Boiled wool is exactly what it sounds like—wool that is boiled until it shrinks and transforms in texture. It’s compressed and interlocked, giving it a structure similar to felt. Not only does this make it very strong, warm, and cozy, but it results in more cross-grain stretch. Boiled wool that’s blended with rayon or polyester is perfect for knit projects like oversized coats and sweaters. It will maintain shape, but is not as thick as wool coating, and if it is blended with rayon, it can have a nice drape to it. Pay attention when caring for your wool projects. Just because boiled wool was pre-shrunk during manufacturing does not mean that it won’t continue to shrink in hot water or the dryer—you know how much wool loves to shrink! Use cold water and spot clean as needed.
Coatigans are designed to show off your sweater knit fabric! The most important thing to pay attention to while shopping for sweater knits is the weave of the fabric. Dense weaves can get bulky while sewing, and loose weaves can fray. Check the fabric’s description for the weight as well as the contents. Sweater knits can be made from a bunch of different fabrics, including wool, acrylic, and cotton. If you need help sewing with sweater knits, check out our tutorial here. And don’t miss even more examples from Style Maker Fabrics—a fabric store known for dreamy, cozy, seasonal sweater knits—in their interview here.
Good news! Since a coatigan has more ease and structure than a cardigan, you can often use woven fabrics instead of knit fabrics. This means you can use all of the beautiful wool coatings that are available in classic plaid, houndstooth, and tweed. Coatings are stable, easy to sew, very warm, and they will maintain a strong silhouette for your project. They won’t stretch like a sweater knit, but for a pattern with enough ease, they are a fun option. As always, pay attention to the finished garment measurements when using a woven fabric for a knit pattern.