Friends: do you ever have a piece of a project that absolutely paralyzes your ability to make a decision? I don’t care if it’s a craft-related project, but perhaps it’s writing, work, whatever. When it’s a hobby however, I personally find it’s very easy and sometimes fun to let myself fall down into the rabbit hole of obsessing over making a decision over minute details.
Enter my toggle hell.
It’s the first peek at my Cascade duffle coat in-progress! You may notice it’s not the dijon coating I bought from Britex from my inspiration post. I’m actually doing a different version first. Think of it as a post-muslin / pre-spendy-omg-fabric version. This one is in some herringbone tweed wool coating I had in my stash. It’ll also be the short hip-length View A with a hood.
I had a snafu with the zipper placket and before I let myself get too pissed off about it, I decided I’d do like Jen’s sew-along View A version and just omit the zipper for this. If it’s cold enough that I really need the zipper and the toggles, it’s probably cold enough that I need a heavier coat (plus my front/back bodice are interlined with cotton flannel for extra warmth). So I’m moving on.
Anyway, we’re here about toggles, right? This is what I’m currently obsessing over. I knew right from the start I wanted to do the type with a jute/hemp/cotton cord (probably twisted) instead of a leather patch/cord combo. If you look up Gloverall—a British brand known for excellent duffle coats—you’ll see examples of what I’m talking about. And I ordered sooo many variations of cords and toggles. Gah.
I’ve finally narrowed it down to the ones shown in today’s post. At the top we have jute cord and shaped wood buttons. The second two are black and natural cotton cord, with really neat resin faux-horn buttons. The “horn” ones can’t be used with the jute because the holes are way too small.
I basically have 5 options I’m considering at this point, all with pros and cons that make this so hard!
- Option #1—jute cord and wood button. Pros: most traditional, and cord is stiff so it’s presumably likely to keep the front closed the best. Cons: cord is so stiff it’s almost too stiff, I’m not sure I quite love the look of the loop it makes (the stiffness is more obvious in person). It kind of feels a bit overwhelming on a hip-length coat like this, vs. the more traditional longer ones. I wanted to stick with jute early on because it’s the most classic for this type of closure on duffle coats, but considering I’m going for very non-traditional tweed anyway, it doesn’t really matter. Another con is I couldn’t use the jute to attach the same style of buttons on the sleeve tabs I’m adding (it would be too bulky under the buttonholes), so I’d need to use flat wood buttons or something on the sleeves and sew them on with thread.
- Options #2 or #3—black cord, faux-horn button. Either twisted cord, or twisted into loops (the loops are inspired by this red coat Jen originally posted as inspiration). Pros: I like these buttons the best, and can’t use them with the jute. The tweed is navy and the cord is black, which makes me kind of happy to mix the two (makes my anal side say “oh now I can wear black shoes with this coat” if it has some black in there). Also, the cotton would be a lot easier to sew through than the jute, and easier to hide the stitches in black. Would easily be able to use this to attach the buttons on the sleeve tabs I’m adding. Cons: Black for the cord is the least traditional. The cotton cord is more stretchy than the jute, but I think if I’m careful to stretch it when I place it, I won’t end up with the fronts flopping too much when closed, which is important since this won’t have a zipper.
- Options #4 or #5—off-white cotton cord, same faux-horn button. Basically exact same deal as the above, just using a much lighter cord.
- Option #6—Cripes, I just thought of another option. If I wanted it a little darker, I could maybe tea-dye the natural cotton cord. If it came out like crap, I guess I could order more, although I’m sick of ordering supplies for this. 😉 I really want to pick a combination that I have and be done with it.
Prevailing opinion on four options I showed yesterday on Instagram was the jute/wood, but as you can see from my thoughts above I’m far from convinced I’ll go this route. I’ll leave you with one last look, the full front bodice of the coat:
Which path will I choose? Frankly I feel like any of the options could be a winner, so I think that means that I’ll be happy with whatever I pick…. which will hopefully be soon, so I can move on! There’s a lot of the coat construction that can’t happen until I leap over this hurdle! 😉