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Saturday, 6 September 2014

Buying knits: How my Cocos look after six months

Hello everyone.

The run up to OWOP got me thinking about my Coco tops and dresses. The Coco is my favourite dress making pattern because it is so versatile and is a practial thing for me to wear as a mum of four children.

My love of the Coco pattern has persuaded a few of my sewing friends to take the plunge into making things with knits, and, with a complete dearth of places to buy them locally, I have been quizzed by some of them about where I'd recommend when going online.

It's about six months since I made my five Cocos, and in that time they have all been through the washing machine lots. I think now is a good time to give a review of which fabrics have been the best over time.

My Sunshine Coco was made out of Roma Ponte from Guthrie and Ghani and cost £10 per metre.

How well has it kept its shape 10/10
This has a beautiful weight to it and hangs nicely. The fabric has kept its shape and suits the Coco style really well.

Good as new to look at 5/10
Although the lovely mustard shade is still going strong, I'm disappointed by how badly the fabric has bobbled. I've never tried de-bobbling fabric before, but, given how much I like this Coco, I might need to look into solutions for the problem so I can feel as proud wearing it as I did when it was new.

Value for money over time 7/10
I would have given this a much higher grade before the bobbling happened, as I was delighted with the quality of this when the postman first delivered it to me.

I searched high and low for the perfect stripes before settling on this Campan jersey from DragonFly Fabrics. I winced a bit at the price of £19.95 per metre, and nervously waited for the postman to see if it was worth the expense.

How well it has kept its shape 10/10
The Campan jersey has more give than the Roma Ponte, but keeps it shape just as well. It also has a nice amount of weight and thickness to it and suits the Coco.

Good as new to look at 10/10
I cannot detect any signs of wear at all - really pleased with this purchase.

Value for money over time 9/10
Although I cannot bring myself to give it full marks due to the cost, this source of fabric has become the Boden replacement for my Breton tops in the future. It seems expensive, but the quality is worth it over time - a classic looking set of stripes that I can imagine still being wearable in 5 years time.

I came across the next two prints whilst looking for the perfect stripes. It comes from a long time favourite place of mine for fabric for children's clothing, KitschyCoo. Me and those sausage dogs had a love at first sight moment, and I was blind to the £21 a metre fee they demanded to come and live with me,

How well it has kept its shape 9/10
I am happy with this, but as it doesn't have the same amount of weight as the previous two, the bottom of the top has a tendency to curl a bit and needs ironing into submission.

Good as new to look at 8/10
This is still going strong - but I have to say the colours have never been quite as good as they were before I pre washed it ready to make the Coco. But I am not sure how you can get round this with a design that has black and white...? No other complaints though.

Value for money over time 9/10
I am giving this a high score, because, even thugh I don't think it will last as long as the Campan jersey, it gets bonus points for being so unique. I'd have paid a premium for something so unusual had I bought it in a shop.

As already stated, I bought this scooter print from KitschyCoo - and spent £42 on the two metres I needed for a Coco dress. What can I say, other than green is my favourite colour, and I fell for the idea of making something completely different to what everyone else was wearing.

How well it has kept its shape 9/10
Same as the sausage dogs.

Good as new to look at 7/10
Argh! More bobbling... I don't think this is nearly as bad as the mustard coloured Coco, and it isn't getting any worse. Fingers crossed.

Value for money over time 8/10
I'm knocking another point off this compared to the sausage dogs (even though I'd say I like them both for their unique factor) as this particular print just doesn't seem to be as durable.

The spotty Coco was the first one I made. The fabric for this was only £5 a metre from Tissu Fabrics. I have ordered several of their plain and striped interlocks since, and made lots of clothing for my girls with it.

How well has it kept its shape 6/10
About the third or fourth time I wore this, I was walking down the street and suddenly horrified by my reflection and the realisation of quite how much length seemed to have vanished in the washing machine. This was after the usual pre wash I did before making the Coco.

Good as new to look at 8/10
If you ignore the shrinkage issue, the overall appearance of this particular interlock print remains good. That said, the plain versions I have bought from Tissu, which have been worn and washed lots more (children's clothing) have bobbled.

Value for money over time 8/10
Okay, so this interlock may not last as well as others, but £5 a metre can't be sniffed at, especially if it's functional children's clothing you plan to use it for. It was ideal for a first Coco when getting to grips with the pattern.

So, that's my round up of Coco tops and dresses so far. It really comes down to a lot of personal taste factors as to fabrics that tickle your fancy, but, hopefully the comparison of how these garments have held up to day to day wear over time will help when deciding over what to buy.

My winner on points would be the Campan from DragonFly Fabrics, and it comes down to the excellent quality coupled with the classic stripes on offer.

Have you any favourite places to shop for jersey?


  1. Hi found you via Jane's OWOP challenge - great review of the fabric and I've already been and looked at Dragonfly fabrics - if ONLY I hadn't banned myself from buying any more fabric. Oh well, my rules - I can change them. Gill

  2. Thanks. I'd half heartedly told myself I wasn't going to buy any more fabric until I'd used up the stash I bought at Goldhawk Road back in May... and then some utterly beautiful Anna Maria Horner velveteen fell into my cart when I was browsing DragonFly fabrics again. Paypal is a dangerous thing!

  3. My fave coco (the stripey one) is bobbled all over. V annoying. The fabric was from Fabric Godmother. Other than that it's still perfect. I may have to check Dragonfly Fabrics now. Great post.

    1. Thanks. Yes, it is annoying when that happens... we need a fabric crystal ball to predict which ones will disappoint and which to avoid. I got some cheeky daytime cutting out done yesterday, so am planning to sew up another Coco tonight.

  4. RTW jersey dresses can bobble too- I guess it is the nature of the beast. I bought a little gadget for £3 from kleeneze (UK catalogue that you get door to door) You just brush it over the top and it de-bobbles! Not ideal to have to do it though. I am making my first Coco. I washed the fabric before cutting but I am hoping it doesn't shrink too much as even only basted in it seems tight fitting!

    1. Thanks for the tip - I need to get myself one of those gadgets. :) Gah to shrinkage - I was about to don my spotty Coco dress this morning (as part of OWOP) and had to take it off as it barely covered my bum! I think I need to accept it is time to say goodbye to that one... :(

  5. This is such a great post, as it gives us all an idea of what is worth buying. It's really easy to get really excited about beautiful things online only to be disappointed when you actually start using them. Thanks for giving us an insight!

    1. Thanks, Liz. You are so right - I am most guilty of being easily tempted by all things pretty shiny and new online. I sometimes think it would be good to have review stars on fabric shops, a bit like you'd see for other products, but based on how they have survived washing etc. But I guess that stock changes so quickly when thinking of a six to twelve month period you might want to base the review on.

  6. Brilliant post, thank you! I'm just about to start buying these types of fabrics so it's great to see some feedback!