Friday, March 8, 2024

Siberian Parka

Continuing with my New Year's theme, the Siberian Parka from Folkwear Patterns has been in stash a while. I've been wanting something with a hood. I think I must have purchased it at a resale, probably our local ASG chapter's annual sale. Honestly, I don't think I would have purchased it otherwise. But it has some appeal to me right now.

The fabric is 100% wool boucle, probably purchased at a fun store that used to be in Massachussetts. I cannot find evidence of it now and I cannot remember the name. It was almost exclusively mail/phone order, back in the day, but they had a smallish shop that was open to the public during limited hours. I used to connect with them while visiting my son in NH and visit them. I believe I purchased it soon after I finished my first, and last, Coco's jacket. I guess I thought I would make another. I will not do so.

The fabric is soft and it was easy to stitch. It did ravel quite a lot, so I serged all the edges. I could not bring myself to apply Hong Kong finishes. There are way too many seams that are way too long. And the serging thread tends to sink into it, so it is not too offensive.

After I finished the poncho, I was curious about how it would behave if washed. Not that I really intend the machine wash it on a regular basis - probably never. Unless I am extremely sloppy, I'll be OK with dry cleaning, which I know is neither dry nor clean. I serged two same-size scraps, machine washed them both, machine dried one of them. They remained similar, shrinking about 10% in both directions. And it is still soft and lovely to touch.

I checked Pattern Review for this pattern, of course. Although I had this piece in stash for years and never touched it other than to pet it, I still wanted to be a little careful. Many people commented on its size. Yep, it's huge. But then it is a parka. I made size Small.

I found the instructions for the area of the front neckline to be difficult to follow. In the line drawing above, it looks as if lots of seams come together in a V.  The shoulder area of the garment has multiple pieces as you can see in the picture. In the front, it needed to connect with the hood opening without a bunch of lumps. Ultimately, I simply played with the pieces coming together until they behaved. I'm quite happy with the result.

I also struggled just a little with finishing the edge of the hood opening. Instructions are to simply fold the fabric back about an inch total, and top-stitch in place. Because the opening widens as it moves away from the raw edges, there was no way that would work. 

My first try was to pull out a remnant of black silk dupioni and just finish the edge with a bias binding. I did not like the look of that and it enclosed my face too snugly. I cut the hem off. Next I applied a bias piece of another remnant as a facing. That worked and it is snug enough around my face though I removed more than an inch from the raw edge.

The first time I tried on the parka, I knew I would want the option of rolling up the sleeves without looking at serger thread. They are a bit long, but I like having options on this outer wear garment. I think there will be some occasions when I will want the sleeves rolled all the way down to stay warm. I finished the sleeve hems with a facing, using another remnant of blackish fabric. I traced a facing shape by pin-stitching the two piece sleeve tissues together. 

The pocket instructions were a little iffy. They are in-seam pockets with a single layer - the single layer is top-stitched to the front of the garment. The instructions were to wait to finish edges until the pocket was installed. That made no sense at all to me, unless I was planning to finish the visible raw edges with a hand-overcast stitch. I serged around each raw edge before beginning assembly of the pockets. I am glad I did so.

I used a remnant of some black tencil fabric for the pockets to avoid too much bulk.

All in all, I consider this project a success. Mr. Now Sewing thinks I look a bit gothic in it, but that's OK with me. If I cannot be a little goth now, then when can I be?

Wearing the parka with gray polyester Helex pants

Recently I've also made several pairs of basic pants - Sewing Workshop Helex pants in black ponte (my go to for black pants), as well as a gray polyester knit. The gray was well-aged, enough so that I have no idea how it came to be in stash. It would never be my first pick for pants. I also made a pair of Sewing Workshop Quincy pants in the wool suiting used for facing on this parka. The Quincy pants are still undergoing revisions to get the fit right.

The temperature today rose to 75 F (24 C), so it may be a few months before I need this parka. 


  1. You’re lucky with the warmer weather. I could still wear a parka like this ;) butnit looks great and very cosy. Also the pattern looks an interesting make though maybe not one to repeat too many times. In red perhaps? Happy sewing. Trish S

  2. It strikes me that those seams could be lapped ones, I guess on the theory that the original material would probably have been skins.

  3. What a warm, cuddly coat! I believe the store you are thinking of is Sawyer Brook. Your description perfectly fits the one I went to by that name, on Rt101, Amherst St, in NH. Not sure if it was in Amherst or Merrimack. I was dismayed when they moved but they still have their online presence today. I don't think they do any brink and mortar anywhere, however. Really quality fabrics there.

  4. How do I subscribe to your blog? I’m in the need of getting the sewing bug back - & you have inspired me! Bon

    1. Sorry - I have not been able to get that to work.

  5. Your blog has been a constant companion, offering wisdom and guidance when needed.