Cozy Cocoon Cardigan in Quilted Plaid Wool
Hi, guys! Hope you’re all well! Here in NYC it has suddenly grown bitterly cold, so perhaps we can blame what you’re about to witness on the weather.
I’ve been really interested lately in the fun cocoon coats and jackets popping up on Pinterest and fashion blogs. There’s something really daring about the exaggerated shape, and I really like that. I love to be bold and try new shapes! I thought it would be really fun to try out a traditional cold-weather fabric in this modern silhouette, so I used this amazing plaid wool coating from Mood Fabrics NYC (look how many kinds of plaid wool coating are available online! This fuchsia and red plaid is particularly awesome!). The really special thing about this fabric is that it’s already backed with a contrasting red gingham cotton, and both layers are quilted together. I’ve seen Carolyn urge her blog readers to take advantage of fabrics that come pre-lined since so much of the work is already done for you, and boy, she’s right! Fabric like this is practically an insta-coat!
My plan was to bind the seams as I stitched them so the inside would be beautiful and clean, but that added some unneeded bulk, so I opted to press the seams open and serge each half separately. This cardigan forms a sort of circle when it’s assembled, so the neckline and hems are finished all at once with a single hem band. I drafted a two-piece band instead of the suggested one-piece so I could cut the inner band with some buffalo check flannel I had leftover from a top I made last year. Wool can sometimes be a little scratchy right on my neck, but the flannel is sooooo soft and buttery! I also added my very favorite thing– flannel pockets! Seriously, try them in your next A/W garment– it’s such a treat for cold hands!
Matching plaid that’s as large-scale as this was not a pleasant task– I think I spent three evenings after work puzzling out my cutting layout. The real problem was that I didn’t have enough fabric (a frequent problem when you buy fabric without having a plan for it). But I made it work as best I can, although it’s not perfect. Actually, I’m not sure there would be a perfect way to do it– the pattern is simple, but it has two-piece raglan sleeves, so I was trying to match at the front and back raglan seams, plus along the seams on the top and bottom of the sleeve.
After cutting, construction was a breeze! This pressed beautifully, despite the thickness of the double-layered fabric. I just made sure to use a press cloth to protect the fabric.
The pattern is a new Burda download, Cocoon Cardigan 11/2013 #107. It was really easy to put together– you really don’t even need the instructions (luckily, as they were pretty cryptic).
Alright, that’s enough construction talk– let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Guys, I’m honestly on the fence about this style! I’m about 50% in love with it, and 50%… not. Somehow it sort of walks a line between Olsen Twin Chic and The Dude Abides. I’m thinking that it might help to shorten and narrow the sleeves– maybe it would look a bit less overwhelming if the sleeves weren’t so oversized. Looking back at my inspiration images, most of them also have really slouchy, baggy sleeves, so maybe that’s just the style. I also really like how the curved hem looks in the front, but I’m not crazy about how long it is in the back. What do you guys think– should I reduce the curve and shorten it a bit? I’m really on the fence!
I wasn’t totally sure how to style this, but I figured that I needed to be as streamlined as possible underneath the coat, so I whipped up a quick pair of leggings using a cotton-Lycra jersey with four-way stretch (here are some fun Lycra-blend prints!). Would you believe I’ve never sewn leggings before? I don’t even have another pair in my closet! I always thought they’d be itchy and uncomfortable, but these are so soft and cozy that I’m craving a whole arsenal of them!
How would you style this? What do you think of the cocoon coat trend? Do you have any suggestions for making this more wearable? What’s your strategy for keeping warm when it’s so cold you don’t even want to get out of bed?