Autumn planning: Coco-Sandra


The weather has been so uncharacteristically lovely in London that it’s really hard to start thinking of autumn sewing – I haven’t even packed away the summer dresses just yet as it’s still in the low 20s (70s to you ‘mericans). Nonetheless I have started identifying wardrobe gaps and sewing up some things to cover them. I think this outfit is basically what I’ll be wearing from November til April: a Tilly Coco with Style Arc skinny jeans.


The Coco first: I cut a size up from my previous ones for a more slouchy feel, teamed with the three-quarter sleeves and an added draped front pocket (cut with sloped sides but sewn in a straight vertical line, if that makes sense). The fabric is a stashed remnant of a fairly thick, very stretchy jersey. It’s all overlocked together and the hems are all just turned back and stitched with lightning stitch: a two hour jobby.


The jeans are my third go at the Stye Arc Sandra – after a too tight and too loose pair, these are pretty great. I made up them in a brownish stretch denim I got in Ecuador.


The sewing process, to be honest, was not particularly fun. The fabric didn’t want to press at all and topstitching was painful… I tried using a proper topstitch thread and needle and it wasn’t happening at all. Don’t even talk about twin needling. Hence the topstitched detailing ended up pretty, ah, minimal – I didn’t even do the leg or crotch seams, and the waistband is stitched with non-matching regular thread. Meh.


The fit around the waist and hips is great, but there are some odd drag lines going on around the back knee. Honestly, you fix one problem and another pops up.


I was determined to get a really nice non-sagging, non-creasing waistband this time. I interfaced both the inner and outer bands with a good quality medium/heavy interfacing from Ray Stitch which seems to have done the trick. The one bit I often seem to mess up is the very centre of the waistband ‘winging’ upwards at the top corner, creating a messy overlap when buttoned. Hence I added two buttons to keep it from flapping.


The front fly is my tidiest yet; I incorporated the fly facings onto the front pattern pieces and used the directions from Burda 7017 which are definitely my favourite (though I’ve been meaning to try this method which looks even easier).


I even managed to correctly sew the pocket yokes into a Spanx-style extension that goes all the way to the zip. It’s been nice to dip back into jeans-making after a spate of sewing frocks. I need to bash out a couple more pairs as I’ve chucked out all my ill-fitting RTW ones!

18 thoughts on “Autumn planning: Coco-Sandra

  1. AvatarKatie

    I have the same problem with a pair of pants that I just made. I would love to see how you fix the fit to get rid of the drag lines! I am hoping to be able to just the fit without recutting the pants and adjusting the pattern.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I believe it could be slight bowlegged-ness, for which you’re supposed to make the inseam a little bit shorter than the side seam and/or add a bit of width to the back leg. Or possibly I just cut a bit off-grain and they’re twisting. It doesn’t bother me too much!

  2. AvatarSara

    Great uniform! It looks comfortable and put together at the same time. Mine usually includes a turtleneck as soon as the temperatures drop. I recommend Sandra Betzina’s fly front method. It works great and I wouldn’t use any other.

  3. AvatarTamsin W-P

    great outfit – I love the material for your Coco – they go so well together. I can’t help with the leg thing really other than to suggest a little extra width in the back leg – maybe… I am about to finish a pair of trousers (my first since I was 17! am now 40something) made from a trouser block from my measurements. Even though I used my measurements I have still had to adjust them quite a bit.

  4. AvatarSasha

    Love the outfit It’s practical and comfortable … The slouchy striped coco is such a must have and I must put one on my autumn sewing list!

  5. AvatarTatiana

    I love your Coco and jeans. I am new to sewing and am planning to make my first Coco top/dress. Did you cut it one size larger everywhere or just at the waist and hips? From the picture it looks like it is fairly fitted in the shoulders and slightly loose in the waist and hips. Thanks!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      yes you’re right, I had already altered the pattern to grade to a smaller size at the shoulder/bust – typical adjustment for me as I am smaller there!

  6. AvatarBella

    That top looks deliciously comfy. Good work on the jeans,the fit looks really good from where I’m sitting. I guess with fitted pants it’s always hard to get the fit right since every fabric has a slightly different stretch. I’m meaning to embark on my own fitted pant adventure, wish me luck!

  7. Avatarlisa g.

    looks like a perfect fall outfit! love the striped knit you used, and the minimal topstitching on the jeans just gives them a dressier look i think. i need to make more jeans too, i wish it weren’t so hard to find the right fabric!

  8. Avatarsallie

    These look great! I totally thought this post was just for the top and that you were wearing RTW jeans in that first pic! Awesome job on both pieces! I love the drapey pocket detail, so fun.

  9. AvatarSara

    Your coco looks so great! Mine didn’t work out at all—twisty sleeves that were way too lose and the neckline made my chest look huge for some reason. Maybe I just made up the wrong size, because yours looks like something I want to wear everyday! Or maybe it’s the fabric? Either way, super cute fabric, and those jeans look like they fit you REALLY well!

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