Monday, October 6, 2014

Wool Coat with Knitted Sleeves and Collar


I've completed my second project for Britex, which you can see on the Britex blog.

Fall has arrived!

I used two yards of a striking navy and turquoise coating (90% wool and 10% poly) from Britex to make myself a winter coat. This coating has the look of a handwoven fabric and I love the mix of navy and turquoise. It is lined with teal Bemberg lining.

As the basis for the coat, I used a recently released pattern, Butterick 6107, View C. My little twist is that I knitted the collar and sleeves using a super chunky yarn, Mirasol Ushya in 1709 (navy). I selected a chunky yarn because it knits up quickly, but also chunky knits are very on trend for this fall and winter. I used just under four skeins. (If my arms weren't so short, I would have needed five skeins.)

Alterations and Modifications

I used a size Large (16-18). The pattern says it is "very loose fitting", and it is. Despite the fact that this is a fairly simple pattern, I made many changes, some for fit and some for style.

  • As I mentioned, the pattern is very loose fitting. I didn't need any additional width for my bust (very unusual), so I did a vertical-only FBA. In the end, I didn't need to sew in the dart, as the fabric is loosely woven enough that I was able to ease the dart into the side seam. I also did some easing to bring in the armscye at the bust. This is a subtle detail that improves the fit.
  • The armhole on this pattern is very large and low and the shoulder is extended. I dislike an extended shoulder, so I narrowed the shoulder by almost 2". As a result, I also raised the sleeve cap on the sleeve. I did not otherwise modify the large armhole, so pay attention if you don't like a large armhole.
  • I wanted a wider front facing, so I redrafted it.
  • The coat pattern is unlined, but I wanted to line it, so I drafted a front and back lining. I did not line the knitted sleeves.
  • Omitted fullness at the hip.
  • Omitted the collar pattern and replaced it with a single-thickness knitted collar.
  • Shortened the sleeve by 1", which is pretty typical. I could have shortened it another 1/2" - 1". I raised the sleeve cap, which was rather flat shaped, suitable for an extended sleeve. Finally, instead of a fabric sleeve, I knitted the sleeves.
  • Omitted the side seam pockets, which add a lot of bulk. I originally wanted welt pockets, but the fabric is a bit loosely woven for that, so I sewed on one very large, lined, patch pocket.
    The back of the lined pocket
  • The coat closes with a single button. Instead, I used a beautiful toggle I purchased at Britex (not available online), and two large snaps. I sewed these on with silk buttonhole twist from Japan.
    The toggle. I punched holes for sewing it on with Japanese silk buttonhole twist
  • The fabric is striped, so I cut it out single thickness, matching the stripes.
  • The fabric has a gorgeous selvedge. I wanted to feature it, so I laid out the fronts and the front facings to place the selvedge at the edge. I wanted to also put the selvedge along the armscye, but I used it up entirely on the fronts and front facings. (The selvedge along the front edges are double thickness; I slightly favored the facings so that the selvedge extends beyond the front by about 1/8". I did this to give more gravitas to the selvedge along the front edge.)

Knitting the Collar and Sleeves

For this project, I bought a super chunky yarn, Mirasol Ushya, in navy (color 1709). Using size 13 needles, I spent several evenings knitting up a multitude of samples. I wanted a stitch with some texture, but not too much texture. I wanted to use a 2x2 rib on the collar. Eventually, after many samples, I decided that also I wanted 2x2 rib at the wrist, but I didn't want the sleeve to be snug at the wrist, which looks dated to me. (So I didn't use fewer stitches at the cuff, or smaller needles and, in fact, I used a looser tension in the cuff than in the rest of the sleeve.)

At first I thought I wanted a moss or seed stitch, but these samples had too much texture. Stockinette was too bland. I also experimented with twisted rib, and garter stitch. I finally settled on a reverse stockinette stitch. (Reverse stockinette is just the other side of stockinette.)

For each stitch I sampled, I took careful notes of the gauge of that particular stitch. Having an accurate gauge is crucial when you graph out the pattern.

Knitting the collar and sleeves was not hard. The collar is just a rectangle. The sleeves are a bit trickier, but if you have an accurate gauge, they are not that difficult. You just need to do a bit of figuring. :)

Preparing for the collar: I cleanly finished the coat at the neckline, so that all raw edges were hidden inside, as if it were a collarless coat. The finished neckline, from edge to edge, was 25". (The coat overlaps at front and the collar extends all the way to each corner.)

