Unfinished Koos Jacket, Vogue 1277

6 Dec

I am finished with the Koos class, but not finished with the jacket.  It’s not because of the pattern, though, it’s because of some fabric I used that wouldn’t cooperate.  The class was very fun, and the coat is coming along.

I haven’t been blogging as I go because sewing for eight hours a day wipes me out.  When I get home from class, I am totally exhausted. It made me think of the statue of the garment worker in New York City and what it must have been like, working in a sweat shop bent over a sewing machine 12 hours a day, seven days a week.  Hard work, indeed!

This Koos pattern is pretty amazing in so many ways.  The most interesting part is the sleeves, though, and the way Koos made the sleeve seam curve around the sleeve on the diagonal.  The other appealing part of the jacket is the fact that the coat is really one major piece that becomes the jacket lining, and then you place smaller pieces on top of it to make the design.  The way Koos designed it, you could easily put any shape you want on the main piece to create your own unique design.

Here is the sleeve.  You can see how the seam curves around diagonally:

**My sewing instructor, Marla Kazell, took a class from Koos, himself, to learn how to construct the jacket, and the way he constructs it is very different from the Vogue pattern instructions.  Koos adds 1/2″ seam allowances to his patterns, then lays out the main pattern piece and glues the individual design pieces on top of the main piece, and then sews on the bias tape.  Vogue added full seam allowances so that you can sew the individual pieces together before adding the bias tape.

**Another change that Vogue made to the pattern was to put some of the pieces on the straight of grain and some on the bias.  The Koos pattern has each center back on the bias.  I’m not sure why Vogue would make that change, since you would want the back on the bias for the drape effect.

In my sewing class, we put all pieces on the bias and we glued the pieces on, which meant that we had to trim some of the seam allowances off.  There are options to glueing.  One option is to use a permanent glue (which is what Koos uses), which will give your jacket more body.  I didn’t want that look (I wanted my jacket to drape more) so I used the Sulky Temporary Spray adhesive, which was the good news and the bad news.  The good news is that the jacket will be drapier, the bad news is that the pieces don’t stick very well, especially if they are silk.  Most of my pieces were wool, but I did have a nasty little piece of silk that caused me CONSIDERABLE trouble.

If you use the temporary spray, you will need to add stitching (like quilting) to hold the pieces together.  Then you will need to pin, pin, pin, as well.  Here is a picture of my jacket at the stage where I had finished glueing and was beginning to pin bias strips on the jacket.

I forgot to take a picture of the lining, but it is the same shape as all the top pieces put together and is laying underneath these pieces.  As you can see, the piece at the hemline is actually two pieces that are sewn together at the center back, then the piece is sewn along the hemline to form the hem.  That piece is then turned and glued to the lining, as are the rest of the pieces, overlapping by about 1/2 inch.  As I said before, I had to trim some of the seam allowances away, since Vogue added them to their pattern.

Here is how the back turned out:

By the way, I used an extra small size.

So now, I have the basic jacket put together, one sleeve sewn on, and tons of things (like Hong Kong binding) left to do.  I’m not sure how much of this I’m going to get to until after Christmas, but I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

**These paragraphs were edited after the orignal post.

18 Responses to “Unfinished Koos Jacket, Vogue 1277”

  1. Dixie at 6:25 PM #

    Janis, your coat looks terrific! I can’t wait to see it when you finish it. Thank you for sharing so much information on construction techniques. All of your hints will be very helpful for those who want to make this jacket. It’s not for me, but it’s really cool!
    Spray adhesive is a wonderful product. I often use it to hold hems in place before machine stitching, especially on knits.

  2. Martha at 9:54 PM #

    This is just a terrific post! Thanks so very much for providing all the details of your project. I would love to make this jacket, and have the pattern. I will read and reread your great post as I sew it. Thanks for sharing all of this.

  3. Sharon at 5:30 PM #

    Janis, your Koos coat is stunning, so much work done and still quite a bit to do, you have created a wonderful masterpiece. Thank you for the detailed information and how Koos made the coat himself, very interesting.

  4. Jilly Be at 9:43 PM #

    I came back to look again, & discovered the flickr set, and the AWESOME shot of all the different jackets! I REALLY love the extra pieces several of you did on the sleeve – another GREAT idea!

    Now I’m getting stoked to work on mine again; thanks so much for all of the info & inspiration!

    • Janis at 5:35 PM #

      Jilly, I forgot to put that photo of my sewing buddies in the post. Maybe I’ll put it in the next one.

      By the way, I’m still not sure how I’m going to handle the rest of the seams. The flat-felled on the sleeve was VERY tricky, though.

      • Jilly Be at 5:50 PM #

        Janis, I trimmed the heck out of my sleeve seams, & they’re OK. I only have the sleeve-to-jacket seams basted right now though…that’s where I stopped. I’m going to call that a message from the Universe saying that I was waiting for your post – I’m seriously considering the Hong Kong option.

