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Pattern review: All Well Cardigan Coat (x 2)

Pattern review: All Well Cardigan Coat (x 2)

A beginner-friendly outwear pattern that's easy to fit, and quick and satisfying to sew. Yes please!
April 21, 2022 by Jane Goldney
Pattern Review: Hampton Jean Jacket in natural denim

Pattern Review: Hampton Jean Jacket in natural denim

It might be Summer, but denim jackets are a year-round option, right? We sink our teeth into the Hampton Jean Jacket pattern, made from our natural cotton heavy twill.
December 07, 2021 by Fiona Dalton
Pattern Review: Papercut Patterns Stacker Jacket

Pattern Review: Papercut Patterns Stacker Jacket

As soon as we knew our pure wool Donegal Tweeds were on the way from Ireland I was excited to think about what I might make. The Stacker Jacket by Papercut Patterns ticked a lot of boxes for me: cropped and casual, yet fully lined and with the potential to be really warm (well, by Adelaide standards). 

The Stacker was released a while back so there are loads of versions out there on the interwebs for inspiration. Take a look on Instagram: #stackerjacket .

I made a muslin and was impressed by the drafting and the way it all comes together. It's reasonably simple as far as a fully-lined jacket goes (one-piece sleeves, cut-on facings and hems) but has some nice detail like separate and interfaced front and back yokes, pocket options and an under collar that is smaller and cut on the bias, to encourage a nice roll.

My measurements fit pretty closely into Papercut's size 5, but after making the muslin and carefully consulting the finished garment measurements given in the pattern, I decided to size down to a 4, for a less oversized look. I also took out 5cm of length at the lengthen/shorten lines to create a more cropped size on my short torso (for reference I'm 163cm/5ft3).

I used our luscious new plaid Donegal Tweed 'Oonagh', and cut the yokes on the bias to mix it up a bit. The pattern called for 1.7m of fabric at 150cm wide. Since I cropped the pattern by 5cm, I cut 1.75m of fabric and had enough to play with for very careful pattern matching and placement.

I love to do a layout of the cut pieces of a garment for a preview:

So excited at this point

So how do you cut a plaid on the bias when it's not square, and therefore won't be symmetrical? I agonised over this and consulted some RTW garments and decided that you pick a feature centre and then let it do its thing on either side of this. It looks totally fine! Most plaids are not square and I'll probably be noticing this everywhere now.

I love the enormous patch pockets which are an option with the Stacker (although mine became shorter when I took length out of the bodice), but I also love a pocket I can easily put my hands into. After a lot of consideration I added welt pockets to the side of the patch pockets, which extend between the jacket fronts and the lining. 

They're not 100% successful in practice because they're a little far off to the side for really easy tucking-in-of-hands, but I'm glad they're there, they're capacious and they hold a hanky or keys while the patch pockets are perfect for my phone, a shopping list etc. I was inspired by this blog post (check out the amazing cosplay jacket!) and was grateful for the tip to use the patch pocket topstitching to hold one half of the welt pocket lining in place. The rest of the pocket linings are secured in the placket and hem topstitching. I used this tutorial post from Thread Theory Patterns to create the welt pockets (or as the post points out, technically, jetted pockets).

A walking foot was a must to pattern match those patch pockets successfully. Before I used the walking foot I had a couple of unsuccessful attempts despite much careful pinning: the top layer kept being pushed forwards.

For the bodice lining I used a Liberty remnant that was just big enough for that and lining the welt pockets, supplemented with some acetate lining for the sleeves. Buttons are some lovely nut-brown Corozo ones that we have from Merchant & Mills, buttonholes done with the 4-step manual process on my old Bernina.

Note bias cut yoke where pattern cannot be symmetrical - I centred the dark brown diamond.
A couple of notes on construction: 

Papercut Patterns uses a 1cm seam allowance, which is great in that it's not wasteful, but it doesn't allow much room for error, or seam grading and taming of seam allowances in thicker fabrics. Most of the seam allowances here are pressed open, and I found it useful to have a rolled-up hand towel (as improvised clapper) to put pressure on the seams after a steamy iron. On the shoulders, which are interfaced and lightly curved, I ended up hand-tacking the seam allowances down to keep them in place.

