Bog Coat

A Funny Name for a Rustic Peasant Coat

My Mum started making these bog coats or bog shirts over 40 years ago, to showcase her lovely weaving using wool and other natural fibres.

Bog Shirt

I found a picture of me wearing one of the first iterations of the bog coat, with a baby in a backpack.  This little wool shirt was the perfect weight to keep me warm as I strode down the park for baby to get her airing.

Jacki and Lynn in 1981Jacki and Lynn in 1981

The baby in the picture is now all grown up with three boys of her own. At some point in between, she too had a bog coat of her own. 

The original design was derived from a baby coat in a museum, and appeared in Threads magazine.

The concept of a single piece of fabric in a rectangle being manipulated to form a coat intrigued Joyce (my creative mother) who developed the design to be used for woven fabric in a specific width. 

There are no shoulder seams, and the front and sleeves are all cut in one, with only one slice into the fabric.

The pattern in the weaving continues from the front bodice, over the shoulders, and down the back.

There is no hem - it utilizes the selvedge edge instead.  There are many permutations possible with this design; fancy buttons, toggles or other closure options, binding of the edges with similar or contrasting coloured thinner bias tape, or even pockets have been know to happen.

There have been many different takes on this design over the years.  Japanese designers use the same basic template, giving it an Asian feel.  You can make it in lightweight fabric for summer use, or even quilt it with layers of warm batting.

How funny is the timing of the universe! Talking to my Mum last night I asked her about the bog coats she made for sale years ago, and she said she has one that would be just my style, so she's going to send it to me.  I'll post an update when it arrives.

When the shirt arrived, it turned out it was in some kind of awful green color, so not suited to this subtle capsule wardrobe gal. It will go into the 'to be dyed' pile, and maybe get used for something else.

Unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, this item got decluttered to the thrift store before we took on our journey across this great land. You can't keep everything! Someone else is probably enjoying this beautiful piece of wearable art, or they've made it into something else (a felt rabbit, maybe?)

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