It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Koos Coat! - In Process (and A Secret...)

I am THIS stoked about this pattern (Koos Van den Akker's Vogue 1277)!   Seriously, this is the most fun I've had on a sewing project....maybe ever!    This was a pattern I fell in love with the moment I first laid eyes on it.  Reversible, all sorts of room for creative fabric placement, and I loves me a great swing coat, especially one with such a fabulous, updated look:

Now, as far as I'm concerned, no one does the extremes of Is it Ugly or is it Fabulous quite like Koos.  Case in point:
I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder & all that...
but seriously?  He's done worse (imho, of course), but this is the only one
that's still currently available.

Back to The Coat...

Choosing fabrics was step one.   Challenging?  Oh yeah....  Fun?  You betcha!  I started by shopping my stash, & filled the missing pieces in from here & there, laying them out, moving them around....

And eventually ended up with this:

Which evolved into this:
(The fabric bit sticking out on the right is the sleeve)
Once I had the bias trim laid out on it, I was loving the combination!

The pattern instructions, by the way, are very clearly laid out.  I've heard that Vogue gave instructions that are totally different (and more complicated) than Koos teaches it, but I've had no problems (so far) following anything.

Well, except for the bias strip pattern piece & instructions.   I should have been able to tell at a glance that those were written by someone from Pluto...or someplace...but I wasted time trying to decipher them anyway, before I just did it my way.   I've posted this method before, but I'll show my super easy way of cutting a bias strip here:
Once you have your bias tube sewn up, you simply insert a small self-healing mat inside the tube.   This way, you can lay a clear ruler on the edge of your tube, & cut accurate edges (to the width of your choice), using a rotary cutter.   After you cut a section, simply slide next section of the tube to the top of the mat, replace your ruler, and cut another section.   Accurate widths for the full length of the strip, without having to mess with scissors!   (I promise I'll do a full tutorial on of these days..... but there are already a lot of tutorials on cutting the fabric & sewing up the tube.   I've just never seen this method of inserting a mat inside the tube for cutting before)

Anyway, back to The Coat....

The instructions call for sewing the fabric pieces together WRONG SIDES TOGETHER.   After trimming your seams, you then lay your bias strips on top of the seams & top stitch each edge of the strips:
I thought this was kinda worries about getting off kilter
with your SA's on the other side of the fabric,
and everything looks finished, even on the unseen part!

Here are the pieces all sewn together & long edge stitched, connecting both sides of the coat 
(this is the WS of the fabric showing)
Inspector Sir Fur Purr seems to approve.
(Yes, cats are allowed to shed all over my fabric.  That's life with cats.  I got over it long ago)
This shows the reverse side.
After sewing the two sides together along the outer edge (RS together), you turn it through the neck/armhole opening, and baste the opening's raw edges together.   Here's where I'm at now:

The next step is All.   That.   Topstitching!   My only concern is how to get the topstitching done w/o puckering happening....   I'm practicing on scraps, but I still don't feel totally confident that I can keep both sides nice & smooth on the full lengths of All.   Those.   Lines.   

Any tips or hints will be gratefully received!

Oh, yes, I promised to reveal A Secret!   Here it is.   See how simple the main body of the coat is, w/o all of the pieces?    This fabric was actually "Muslin" #2.   I did up the first one (out of an old tablecloth) in a Med = too big.   So I decided to cut a wearable Small from fleece (I loves me my fleece, as many of my readers probably already know), and finalize my sleeve adjustments (they needed to be shortened) & check the overall fit before cutting into "The Good Stuff".

You say you don't want to fiddle with all those pattern pieces, or don't like the fabric matching game?   But you like the lines of the coat?   Well, here's The Secret.  Once you've connected your pattern pieces together, you can cut this out in a thick, double-sided fabric, stitch it up, finish your seams, & you can actually have a wonderful coat in a couple of hours!   Add pockets if you want, or line it, or make it reversible with another solid piece, and it's still an easy project!

Here's my fleece coat....this one is totally unfinished; I do plan on having some embellishing fun with it, & lining it with something else, but this can give you an idea of the possibilities:

My goal is to have the coat done by the end of the month (just a few short days away eek!), but hopefully I'll have most of the day tomorrow to work on it.

