Ginger Made: Burda Cocoon Cardigan (+ bonus Virginia Leggings!)

Hi, guys!  Hope you’re all well!  Here in NYC it has suddenly grown bitterly cold, so perhaps we can blame what you’re about to witness on the weather.

Burda cocoon cardigan by Ginger Makes

I’ve been really interested lately in the fun cocoon coats and jackets popping up on Pinterest and fashion blogs.  There’s something really daring about the exaggerated shape– I love it!  I chose an amazing plaid wool coating from Mood in an attempt to mix a pretty traditional winter textile with a more modern style.  The really special thing about this fabric is that it’s already backed with a contrasting red gingham cotton, and both layers are quilted together.  I’ve heard Carolyn urge her blog readers to take advantage of fabrics that come pre-lined since so much of the work is already done for you, and boy, she’s right (guys, she’s always right– I’m serious)!  This was practically an insta-coat!

quilted wool coating from Mood Fabrics

The pattern is a new Burda download, Cocoon Cardigan 11/2013 #107.  It’s so easy to put together that  you don’t need the instructions (which is a good thing, because they aren’t very good).  If you plan to make this, note that it’s very oversized– I cut my size, and, as you can see, it fits me very loosely.

My plan was to bind the seams as I went along so the inside would be beautiful and clean, but that just seemed too bulky, so I opted to press the seams open and serge each half separately.  This cardigan forms a sort of circle when it’s assembled, so the neckline and hems are finished all at once with a single hem band.  I drafted a two-piece band instead of the suggested one-piece so I could cut the inner band with some buffalo check flannel I had leftover from my Banksia top.  Wool can sometimes be a little scratchy right on my neck, but the flannel is sooooo soft and buttery!  I also added my very favorite thing– flannel pockets!  Seriously, try them in your next A/W garment– it’s such a treat for cold hands!

Burda cocoon cardigan 11/2013 #107 by Ginger Makes

I’m giving this a serious field test– it was 21F and really windy outside when we were taking these photos! Brrrr!

Matching plaid that’s as large-scale as this was not a pleasant task– I think I spent three evenings after work puzzling out my cutting layout.  The real problem was that I didn’t have enough fabric (a frequent problem when you buy fabric without having a plan for it).  But I made it work as best I can, although it’s not perfect.  Actually, I’m not sure there would be a perfect way to do it– the pattern is simple, but it has two-piece raglan sleeves, so I was trying to match at the front and back raglan seams, plus along the seams on the top and bottom of the sleeve.  I nearly pitched a fit when I realized I couldn’t cut the final sleeve piece on the cross-grain after all (the plaid looks square, but isn’t quite, so it didn’t line up at all).  When I calmed down, I figured out that I could cut the piece from two smaller pieces and seam them together.  While this was annoying, you can’t really see the seam, so it worked out just fine.

Burda cocoon cardigan 11/2013 #107 by Ginger Makes

Alright, that’s enough construction talk– let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.  Guys, I’m just not sure this style works on me or in this fabric!  I’m about 50% in love with it, and 50% in hate.  Somehow it’s sort of walking a line between Olsen Twin Chic and The Dude Abides.  I’m thinking that it might help to shorten and narrow the sleeves– there’s something a bit overwhelming about this huge garment, so maybe it would be a bit more balanced if the sleeves weren’t so oversized.  I also really like the curved hem, but I’m not crazy about how long it is in the back.  But again, I’m really on the fence!  What do you guys think– should I reduce the curve and shorten it a bit?

Burda cocoon cardigan 11/2013 #107 by Ginger Makes

I wasn’t totally sure how to style this, but I figured that I needed to be as streamlined as possible beneath the coat, so I whipped up a quick pair of leggings using Megan Nielsen’s Virginia leggings pattern and a cotton-Lycra jersey, also from Mood.  Would you believe I’ve never sewn leggings before?  Talk about instant gratification!  I made these in about two hours, which is INSANELY fast for me, and included putting together the PDF.  Now I want about 58 more pairs!  If you’re looking for a leggings pattern, this one is no-fuss and ridiculously easy.

