I have been admiring Papercut’s Sapporo Coat since it’s release earlier this year. Something about the simple lines and carefree style draws you in and just makes you want to cuddle up inside. While you can sew this coat up in just about any woven fabric, in my mind it is always sewn up in a cozy wool! I mean look at the pattern cover…don’t you want that coat in your closet, like right now!
With the weather quickly getting colder here in the PNW, I decided to dive in and make the winter coat I have been dreaming about. Watching other Sapporo Coats pop up on Instagram, one thing consistently comes up, the sizing—almost everyone goes down a size or wish they did. A cocoon coat can easily go from stylishly oversized to drowning the wearer in fabric, so this is definitely something to be aware of. Taking the lead from the sewing community and Lori (Girls in the Garden, below), I decided to sew up the smallest size (XXS/XS). Normally I wear a Medium, but in Papercut’s patterns I am typically a Small, so it isn’t surprising that they continue their trend of running on the large size.
Since this isn’t a style of coat that I would typically choose, I decided to make a muslin using some inexpensive polar fleece. I almost NEVER sew a muslin but when I am using a special fabric, like wool, I want to make sure I know what I am doing before I cut into the good stuff! I cut a straight XXS/XS and quickly sewed it up not worrying about any of the under stitching or other finishing details. With the exterior sew up, I pinned all the facings in place and tried it on. First thought—I loved how it looked! The polar fleece was a bit clingy but it fit well through the shoulders and body. The center front hung nicely but did separate a bit more than I wanted to a the hips and hem. Playing with the side seams, I decided I needed to gradually grade out a size from the hips to the hem on the lower front and back pieces. This adds about 2″ of ease total around the hips and will help with the slight gaping at the front.
Time for fabric! I was tempted to keep things neutral, drawing inspiration from the pattern cover, and go with this gorgeous vanilla textured wool or sepia boiled wool. But since most of the coats in my closet are either black or grey, my love of color overruled and I went with this rich wine color in the same boiled wool as the sepia. Now for the lining…with a splashy color for the exterior why not go all in and put something fun on the inside too, right? I have been eyeing this gorgeous rayon floral and decided that had to be the one!
Construction of my Sapporo went very smoothly. I actually got it all sewn together in a few hours one evening. The best part is the limited number of seams and the straight forward piecing, even with a full lining this coat is quick sew. One interesting thing to note on the pattern—when sewing together the lining it calls to leave an opening in one side seam for turning the coat. I followed directions but ended up turning the coat thru one of the giant sleeve openings (you tack these down in the last step). Realizing what I did, I turned the coat back inside out and stitched up the opening in the side seam with my machine since. Why do even more hand work!
One other experiment I wanted to tell you about… The sleeves on this pattern are sort of a bracelet/cropped length. After trying on my muslin I thought why not lengthen them to be a full sleeve? On my final jacket I did lengthen the sleeves about 4 inches but immediately regretted it. Remember how I mentioned cocoon coats ride a fine line between being stylish and just too much. Well full length sleeves just make this coat look like it is 4 sizes too big—like you are a child that stole your dad’s coat to keep warm! That being said, my sleeves immediately got removed, trimmed down and sewn again. Sorry I didn’t grab a photo, it was late at night but trust me what difference!
After a good press I tried on my finished coat and noticed some slight pulling/dropping around the facing. Due to the weight of the boiled wool, these areas needed a bit of reinforcement to help them keep their shape. A few tacks here and there at seam lines and intersections and that problem was just about fixed. I think I might still tack a bit more down the shoulder seams but overall it looks great. What do you think?
For a lot of people the task of sewing a winter coat seems unsurmountable. I got over this fear a while back when I took on Closet Case’s Clare Coat, which remains one of my favorite handmade pieces! My advice is, “Just do it”! With the detailed instructions the amazing indie designers provide, they will walk you thru each step and help you make your project successful. “Bagging” a coat really isn’t that scary and you learn so much about construction when taking on projects like this. For those just venturing into winter layers, I would highly recommend Papercut’s Sapporo—there aren’t a million pieces, fussy zippers or complex tailoring. Coupled with its easy, modern styling and relatively quick sewing time, it is a win-win for seamstresses of all levels. Did I mention how cozy it is?
Keep warm this winter and happy sewing!