Knitting the collar: A 2x2 rib has a 4-stitch repeat: Knit 2, Purl 2. I determined that I needed to cast on 68 stitches so that the resulting collar would fit the neckline. I knit in 2x2 rib for approximately 4-1/2", using my normal tension, which is a bit loose. I cast off and blocked the collar.

Attaching the collar to the coat:: I underlapped the knitted collar by about 1/2" to the inside of the neckline, and hand stitched it in place, sewing it twice - once from the front and once from the back. I used a whipstitch which is pretty invisible in the textured knit.

Blocking the collar

Preparing for the sleeves: I completed the entire coat and lining, cleanly finishing the armholes as if I were making a vest. I then tissue fit the sleeve pattern and determined what alterations I needed: I raised the sleeve cap by about 1-1/2" and shortened the sleeve by about 1-1/4". I then removed the seam allowances and hem from the pattern. Armed with my giant plastic ruler and my gauge information, I graphed the sleeve pattern. I wanted the sleeves to be knit more firmly than the collar, so I knitted them with a very tight tension. The final gauge was 4 stitches to the inch, and 4 rows to the inch. This even, easily divisible, number made it easy to graph out the pattern.

Knitting the sleeves: There is a left and a right sleeve, since the sleeve cap is shaped with different front and back curves, and I mimicked that when creating the knitted sleeve pattern. I cast on 40 stitches for the sleeve and knit in a 2x2 rib for 4". I then switched to reverse stockinette and finished the sleeve according to the pattern I graphed out, increasing to 50 stitches before decreasing to shape the sleeve cap. When adding stitches (increasing), I used the nearly invisible increase, which is a great technique.

Blocking the sleeve

Sewing the sleeves: The underarm seam is sewn using a mattress stitch. (This took me a few tries, as my first efforts were not good. My friend Heather made a helpful suggestion, and I watched a video on the subject again. The third try, while not perfect, was much better. Thanks, Heather!)

I then sewed the sleeves to the coat in the same manner as the collar, by underlapping them in the coat, and sewing (by hand) twice: one from the outside and once from the inside.

Closeup of sleeve and collar

And, if you don't want to knit it yourself, all is not lost! Did you know that you can BUY knit yardage?! Check out O! Jolly!, based in NYC.


I love this coat! The beauty of a style like this is that there are several ways to wear it. You can wear it with the coat fully closed. The collar is held in place with a large snap and it forms an asymmetric neckline that is quite snuggly.

You can unsnap the top snap, and create faux lapels.

Or you can wear it completely open. Thanks to the Bemberg lining, it easily slips on and off.

WHO broke the antenna off the Android!?!

WHO would do such a thing!!!

I had sooo much fun with this project! I'd been wanting to combine knitting and sewing in a project for at least two years, and this was a perfect use for it. The resulting coat is quite warm, comfy, and easily glides on and off, thanks to the Bermberg lining. I expect to get a lot of wear out of this as the weather cools. I have very little left of the yardage, but I have some fun plans for the scraps!

Thanks to Britex for providing the fabric!
Thanks to my colleague, Mary Campione, for taking these pics!

Location, Location, Location!

Maybe you are asking, "What is the deal with the seemingly random statues of desserts?!"

Good question!

This area, part of the Google Mountain View campus, is known as the Android Sculpture Garden. In a nutshell, each Android release is named after a treat, in alphabetical order. The current Android preview release is the "L release". The "L" treat has not yet been named, or unveiled. I have no inside knowledge, but I think Lollipop would be nice. Or Licorice. Or Dumbledore's favorite muggle candy, Lemon Drops. (There are no "A" or "B" statues, as those releases were called Alpha and Beta, respectively. The treat tradition started with C.

Mr Android welcomes you to his garden

The sculpture garden currently contains the following statues, in alphabetical order:




Froyo (Frozen yogurt)

Gingerbread (my favorite)


Ice cream sandwich

Jelly bean



  1. Lovely! Might be my favorite item you have made. Great colors and the sleeve/collar is so cool. You are ready for fall, despite our non-coat weather recently (which I think is glorious). Britex made a great choice to make you a blogger and I look forward to your next projects

  2. You and your red hair look so pretty in the blues, good choices. I need to take a shoulder seam from extended to ending at the shoulder bone, and am encouraged to see the fine results you achieved.

