Men’s Classic Mountain Parka


Today is the first day of fall and I’m oh-so-ready: I am delighted to present my just-completed eight-pocket mountain parka!

This design is based on the famous 60/40 (referring to cotton/nylon) mountain parka produced by Sierra Designs (below) in 1968.  Back in the days before Gortex and other waterproof, breathable fabrics, a shell parka like this one was what you’d wear on a hike or backpacking trip.  The fabric is sturdy and water-repellant and the fit is generous enough for layering over sweaters and/or thermals.

sierra designs 60_40

Part of the challenge of a project like this is that everyone knows what the real thing looks like: the 60/40 parka is still a popular style and has even developed a cult following in Japan.  Finding suitable fabrics is key, and I was able to find them at Mood Fabrics’ New York store.

The outer layer of my version is a tightly woven, Italian cotton blend that’s coated with a light layer of something plastic-like on the inside.  The lining is a silver gray cotton blend that’s also somewhat water repellant.  (You can find similar cotton coating fabrics available on the Mood Fabrics website here, or call the New York store.)

My pattern is a vintage 1983 Daisy Kingdom unisex parka pattern I found on eBay.  Love that fuschia lining!


The Daisy Kingdom pattern has nine pockets; I made only eight, leaving out the back pocket since I didn’t see myself storing things in the back of my coat.  (I envisioned finding a long-forgotten tuna fish sandwich there months later.)


The eight pockets include two zippered breast pockets, two front “bellows” pockets (called bellows because they expand), two hand-warmer pockets underneath them, and two inside pockets.  That’s a lot of pockets — and a LOT of topstitching.






There’s also an inside drawstring waistband (drawn through a metal grommet — my first ever), a fully lined hood, cuffs that tighten with velcro strips, a two-way zipper, and six gripper snaps.







This parka was a labor of love and I can’t wait to start wearing it.   It was already in the mid-50’s this morning, so I don’t think I’m going to have long to wait.  I am ready to retire my shorts and dig out my sweaters.

Happy fall, everybody!





  • amanda
    September 23, 2014

    This jacket is amazing. I love the colors and the construction looks perfect. Bravo!

  • Qui
    September 23, 2014

    wow, that garment has an awful lot of detail. Well done as usual Peter. It looks wonderful and oh so professional.

  • Debbie Iles
    September 23, 2014

    Fantastic! I love the colours, but I mostly love them paired with those mustard pants. Fab colour combo.

  • Manju
    September 23, 2014

    Perfection as ever Peter….

  • Kathy Sews
    September 23, 2014


  • Fiona
    September 23, 2014

    Wow Peter, you’ve knocked my socks off again! This looks so much better than anything your could buy in the shops and I dream for such perfect topstitching. Love your choice of grey lining, looks great inside the hood

  • mbmm
    September 23, 2014

    This is beyond amazing. You should be really proud of this one!

  • Sallie
    September 23, 2014

    Holy Cow!! Peter this is amazing!! Really really stellar! Just imagining all the work that went into this jacket is making me tired! Ha! But all your topstitching and attention to detail was SO well worth it – the jacket is stunning. Definitely a piece to hold on to and be proud of.

    • Sallie
      September 23, 2014

      Also, LOL about the tuna sandwich… Totally the kind of thing I would do!

  • K-Line
    September 23, 2014

    It looks ridiculously good. I don’t think it looks like a parka, however. (What can I say, I’m from Canada.) It seems more like a transitional jacket.

  • Cheryl
    September 23, 2014

    Love the jacket. Love the photos…esp. with the school bus. The primary colors say back to school. Maybe another FIT class so we can follow it on the blog.

  • Bob McBoberson
    September 23, 2014

    You left off the bun warmer pocket! My husband, who originally from Pittsburgh, swears by the back pocket on a parka or jacket. He will take some kind of small heating device in the back of it to keep his rear toasty warm. You don’t want frostbite back there! Normally its an old sock with white rice stuffed in it and then the sock tied off. I used to think he was crazy but you slap that puppy in the microwave for 45 seconds and your booty will be warm for hours.

