Crazy for Coco: Learning to sew with knits

Coco cat front

Tilly Walnes’s new pattern, Coco, came out just as I was wondering how best to tackle sewing with knit fabrics. I’ve sewn a wool skirt, but have stayed away from any kind of wool or cotton blend that involved a bit of stretch because I wasn’t really sure how to approach it. When I saw Coco’s release this week, I knew I’d found a good place to start.

At first look, the pattern appeared both approachable and simple (there are only three main pattern pieces to the top or dress: sleeve, front bodice and back bodice). Plus, the core versions outlined by Tilly are all lovely simple silhouettes and really wearable. Having used the pattern, I can now confirm that it is a simple one and a brilliant introduction to sewing knits.

I already had ball-point needles to hand, but had no knit fabrics in my stash, so I scoured the main fabric shops in Dublin city centre to see what my options were. The most suitable fabrics I found were in the lovely The Cloth Shop, but the only colour options were cream/beige, deep brown and steel grey. Nude and brown shades aren’t really my thing, so I took a chance on the grey, although I suspect it’s a tad heavier and stretchier than the pattern calls for. It is, though, fantastically soft to touch – if I could afford to go back and buy the rest of the roll, I would!

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Coco and casual-photo-bombing cat

Initially, I had my eye on making up the shorter version with cuffed sleeves and roll neck (it’s so fantastically 60s!), but, on consideration, thought that this fabric would be more suited to the dress. I’ve omitted the pockets though because they just didn’t look quite right on me, but I would love to have a go at putting a strongly contrasting colour like a golden yellow or neon pink against this grey. There’s not much chance of finding either of those colours in the shops here though so I think I’ll be ordering some fabric samples from the suggested stockists on Tilly’s site for my future Cocos.

I bought the pdf version of the pattern and the instructions are very simple, methodical and clear (Tilly is planning to post detailed instructions soon on her site to coincide with a forthcoming Coco sew-along). I did also use Sewaholic’s Renfrew tutorial for more detail on stabilising the shoulder seams and found that really helpful.

I’m really pleased with how easy it was to make this dress, and it’s lovely and cosy to wear. I don’t have a serger, so made it all on my regular Janome sewing machine. Once I’ve sourced some other lovely knits, I’ll get stuck into making a few of the top versions, with and without the funnel roll neck!

(Speaking of the roll neck, here’s how it looks standing up before it’s rolled down over the neck seamline:)

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31 thoughts on “Crazy for Coco: Learning to sew with knits

  1. Those neon pockets sound so good with this fabric. I think you really got the fabric right with this pattern, it makes the collar and the a-line skirt sit really well. Nice job!

  2. This is a fantastic version of the coco! I love how you used the grey and the funnel neck, it’s so futuristic looking. And, you did a completely professional job of sewing with knits on your sewing machine. It looks perfect! I’m sure you will get lots of wear out of it.

  3. Also, please could you drop me an email so I can contact you about the owls knitalong? I can’t seem to find an email address on your blog. Thank you!

  4. Love it! Did you buy the Grey Fabric online or from the actual shop? As I can’t find it online. I have finally found my perfect stripe material from Joel & Son Fabrics, for my first Cocoa, but really love yours too!

    • Oooh, I’d love to make a nice stripey one! I bought the grey fabric in store, they still had some left on the roll when I was there a few days ago. Possibly they could mail samples to you if you phoned/emailed? From their site: +353 1 6337900 or office@theclothshop.ie

      Looking forward to seeing your striped Coco! :) Are you making a top or dress?

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