  3. Very cool coat. Great marriage of sewing and knitting.

  4. So much to wow about! The fabric is to die for. The color is so complimentary to your coloring. The fit, the details, etc. etc. all is fabulous!

  5. This coat looks so right, so great as if it just appeared one day in your closet. Of course you've spilled the beans to reveal your extensive research and development in creating your beautiful coat. Just think what you could do with more than 2 yards!

  6. What a great job of knitting! I have a knitting friend visiting but am making her go to Fabric Mart tomorrow before we hit the yarn stores. Wish you were here!

  7. Ps new Vogue patterns are out...what do you think?

  8. Your coat is beautiful! I love the mix of colors and textures. That sculpture garden is hilarious, certainly someplace I would stay far away from lest I succumb to eating too much dessert!

  9. Love the coat! The way you put the pieces together really makes it special...and I'm so jealous of the knitting! Gawd it's gorgeous!

  10. omegoddess I LOVE the coat! And O!Jolly! ? Dangerous & to die for!

    Love the android sculptures! Is that the area that was under construction before? I think it's time to come visit you for lunch again.... ;-)

  11. What an amazing answer to the latest challenge! Britex chose wisely when they made you a guest put the "C" in creativity! Such fun to follow you on this journey!

  12. Wow, I want one too! Might have to learn to knit - can't be that hard????

  13. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love that you knit the sleeves and collar! I love it open. Love. Love. Love!!

  14. Great colors for you. I'm exhausted just reading all the work you put into this. But of course, it paid off!

  15. This coat is full of cleverness, from your purposeful use of the selvedges, to the hand knitted collar and sleeves, to the huge pocket and the cool toggle. It's a great look on you and it's so unique, it just speaks "Shams". I am considering using this pattern, and it's very helpful to know about the extended shoulders and large armscyes. Love your whimsical photos, too. A great blog post, and a most creative make!

  16. Great design, great fit, great everything!

  17. Love it! Great combination of knitting and sewing.

  18. Ingenius mixing of knit and fabric - so you! It's like a big cuddly cardigan because of the knit.

  19. I never considered combining sewing and knitting. Your coat shows a wonderful combination. In all that is to love about it I especially love the two ways the collar can be worn.

  20. Oh I absolutely love your coat shams! and especially that you knit those sleeves. TOTALLY gorgeous :)

  21. Well, I think I want knitted sleeves and collar....I'll just knit it myself. WHAT! Do your talents never cease?

  22. You outdid yourself on the coat and photos, Shams! Fantastic alterations, beautiful color of fabric and creative insight.

  23. Thanks for pointing out this pattern. Could be one of my two red raincoats. :)

  24. I adore your coat, and now I want to knit some sleeves and a cool collar. Fortunately I will probably get over this before next winter ;). Or maybe not

  25. You got lots of great comments on your coat--which is tremendously fabulous! I especially love the fabric and hand knit combo. I have been into knitting a lot of late, but have never considered combining the two.

    However, I adored your Android Sculpture Garden photos! How cool! I even showed them to my family who thought they were equally cool. Thanks for sharing photos of you and your coat that were made even more interesting with your choice of background!

  26. I love your coat -- it is so cool!! And a great photo shoot, too:)

  27. Marvelous coat, fun knitting details, and the location! Very cool post shams!!

  28. Love this coat. The colors are so becoming.

  29. Love the coat! And I love the way you used the selvages. I need to think about that....Love the sculpture garden. One of these days when you come to Seattle for work and have extra time I would love to come to a meet up, or drive you to some favorite fabric stores.

  30. The coat, wonderful. The photos, a real treat!

  31. wonderful wonderful project!!
    For the operating system -- Lutefisk?? (chuckle chuckle)

  32. You couldn't help but be a little playful wearing that coat! Great colour and love the mix of textures.

  33. Lovely and amazing! and thank you for explaining the fashion shoot location! :)

  34. That is an absolutely stunning coat. Makes me wish for a visit up north sometime this winter... NOT! Great look, though.

  35. Shams,
    love your coat - it is gorgeous.