From the American southwest to northern Japan, a coats journey….


January 22, 2015 by Tina Olsson / Gavanna

This is the wool coat I completed back in November, but believe me, I didn’t start it this year, or even the year before.  No, this is a true U.F.O from a deep dark place on my shelves….

I think the reason I abandoned it is the color! I really do love grey, but I think I overdosed it a bit a few years back, when it was so very modern to wear everything in grey, or grey marl. So what to do with an already cut out coat in a color that you’re a bit “meh” about? Well, dye it of course. But that idea was quickly discarded after some testing. Too heavy, too complicated, too much fabric.

So, I painted it instead. Worked out great! b3e64594b409ba7ed65c8185bccfd08b My inspiration came from the lovely Navajo or blanket coats that have been so popular lately. Most of these come in many colors, but I decided to use only black on grey. As the project evolved I found that I took more inspiration from an older project, a whole collection I created when I was designing men’s streetwear. It was based on traditional patterns from different native cultures around the north pole. Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Russia and most of all the Ainu people of northern Japan. Look at these lovely appliqued coats!20ce0a0349c0b52a2bacb71380396fe7   be2cb23185ba3ac7abf8ae1c34f93167   So I cut a simple template from ordinary paper, taped it on to the already cut coat pieces, and stenciled some black fabric paint! Easy as cake! (Well, I did practice quite a bit on leftover pieces, Fluffy wool repels water and the paint wouldn’t sink into the surface but had to be almost pushed in. I didn’t want the paint to become stiff and sort of sitting on top of the fabric, but on the other hand I couldn’t make it thin and runny, that would have given blurry lines. )


I’m not perfectly happy with how the pattern turned out on the back. I KNOW I stressed and wanted to start painting… So now some of it looks unbalanced to me, but done is done!

Karesuando-2-bakifrån But the rest of it I’m very, very happy with!

It’s unlined, so not for the really cold days, but in fall and spring it will be perfect!Karesuando-1-framifrånKaresuando-3-närbild

I have been asked to make pdf pattern for this coat, maybe I will. And in that case maybe I’ll  include a template for “make your own” painted coat!

I entered in the Monthly Stitches November challenge with this coat, read more here.


3 thoughts on “From the American southwest to northern Japan, a coats journey….

  1. Vancouver Barbara says:

    I LOVE this coat. I am a big fan of grey, black and the simplest of shapes that are divine and so easy and comfortable to wear. One question. Is your sleeve similar to the sleeve on the Ainu coat? And what about those Ainu coats. Completely inspirational. Thanks to Rhonda Buss for today’s post bringing me to your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for liking my coat, and blog! The Ainu coats are completely gorgeous, and very inspiring! I mostly used the appliqued pattern on them as my inspiration, even if my coat is very simple, it’s still a standard “western” type of pattern, including the sleeve. The Ainus are much closer to the Japanese way of sewing clothes, with only rectangular pieces. So, mine is a compromise in between! I was delighted to be included in Rhonda’s post, now I’m feeling even more inspired to write more, and better posts! And complete my new pattern too! Off to the sewing machine then… Thanks again for stopping by, and commenting!


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