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How to make a down coat

Written By: Adam

Many tailors and craftsmen may be wondering how to make a down coat, but are unsure about the process. Fear not, because down coats are in fact one of the simplest types of coats that can be made. Down coats have always been a popular type of jacket, particularly in the chilly winter months when the temperature drops. These coats have a reputation for having good insulation ability, a light weight and a long lifespan. The secret to these coats lies in the material in which it derives its name.

A down jacket derives its name from the type of feathers that are used to stuff it. Typically, these jackets are filled with soft feathers of a duck while the outer layer is made from materials such as nylon and polyester. Down helps the jackets retain heat, providing warmth to the wearer. Jackets today are often mixed with other materials in addition to down as a way to cut down on costs.

When making a down jacket, it is important to
consider the ideal fill power. The fill power represents the fluffiness of the jacket. The bigger the number, the more insulation the jacket provides. Ideally, in order to get the largest fill number, you should stick to using only down feathers and compact them tightly within the jacket. The higher the number, the better quality the jacket. Fill power is also often referred to as loft.

The next important factor to consider when deciding how to make a down coat is which material should be used to form the exterior. Nylon and polyester are two of the most popular choices because of their durability and ability to withstand harsh climate conditions. After choosing which material, you should decide on a pattern. One popular pattern is the tube wall design, comprised of several smaller compartments, or the box wall design, which is constructed from two outer layers as well as others. Many new designs have arisen over the years, and many variations of the down coat have taken
form.

Decide whether the down coat you are making should include any miscellaneous features such as hoods or zipped pockets. Adjustable hems provide for more control to the wearer when it comes to regulating heat, so that may be a useful feature to consider. One should consider the purpose that the jacket is being used for and weigh the pros and cons. More fill powers means a better quality coat but will also be a lot heavier.

One drawback you may encounter with these coats is that the feathers will sometimes poke out. This can be solved by the use of synthetic material. The synthetic material should be used to wrap the feathers to secure them in place. This will provide a more even surface and give the coat a more polished and professional appearance. In conclusion, when making a down coat it is very important to first consider what the coat will be used for and to base the design accordingly.

Patagonia down coats

Written By: Dianne Forbes Compton

Patagonia, a California-based company that started back in 1974, holds core values built around what the company refers to as “silent sports.” Silent sports are ones that do not require an engine, where there are often no waiting crowds to cheer the sportsmen on. In their list they include such sports as mountain climbing, skiing, hiking, fishing and surfing. They realize that no matter how little harm they wish to contribute to the world, that some components of making their products (like dyes) will cause harm, so they look for the best and easiest ways to cause the least harm. In the words of its founder, Yvon Chouinard, the last line of Patagonia’s mission statement is: “…use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” (1).  

Their website is full of wonderful stories of the adventures of their “ambassadors” who are sportsmen and women who have contributed to what makes Patagonia the company it is. In honor of upcoming Earth Day, they are a brand that many greatly admire. They demonstrate in their product lines, in the sports they encourage and with the work and marketing that they perform that the essence of the human spirit at work with the earth in creating eco-friendly clothing and products that display what Earth Day truly stands for. 

One product that really stands out in their brand is their down coats. In the autumn of 2014, they established their credo of 100 percent traceable down, which means that any item they create with down holds a standard that no animal has been force-fed or live-plucked, making this one of the highest standards in the down industry for animal welfare (2). 

Many down coats come from birds that are plucked up to four times a year while alive, a painful process that often kills them. When Patagonia realized that some of its down was coming from such places, it set out to change this and establish an environmentally friendly standard. Another thing they learned was that some of their down came from birds being force fed to produce foice gras (3). It has taken a few years, but they have made sure these practices are not being followed on any of their down.

Although this raises the price tag, when it comes to knowing that what one is wearing while skiing, hiking, skating, or other cold-weather sports, one will also know it is an environmentally-friendly product. 

Patagonia offers a wide range of down products, most especially in their coats. Priced from $99 and up, they also offer great sale prices during off-season. Another addition to their eco-friendly world are repair shops that will repair clothing rather than throwing it away (4). They have sizes and designs to fit men, women, kids and even babies. From a pullover ski jacket to longer trench coats, one can find a stylish addition to the wardrobe in just about any type or size needed. Not only do they offer jackets but also vests, “shirts,” down pants and stylish matches such as skirts, or pants, so that being eco-friendly is also stylish and fashionable. 

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