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.
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!