In 2017 I decided to set a goal of growing my creative skills. I am a process/rows-and-columns kind of thinker by nature so these skills do not come naturally to me. As I set out to look for ways to achieve my goal, I decided to sign up for Marla Kazell’s Koos coat workshop using the ASG member discount. In September, I packed my fabric and sewing kit and set off for Portland where I, along with three other classmates, spent four fantastic days learning, designing, and sewing together.
I used the Clare coat pattern from independent pattern designer, Closet Case. The base fabric for my coat was from my stash, a wool cashmere blend that was an end of bolt 6-yard remnant at the great price of $12.50/yard. The embellishment fabrics came from a variety of places – a local fabric store, Puyallup Sew Expo, a sampler pack bought at a market in Cape Town South Africa, and from one of the ladies in my class.
I went in with lots of preconceived ideas…
- It’s a coat. I need to take along lining fabric. No lining?
- It’s a coat. I need the right interfacing. No interfacing?
- I pre-fit my pattern before going. I should just cut it out to save time. Nope! Need to cut it with estimated (did she really say estimated?) extra seam allowance to allow for shift as the design is applied.
- I will need to re-cut the pattern pieces before sewing to true up the cut. Nope! It’s an oversized coat anyway so let’s just go with it.
- Let’s follow the pattern instructions. Nope! We had to completely rethink the order of construction to allow for designs to be applied. Some designs crossed over seams, some went into seams. My design dictated the construction order and sometimes it was just plain awkward.
My four-day Koos workshop experience was a real stretch, but it truly opened my mind to all sorts of ideas about how to “break the rules” and still end up with something I could be happy with and would stand the test of time and wear. In fact, I have now been wearing my Koos coat for 2 years and it is my absolute favorite coat of all time.
Fast forward to 2019
I am reading the Inland Empire chapter newsletter and what do I see? Member Lynda Gravesen sharing about her journey into the Land of Koos. Another Koos coat maker! I was so excited that I began searching around for additional ASG members who had also made this journey. To my delight, I found several and have included the pictures they sent me so you can enjoy a little journey into the Land of Koos as well. And if you decide to take the creative Koos plunge, I hope you will send me your pictures. What a fun journey we can share!