The upper collar, cut on the straight grain and interfaced, is very stable. The under collar is cut on the bias, and not interfaced. In this twill-weave wool, it stretched a bit, so even though the under collar is cut a bit smaller, it does not produce the desired 'rolling' effect. Post-construction I have done some hand stitching to effectively understitch (attach the outer edge of the under collar to its interior seam allowance) which helps, and I've steamed it into better submission. If I had my time again I'd be sure to adjust the under collar so it is definitely smaller and pulling a little at the upper collar, before putting everything together. I'm hoping the natural malleability of wool will persuade the under collar to compress a bit over time (it seems to be doing this already).




Worn with Clyde Jumpsuit in our Japanese Corduroy in 'Cocoa', boots by Duckfeet



PATTERN: Stacker Jacket by Papercut Patterns

FABRIC: 100% wool Donegal Tweed, 'Oonagh' 1.75m x 156cm wide


ALTERATIONS: sized down from body measurement size and removed 5cm from front and back bodice length at lengthen/shorten lines. Added welt 'hand warmer' pockets.

COMMENTS: I'm thrilled with this jacket and it has slotted effortlessly into my wardrobe, as if I've had it for years. I plan to enjoy wearing this for a very long time! The Stacker Jacket feels like a contemporary classic pattern, nicely finished, with uncluttered lines that makes it easy to throw on over just about anything. Of course, at time of writing we have only one copy of the pattern left in the shop, but there are always unlimited pdfs straight from the designer!

 - Jane xx




April 19, 2021 by Jane Goldney
Pattern review: Juno Jacket by Papercut in Double Indigo Selvedge Denim

Pattern review: Juno Jacket by Papercut in Double Indigo Selvedge Denim

Papercut Patterns of New Zealand recently released a new collection of patterns, and we loved the look of the Juno Jacket immediately. 

Image credit: Papercut Patterns

Fiona and I both independently had the thought of making it up in our new Double Indigo Japanese Selvedge Denim. Great minds, right? The one I have made is definitely a shop sample though. (Truly. It's in the shop right now... unlike my Merchant & Mills Mary White top from the previous post, which has 'somehow' ended up in high rotation in my wardrobe, ahem.)

When using a selvedge denim I like to make a feature of the selvedge, and the front bands and belt on the Juno were perfect opportunities. The pattern layouts supplied look very efficient, but I had to go my own way to incorporate the selvedge, and played a lot of pattern tetris, cutting in a single layer and tracing in chalk (which is quite satisfying on dark, smooth denim).

I subtracted the 1cm seam allowance from the neckband and belt pieces on the selvedge sides. The neckband pieces, though they end up curved, are cut perfectly straight. Attaching them to the slightly curved neck edge gives a nice bit of body-hugging dimension to the front of the jacket.

Given the relative heft and stability of my fabric, I did not interface anything. If your fabric is more supple you'll probably want to interface where specified, for structure.

The jacket is unlined, so I did my favourite finishing touch for unlined jackets, which is to bind all raw seams with bias tape made from Liberty Tana Lawn. I measured how much I was able to make from half a metre of Liberty: 11 metres of bias cut at 1.5" wide, and that was not using the triangles left over from each end. I like to save them to make bandannas for my dog, heheh. This was plenty to bind all the seams on the Juno, with a metre or two left over.

If you would like to bind the seams, here's a guide to what to do when (or skip this bit - jump to ***):

Before construction, bind: Outer curved edge of Back Neck Facing, Sleeve hems, Back Bodice hem, upper edge of Pockets.

Choose whether to bind Front and Back Bodice shoulders separately now, or together after sewing shoulder seams (read on for more info).

After attaching sleeves, bind Sleeve/armscye seam allowances together.

Now bind Sleeve and side Bodice seams in four continuous lines (left front and back, right front and back), before sewing the side/sleeve seams to complete jacket construction.

If you choose to bind the Bodice shoulder seams together after joining, and press towards the back, you'll achieve the smoothest finish in relation to the back neck facing application. Depending on your fabric, you may find this too bulky at the shoulder/sleeve join. I bound the shoulder seams separately before construction, so inside they are pressed together under the neck facing, then opened out towards the sleeve. This is not completely ideal along the shoulder seam, but with a lot of steamy pressing, it's behaving itself just fine. A similar opening-out is necessary at the bottom of the side seams, to facilitate the construction of both the back hem which encloses the front bodice pieces, and the openings in the side seams for the belt. I think these are the kind of quirk that is a bit bothersome during construction but then you never think of them again while wearing.