  5. Jilly Be at 7:49 PM #

    Ooooh the post I’ve been waiting for lol! Very interesting. Gluing the fabrics certainly would have taken care of my issue with the puckering on the reverse side! And cutting on the bias! Of course….brilliant! The back of mine is less drapey than I would like; the cut would have taken care of that as well.

    And the Hong Kong binding!!! I think the one sleeve I have attached is only basted…I have to go look… I really have to give some thought to this idea. Any idea that takes care of a problem (WAY too much fabric to wrestle into flat felled seams) AND looks uber cool is a very good thing. Maybe there was a very good reason I took the last few days off from my coat lol!

    Love love love your fabrics & colors! – I really can’t wait to see the finished product!

    And huge thank yous for sharing the tips from the class

  6. Janis at 1:38 PM #

    Just a heads up that I made some changes to this post after the initial post, with some valuable information that I had forgotten.:)

  7. ejvc at 1:13 PM #

    Janis, this is so interesting! Now forgive me for being quite dense, but why must you pin the bias tape? If it were me, once glued, I would just take the whole thing over to the machine and apply it with something like the old Singer edgestitcher foot. I might place the bias tape on a reel or something I suppose.

    I think gluing (like with spraymount) sounds so interesting. I think i would make the jacket just for this, if I had the time and inclination.

    You said that Koos doesn’t have seam allowances? So in his version the fabrics aren’t overlapped, but matched? FYI an easy way to trim seam allowances is with the rotary cutter guide arm.

    I’m seriously warming to this coat after seeing your BEAUTIFUL version.

    • Janis at 1:29 PM #

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Because the bias tape is going around in a curvy fashion, it is wise to pin. Otherwise, you end up with some of the bias slipping off the edge of the fabric. Ask me how I know:). As a matter of fact, after I sewed down one side of the bias, I would re-pin the other side, just to make sure there was no slippage.

      Marla had the Koos’ pattern, and it was cut to a size that the edges overlapped by about 1/2″, which is perfect. Hers was a medium, so I couldn’t use it – darn. So, you see, you don’t cut the seam allowances all the way off, you just cut about 1/4″ off.

      • Janis at 7:59 PM #

        And another thing, lol. Because some of the seams are so curvy, you will need to steam the bias to curve it before you sew it on or you will have puckering.

  8. Martha at 11:19 AM #

    Wow, Janis, this is exceptionally good looking! And thanks for telling us about the ‘proper’ way to construct this jacket. I had no idea it would include glue. Do you know what is recommended for a permanent adhesive?

    • Janis at 11:31 AM #

      Thanks, Martha. They used regular 3M adhesive. Pretty heavy duty stuff. Spraying the adhesive is tricky. You have to have a covered surface (we used those cheap plastic tablecloths from the Dollar Store), then you need to cover all the areas around where you are spraying with newspaper. It is best to lay the pieces out on the lining first, lift sections and spray, then carefully lay the sections down. It can require two people if you don’t want to have a nervous breakdown on the spot.;)

  9. MarcyF at 11:08 AM #

    OMG Janis, this is going to be fabulous when you finish and well worth the time (and hair pulling?) it is taking to execute. As Shams said, you started with a gorgeous selection of fabrics that really play well together. I’m so excited for you!


  10. Shams at 10:45 AM #

    I’ve carefully read through this post twice, unusual for me. 🙂

    First of all, once again I commend you on your gorgeous selection of fabrics!

    Which fabric is the silk? They all look well behaved, but I’m curious which one gave you troubles. Is the Hong Kong binding for the outer edge? The sleeve?

    Since Koos uses permanent glue, he really doesn’t do any quilting?

    Thanks so much for sharing! You are going to have a stunning coat when this is done!

    • Janis at 11:15 AM #

      Shams, the evil silk is the brown fabric with circles in the middle of the back. It wanted to slip and slide all over the place. I had to rip out so many times I cannot tell you! It shall be spoken of no more 😉

      I THINK Koos does the quilting lines, but I’m not sure. My sewing instructor just said, “You better sew in quilting lines to make it stick”, so I did. It looks nice that way, especially on the reverse side (if you are going to make it reversible).

      The sleeves and shoulder seams are supposed to be flat-felled, but some of the folks in class did a sort of Hong Kong binding with both seam allowances on one binding, if you know what I mean. It looks pretty cool on the reverse, because the binding sticks up. Also, one of the sewists did a binding on the outside of the sleeve seam that sticks up. It is WAAAY cool!

      There are so many things you can do with this jacket.

      • Shams at 11:32 AM #

        Thanks for all that info, Janis. I wondered if it was that luscious polka dot! I am starting to think I have to make this coat, though I am not convinced how well it would work on my body type. 🙂

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