  • Becky
    September 23, 2014

    Your parka is gorgeous! You totally nailed it. I am so impressed with how well you fit your garments. Excellent job.

  • SunGold
    September 23, 2014

    Fantastic work. Your parka looks like it was handmade in Saville Row. Great styling, too. (*Jealous*)

  • Erica B.
    September 23, 2014

    Peter, that parka is amazing! I love that!

  • Enrique
    September 23, 2014

    Your Parka makes me want my own now! Very inspiring!

  • Sarah Gunn
    September 23, 2014

    How did you make this, Peter? Amazing and a beautiful color on you!

  • Pammie
    September 23, 2014

    Fantastic Parka Peter! I love it! I am so amazed at your improving skills – and outdoor wear is no joke! Congratulations again!

  • treva putsche
    September 24, 2014


  • Terry
    September 24, 2014

    Peter,you are amazing. Such a great job!


  • Sara
    September 24, 2014

    Wow, that’s pretty amazing! It’s beautiful and so well made. The colors are perfect for you.

  • Wendy
    September 24, 2014

    One of the most professional looking garments I’ve seen on any sewing blog, it’s truly awesome Peter.

  • Esta
    September 24, 2014

    Everything’s already said by previous comments – it’s amazingly professional and well styled. It really shows how much details matter. Truly inspiring!

  • Annika
    September 24, 2014

    Again, this is amazing! I love the first pic. The whole styling with the sunglasses and the yellow pants! Perfection!

  • Anne
    September 24, 2014

    Excellent! Looks perfect in every way.

  • Linda L
    September 24, 2014

    Super job with this! It looks very much like your inspiration jacket. Very good fit.

  • Lladybird
    September 24, 2014

    This is outstanding, Peter! I hope my boyfriend never sees this… he’s going to immediately insist that I make him one too, haha!

  • Amanda S.
    September 24, 2014

    You make the best men’s jackets and coats, and this one is no exception. I just finished a parka as well, and I know they are a LOT of work. Mine didn’t have near the number of pockets as yours though. Enjoy wearing it!

  • Lori
    September 24, 2014

    You are the king of all jackets and coats, this one is most impressive. I would of been so nervous putting in those metal grommets. Fabulous job.

  • Pat King
    September 24, 2014

    OMG. Peter, that is absolutely amazing. What a great job you did on that. Clearly you have your sewing mojo back in buckets. Fabulous; you will have that jacket for years to come. I sat here talking out loud as I scrolled through the photos. It’s hard to believe you’ve been sewing for such a short length of time. You are one skilled craftsman!

  • Kimberly
    September 24, 2014

    What a wonderful jacket. It had to be a labor of love cause the detailing is amazing. 🙂

  • Testosterone
    September 24, 2014


    Looks much better than the pattern envelope. Must be the modeling genes shining through.

  • Jet Set Sewing
    September 24, 2014

    Looks fantastic, and very “Haute Normcore.” All that stitching practice at FIT has paid off!

  • Deborah Simms
    September 25, 2014

    I am blown away by your skill, Bravo!

  • Diana D
    September 25, 2014

    That is one well executed parka! You look great in it!

  • Laurie
    September 27, 2014

    Beautiful! I have to know. I am floored by the great zipper and velcro color match. Did you match the fabric to the notions?

    • Peter
      September 28, 2014

      Ha — if only. The zipper isn’t a perfect match and the velcro is black, not blue, but it’s close enough.

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    September 28, 2014

    That jacket is a work of art – I’m not showing my husband he will want one just like that!

  • Peter
    September 30, 2014

    Thanks, everybody!

  • Sew Well
    October 1, 2014

    Wow. Just wow. All the details come together to make one outstanding parka.

  • Ginger
    October 6, 2014

    Wow! This is fantastic! It’s truly superb craftsmanship. I’m blown away!

  • Lenore Cilmi
    October 14, 2014

    You and your work are really inspiring! Thanks for your generosity in sharing it!