Burda cocoon cardigan 11/2013 #107 by Ginger Makes

Alright, guys, what’s your honest opinion– do I look like I stole a blanket from a horse?  What do you think of the cocoon coat trend?  Do you have any suggestions for making this more wearable?  Anyone else want to stay inside until May?

Burda cocoon cardigan 11/2013 #107 by Ginger Makes

Can we please go back inside now?

115 responses

  1. I really love this on you! I would never have thought to have paired the plaid with this style but it’s like a perfect match! I think maybe making the sleeves a bit more fitted might make you feel more comfortable, I know I hate feeling swamped by a coat and I think the arms make all the difference. It looks great as it is though!

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  2. I think this would be a good style for you if you went down about two sizes. Not only the arms but the body and shoulders look a bit big for your petite frame. And yes, shorter would be good too. Love the fabric though – inspired choice.

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    • I think if I make this again I would go down 2 sizes. 🙂 I was surprised, though, as I’d always heard Burda ran really true to size! Probably should have measured the pieces first. 🙂

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  3. I love the cocoon style and I really like to wear it – with something fitted but still comfy underneath. Comfy and warm come first for me in the winter! The plaid was the perfect choice and it suits you well! However, you look just a little bit lost in this garment. My mom has done the same pattern in a thick houndstooth wool fabric. She absolutely loves it and wears it almost everyday. However, she said that she made it smaller twice after she had finihed it already. Looking at the general length, the length and width of the sleeves, I somehow think that you might have gone down one or two sizes as well. If I were you, I’d start with narrowing/shortening the sleeves – that will probably do the trick. OR, you put it in a parcel and send it over the Atlantic Ocean – I am about twice your size in all dimensions 😉

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  4. Smart thinking using pre-lined fabric! I really like the idea of this coat, and I do think it looks good on you, but maybe it would look even better when the back is a bit shorter and the sleaves a bit narrower.. I’m really going to try the flannel pockets for my next winter Minoru!

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    • The pre-lined fabric made this such a quick project! I think I need to slim it down a little bit so I’ll wear it more. You should definitely add flannel pockets– they’re such a nice luxury!

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  5. Pre-lined and quilted fabric?! Jeez I need to find some of that in the UK. Lining coats is the bane of my life.

    Personally, I think yes it needs shortening on you. It looks a bit ‘too big’ as opposed to ‘oversized’. It’s beautiful though and looks so cosy. I hope you end up 100% loving it.

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  6. I just started seeing pictures of cocoon style coats…I am a bit behind on trends I’m afraid! I really like the fabric you chose, and the style, but I do think it would look better sized down a bit…it’s a fine line between looking oversized vs looking too big, I am trying to decide that with a jacket I am starting right now. I’m probably going to have to suck it up and make a muslin. And yay for making your own leggings! I’ll have to try that pattern I think 🙂

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  7. i really like this coat on you.. in fact, i like it that much, that i might even make one for myself.. and leggings are my new favorite thing to sew, made my first pair last month, and i’ve made five more after that.. also, totally wanna stay in until may, it’s snowing here for two days, i haven’t been out since it started, all i can do is cross stitch and drink tea

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  8. The coat looks soooooo cozy. I can see how the sleeves might be overwhelming though. It would be like walking around with your own personal blanket. I think you styled it perfectly. That being said, I don’t think I could pull it off.

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  9. It is so interesting seeing you model this as I have this coat on my to-do-list as well. I guess I would follow your suggestion of making it a little smaller overall and a little shorter. I guess because your fabric is quite slouchy it doesn’t sort of “hold” the egg shape so much and that’s what swamps you a little.
    I thought of making this as a cardigan using a loosely knit fabric I have in my stash, and I think if I go with the pattern I will size down a couple of sizes and make it shorten it a bit. I love your fabric choice, looks so comfortable!

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  10. Hmmm. While you look cute in everything, I think this is pushing the envelope. I’m not a fan of the coat, though I love the fabric and think it could be really awesome in a different style. Are the fabric pieces big enough to make a different style of coat? Maybe a moto jacket or something?

