Here it is! The little cropped jacket of my dreams! Despite tons of problems during the sewing, it’s actually here! I bought this fabric at Sew Up North in June of 2017. In fact, it was the only fabric I bought on the day which was crazy as it was the middle of summer! I didn’t make it into anything last winter as I just couldn’t find the perfect jacket pattern to show off the ombre and so it just sat on my shelf.
Fast forward to this autumn, I was determined to sew it up but still hadn’t come across the ideal pattern. I really don’t need a big coat – I love winter so much I seem to have collected big winter coats in each of my favourite colours (Mustard, Forest Green, Navy and Purple) but I really don’t have a short jacket that is warm. Then I saw the Pauline Alice Ninot pattern when it was re-released after revisions in September. I loved the cropped length, the sixties-inspired shaping, the collar and the huge pleat in the back. YES! This was exactly what I was looking for! I bought it the day it came out.
I printed the pattern and that’s when I started having problems. There are so many mistakes in the pattern, I’m surprised this has been through two rounds of testing. To give you an example, the fabric requirements listed ask for more lining fabric for 150cm wide fabric than 115cm wide fabric. Some pattern pieces ask you to cut 2 when you actually need to cut 4, and the huge back piece with the pleat in it says to cut 2 when you only need 1. In fact, if I had cut 2 as instructed I wouldn’t have enough left to make the jacket – an expensive error indeed.
At this point, I considered switching to another pattern, the fabric requirements and cutting information were such a mess I wondered if I would be able to assemble the jacket if the instructions were as bad. But I loved the pattern so much and haven’t seen anything else like it so I decided to be extra-vigilant to potential issues and plough on.
I cut out all my fabric pieces, being careful to place the ombre exactly where I wanted it and just managed to squeeze the jacket out of the 2m of wool I had. I also cut a lovely slippery satin for the lining and all my interfacing pieces.
I looked at the first steps of the pattern and was completely lost, it starts with the instructions on how to do the welt pockets and after reading the instructions several times I was none the wiser. I watched some Youtube videos and what I saw didn’t seem to match up the the instructions I was reading. The problem is, not every step has an illustration to match it, so when the pattern instructions said: “Cut the pocket opening along the lines, cutting as close as possible to the dots. Pass the pocket facing and the welt through the opening” and there was no illustration to match, I decided to skip the pockets altogether. There was no way I was cutting holes into the front panels of my jacket if I didn’t know exactly where I was cutting them! I definitely wouldn’t recommend this pattern to someone who hasn’t done welt pockets before, maybe someone with experience doing them would have the confidence to do them.
Ok, sans-pockets I had to carry on. Much of the rest of the construction went smoothly, I wish there were instructions for adding a hanging loop at the back of the neck, I cut one but subsequently forgot to add it in at the right moment as it wasn’t in the instructions. A small quibble but it really annoys me I cannot hang my jacket up on the coat hooks in my hallway!
The next problem I had was in bagging out the lining. This is not my first time making a coat. This is not my first time making a fully lined coat. BUT following these instructions for bagging out the lining did not work. I tried it several times and unpicked it, eventually I got fed up and headed to Closet Case Patterns’ Kelly Anorak Sew-along as I knew their instructions would be stellar and unsurprisingly, I successfully bagged out my lining on the first try!
My final problem was what to do with two raw edges which did not overlap but simply butted up to each other, there is no mention of what to do with these in the instructions but there was no way I was leaving a hole in my coat facings! So I hand-stitched them closed as best I could. I know I am not a professional seamstress but I have followed many patterns over several years of sewing and I have never been left with holes in my garment before.
Ultimately, I like my jacket, but I did not enjoy the sewing process at all. Which is a real shame because I have been saving the fabric for over a year and after all, isn’t the enjoyment why we sew?! I won’t be sewing another one that’s for sure!