottom and velcro tabs at the wrists.  After about a week of wearing, I ripped apart the gusset to reposition it, and ripped the sleeves apart to cut some material out and make them a bit narrower.  There is also a pair of D-rings inside the pocket, and a small silnylon inner pocket just big enough for some fire starter. Ah the benefits of being able to sew. 

After wearing it around few weeks in early winter i realized one more fatal flaw;  it is going to be far too warm to wear on those early and late season canoe trips for which I had built it.  This wool is thick, and this is definitely a winter anorak.  I was going to have to make a second one out of a lighter blanket.  I had a Rothco 90% wool blanket laying around.  They are pretty cheap at $30US and easily available, so I started cutting.  This one sewed MUCH easier; not just because the pattern was set and my confidence up, but the material was thinner and just worked easier.  This one folds up much smaller, and will be much better suited for the temps Im likely to see canoeing in the spring.  It was a great project (projects?), but I was very happy to role up the pattern and tuck it away. 


Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 04:09:47 PM »
Wow look really good!! I have a few 60/40 wool blankets that were given to us, I want to make a luhkka  for my daughter and if it turns out good I might make one for me !!

Offline Old Guide

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2018, 04:15:31 PM »
I can tell by the stripes I have one of those blankets. You did a really fine job making that anorak.

Offline southcove

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 05:52:15 PM »
OUTSTANDING!   Wonderful attention to all the small but important details... it all looks very nice and professionally done.

Offline mewolf1

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2018, 10:46:50 PM »
That looks really nice!! Well done.

Offline Boatman53

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2018, 10:56:44 PM »
Good job, I like it a lot. I like the hood and at first I was thinking the gusset was too high but the more I look at it the more I like the coverage.
Thanks for posting.
Jim

Offline TZBrown

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2018, 09:11:02 AM »
Great job  Though they take a bit of planning and work they are well worth the effort to make
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Offline snapper

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2018, 10:39:32 AM »
Nice job on your anorak.  That's sure to keep you warm for years to come.  Nothing better than a piece of kit you've made yourself.  Lots of satisfaction for a job well done.

That's all for now.  Take care and until next time....be well.

snapper

Offline redoleary

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2018, 05:51:52 AM »
Looks great, well done.

Offline Moondog55

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2018, 04:19:24 PM »
Nice job
How thick was the blanket because I don't think I could sew fabric like that in my machine either.
What does it weigh finished?

Offline Jawax

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2018, 06:02:15 PM »
According to my cheap digital fish scale, its 4.13 lbs / 1.87 kg.  Just went on a one week camping trip and didn't even bring it as temps were forecast to all be 0-15ºF at night and 20-35ºF by day (or -17 to +1ºC), and I felt it it was too warm so brought a lighter layer.  I broke a lot of needles trying to stitch this thing, but I'd grab more of those blankets if I could. 

Offline Moondog55

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2018, 07:04:04 PM »
 I broke a few #18 needles sewing my serge trousers, were you using a #21 ? #21 is usually the biggest you can fit in a domestic machine and I just bought a pack for sewing my new sled hauling harness

Offline Jawax

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2018, 07:46:09 PM »
I was using a #11 needle.  Whenever I try heavier needles or thread my fussy old 1956 Singer has tension problems.  What else should I expect having paid $20 USD for a sewing machine? 

Offline Kevinkinney

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2018, 12:35:15 PM »
Sweet! 
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Offline aktundra

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Re: DIY Wool Anorak
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2018, 02:30:45 PM »
Jawax- You sure are on fire with the DIY projects. Love the anorak. It's been on my project list for a long time. I even have the blankets! Thanks for the inspiration.