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Bog Coat

marymary | Posted in Patterns on

On the “Embellishment” thread there has been some discussion about the bog coat.  I thought maybe if we gave the bog coat its own thread more would join in.

I have a question for those of you who have made the bog coat using fleece.  Is the fleece too stiff, heavy, bulky for the bog coat?  Did you line the coat?  Did you bind the edges, if not, how did you treat the edges?

There are directions on the Web for making a bog coat using your own woven fabric from your loom.  They are beautiful.  I no longer have a loom, so I have been looking for fabric that replicates the look.  So far, I have not found anything I want.

I did recently make a robe from stretch terry using the bog coat design.  I put a zipper in the front and made a facing from a piece of quilting fabric.  Fastest robe I have ever made and I love it.  I plan to make a lighter weight cotton robe for summer.


  1. GailAnn | | #1

    Fans of Elizabeth Zimmermann's writing will find a chapter on the Knitted Bog Jacket in her wonderful 1989 book KNITTING AROUND.

    On page 72 she includes a very nice illustration of how it goes together.  While it is intended for knitting, it does well explain the construction of a fabric Bog (shirt, jacket, coat).  In fact she talks about weavers using this pattern.

    EZ refers to a book called THE BOG PEOPLE, I thought I had a copy of this in my library, but I can't seem to find it this minute.  Gail

  2. starzoe | | #2

    I think I was the one who orginally mentioned the bog coat here. I have made a number of them, none with fleece. I am not sure if fleece would work as well as some other fabrics. There is a fair amount of fabric there, even though the pattern is simple and fleece, I think, would make a bulky garment. The pattern could be altered to have a little less less bulk, though.

    My favourite fabric for the coat is men's suiting-type fabric. It is lightweight, warm, usually 100% wool and drapes so very nicely. I have used gabardine and a mid-weight silk fabric. I used ultrasuede strips to bind the wool coats and to make a frog or tie closure at the front. I also made one of lightweight, black polyester see-through fabric trimmed with black beads as an evening topper for a young friend who needed something to stretch her wardrobe for dress-up social occasions.

    One I wear constantly is a light chocolate brown wool gabardine. After assembling the fabrics I stitched a sashiko background pattern onto the fabric. It is bound with like-colour ultrasuede trim. It is the first one I made, the minute it was published in Threads. They are great fun to make and are so much appreciated as gifts. If I give them away, I give them to friends to live "away". One great advantage of sewing is originality and I don't want every woman and her dog wearing one of these around here (a smallish town)! Am I mean!!!

    1. marymary | | #5

      Just read starzoe's post...starzoe, what dimension did you use for the arms?  The jacket I am planning is more like what you described.

      1. starzoe | | #6

        Do you mean how wide did I make the arms? The sleeves are 26" wide in total. I didn't work this bog in one piece, I had to piece it so the turn over the shoulders would have been 26". The measurement from neckline to sleeve hem is 24"I used the pattern from Threads and have not looked at the one on line. I will take a look at it to see how the patterns differ.I hope this is what you were asking about.

        1. marymary | | #7

          Yes, the width of the sleeves was what I was asking about.   Most of the patterns I have found use 12" (doubled) as the width.  Some suggest that you can make this measurement smaller, but not how much smaller.

          1. starzoe | | #8

            I have sewn one with narrower silk, so a smaller size, and if I remember rightly (sold it for $60 - 1/2 of what the boutique got for it) the sleeves were between 10 and 12 inches, doubled.I might try next time to narrow the sleeves to the cuff but will have to take into consideration the seam edge finishing. The sleeves on the one I described in the earlier post are bracelet length, I think a longer sleeve to the wristbone at 26" would be a hazard and sloppy-feeling.

          2. User avater
            CostumerVal | | #15

            Mary, I did an entire theater play using the bog coat instructions in Threads mag.  The armscye measurements I used were size SM 22", Med 23", Lrg 24", XL 25". 

            I made my sons bog coat bathrobes of fleece fabric.  The chest seam allowance is on the inside.  I think a fleece jacket would be fine.

