Raincoat sparkle

I’ve always enjoyed seeing how raincoats can sparkle and look amazing. I’ve used Jalie City Coat pattern for this raincoat success.

Do you remember back at school the smell of plastic yellow raincoats? This is one of my distinct school day memories and I’m so glad this fabric has raised the bar on stylish and affordable raincoats.

This Raincoat Fabric comes in 4 colourways and I was so tempted to make the black version but I chose the purple colour. It’s amazing in real life.

The Fabric

This fabric is bonded so the plastic side is the ‘right’ side and the ‘wrong side is woven. If you’re not watching the fabric as you sew it, it can move quite a bit.

The plastic side tends to stick to itself so once you’ve cut out the pattern pieces, make sure you take the time to release the pieces from each other. There were a few times I thought I’d lost some pattern pieces but they were all there. I just had to look at them closer.

One thing I discovered is that you can lightly iron this fabric on the wrong side as long as you use a cotton ironing cloth. This will stop the plastic from melting. I did a spot of ironing on some of the seams but I used my ironing cloth and ironing ham. I only ironed each seam for no more than 5 seconds. That was enough time to avoid ruining the fabric.

Later on I realised that using an iron-on interfacing was not going to work to reinforce the front seams for buttons and buttonholes. I used a wide strip of black woven fabric from my stash to give the front of the raincoat stability. It worked a dream and you can use any fabric because it won’t be seen.

Seam Finishes

I mulled about this before I started working on this project. If the fabric had only been plastic, I may have used bias tape to finish the seams.

The base fabric is soft, so the fabric edges are also soft and do not fray so I’ve left them in their raw state. You can see how I’ve tested out using the overlocker to finish these seams. This really didn’t make much difference to the wear of the fabric and overlocking added more weight to the seam that I didn’t like.

The other finish that I would have loved to use on this coat was topstitching. Because this is a ‘raincoat’ I decide to avoid adding more holes in the fabric that would need to be sealed later.

What I am investigating at the moment is using a light-weight sealant on these seams and until I find a decent one, this will be a faux-raincoat.

Lining the Coat

I chose to use Jalie’s City Coat pattern because it’s unlined.

Sizing

There is enough weight in this raincoat that it sits nicely as a coat and I’ve made it two sizes bigger than I needed so there is some airflow when I wear it.

This pattern has a hood option so I will make the hood later and attach it using buttons on the outside of the collarband.

Right now I love the existing collar.

Will I really wear this coat?

Yes. Especially when it might rain. Once I figure out how to seal the seams this will be a cool looking faux raincoat. I know I have a time of Odicoat in my sewing room.

And that’s the second part of the tale of two coats.

Thanks Minerva!

It’s in the writing

Using this double border fabric from Minervadotcom was a great way to start off the New Year.

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New Look 6468 has a few relaxed style jumpsuits and dresses and this cotton broadcloth really stood up to the test of being worn on a 45C afternoon here in Sydney. We’ve had many bushfires and the air here is hazy on most days.

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As soon as I received this fabric I gave it a wash and within 30 minutes it was dry and it looked like it had been ironed too. That’s how hot it is at the moment.

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The fabric is black and grey so when I chose the buttons, I filtered the buttons to 2 hole. Minerva website gives you that search ability. The pattern suggests 1.3cm buttons so the everyday basic buttons were the logical choice.

The cool thing about these buttons is they have a greyness to them in the centre so I was really chuffed when I received these in my package for this month.

I always look forward to the packages that the team at Minerva sends me.

Now I already owned New Look 6468 because I collect jumpsuit patterns.

This month’s choice was to simply make a nice casual dress to get me through the hot Summer temps we’ll have to get through for the next 3 months.

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The fabric:

Here’s the good aspect of using a double border print. You can use both sides and get more use out of the fabric.

This print on one side of the fabric is further from the selvedge that the other side of the fabric.

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I used this to my advantage. The skirt pattern used for this dress is the same front and back.

Now I have a prominent backside so I need to lower the back skirt. Do you see where I’m heading to?

The front skirt was cut along the print that was close to the selvedge.

The back skirt piece was cut along the print side that was further from the selvedge.

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And voila. The skirt pieces didn’t waste too much of the print but worked for my body shape. 

That’s a win in my books. 

The other good part about this fabric is that it’s very affordable so really, you can get a lot of good used from this fabric. 

It does create a really neat little black day dress to wear wherever you need to be. Heels or flat shoes – this dress works well with both. 

The other good thing about this fabric is that it’s cotton so it breathes well. Yes it crushes and creases are easy to see in light colour fabric so the black base of this fabric is much handier for my liking. 

If you are using a hot iron, use a pressing cloth to avoid iron on the grey print. The print will melt onto your iron so just be careful.

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The pattern adjustments:

The basic skirt length for me is 19” or 48cm. I remember 19 inches as my rule of thumb.

Because this dress has to sit away from my body, because it’s so hot, I chose to make size 12 with no pattern grading. When it’s really hot, I find the fabric has to breath and not stick to me. I’m so loving this fabric choice.

I did remove 1.5cm from the bodice length between the shoulders and bust point. This reduced the gaping that tends to happen if I don’t shorten this length. This adjustment has also ensured the armhole sits close to my body so there’s no side gaping.

When I looked at the pattern drawings I wondered what was used at the waist. The waist has elastic in the seams. I used an elastic from a previous order to finish off the waistline.

I’ve hand sewn the hem and hand sewn on the buttons.