    Love the leggings though, I am going to download that pattern so that I can make it to wear under a skirt for the hubby’s Christmas party. If they’re that fast to make I won’t feel so bad that they’ll only fit for another month or two. Thanks for bringing them to my attention! 🙂

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    • I’m not sure if I can cut this into something else (lots of seams!), but I will try to reshape it and make it more wearable.

      I bet the leggings will work well, as the maternity waistband option should still work after the baby!

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  11. I have to agree that this cocoon looks like it would fit a butterfly two sizes larger than you. That said, I love your fabric choice and I would totally wear this to the ‘rink’ for all the junior and pee wee hockey games, or anywhere else I knew I’d be siting around in the cold. Will have to look up the leggings to get a better idea of what they fully look like. Have been eyeing the new Marci Tilton vogue pattern for shaped legging/pants.

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  12. Lovely fabric, and I think the style can work really well for you, but only if you size it down overall, including the length, so that it is a bit more in proportion with your petite figure. Let the cardigan hug you instead of overwhelm you, if you know what I mean. That fabric rocks, IMO, and in a couple sizes down this cardigan would be just perfect.

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    • Totally makes sense! I don’t think that I can pull off something so voluminous AND so long– maybe one or the other, but definitely not both! I’m trying to work out a way to reshape this a bit so it’s not totally swamping me.

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  13. The fabric is great but the coat does look too big on you. It does kinda have that wrapped-in-a-blanket look – which is fine for a football game when you’re wearing three or four layers of clothes. I would definitely come in on the sleeves. You could go a little shorter in the length too. The leggings are great!

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    • Thanks for the input! I definitely think it needs to be shorter and a bit trimmer! I decided to leave it for a week to make up my mind, but I wasn’t inspired to wear it as is, so it definitely needs to change!

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  14. It looks so cosy, but it’s definitely not the most flattering. But then I’m not sure that cocoon coats are meant to be that flattering, TBH. Amazing fabric! Never heard of pre-lined fabric but what a genius idea. Maybe if you size down, like some of the ores suggest, you might be more comfortable. But if you chose to keep it how it is, you wouldn’t look ridiculous – you could definitely pull it off!

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  15. I vote to reduce the volume of the sleeves too. I love your fabric choice, it looks so cosy! It’s freezing where I am too now so if I were you, I wouldn’t shorten it but maybe a bit of tweeking to the sleeves would balance the proportion on you. I have no fashion-sense at all so feel free to totally ignore this suggestion, but I’d love to see your coat with a big chunky oversized scarf to really pump up the volume of your outfit and complete that cocooned-look! And yes I do want to stay inside until May although this year the winter didn’t end here until July!

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  16. WOW! I cannot believe you went outside for pics at 21 degrees!!! I guess if you did, this would be the coat for it! I really like this fabric, and I’m glad you figured out the sleeve plaid issue 😉 And aren’t the Virginia leggings the best?! Way to go outside your comfort zone for something a little fashion forward, although you’re actually inside a “comfort zone”… groan – haha 😉

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  17. It looks really cosy! I’m not sure about reducing the size – alterations may just de-cocoon it and lose the point of the style. I think a black or grey top underneath would be good too, leaving the fabric to take centre stage. I bet you get loads of wear out of this. I can imagine it being a really easy piece to throw on!

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    • I like the idea of wearing black or grey underneath– thanks, girl! I’m worried about changing the shape too much, too. I’m thinking I may try to shorten the sleeves a tad and perhaps reduce their width and then not worry about changing the overall width of the garment.

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  18. I think you can pull off this look! I would wear it! I’d try pairing it with a chic black turtleneck, black skinny jeans, tall black boots and maybe a beanie hat. Some statement jewelry would look cool too. A little sparkle with the plaid would be interesting. Shortening the sleeves may make it feel a bit more fitted for you but I love the overall length of the coat!

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  19. 1. Flannel pockets = genius!!

