Anthro-Inspired Winter Jill Coatigan

Boucle Sweater Knit | Style Maker Fabrics

Earlier this fall in the midst of prepping our fall collection I sat down for coffee with Meg and Haley from the Seamwork/Colette team. I gave them a sneak peak of the new collection, we caught up about our latest sewing projects and talked about this amazing community! In chatting about our favorite fabrics to sew with during the fall season, we all agreed that we are crazy for sweater knits! Not a surprise really, it is no secret I love knits and couple that with something soft, cozy and warm and it is game over—sew all the things!

Fall Fabric Swatches | Style Maker Fabrics

Meg gave me a little teaser that one of Seamwork’s December patterns would be a cozy coatigan, something already on my sewing list! In discussing some possible fabric options, we talked about I look for when buying sweater knits for our shop and what in turn sewers should watch for in their own shopping. Meg took parts of this discussion and turned it into a handy resource for readers in December’s Winter Issue of Seamwork. Check out some of our tips and tricks for shopping and sewing with sweater knits HERE.

Jill Coatigan Inspiration | Style Maker FabricsNot long after our meeting I stumbled across this amazing coatigan on Anthropology, one of my favorite sources for inspiration, listed for a whopping $228. Not only did we have a very similar fabric in our new collection, it also would the perfect ultra-cozy, neutral coatigan to add to my winter wardrobe and I could make it for a faction of the price! Seamwork Jill Coatigan | Style Maker Fabrics

Ready with my inspiration and fabric choice, I took Seamwork’s Jill coatigan and set off to create my own version of this look. Based on my measurements and the look I was going for, the Seamwork team recommended I sew up a size Small, which matched up best with my bust measurement. The relaxed fit of this pattern makes it very forgiving through the waist and hips.

Keeping my fabric choice in mind, I decided to make my version of Jill a bit shorter to keep it looking more like a cardigan and less like a robe. In talking with Meg and Haley this chunky boucle sweater knit affectionately became know as the “lamby” sweater knit since it almost feels like being cuddled up with a fuzzy lamb. I didn’t want this “lamby” coatigan too look too much like loungewear when I got it done.Boucle Sweater Knit | Style Maker Fabrics

To shorten the length I took out about 3″ from either side of the lengthen/shorten lines given on the body pattern pieces. I also moved up the back seam split and markings up so that it would remain the same size. Other than that, I didn’t make any other changes to the pattern. The directions were clear and easy to follow. I debated between “pockets” or “no pockets” but “pockets” won out and I am glad they did! Probably the best part about sewing up this fabric is that all the seams magically disappear into the knobby texture of the knit. Great for the overall look, horrible if you need to rip anything out!

Wide Waist Tie Addition | Style Maker Fabrics

In keeping with the look from my inspiration, I added a waist tie to my Jill coatigan. I cut a 6″ strip the full width of the fabric and created a tube by folding it in half and stitching it right sides together. To finish off the ends, I turned my “tube” right side out and tucked the ends in at each end by about 1/2″ and topstitched across them. Voila—a wide waist tie! I could have added some loops to both side seams but decided I would either be wearing the coatigan open (no tie) or tied and wouldn’t need holders for the tie for something in between. Totally an easy addition if I change my mind later!

Boucle Jill Coatigan | Style Maker Fabrics

Open Front Jill Coatigan | Style Maker Fabrics

Waist Tied Jill Coatigan | Style Maker Fabrics

I love how my Jill coatigan turned out! This was the perfect fabric/pattern pairing and it is just as cozy as I imagined it would be. The texture of the fabric is also a great choice for this minimalist pattern—it truly lets the fabric shine. I might have left it a couple of inches longer, but the shorter length will probably be more wearable in the long run. I sewed up the whole project start to finish in one afternoon which is another big plus for this sort of outerwear hybrid. It isn’t a project that is going to tax both your time and your patience—a great pattern choice for someone just venturing into sewing their own coats! Did I also mention this project saved me over $150 by sewing my own? Not bad for an afternoon of sewing!

