It’s a hot July now but back in rainy January, at the Pendleton Woolen Mills Outlet, I found 2 yards of a lovely blue sponge jacquard wool. The design is based on a Scottish thistle. I thought would make a smashing coat.
The cashier told me that Pendleton offered a coat called the Flora Zelda made from similar fabric. I found it on the website. The coat shown below was no longer available but it was described by Pendleton as:
A statement-making women’s coat, exquisitely crafted down to the last detail. It starts with the fabric: a blanket-weight wool jacquard, woven in our Northwest mills. The bold, intricate floral pattern is perfectly placed on each coat for a stunning look from all angles. In a cocoon silhouette that’s fresh and modern, with front and back darts for subtle shaping. Elbow-length raglan sleeves, one-button closure and side entry pockets. Lined.Pendleton USA
Smitten, I decided to make my first coat a cocoon coat and later selected the Sapporo Coat pattern by Papercut Patterns.
I didn’t have enough of the thistle fabric to make the whole coat and there was no more of this fabric available. Mary at PWM helped identify alternatives and sent me samples. I chose a black melton wool.
Where to put the expanse of black melton in the pattern was the next question. There were some design constraints: I planned to use the blue side of the jacquard on the outside. And the melton was a heavier weight than the jacquard.
I imagined putting the melton in the back, the triangular back sides, the sleeves, the front top and finally decided on the front bottom. The top front would have been best to hold the weight of the melton but I didn’t like that so much visually. Putting the black on the bottom front would make the graceful diagonal lines pop right out.
Next there was the little matter of interfacing. The jacquard was not stiff and I wanted some additional structure. I didn’t want to use fusible interfacing because drycleaning solvent would dissolve the glue. After watching a Bernadette Banner YouTube video with Royal Black Couture on pad stitching I decided to try hair canvas. A post in a forum on PatternReview.com recommended sourcing from Fashion Sewing Supply. They delivered brilliantly.
The sleeves were the next place to make adjustments. The pattern called for sleeve lining to be the same material as the outer. However, wool is itchy and the melton would be heavy for the jacquard at the shoulder seam. The double thickness of melton might also make rumpled armpit seams. Instead I selected a black Bemberg from Hart’s Fabric for the lining. Hot fuschia would have been more fun but I only found a shell pink.
Sew Jessalli’s 2-Part YouTube video sew-along demonstration helped me with the collar.
I had enough scraps to make a matching clutch thanks to a Creative Bug video by Fancy Tiger Crafts.
It took me about 6 months, with the help of a village, to go from fabric to finish. COVID-19 restrictions didn’t slow down deliveries much and bonus – I had more time at home to work on it.