Cocoon coats first became popular in the 1920s. They are voluminous coats that narrow down from the shoulder to the lower leg, forming a triangle-like shape. These coats have had a reoccurring popularity since their first debut. Many images of vintage cocoon coats from the 1950s and 1960s are available online. Another surge in popularity occurred in 2009, and the coats have been considered stylish since. The coats are readily available from a variety of retail sources. Although most coats have a very complex construction, the cocoon coat is fairly simple to make at home.
Preparing the Fabric
Measure the wearer from the back of the neck to just below the knees. Then have the wearer stretch her arms out fully from the sides, and take this measurement.
Cut two piece of fabrics with the vertical length of the wearer's neck to knee measurement. Add 5 inches to the armspan measurement and use this number for the horizontal cut.
Fold one piece of fabric in half on a vertical crease. Cut along this crease.
Place the two smaller pieces of fabric facedown on the larger fabric piece. At the bottom of the fabric, measure off 5 inches from the left edge of material and pin. Pin from the bottom of the fabric up to 7 inches from the top; this opening forms the sleeves. Move slightly toward the edge of the fabric with each pin. The last pin should only be three-quarters of an inch from the edge of the cloth.
Repeat on the right side of garment.
Fold down half the hem on the bottom and all open edges of fabric. Pin into place.
Pin the top of the smaller pieces of fabric to the top of the larger fabric piece to create shoulder and upper arm seams.
Sewing the Cocoon Coat
Sew a running stitch over all the pins. Remove pins.
Measure down 8 inches from the top of the front of the cocoon coat.
Sew the hook section of the closure on the left opening on the front of the coat. Sew the eye section on the right side exactly opposite.
Things You'll Need:
- Measuring tape
- Hook and eye closure
Many cocoon coat patterns are available.
- "High-fashion Sewing Secrets from the World's Best Designers : A Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing Stylish Seams, Buttonholes, Pockets, Collars, Hems, and More"; Claire B. Schaeffer; 1997
- Fashion-Era; Cocoon Coat Fashion History in 2007
- "How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns"; Lee Hollahan; 2010
Tracie Harris lives in Atlanta and has been writing lifestyle articles since 2008. W.W. Norton is publishing her work in "The Seagull Guide" due out in 2011. Her writing has also appeared in "The Historian" and The Good Cook. Harris is a former social studies teacher. She holds a B.A. in history and secondary education from Agnes Scott College.