I cut and sewed the Juno from raw, unwashed denim. Here it is in unwashed state:

This was partly because I cut it out on impulse during a quiet day in the shop, and partly because I wanted to start the beautiful ageing process of this denim on the finished garment, so it would begin to fade on the jacket's shape. I won't be in a hurry to sew unwashed denim again because it's a bit like wrangling cardboard, TBH. All the pieces matched pretty much to the millimetre though, in their cardboardy state. (Oh yeah, except for the back neck facing, which seems to have about the equivalent of an extra seam allowance added at the top:

- no big deal, I just snipped it off, and I am open to the possibility that I made a mistake in application). 

I am pleased with the once-washed jacket:

I made a Size 5 as per my measurements in the new Papercut 1-8 sizing (hurrah for neutral sounding size names!). I find the fit just right. It's a loose-fitting jacket but I'm not swimming in it.

I'm wearing the jacket with my Papercut Palisade Pants, which were the inspiration for the awesome pockets on the Juno Jacket. Wear them together and you have eight pocket compartments to lose things in!


PATTERN: Juno Jacket by Papercut

FABRIC: Double Indigo Japanese Selvedge Denim, 100% cotton, 10oz 2.6m

SIZE: 5, no alterations

COMMENTS: A fairly straightforward pattern, enjoyable to sew and wear. Nicely shaped, with awesome pockets. In the long term it's possible the long, loose belt might be a bit annoying, but it could easily be shortened, or sewn into the side seams, at a later date. As designed, threading through slots in the side seams and going across the back on the inside is a "nice, different, unusual" feature, and worth living with for a while at least! A versatile style that could be made in many fabrics from a flowy linen to a thick wool to suit different seasons and occasions. You'll probably want to make more than one.

- Jane xx

March 22, 2021 by Jane Goldney
Pattern Review: the Ilford Jacket by Friday Pattern Company, in Velvet Finish Australian Wool

Pattern Review: the Ilford Jacket by Friday Pattern Company, in Velvet Finish Australian Wool

Workwear-style or 'chore' jackets are having a moment. I sincerely hope it's more than a moment because it's a style I totally dig, and super practical.

