The “Landgate” rainproof smock, a new sewing project

I know, the moment you saw the rainproof smock and sewing as the title of this article, you thought one of three things:

  1. Hang on, I’m sure Nick announced that on Instagram ages ago
  2. Right, yes, another project started with lots of gusto and never heard of again
  3. Ooh, nice one, that will be interesting to read about!

And yes, all three options are entirely correct. Basically all my projects are dependent on time, energy and motivation, so while I may have lots of gung-ho motivation when starting a project, it can easily be waylaid once I’ve got started. You know how it goes, life and all that. Just needs an oomph of gumption to kickstart it. And sewing, sewing can get a bit involved, taking up space and time and all that.

The Landgate smock pattern from Merchant & Mills

The Landgate smock pattern from Merchant & Mills

This project has been mocking me from the corner of the garmslab for a few months now. One great pattern from Merchant and Mills in Rye and one splendid roll of waxed cotton from Halley-Stevensons in Dundee. Just need to decide on the size, cut out the pattern and start assembling. Simple really. The pattern is “The Landgate” by Merchant and Mills. A straightforward over-the-head smock with a built-in hood, two proper pockets on the front and a drawstring waist. Smocks appear to be quite the rage as well at the moment, so we could be surfing on a fashionable trend of sorts here.

I’ve previously done a sewing project used a pattern from Merchant & Mills when I made a “Foreman” jacket from their selection (actually twice, I made a second using vintage army tent fabric). Looking at their website now I see their selection of patterns has expanded quite dramatically with loads of interesting projects available. Most available in either paper form or as downloadable PDF, though to my mind it makes for an easier project to start with their complete paper pattern instead of having to print out and assemble the pieces of the pattern.

Three meters of the finest Halley Stevenson P270 waxed cotton, ready to cut!

Three meters of the finest Halley Stevenson P270 waxed cotton, ready to cut!

The waxed cotton I’ve selected for this project is a superb dark brown “antique finish” variant from Halley Stevensons in Dundee, one of the two truly traditional makers of this great fabric. Quite different from the fabric they supply to places like Barbour in that it’s both a heavier weight, an unusual colour and will show patinated effects much quicker. All boxes that are nice to see ticked.

So, what with the world being something of a slower place at the moment, with more time available to use on worthwhile things like sewing and crafting, perhaps it’s time to find the shears and get cutting?



  • Neil Deaville 06/04/2020 at 14:58

    what level of sewing competency do you need to do this?
    Not really sewed since school

  • Michael Cleveland 22/06/2020 at 20:04

    I just made the Landgate a few weeks ago. I used ETA-Proof… a Swiss made water ‘proof’ cotton. When I first finished it I was annoyed by some of the mistakes I’d made but now, I find that I wear it far more than I expected. Enjoy!

    • Caroline Shipp 13/12/2020 at 16:10

      Where did you buy your ETA proof from please? Can’t seem to find stockists.Thanks

  • Amy 13/01/2021 at 14:03

    Hi Nick, I was just wondering if you’ve rain tested your landgate or The Blackshore Poncho yet? (I mention both as I believe you bought the same fabric that Blackshore have used)

    I made my Landgate out of dry waxed cotton from Merchant and Mills and found it didn’t stand up to 20-30 mins of moderate rain so now I’m trying to understand if the fault is in the particular fabric I used or if I had the wrong expectations of waxed cotton.


    • nick 21/01/2021 at 18:28

      Hi Amy, sorry for the late reply. I’ll come straight out and admit that my Landgate smock is still in its component parts! Too many ideas and projects, not enough time and energy to get to them all. I have tried the Blackshore poncho a few times though. Your question is interesting, and I have been wondering about this myself as I have noticed that some of the “modern” waxed cotton does seem to get wet when used in the rain (not an unnatural application). Whether this means it’s wet all through, or just a surface thing, I’m not quite sure of.

      Your question did send me investigating a bit though and I think there may be some confusion about the varieties of fabrics available now, as there are quite a few. The one I planet for the smock was a rustic or antiqued variant. This is probably not the best from a waterproof perspective. A friend in the business likened this to a 4-5 year-old waxed jacket, both in looks and proofness. I wanted the worn look and wasn’t too concerned about waterproof (didn’t even think about it, to be honest). I have other jackets made in washable dry wax Millerain fabric and that appears much more proof. This looks completely unworn though.

      I’ll keep looking into this and would welcome a discussion on the matter as it’s kind of fascinating. I’m not sure I’ve been of much help, but if your Landgate needs waterproofing I would just give it a good waxing and it will be great. Naturally, which wax is then a question and I’d check with M&M or Halley Stevenson on that.

      Best wishes, Nick

  • Trish 28/05/2021 at 15:09

    I’ve made a landgate in merchant and mills cumin dry Oilskin
    It’s not waterproof
    It’s shower proof
    It gets wetter on shoulders …
    But I made it for a rugged and beautiful chap and he’s more concerned with looking like Scott of the Antarctic… I don’t suppose he was totally dry either !
    It’s beautiful though !

  • Mark Jenner 08/05/2023 at 18:30

    I need help understanding how to sort the hood facings can any one that’s made this advise or help me out .


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