Coatigan v. Coatigan | Style Maker Fabrics

P.S. You might remember this fabric from our Fall Style Tour—Sarah of Goodbye Valentino wowed us with two amazing garments in this gorgeous boucle. Check out her post HERE.

Fairfield Button-Up + Sewing for Guys

Let’s face it, most of the time we only sew for ourselves! Maybe there are a few projects others here and there, but sewing can be rather selfish. With all of the time, patience and fitting involved, it is almost better that we remain our own worst critics rather than worry about what someone else thinks about our handiwork. This time of year, when shopping for others becomes difficult I am tempted more and more to sew something special for the ones that I love.

Fairfield Button-Up Side View | Style Maker Fabrics

Last Christmas I dove all in and sewed up my dad his first me-made garment, a flannel button-up shirt! In the winter he lives in flannel shirts and I knew this would be something he would get some use out of. Right out of the gate the biggest obstacle I found was knowing what size to sew…I couldn’t just walk up to him with a tape measure! In efforts to keep the whole project a secret, I “stole” one of the well-loved shirts from his closet and used it as a reference for finished garment measurements. After playing with the numbers and researching patterns, I settled on Thread Theory’s Fairfield Button-Up. Offering the widest size range XS to 4XL, this pattern features everything I was looking for and the finished measurements roughly lined up.

Flannel Fairfield Button-Up | Style Maker Fabrics

To make a long story short, he LOVES the shirt! When he opened the box on Christmas morning he was expecting another store bought shirt like any of his others. He almost didn’t believe me when I told him that it was handmade just for him. Lucky for me, IT FIT! There are a few changes to make should I venture at making another, narrowing the shoulders, but at least it is wearable and now in heavy rotation in his closet. He also can’t help but show it off every time he wears it—”My daughter MADE my shirt.” Love you Dad!


While the actually sewing for men is pretty straight forward, the style, fabric choices and patterns are a different ball game. I thought I would share a few of my favorite patterns and fabrics to pair with them. Hopefully this will inspire a few of your own handmade holiday gifts for the men in your life.

First, let’s talk a bit more about the Fairfield Button-Up. Designed by one of the few dedicated menswear indie pattern designers, Thread Theory brought a bit of modern styling to a classic button-up. You will love the professional details this pattern offers and the thoughtful construction makes pattern matching quick and painless. Thread Theory also offers free downloads for additional sleeve, collar and cuff options for even more customization. All-in-all, a great pattern choice and one that is sure to be well loved. In terms of fabric choices there are loads of options—traditional shirtings, flannel, chambray and more. Depending on his style and the season you are sure to find more than enough choices!

Thread Theory Fairfield | Style Maker Fabrics

Chambray Shirting | Plaid Flannel | Corduroy Shirting

Looking for something a bit warmer and more forgiving on fit? One of our other favorite Thread Theory patterns is the Finlayson Sweater. Cozy and warm, this sweater takes the comfort and style of a basic hoodie and transforms it into something you couldn’t just find anywhere (the point of me-made, right!). Choose between the more modern shawl collar or a wrap around fully lined hood to find the look that suits him best. Add the optional pouch pocket to the front or leave if off to keep the lines clean and simple. We might even be tempted to try sewing this more for ourselves! Fabric choices for this sweater are also more fun…and warm! Try sweatshirt fleece, French terry and other cozy knits.

Thread Theory Finlayson | Style Maker Fabrics

Wool Fleece | Sweatshirt Fleece | Thermal Sweater Knit

One more great option, easily incorporated into any wardrobe, is the Denali Vest from Seamwork. Loaded with customizable options, this versatile vest will keep him warm throughout the cooler months. Experiment with quilting your own fabric to create the perfect pairing. We especially love the idea of the faux leather yoke detail!

Seamwork Denali | Style Maker Fabrics

Check Plaid Flannel | Melton Wool | Faux Suede

Hopefully this helps inspire some menswear sewing this holiday season. You may not get the fit perfect right out of the gate but there is one guarantee—they will love whatever you make them! It is the thought and love that counts and they will be too excited to have something handmade to worry about anything else.

Happy Sewing!

Michelle