When my eldest son needed a new warm jacket, the Ilford by Friday Pattern Company came to mind. 
Charlie spends a lot of time in his room at the cold end of the house, playing guitar, especially since his uni music course has been mostly online. The brief was: something warm, with sleeves that wouldn't get in the way of guitar playing, and with the simple collar style of a workwear or denim jacket.
I've previously made him the Foreman Jacket by Merchant & Mills (highly recommended) and he has worn that a lot, but it has a slightly more formal vibe.
I showed him a picture of the Ilford, which is a boxy, unisex pattern, and had the thumbs up so I bought the pattern (pandemic PDF format) and made a quick muslin in the short length. The fit was good and he requested it lengthened, and I also added a smidgen to the sleeve length. (Interestingly, the muslin fit me quite well too, but the sleeves were very long on me. Easy to remedy, and just an observation about the unisex pattern notion.)
The Ilford has a number of options, including length, a sleeve placket and cuff and loads of pockets. The sleeve placket/cuff option lets Charlie have the sleeves either rolled out of the way, or buttoned and sitting on the wrist, both of which work for guitar playing.
The fabric I used is our Velvet Finish Australian Wool in Mulberry. I've used this before in Navy to make an Assembly Line Wrap Jacket and it's simply dreamy to work with and wear. The smooth, flat reverse side makes it ideal for an unlined jacket, and for a touch of luxe I like to bind the seams.
I really enjoy making a little 'garment preview' after cutting out pattern pieces, by laying it all out:
I think it spurs me on to get through to the finished garment!
Now, there were a couple of things I didn't like about this pattern. Online reviewers are sometimes accused of gushing over indie patterns and glossing over shortcomings. The way I feel is that independent pattern designers are really putting themselves out there. Running a tiny one-or-two person business is a brave and vulnerable thing. I really like what Chelsea of Friday Pattern Company is creating for her brand. Her style is simple with a bit of drama. Without fanfare, she's been pushing representation of diversity in her product photography: body size, skin colour, disability. She donates part proceeds to charity. The pattern size range is inclusive of a wide range of bodies. So yeah, there are a couple of things I'd change about the Ilford pattern. But I won't be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
I'd like to note that the issues I have with the Ilford's construction are not unique to this pattern. I've encountered them in other indie patterns as well as vintage patterns. Things that make you wonder 'surely there's a better way?'. I suspect with the Ilford they've been in the interest of creating a pattern that's simple and approachable. However I think the finish that could be achieved by using some very slightly more complex steps would be absolutely worthwhile, for any level of sewist.
The Ilford is truly boxy, with sleeves sewn flat onto the straight sides of the bodice. Then the bodice and sleeve are sewn up as one, pivoting at the underarm. I've used this method on other patterns, and in fact I used to wonder why all sleeves were not sewn in flat like this because it seemed so much easier than setting in, in the round. Lightbulb moment! In thick coating fabric the shortcoming of the all-in-one-and-pivot method is clear. The seam allowances pull on the inside and it takes some savage clipping to encourage this corner to sit well. In an unlined jacket, this leaves a bit of a mess inside, as well as weakening the fabric at the join.
My second gripe is the collar attachment. Again, I've seen this before; here it is on my Republique du Chiffon Jacqueline jacket:
And here it is on the Ilford, during construction (I'm sorry the critical part is a bit out of focus!):
The seam allowance needs to be clipped into, to allow part to be enclosed in the collar (to the right) and part to be enclosed in the placket (to the left), leaving a point of weakness.
I also found the part of the placket that folded back was not shaped as per the neckline. The photo below shows how it would be as per instructions.
Below: using the 5/8" seam allowance, I shaped the top to better meet the collar.
The upper and under collar pieces are cut from the same pattern piece, so there's no accounting for turn of cloth. I did not fully topstitch the collar, in order to let the heavy wool have a bit more movement as it folds.
I'm no pattern designer or drafter but I've had a bit of a think and if I was to make the Ilford again, here's what I'd try, in very rough sketch form:
The facings would securely enclose the collar, and the sleeve head and armscye shaping would allow for a set-in sleeve that could be neatly finished without buckling or clipping at the underarm. (I make no promises as to the efficacy of my sketched sleeve shaping, and would definitely muslin this first!) Facings could have the raw edges turned under or bound, and be topstitched down. If a cut-on neck facing was a bit too fabric-hungry (it makes an odd-shaped piece), the front facing could be cut separately (with seam allowances added).
I was in a bit of a rush to make this jacket because I really wanted Charlie to have something warm to wear as quickly as possible. If I had taken a bit more time examining the muslin I might have done a rounded-upper-back adjustment, because the back hem could sit straighter. It rises and billows a little in the middle and looks like a bit of pattern slashing across the upper shoulder (kind of adding a bit of a diamond shape between the shoulder blades) would release this. Probably to be expected in someone who is bent over a guitar for hours a day - and something to look out for in future makes for Charlie.
Here's something I loved about the pattern: the sleeve placket construction. I've never done a tower placket like this before - there's a whole extra fold that has you create the pointy 'tower' first for a really neat finish. I felt the instructions for this whole section were top-notch. In the thick wool fabric, an extra fold made for a lot of bulk but it was always going to be puffy anyway. Not my finest work stitching the under-placket there, but the wool is pretty forgiving.
There are loads of pocket options and choosing was fun. We went for the 'hand warmer' pockets (which are still large and secure enough for a phone) and a top pocket with button flap. I was pretty keen to add the little pencil pocket but Charlie thought it was a bit much.
I found some excellent buttons at The Button Bar and made all the buttonholes with my vintage Bernina's stepped buttonhole process. I finally learnt my lesson and made the buttonholes decently large so the buttons don't need to be wrestled through!
Ultimately I'm about 90% happy with this project and very glad that Charlie has the look and the warmth he was after. There are things I'd change, but I can tell this is going to be worn a huge amount. Hurrah!
PATTERN: The Ilford Jacket by Friday Pattern Company
FABRIC: Velvet Finish Coat-Weight 100% Australian Wool - Mulberry
SIZE: M (roomy but true to measurements), about 15cm longer than the 'short' length and a smidgen longer in the arms.
COMMENTS: Love the style and options. And hooray for a pattern suitable for men. I just love that my family members can mention a style they like and I can usually think of (or hunt down) an indie pattern that will suit, because there's so much out there these days. I think the construction method has suffered a bit in (what I assume is) the desire to make this a fast and simple project. I learnt from the project, and maybe you have learnt something from reading this!
- Jane xx
June 16, 2020 by Jane Goldney
Project: Vintage Vogue 9057 Jacket in Japanese Over-printed Twill

Project: Vintage Vogue 9057 Jacket in Japanese Over-printed Twill

So, things are pretty weird right now, but I need to structure my day and writing a blog post seems achievable right now. Onwards!

Some months ago I decided there was a hole in my wardrobe for second 'denim jacket' type garment. I made the Republique Du Chiffon 'Jacqueline' a while back and I've worn it a lot. (Great pattern - never blogged it sorry.)

