Sheryl’s Creative Journey into the land of Koos

In 2017 I decided to set a goal of growing my creative skills.  These do not come naturally to me.  I am a process/rows-and-columns kind of thinker by nature.  As I set out to look for way to achieve that goal, I decided to sign up for Marla Kazell’s Koos coat workshop.  In September, I packed my fabric and sewing kit (Marla provided the sewing machine) 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 an independent pattern designer, Closet Case.  The base fabric for my coat was purchased at a wholesaler in NYC when Debby Bowles and I went with Peggy Sager on her fabric buying trip (like the one coming up in April!).  It is a wool cashmere blend that was an end of bolt 6-yard remnant so I got it for $12.50/yard!!  The embellishment fabrics came from a variety of places – Fabrique, Puyallup Sew Expo Road Trip our chapter took this past Spring, Sampler pack bought at a market in Cape Town South Africa last Fall and one of the ladies in my class.


I went with lots of preconceived ideas.  Things like:

  • It’s a coat. I need to take 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 estimate that??) extra seam allowance to allow for shift as the design is applied.
  • I will need to recut 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.


All along the way Marla and my classmates were important sounding boards as we navigated the creation of our designs.  And Marla was always right there to help us cobble together the order of sewing to combine the design and the garment construction into a workable plan.  The four-day experience was really a stretch but truly opened my mind to all sorts of ideas about how to “break the rules” and still end with something you are happy with and should stand the test of time and wear.

Sheryl Belson – President Plano ASG and guest blogger




Sheryl modeling coat with collar flipped down
Sheryl modeling coat front – collar flipped up
Koos coat back embellishments
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