    2. I was looking for pre-quilted fabric earlier this fall and couldn’t find any! Lucky you!

    3. I really like this! I think you look adorable. It does look blanket-y, but in a good way. I love the leggings and boots with it; I might also add an aran sweater and hat, and turn the sleeves back just a little to show the lining.

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  20. The fabric is amazing, I haven’t seen let alone found anything half as cool as this, if I could buy if I think I’d make an entire wardrobe out of it, if there was a blue version even better! I think taking in the sleeves would help, also if you can bring in or define the shoulders more that makes a dramatic difference to the shape a well, shortening would also help but I’d say to stick with the general width, otherwise the cool cocoon might be lost. The leggings also look quite cool, some day I shall get to mood fabrics!

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  21. I love oversized, snuggly jumpers and cardigans and sometimes wear them to work. I always get comments that I look like a granny or a hobo but I don’t care, I still wear it anyway!! I think it looks cute on you and very cosy.

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  22. I think it is adorable, but I like that loose boho look. I wouldn’t shorten it at all. It looks so warm and comfy! You did a great job matching the plaid, I know that is sometimes a pain in the neck. Love it with the leggings!

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  23. I think it’s just the sleeve length, especially the photo where your whole right hand is missing. Though it looks better in the 2nd photo where your hands are in the pocket and it is wrapped around you more. In any case, my rule of thumb for cold weather fabric is: warmth! comfort! movement! and i tend to move appearance to the very bottom of my list.

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    • I think you’re right– I bet it will look less humongous if I can get the sleeve length right. It seemed right when I measured the length, but I think the weight of the fabric pulls the sleeves down off my shoulders.

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  24. Honestly, my first thought was that it looked like a “snuggie” put on backwards. BUT, I also have never heard of a cocoon cardigan and am not the most fashionable person (jeans and t-shirts is all I know). I’d say if you are 50/50, you probably won’t wear it out of the house, however I don’t think you should change it if you feel cozy in it, it may come in handy on sick days and cold days at home in general 🙂

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  25. I’m way into this coat (although I sympathize with the love/hate feeling that comes with trying new and unusual silhouettes!) I think it looks especially cool on you from the back. I’ll bet it would be an amazing coat for dressing up with heels or sleek dressy boots.

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  26. It looks so nice and cosy – blanket-like but in a good way! I’d possibly try taking some of the volume out of the sleeves, but I quite like the length. Hope that you end up completely loving it whatever you do!

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  27. I think it looks great! I can understand why you are a bit unsure as the shape is very dramatic and trendy. You may not wear it for many years to come but I think you should just go with it and have fun wearin it this winter!

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  28. I also vote to shorten and narrow it. Right now it looks like it’s trying to swallow you. This style seems to walk a fine line between oversized and 4-year-old-wearing-their-dad’s-coat. Right now it might be just a *little* too far on the wrong side of that line. Intriguing make though!

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  29. Totally want this pattern now! I think this would also look super cute with skinny jeans (blue or black, in my opinion) and a big scarf. I like the beanie idea too.

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  30. Definitely a dramatic shape and it looks so cozy! I agree with you about shortening the sleeves and the length to balance the shape, although then it won’t be as warm.

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  31. I haven’t heard of the cocoon jacket, probably because I live somewhere that a light cardi usually suffices for any cooler weather, but this is beautiful! I think I might just need a cocoon jacket myself! I like the super relaxed fit. It’s a bit….Vivienne Westwood? And pre-lined fabric? Genius!

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  32. I think it looks great on you! Maybe try it with a dress or a tunic top with a more drapey feel and open neck? But keep the boots! I really, really love that you used buffalo plaid for it.

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  33. I think cocoon coats/sweaters are fabulous (think of all the layers you can wear underneath!), but the silouhette (sp?) does take getting used to. I think this looks great on you … another pattern to add to the ridiculously long list!

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  34. Pre-lined wool?!? Wow…I want! Anyway…I think you look super cool in this and not at all like a horse-blanket-thief! I love the plaid, the length, the cosyness of it!

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