    2. JanF | | #10

      Can u enlighten me please?
      What on earth is a "bog" coat?
      here it is a name for a swamp - or a very basic slang word for the toilet -
      so goodness knows what sort of coat it is?
      Can u describe?

      1. marymary | | #11

        A Bog Coat is made from a single piece of fabric.  It is based on a garment found on a body buried in a bog over 1000 years ago.  There is no waste with this garment.  If you do a search, you will find lots of information.  Here is a link: http://www.larkinart.com/wearable/bogcoat/ to some beautiful art coats using the bog design.

        1. maggiecoops | | #12

          I just found this thread and was intriqued by the notion of a "Bog" coat. I visited the link you posted and found it. My first impression was it was extremely similar to clothing still found all over the world. http://www.folkwear.com/asian.html The design is so simple and easy to wear in all it's forms, and just about every culture has their version. Amazing how such a simple design made from one basic length of fabric or hide has endured for thousands of years and is still serving a need for practical clothing, I wonder if our modern designer classics will last as long. Somehow I can't see it.


          1. marymary | | #13

            I love the Folkwear patterns and book, mainly for inspiration.  I could not wear most of them without looking ridiculous.  Recently I have been looking through some of my older sewing books and find a lot of designs that use squares and rectangles and a minimal amount of cutting to create the design.  These are mostly books from the '70s.  With a change of fabric and a little design they wouldn't be too bad for today.

            The construction of the bog coat is so great for a piece of fabric for which you don't want to destroy the design.  I have a piece of fabric with large peacocks on it.  It isn't something I would wear for anyone to see.  I have gotten it out over the years thinking it would work as a quilt, but never wanted to cut it up.  It will now become a summer robe bog coat.

          2. maggiecoops | | #14

            I did something similar with a length of cloth my DH brought me back from Hong Kong years ago. I made a galabeya which was so cool in the short summers we have here in England. It had such a lovely border and central design, I didnt want to destroy them.

            I used to teach knitting as part of our schools free activity period, and the older children would knit (and I would repair!) squares which they sewed up to make jumpers. They were so easy and the children loved them. Made a few for myself as they were so comfortable to wear. In fact even now I dont shape when I'm knitting on my machines, I just cut and sew. Makes knitted garments so quick to do when machine knitting.

            Do you remember the fad for making tops from head scarves? my friend and I did dozens, you could get some wonderful designs on a head scarve, and just sew them together to make summer tops, skirts in fact anything that you could think of without cutting the scarves..

          3. User avater
            Becky-book | | #16

            Hey there!
            I have The Ultimate Sweater Machine and have sometimes thought about knitting "yardage" on it. Still at the bottom of my "round tuit" list!!
            I would appreciate any tips and helps and things to avoid from your experience!
            Many thanks for your help,

          4. maggiecoops | | #17

            Aha, someone else with a "round toit" list, mines enormous,LOL.

            Cut and sew is brilliant, it saves hours of shaping and in some instances wrong sizes. The ultimate seems to be our double knit gauge over here, (England) if you use pure wool block it on an old blanket on a flat surface and steam set the stitches. This helps to stop premature unraveling. let it cool and dry before you remove the blocking pins, I use normal dress making pins. if You've knitted yards of it do the next bit, pinning it out to the same width, don't stretch it. Repeat blocking and steaming it till it's all done. Don't place a steam iron on the fabric at this stage, you only need to hold the iron close to the surface. A damp cloth with a hot iron works as well but no pressing the iron onto the fabric. If you are using a synthetic yarn, block it and use a fine mist spray to dampen it then lay a cloth over it and gently hand press it, no iron no heat just the flat of your hand or a small square of timber, all you are doing is setting those stitches. Leave it dry you can with some synthetic yarns use a cool iron but don't use the fine water spray just hold the cool iron over the knitting and then use the flat of your hand to  gently press the fabric.