Wish me luck with the topstitching!


  1. Oh, wow, Jilly! You are the first one to make me think I could tackle a KVA pattern! I have all of them, but I've been too chicken to attempt one. Brava!,,

  2. It's looking great so far! Good luck with the topstitching - I can't wait to see it progress!

  3. Margy it looks so much more complex than it's turning out to be. I suspect this may be one of his easier ones (except, perhaps, for some of the UGlies mentioned above lol) Now, if I ever attempt the stegosaurus, I may have to invite shams over for help & bribe her with ....something....

    Shams I accept your Good luck wishes & I'm putting them in a bowl next to Penelope (the 201), who will be doing my topstitching.....

  4. Jilly, I'm loving your coat! Can't wait to see the finished project.

    The binding was the part that my sewing instructor was talking about. I don't know how we are going to do it, but it will not be by sewing the seams wrong (I think that's what you meant) sides together. It doesn't sound like a bad way to go about it, though. I'll let you know how we do it.

  5. Janis I'm dyslexic when it comes to writing RS/WS, I swear! (I've done this so many times....I will never ever be a pattern instruction writer!) You're right...I've edited the post.

    I wondered if that was going to be a difference in your class - I look forward to hearing about it (and seeing how you put together your uber-fabulous fabrics!)

  6. This is fantastico! I am especially impressed at the layout of fabrics and how you came up with such a nice combination, seemingly without much effort. You must come north to help me buy more stash :-)

  7. Your coat is looking great! Good luck on the top stitching. The 201 is a good choice - love my featherweight for the beautiful stitch.
    Love the color of your fleece also. Where do you usually purchase your fleece?

  8. I've never been interested in sewing a coos design before, but that pattern piece has me intrigued. It looks so fun! Can't wait to see how it turns out. Good topstitching vibes your way!!

  9. I was going to suggest that you try a walking foot for the miles of topstitching, but it sounds like you have a special machine that you will be using. I have found that my walking foot attachment is very helpful when trying to keep layers of fabric moving through the sewing machine smoothly and together...

  10. Mary I'll go north & shop with you if you come south & shop with me! ;D

    Thanks Andrea - I pretty much always buy only Malden Mills Polartec - either from The Rain Shed, Mill Direct, or locally. This gold cut came from FabricMart - I love the color, but it has a knit backing, & I really much prefer double-sided, so that it's yummy on both sides.

    KID thanks, I'm adding your topstitching vibes to my bowl!

    Alison my 201 is a vintage Singer straight stitch. I do have a walking foot for it, & briefly considered it - you've convinced me to do some testing with it & I think it's a good thought, thanks!

  11. I'm so glad to see your post about this coat. I love Koos! I have that pattern laying out in my sewing room, in fact. Your posts will help me when I start mine. What are you using on the reverse side? I would do some serious hand basting the layers together, and then use a walking foot to do the topstitching.

  12. Both of your versions are wonderful.. I am going to give your "secret" version a go first as my area is a fabric wasteland.

  13. really great work with a fascinating pattern. i was (literally) looking at it a mere two days ago in the shop, wondering how it would work...and your version is just so well-done.

  14. Jilly, wow like a challenge...

  15. Gwen it always delights me if I can offer some help or encouragement to someone else - I receive so much from others here :) :) :) The reverse is the lighter wool blend that you see a glimpse of in one of the layouts above. After doing some testing, I think I'm going to use the walking foot both to do some machine basting, and the final topstitching.

    Thanks Eileen - this pattern can use up a whole lot of fabric...go for it!

    puu - you would do something amazing with this pattern, I'm sure!

    Ms. Pinheiro....yes, yes, I do ;-D

  16. This is so great, Jilly. Your fabrics are wonderful. I too am reading and dreaming about this pattern, wondering what if... You're a terrific inspiration. I agree with the suggestion of a walking foot.

  17. Love the fabric and the pattern...can't wait to see it finished. Going to buy that pattern today!

  18. That coat is looking so great so far! I love your fabric choices. You have great taste, because I think in the wrong hands, this could be a disaster, but I'm loving yours! Oh, and what a cute kitty! :)