I always have a mental wishlist of unbought patterns that I'm saving for when inspiration strikes. The Sew Over It Cocoon Coat has been on this list for a long while now and after starting work running the social media feeds at Clothspot I found the perfect teddy bear fur fabric (now sold out), the pattern was in a Sew Over It sale and a plan came together!
I've only sewn one coat, The Raw Edge Coat from The Maker's Atelier book and it has been one of my favourite makes. It gets lots of wear and receives so many positive comments. The Cocoon coat is a similar silhouette, I really like the higher neck and I don't have a stylish winter coat- there's a lot of rain in the Southwest so last time I bought a coat I prioritised waterproofing and a hood!
I made a toile to check shoulder fit and pocket placement but the only alteration I needed made was adding a high round back adjustment, a standard change for me. Otherwise, I cut UK size 10, I'm between size 8 and 10 in Sew Over It so I went for the larger size to fit lots of warm layers underneath! The instructions are detailed, this coat started as a class at Sew Over It so it was well tested before becoming a pattern as part of Lisa Comfort's first magazine. The welt pockets are an extra addition and you do need to email Sew Over It to receive the instructions and pattern pieces.
Working with such a thick fabric was a challenge at times, especially on the collar and pockets. I spent a lot of time with spring-scissors clipping the pile back in seam allowances - so. The construction is best with a slow and steady approach. The collar for example needs careful sewing at the points, seam edges need to be rolled and coaxed into position and there is a fair bit of hand sewing required- to complete the collar, the hem and adding the lining. The sleeves are in two parts and there are lots of notches to match up and ease to fit in. I did find it slightly confusing as some of the notches are also marking important places like the top of the shoulder (I think a circle is often used for this on many commercial patterns) and working out where each notch matched up did take a while. Start with the double notch and the rest will fit with other notches and seam points.
Working with teddy fur and a satin lining was quite a contrast! I completed the lining first, cutting out with a rotary cutter, using a 70 microtex needle, lots of fine pins, a slow speed and a curved tailors awl (my new favourite tool!). I finsihed the seams and hems with pinking shears to reduce fraying. For the coat outer, I cut out with scissors on the floor, switched to a walking foot and 90 needle and tailor's awl to help with the bulk. For some seams (setting the sleeve for example) Wonderclips were more easier than pins. I used a pressing cloth (silk organza or thin cotton) and steam for both fabrics as they are sensitive to heat and with the fur I also used a Tailor's Clapper. The fur needed a gentle approach though, too much steam makes the pile frizzy!
The pockets are a challenge with the fur, although the pile also camouflages any imperfections. After a little research I discovered pocketing fabric which is a densely woven cotton or cotton/poly blend that's especially hardwearing. I have an old waterproof coat of my husbands that I've harvested various fittings and fabrics from so I used the lining from that for my pockets and it made construciton so much easier than satin lining would've been!
I did find the outer edges of the coat needed some extra help to stay in place and stop the facing rolling to the outside, especially as I couldn't press as I would with a wool coat. I ended up sewing tiny hand stitches (like a stabby running stitch) along the outer edges up to the collar point. Not the best solution I suspect, but the stitches are hidden under the fur and it did the job. I have now also added a fancy large snap as a front closure.
The Cocoon Coat is now available as a standalone PDF pattern at Sew Over It.