            When it's dry if you intend using a paper pattern, and remember knits are more elastic than fabric, for example a skirt wont really need waist darts, just an elastic waist band and if you want, a lining.  Use a water or air soluble marker like you use for fabrics, or a contrast thread and mark out things like necklines, arm holes, , if you want shaping, take the shapings at the side seams unless you intend doing fitted garments when you need a woven interlining such as florianis  fusible knit . Don't cut anything. Use a darning or embroidery foot on your machine and do a line of stitching around your shape.just inside your cutting line using a narrow zinzag. Now do a second line just inside the stitching line seam allowance.  Now you cut the fabric, get a damp cloth or a steam iron, and carefully press the cut edges, you don't have to take this step but it does set those ends. If you have an overlocker (serger) stitch around the armhole edge and the neck edge then sew all the bits together with your overlocker or sewing machine. I usually use a linker to sew mine up as I prefer the chainstitch it creates and its more elastic. Always use a zigzag stitch so it can stretch slightly. Then treat your fabric exactly like any knit fabric.

            You can graft hand knit welts to cuffs and waists, the same with neckbands, to hide a cut and sew neck do a  a length of plain stocking stitch using a tension slightly tighter than the body, twice the depth of the machine line seam allowance you made before cutting, use waste wool to knit a few more rows and take it off the machine. hot iron the waste wool to stop it unraveling. Now find the centre row of the band you knitted and using knitting pins or your machine pick the stitches up and lay on the needles or pick up on the knitting needle, now either knit a rib the depth you want, or a stocking stitch length which will make a roll over  and cast off. On the machine cast off behind the sinker pins to prevent it being too tight. When all the stitches are cast off and all needles out of work, lift the band off. Now I like to sew my bands on with the open stitches on the outside,(the edge with the waste yarn) you may want to do it with the open stitches on the inside, so starting either centre back or on a shoulder, quickly tack the band to the neckline below the inner line of machine stitching . then fold the knitted band over, stocking stitch showing on the right side, and tack that down on the inside. your actual neck band is the knitting you did using that central row of stitches, and it should be exactly on the top edge. You have stretch your band evenly  to fit the neckline. If you think it looks correct start hand sewing the inside neck in place, checking it doesn't show below the right side placement. Then hand sew the front down, if you used the open loops, unravel the waste yarn till only one row remains and gradually unravel that as you catch each stitch in place. You have just made a fashion knit neck band that nicely hides the cut edges.

            Edited 10/8/2007 10:37 am ET by maggiecoops

          5. User avater
            Becky-book | | #18

            Thanks so very much. I copied your text and saved it in my craft file!

          6. Gloriasews | | #19

            What style is a galabeya, Maggie? Similar to a caftan or one of the Asian-inspired gowns in Folkwear?  Do you have a pic of it?


          7. maggiecoops | | #20



            They are very comfortable long garments worn by men and women. Think night shirt for men and slightly shaped for women. In Egypt they're called Galabeya, in India they have a short version with pants, the Salwar Kameze, in Morroco they are a djelaba, I love them. The two links beow are the two outfits my daughter and I want for my sons weddingin May. She can hers, the top one, I'll just dream as I'm just too fat these days. I love the style and did wear it a lot, but no more.



          8. Gloriasews | | #21

            Wow - those are all just beautiful!  I especially like the black galabeya with the white embellishment - very slimming.  You could wear something like that, couldn't you?

            Yes, I thought they would be like the djellaba - I've been making those for about 30+ years now (there was a pattern in Family Circle or Woman's Day then, that you just measure the fabric with a yardstick & cut it out - very easy).  My brother got me going on them after he returned from Morocco in the 70s - he wanted one.  Then my husband & sons wanted them, too, as they cover so much better than men's bathrobes, especially when they sit down & cross their legs (as men do - you get the picture! & bathrobes just seemed to show way too much in that instance).  I've adjusted the sizes as to the size of the person & have made them as gifts for friends, as well as for my family & me.  I always embellish the necks & sleeves, either with applique (for women, sometimes), ric rac, fancy machine stitches & 1/4" ribbon.  I have 3 now for myself & wear them as robes or for the evening.  I have even made them with 2 different fabrics (striped sleeves, plain center panels, striped side panels in the skirt, with fancy machine stitching around the neck, sleeves & down the front of the center panel - quite striking!).  I have also varied the necklines, depending upon the fabric & the person for which it's being made.  I have made a chart for everyone as to measurements, & can make them with no fitting necessary.

