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!
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.
Not 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!
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.
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!
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!
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!