Sewing Coco

7 May

Over the bank holiday I eventually got around to sewing Tilly and the Buttons’ Coco pattern, I only bought the pattern nearly 2 months ago – eek. I’ve been challenging myself with a few different sewing techniques recently, mainly making cushions. However sewing my own clothes is a little different. I am quite happy adjusting the odd item of clothing like turning an old dress into a skirt. But sewing an entire garment I’ve not done since my make a dress in a day workshop last year (the dress has sadly never been worn). The workshop was supposed to kick start my garment sewing, but really it was seeing this simple pattern for something I would actually wear that has got back my sewing mojo!

Coco Sewing Pattern - Nettynot Blog
Sewing Coco

The pattern is very clear and has a top and a dress version – I went for the top on my first attempt. It’s a straight forward and easy pattern, perfect for a beginner or someone like me, new to sewing knit fabric. I bought the pattern as a printable PDF, which comes with black and white printed instructions and a clear way of ensuring the pattern prints to the correct size. My first challenge was finding the right kind of knit fabric, unfortunately all my local fabric stores didn’t stock anything suitable. So I resorted to buying online (which can be a little bit of a gamble not seeing or feeling the fabric first), though thankfully Tilly put together a useful guide and some suggested links to where you could buy the right fabric.

Fabric for Coco - nettynot Blog
I must admit I was quite surprised by the price of a lot of fabrics, once you’d bought 2m and included p+p you’re looking at £30-£35 – ouch! Not having made anything like this before and not knowing whether it would fit or even suit me I wasn’t prepared to pay that much. So a bit further searching was required I came across several blog posts of people who’d recently completed a Coco project and followed several links to where the makers had bought their fabric and eventually stumbled across a cheap and cheerful fabric , I paid £12 for 2m, including p+p from Tissu Fabrics which I was much more comfortable paying for a trail run. I went for something bright and fun and when it arrived it really was bright.

Tilly and the button's Coco blog - Nettynot Blog
I started reading all the information on Tilly’s very useful blog posts, I am much more of a visual person I’d always rather follow photos than text, so the combination of both her written instructions and her blog with loads of photos were brilliant, I just set my laptop up next to my sewing machine – perfect!  The blog posts are very easy to follow and broken down to manageable chunks. I did the majority of the project in one go, last Sunday afternoon, from cutting the fabric and sewing most of it together and finished it off on Monday – I do love a Bank Holiday! This is how I got on…

Adjusting the pattern - Nettynot Blog
Cutting the pattern out – I liked being talked through how to alter the pattern, I am very much smaller on top than round my hips and ended up with a size 3 on top and size 4 on the waist and hips. I also shortened the top by 1 inch from the centre.

Cutting the fabric – I found this quite tricky to handle, especially when it came to finding the centre to fold, however I little time and patients got it sorted and I used a rotary cutter to cut the pieces out, something I’d never done before and it works brilliantly.

Sewing Coco – Again things I’ve never done before, stay stitching and stabilising seams – brilliant!  I found reading through each step before I got started was great, I know that sound like a obvious statement, but I’m quite good at thinking I know what I’m doing and jumping ahead, so I took it slow and steady and followed each step carefully – with great results.

Pressing an arm sleeve - Nettynot Blog
It never occurred to me to use a rolled up towel to press sleeve seams open – genius idea and it worked brilliantly!

Neck hole in Coco - Nettynot Blog
I did worry at one point that my neckline didn’t look right – it didn’t match Tilly’s photo, however I continued on and put it down to my fabric being a little stiff, I needn’t have worried as it was fine in the end.

Coco - pinning in the sleeve - Nettynot Blog
I did find pinning the knit fabric a little tricky and having read the advice on the blog I was quite careful not to force the pins through (I did find giving the pins a little twist helped).

Altering the seem - Nettynot Blog
Adjustments – Once my Coco was in one piece (pinned not sewn yet) I tried it on and found it was a little baggy around the arm pits, so I took the seam in an extra 10mm where the sleeve meets the body on each side and it did the job.

