The final few months of 2018 have been quite hectic for me, and I haven’t been able to eke out as much sewing time as I would have liked. However, I am very pleased to have finished two items before the end of the year – a couple of Sew Over It Cocoon Coats!
The checked coating is one I purchased about a year ago from Croft Mill (now sold out). I didn’t want to make things difficult for myself with pattern matching, so I knew it would have to be used for something quite boxy or loose-fitting. And when I saw the Cocoon Coat pattern, I thought it would be a great match.
I really wanted to make a coat for my sister for Christmas too, and had 5m of a charcoal melton wool in my stash (from Fabworks, I think) which I thought would make a nice smart coat for her. In an effort to keep things simple (and improve my chances of finishing both coats before January) I figured I might as well make the same coat for her! I decided to omit the collar from my sister’s version, and I love it as a collarless coat too.
Both coats were lined with linings from my stash, so they’ve been very good for stash-busting!
I used some Swedish tracing paper to do a tissue fitting in my size. Based on that, I raised the shoulder seam by 1cm, tapering down to nothing where the shoulder seam meets the sleeves. I have quite rounded/forward shoulders so I think I needed the extra room. I also lengthened the sleeves by about 2″, which I often have to do.
I applied fusible interlining (from The Lining Company) to the whole of the front and back pieces. I had two different weights of interfacing so I tested them out on samples of each coating and decided to use the heavier one on the melton wool (which feels lighter than the checked wool).
I applied interfacing in line with the pattern instructions, and threw in some extra support in strategic places. For example, I used hair canvas on the collar of my coat, which I stitched on with parallel stretches for support and to add texture (which is visible on the exterior of the coat). I also made a shoulder/chest plate from layers of lighter canvas and domette.
The coats came together very quickly. I did most of the steps at the same time for both coats, at least for my first few sewing sessions, which definitely saved lots of time. The instructions were nice and clear, and the dropped shoulder meant that it was quick and easy to set in the sleeves (with no need to worry about sleeve heads or shoulder pads, either)!
I did alter my collar piece very slightly to account for the extra length in the neckline (because of my alteration to the shoulder seams). I just added an equivalent amount of length to the centre back seam. Attaching the collar was a bit stressful, mainly because of the amount of thick, heavy wool I was manipulating around the machine. When it was attached, it looked like this…
… and I wasn’t at all impressed with the rolling where the collar meets the neckline of the coat. But with some careful clipping and grading of seam allowances, and targeted pressing with steam, it now lays nice and flat within the neckline. I do find that these techniques can make all the difference!
On the insides, I put in a few strategic bits of hand stitching to anchor the lining and facings to the coat at various points. The hem and sleeve hems were also hand stitched – I can’t remember whether this was the way the instructions suggested doing it, but I much prefer this method for a relaxing and controlled finish! Somehow, knowing you’re so close to finishing the coat makes it all the more satisfying to do that bit of hand stitching curled up in front of the TV.
The final verdict
I’ve already been wearing my coat for a few weeks and love it. The thick wool and the lovely interlining have made it the perfect weight for colder weather, even when worn open, as I usually do. My sister’s one seems to have been a hit, too! All in all, I think this is a great, quick, easy coat pattern.