An Embroidered Coat – Inspired by Tibetan Rugs

A number of years ago I decided to make myself a spring coat. I had watched the movie Seven Years in Tibet, a movie about an Austrian mountain climber who befriends the Dalai Lama. I was quite fascinated with the garments and decided that I would make myself a modern day version. I chose a border design from the book Of Wool and Loom: The Tradition of Tibetan Rugs by Trinley Chodrak and Kesang Tashi.

Of Wool And Loom: Tradition Of Tibetan Rugs

I chose a rug border for the border of my coat that has the yungdrung symbol. This symbol is over 18 thousand years old and means “eternal” and “everlasting”.

Tibetan Rug with yungdrung border

Tibetan Saddle Rug

The colours chosen for the coat reflect the colours of the robes worn by Buddhist monks. Red is considered a sacred colour and yellow is the colour of humility.

Details of my Tibetan Coat

I knew that I had succeeded when a Buddhist monk approached me one day and told me that my coat represented symbols important to Tibetan Buddhist monks. That was the highest praise I could ever receive.


Winter White – My 1912 Skirt

One of my simple pleasures is the arrival of the Victoria Magazine’s January issue. This is the issue where, every year, all-things-white is the theme. There is something to be said about the serenity of a room decorated in white.

Some of my January issues of the Victoria magazine including this month's issue.

I also love the look of white garments. However, the only time it is ever practical to wear anything white is in a photo spread of the Victoria magazine. White isn’t even practical on your wedding day. I, myself, wear black and grey as my staples with an accent of red or fuchsia. But in keeping with today’s theme  of “all-things-white”,  I thought I would share a winter white 1912 skirt I made. It is a replica of a suit that is part of the Clothing and Textiles Collection at the University of Alberta. The skirts during the Edwardian period were often embellished with soutache and/or embroidery.

1912 Suit

1912 Skirt

1912 Skirt

The embroidery on this suit used very thick floss. I prefer more refined embroidery. But the overall look is very appealing.

Embellishment detail

The following images are of the skirt I made.

My replica of the 1912 skirt.

The soutache trim was hand-stitched in place.

Soutache detail

Embroidery detail

I have enough silk material to make the suit jacket. I am not sure if I will ever get around to it. We will see.

Hand-Appliqué Winter Coat

About ten years ago I made a coat for my, then, twelve year old daughter Chelsea-Lyne. I was inspired by an article in a winter publication of the Victoria Magazine with a photo-spread of Scandinavian coats.

Photographer Toshi Otsuki
I used red and black stroud that I had in my stash of fabrics from when I lived in the Northwest Territories. I made my own version of the design you see in the photo above. I spent many hours hand-appliquéing each piece. Once completed she wore it everyday for two winter seasons. What was I thinking! She rolled in the snow, went skating and tobogganing. To my surprise it held up very well.

Unfortunately, when she outgrew the coat it was just a little too small for me to wear. I always thought that I should make a coat for myself since I would definitely get more wear out of it.

This photo was taken after the coat had been worn for two seasons.





  I decided that the time has finally come for me to make my own coat. I already had a Vogue pattern for a coat that I liked. Here is one of my many projects in progress.  The appliqué for the two-piece collar is almost complete. The appliqué pieces are designs taken from Michele Hill’s William Morris in Applique.  I am thinking of outlining each appliqué piece with jade coloured beads. Nothing like adding more hours of work to a project. 

I am making the shorter version of this coat.


Completed collar


Semi-completed collar

Stay tuned for updates on this project in progress.