Its only drawback is that it's fairly cropped and has quite fitted sleeves, so it doesn't fit well over loose tops. I began hunting for a pattern - preferably raglan sleeved - that would accommodate more sleevage.

Online I fell in love with a vintage pattern - Vogue 9057 from 1957. I soon had a copy winging its way to me from the USA. It was at least a couple of sizes too small for me but I was happy to take my time over this and grade it up.

My first step was to trace all the delicate pattern pieces so that the original stayed intact. Then I made a rough muslin without any alterations to check the sizing. To my surprise it was more generous than I expected, and a friend explained that vintage jacket and coat patterns were often drafted quite large to accommodate layers of clothing underneath.

I did need a bit more room though, and widened both back and front bodice. I also lengthened through the bodice and upper sleeve to deepen the armscye, for extra layering room. I consequently had to alter the front facing and collar pieces to match. I widened at the side seams around the hip, and also shaped in a bit through the centre back seam to remove some fabric pooling.

front bodice
back bodice

sleeve back & front
I took quite a lot out at the shoulder curve - a combination of my narrow shoulders and not wanting to add shoulder padding which may have been the vintage style.

A second muslin confirmed a pretty good fit - I just needed to move the bust darts a little towards the centre.

The fabric I chose is a denim-like Japanese twill, which is yarn-dyed in a kind of tea colour and then printed on the face side in a lovely faded-jeans type blue. It's 100% cotton, and a bit lighter and softer than traditional denim. It was very nice to work with and I think it complements the vintage jacket style.

I chose to make the jacket unlined, with seams bound in Liberty bias tape I made.

There were a couple of tricky points in the construction. Firstly, curved welt pockets. Yikes. Obviously it would have been a really good idea to do a test version on some spare fabric first but after two muslins, I just wanted to get on with it. Haha. For a start, the method was the kind where the welt's short ends are attached with hand-stitches on the outside of the jacket. I find this quite flimsy, given how much I tend to use pockets. (It might make more sense in a much thicker or fluffier fabric, perhaps.) The second issue was a mistake in the instructions. For some reason I feel like vintage pattern instructions should be infallible! The upper and lower pocket lining pieces are put in the reverse positions, which I didn't work out until I'd sewn them in, cut the welt and so forth. Anyhow, I carefully unpicked, soldiered on and figured out how to make the welts with sewn-in corners and the innards in the right positions. By making the welts a little longer, I was able to cover over my first attempt.

At the time I was all excited about working it out and thought I might put up a little tutorial but my brain isn't quite up for it right now. Anyhow, they're not perfect but I have two functional and quite pretty curved welt pockets!

The other part of construction that had me quite frustrated was the collar insertion. I remembered after a while that I'd had similar issues with a Pauline Alice jacket I made a few years ago. Instead of the collar being sewn separately then inserted like a shirt collar, one half is sewn to the body, one half to the facings then all sewn together in a continuous line, pivoting at the collar, and then turned right way out. This means a large amount of clipping where the rounded ends of the collar come down to meet the bodice, in order to try to get this junction to turn through cleanly. I can't imagine how it would work in a bulkier fabric! In the end I had to reduce the curve of the collar a little to decrease the severity of the angle of the join, and then clipped and clipped and clipped and bathed the inside of the corner in Fray Stopper in the hope that all that clipping didn't just result in the area falling apart! If I make this pattern again, I'll draft a small facing for where the collar meets the bodice back, so the collar can be constructed in full and then nicely sandwiched between facings all the way.

There was quite a lot of hand finishing on this jacket, with part of the collar and all facings stitched down by hand. I was in the zone for this and found it quite a pleasure.

I realised when I got to the button stage that the pattern showed bound buttonholes. There are some minor instructions at the end referring to incorporating these with the facings, but no actual instructions about making bound buttonholes. Too late... so I was lucky that my vintage Singer buttonholer did a beautiful job on some keyhole thread ones.

And I had some perfect chunky vintage buttons in my stash.

Look at the pretty insides!

I love my new jacket and it's already had plenty of wear. It's easy to throw in my bike basket, over my arm, in the car and over the back of a chair. It's that simple extra layer that goes on over (and goes with) just about anything. I'm really happy that I spent plenty of time on the fit, and I think there's a good chance I'll use this pattern again.

Thanks for reading, I hope it was a pleasant diversion!

- Jane xx
March 26, 2020 by Jane Goldney
Tags: denim Jacket