            So, go for it - make yourself one for your son's wedding!



          9. maggiecoops | | #22

            I'm pleased to find someone else who knows how comfy they are. They're perfect for men and some are every bit as decorative as the womens "smart" versions. I have lots of embroidery designs for the necklines and hems. I prefer the Galabeya without the dropped shoulder,they're mostly prayer dresses or wedding ones , but they have some body shaping so they're not so loose over the upper body.  

            Nowadays I need a tent to cover my overly full famine cupboard, I'm looking at a tunic and butterfly pants under a coat for my sons wedding. Hides a multitude of sins.


          10. Gloriasews | | #23

            The fitted ones don't suit me, either - that's why I like the djellaba.  Your outfit for the wedding sounds really nice - do show pics when you have it done.  Good luck!


          11. Tangent | | #24

            How do you pronounce that name... djellaba?  Are the sleeves just rectangles sewn to the front/back, with no armhole shaping?  They sure do look like great hot-weather garments!

          12. Gloriasews | | #25

            It's pronounced just as it looks (but the "d" is silent - jel-'a-ba).  Yes, the sleeves are just oblongs, no sleeve shaping - there are no curved seams in the garment, except for your chosen neck style.  I (personal choice) also curve the hems up 2" from the center front to the side seams so that they hang evenly when your arms are down by your side.  It takes me about 3 hrs. to make one of these, from marking the fabric, cutting it, sewing it & embellishing it.  It could take longer if your embellishment is more elaborate, like applique or beading, for instance.



          13. Tangent | | #26

            Thanks!  It sounds like the Ultimate Easy Garment!   Make a Bog Coat to go with it and you're all set!  ;-)

          14. Gloriasews | | #27

            Sorry, the bog coat doesn't quite go with the djellaba :)  It's too long - but a short jacket probably would.  We have never worn the djellabas outside of the house, though, except to get the newspaper on the lawn :)  If the djellaba was made more dressy, it could go to a formal gathering, though.


          15. Tangent | | #28

            they are lovely and their simplicity is part of it, thanks for telling about them.

            Even if they don't 'go' with a bog coat!  ;-)

  3. Gloriasews | | #3

    Fleece should be no problem - it depends upon the heaviness of the fleece.  As you probably read under the Embellishments thread (7416.12), I made my bog coat out of a Velux blanket, thinsulate & cotton lining, with a zipper down the front.  This was a heavy coat, a bit stiff (but not a problem to wear, except it was too warm if I wore it indoors, like a mall).  It was a heavier winter coat.  When I first heard of the bog coat, they were made with various blankets, so that's why I used the Velux blanket - I wanted a really warm winter coat.  So, you can make the bog coat out of pretty well anything you'd like to.  I will make my next one out of fleece, but I haven't decided on whether or not I'll line it with Thinsulate, which I will definitely use if it's a winter coat.  These coats can be embellished any way you wish, too.  I've made 2 coats from blankets so far & have received compliments on both. 


    1. marymary | | #4

      Gloria, when you made your fleece bog coat, what dimension did you use for the arms?  I use 12" for the robe, but it seems too large to me for a jacket.  I plan to make a muslin and make the sleeves narrower, just don't know how narrow to go.  I am planning a dressier jacket than fleece.

      1. Gloriasews | | #9

        My sleeves were the same as yours (12" on the fold = 24" total).  I narrowed them down to the wrist to about 8", as I wanted a tight-fitting wrist to keep the cold out.  I sewed a fairly tight cuff (sized so that I could get my hand through) around the wrist & gathered the arm fabric into it.   Also, the width of the sleeve allowed for the Thinsulate & cotton lining.  It all depends upon what you want to wear under it, how heavy the coat/jacket is, etc.  If you want more fitting, go for it.


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