Finished Coco top - Nettynot Blog
Something I found quite tricky was actually the last part, sewing the bottom hem. The blog post said you could use a straight stitch or zig-zag. I started with a straight stitch and found it very awkward, the fabric just wanted to pucker and it did not go well. I ended up un-picking the line of stitching, adding lots more pins, then going for a zig-zag stitch and that sorted it! I was finished!

A little tip: If you intend to make the top version of the Coco in a small size you can easily get away with only 1.5m of fabric. I have over half a meter left, plus excess (which would have been enough for the funnel neck, pockets and cuff), my fabric was 1.5m wide.

I’m very pleased with my finished top, it is overall a little large, including on my shoulders, so I may go down a size for the next one, but the style of the top forgives a little excess fabric. My fabric seems a little stiff and I think that is a result of going for a cheap and cheerful fabric, however I have not been put off and I will wear the top. I do intend to make another and I will be much happier to splash out on nicer fabric, possibly with stripes, I’ll probably go for a dress, with short sleeves – perfect for summer!

Me in my Coco Top - Nettynot Blog
I wrote the above part of my post on Monday while it was all fresh in my mind, butI ran out of time to edit images so I have had to wait until today, my day off, to post it – however it gave me the chance to show off my top at work and knit group yesterday – it went down very well. I also enlisted my friend Lynsey’s help in getting a good photo of me wearing my Coco – Ta dah (I’m generally not photogenic – but I like this shot)!

If you’re thinking about sewing the Coco I would recommend checking out Tilly on Pinterest – she has a board dedicated to Coco, full of other peoples finished projects along with her various Coco creations. There’s some fantastic colour combinations and fabric choices – ooh the inspiration!


8 Responses to “Sewing Coco”

  1. loveyesterdays May 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    Wow, great job! What a classic style and I love those polka dots!!!


  2. springystitches May 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    I’m definitely going to have to get this pattern! It looks great and thanks for the towel tip!


    • nettynot May 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

      Yes, I would definitely give it ago – I’m afraid I can’t take any credit for the towel trick, it was suggested on the pattern, it is very clever!


  3. Alison May 7, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    Your top looks fantastic! Keep going whilst you’ve got your machine out. Did you try the fuabric stall in Victoria Market – it’s on the left as you enter from Vic Centre. It’s rather scary to be confronted with so much fabric in one go but the stall holders are very helpful – have a vast range from cheap & cheerful to others that I wouldn’t dare trust myself with taking a pair of scissors to. I used to make most of my own clothes prior to motherhood and long to get back into sewing properly again – I used to love hunting through the old fabric warehouses in the Lace Market but sadly these are no more (unless there are still one or two tucked away??). You could find some beautiful rare gem bargains hidden away, I remember finding the most gorgeous Liberty fine wool once that I made into a dress for a wedding – wistful sigh! Looking forward to seeing your next garment make x


    • nettynot May 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

      Thanks Alison, I did try the stall on the market, they had quite a bit of jersey, but nothing thick enough, as the pattern requires a medium weight knit (which makes it easier to handle too). I’m already on the search for the next lot of fabric, I’m sure I will find something else suitable.

      You should definitely get back into sewing & dust off your machine. I’m getting a lot of satisfaction from the quick results! : )


  4. fallfromgrace349 May 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    looks so lovely! I love the fabric and is really flattering 🙂



  1. The Megan Dress | Nettynot Craft - November 9, 2014

    […] am feeling so much more confident about sewing and making my own garments now. I bought Tilly’s Coco sewing pattern earlier in the year and enjoyed that too, which made me want her book too. It’s […]


  2. Lilou Dress | Nettynot Craft - August 16, 2015

    […] – Love at first Stitch book, I thought the style should suit me and having previously sewn a Coco top, the Megan dress and the Margot pyjamas, steadily building up my confidence I thought I’d be […]


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