Making a Wool Anorak

An anorak is a traditional Inuit garment, a long coat or jacket originally made from caribou, seal, or other animal skins. They’re comfortable and very well suited to the “bushcraft” aesthetic.

Making an anorak at home is much easier than it sounds, especially with the help of a sewing machine. I made mine from a 100% wool blanket similar to Ektos’ offering.

For a pattern, I went to the local Goodwill and purchased an oversized hoodie. From there, it was a simple matter of ripping out all seams from the hoodie, adjusting sizes of the pieces to better fit my body and needs, pinning the adjusted templates to the blanket, cutting out the pieces, and sewing them back together.

I wish I’d taken more photos of this project, but it really is about as simple as it sounds.

I used a heavy-duty stitch for the anorak, and added a large front pocket. To the inside of the pocket was stitched an additional panel with divided pockets. This will help keep the hands warm and keep stored gear organized and prevent them from shifting around.

I got creative with the hood design, making an inner collar with loop and toggle to trap warm air inside, and an oversized hood outside the collar for extra warmth and allowance for hats and scarves.

Always looking to add functionality to my gear, I chose to give this piece one extra trick. For the collar toggle, I purchased this toggle set. It’s definitely not a tool I’d choose for my primary fire starting device, but will produce a useful dash of sparks should the need arise. I did find it necessary to file off the serrations on the striker as it comes from the factory. These teeth are a bizarre design choice and makes sparking the very short ferro rod near impossible.

The ferro rod toggle installed. I used leather washers to back the paracord attachments here, preventing the loops from ripping through the material.

I added a drawstring to the bottom of the anorak as well, and this can be cinched tight to further help trap warm air against the body. For the drawstring, I used this cord. Paracord is useful enough as it is, able to be picked apart into many smaller lengths of cord for various emergency uses. This particular cord includes a strand of red, waxed twine to serve as emergency tinder. Combined with the ferro rod/striker toggle, the anorak has a built-in emergency fire starting method, complete with tinder and ignition source. A little extra insurance is nice to have.

The finished anorak on the author

%d bloggers like this: