Handmade Wardrobe
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Call the Midwife Coco

I’m not sorry at all to report that an 8th Coco has entered my home made wardrobe. As an added bonus, its the first of my 6 makes for my vintage pledge! Being a loyal tunnel bear subscriber, I have already watched the 4th season of Call the Midwife (sorry to my fellow US-ers!) and decided to recreate a top that Patsy wore a few times this season (first appearance is in episode 3).

By the way, don’t worry about this spoiling anything from the season if you haven’t watched yet. The only thing this is going to give away is that Patsy has a very nice sense of style when out of her Nonnatus uniform. It’s not like I’m going to recreate the shirt that she wore on her wild car ride when Tom left Trixie at the alter to marry her. Hehe just kidding, that didn’t happen đŸ™‚

I planned on making this top before I signed up for the vintage pattern pledge but by the time I found the perfect fabric it seemed like fate had stepped in and now I’m amending my pledge to include vintage inspired as well! For my vintage pattern pledge I vowed to sew up at least six of my vintage or reproduction sewing patterns. Since Coco says right on the pattern envelope that the optional funnel neck is sixties inspired and my inspiration came from a show set in the 60’s, I think its acceptable to count it as one of my 6.

I watched the episode containing Patsy’s funnel neck top on February 1st or 2nd. Sidebar: With tunnel bear I just have to wait until its up on the BBC website and with the time difference I can sometimes actually watch it on the day it airs. I started looking for the fabric as soon as the episode ended and after searching 20+ online retailers, the only similar option I had found was on spoon flower. I have a little booklet with swatches of all their fabrics and I wasn’t really impressed with the jersey offerings and really wanted to hold out until I found a perfect ponte. The Coco’s I have made with lighter weight fabric are nice but they don’t hold the A line shape as well and for a real 60’s look I wanted to keep that in tact.

saint-james-striped-interlock-knit-ecru-and-grey-7I decided to keep checking some of my favorite fabric resources regularly and eventually I’d get my Patsy Coco. I got really lucky and found this interlock knit from Hart’s Fabric just about a month after making my pledge! I would have preferred a slightly larger white stripe but come on, look at this fabric, how could I say no when it was roughly a 98% match?

Now that I had my fabric it was time to get serious about construction. I knew I would be using the Coco top with the funnel neck but there were a few considerations to be made. From the screen shot I took and watching the scene over and over, I decided to make the 3/4 sleeve version of Coco because some of Patsy’s arm is clearly visible but I don’t see any bulk that would indicate long sleeves pushed up. There is no indication that the shirt is cuffed but I really like the look of the Coco cuff with the funnel neck, I think it adds more vintage flair, so I decided I would use that pattern piece. There is never a point where you get a good shot of the sides so should I do the slits of not? Since I had never done them before I seriously considered it but was more concerned about pattern matching my stripes and opted against it. Sometimes I surprise myself with the level of detective work that I put into the things I sew.

I’m a fire believer in the idea that anyone who points out flaws in my clothing is not someone I want to be around on a regular basis. The only exception to this is if a fellow sewer points out something that can teach me something. For example, I showed an experienced sewer a picture of me in my Archer shirt that fits fairly well (a fact that I started before showing the picture) and she said I needed to do a FBA. This my friends is called helpful critique. Pointing out that my chevron stripes don’t match at the side seams however, is just rude. Contrary to this believe of mine, I still try my best to pattern match where I feel it matters. In the case of the Patsy Coco, that meant the side seams!

I followphotoed Tilly’s direction of inserting a pin along the top edge of one stripe, turned over my fabric and checked that the pin was positioned along the top edge of the same stripe. This fabric really highlighted the importance of pre-washing for me. I always do it but this fabric shrunk in all these weird ways which made lining up my pins and stripes just a little more difficult than I anticipated. When i was putting the top together I pinned the side seams and sleeves on every gray stripe to ensure there was no movement to ruin my matching. I ended up suing 59 pins per side!

Maybe next time I work with stripes I’ll try cutting on the flat to see which method works best for me. As an extra precaution, I also made sure my side seam notches were on the same color stripe. So, do you want to see the fruits of my labor?

Side Seam

Arm Seam. Once it was pressed it was perfect.

photo (100)

Side seam.

Other than my OCD about stripe matching the construction of this Coco was much like the rest. Depending on the amount of stretch in the fabric my size varies but I have found that I always need to make the sleeves one size smaller than the body so if you haven’t made Coco yet, get out and buy this pattern because its awesome and be cautious of the sleeves since that was really the only thing I had to work out.

Time for the reveal, here is a screen shot of the episode of Call The Midwife that inspired me and a picture of me with my hair up like Patsy for comparison.

photo (10)photo (7)

I think a slightly lighter gray would have matched better but other than that its spot on! I’m off to Walt Disney World tomorrow for my friends wedding and I’m going to wear this on the flight with my favorite black running pants, my rain jacket and wayfarers. The knit fabric makes it very comfy but the funnel neck makes me feel fabulous. When I fly I always think, “what would Audrey do”? The answer is to dress comfortably but stylish and that is how I feel in my Patsy Coco!


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