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The button loop finish is a fitting feature for this print.

I also wasn’t sure about adding the pockets on the bodice so I created them anyway to see how I feel about them. They look ok so I’ll leave them there.

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Did I say that the skirt has pockets? Well. The skirt has pockets and they’re super easy to sew into the skirt. 

Overall I stuck to the instructions for view D of New Look 6468 and I’ll make this again.

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This pattern was better that I expected. When I reread the fabric I chose was ‘broadcloth’ I did a double take with this pattern. 

Now I’m really happy with this dress and the detailing within this pattern.

I hope everyone has a great 2020. It’s a new decade and I hope you get to sew all the things you have in mind.

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Relaxing into Christmas

We’re having a different Christmas experience this year and that means my wardrobe makes are relaxed and chilled. What I mean is we’ll be travelling and being casual so there are no formal occasions to dress for. Enter Style Arc Avery tunic top using two light weight knits.

Minerva sells multi size Style Arc patterns and I happened to have bought Style Arc’s Avery Tunic pattern last year when I visited Style Arc HQ. They’re a lovely team who love seeing what we, their consumers, make with their multitude of designs. I bought size 8 and I did no adjustments to this pattern.

Strange hearing that I made no adjustments on any pattern but this month my tunic goal was make a top that I could comfortably wear on a 4 hour plane journey or wear in the car for ‘road trip’.

I chose these fabrics because their dark but the print is summer beach worthy. We will be hitting the beach a few times this month so I chose this tropical print for the contrast.

Travelling long distances is constrictive and I had to choose fabrics that breath well. These knits do just that.

Travelling long distances means I need styles that give me room to move but have some fit elements to them.

This tunic top isn’t fitted across the body but it fits really well at the neckline, shoulders and bust. From the bust down, this shape is loose but doesn’t swallow me up.

After asking a few sewing people in Instagram, I used this Tropical Print Stretch Jersey Fabric for the front bodice and the sleeves. I had fun trying to decide what floral motif would be placed centre front so of course, I chose the hibiscus flower. The leaf prints look nicely balanced at the shoulders so I was really chuffed with this outcome.

Style Arc has designed this tunic to be used for both knits and woven fabrics. I ordered the zipper. It’s really pretty but I didn’t need to use it. I’ll have to use this on another Minerva project soon. This zipper is too pretty to leave it in my zipper stash.

Honestly this is an easy pattern to cut out and make in 1 afternoon especially if you’re using knit fabrics.

The shaped hem is uneven and it’s very different to the hems I’ve made it the past. It’s refreshing and a bit challenging because this is a new style shape that I need to practice and get right.

I did need to use lots of pins to get the stitching right. The clever part with this hem is that it provides a good amount of weight when you’re using a lightweight knit.

Thanks Minerva for supplying me with the pattern and fabrics to make this top to celebrate Christmas in this year.

Excited

There are so many times finding the right pants can be a drag. Style Arc’s Lola Woven Pants were terrific and the fit made me quite excited.

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I really wasn’t sure that I had anything that I could pair with these pants and low and behold, I found this ponte top I made last year – that’s why I was really excited.

This month’s Minerva post is about these pants. They’re made using John Kaldor Polyester Crepe Fabric. The colourway is called Olivia Pink. I simply love the name of this colourway.

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It’s a light-weight fabric. Washing this was quick and the colour is fast.

The pattern recommends ironing after each step which keeps your sewing sharp. This fabric only needs medium heat, if that.

What is perfect with this fabric is that it’s great for travel. Not much ironing needed.

The large print is bright, distracting and fun. PS. This fabric is currently on sale right now. Once it’s sold, it’s sold.

Now for the Lola pants.

The fabric is woven so I was keen to see how these Lola pants would work with a partial elastic waistband.

I learnt a new skill and relearned an existing skill.

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The new skill learnt was sewing a partial elastic waistband. This feature makes these pants look wearable to more places than the gym.

The front waistband is flat so I can wear these pants to a lot more places. I’m looking forward to making these in a plain colour fabric for work pants.

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I used elastic that wasn’t 4cm wide but it was wide enough for what I needed. I would definitely use 4cm wide elastic in my next order.

The existing skill I relearned was sewing in a normal dress zipper. These pants have pockets that give you the option of adding a zipper.

Because I’m testing this pattern for the first time, this was definitely one option from this pattern I was going to follow through with.

The other option you can choose to include is to add elastic on the hem across the back leg piece. I couldn’t see the benefit of this feature for these pants so I hemmed these pants with a row of machine stitching.

Going back to the zipper pockets, here are some progress shots I took so you can see why a bit of hand stitching can make a lot of difference to the finished project.

I will definitely use zipper pockets for future work trousers and trousers made for travel.

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Step 1: pinned in zipper

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Step 2: Checking if the pinning was accurate and seeing that it’s not good enough.

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Step 3: Hand basting these zippers in place so when I machine sew them in, I know they will be sitting in their correct position.

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Step 4: Being happy after you’ve machine sewn in the zipper and it’s read for ironing.

When you sew the pocket bag for these pockets, there needs to be enough zipper tape to sew the pocket bags onto them. I’m glad I spent the time hand basting the zippers in before machine sewing them.

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On the pattern I made my usually sway back adjustment and lowered the centre back curve.

With this fabric, these pants are really light and fold up easily if you’re packing for a quick getaway.

Sewing doesn’t always have to be serious business. It’s good to have a bit of fun and enjoy the finished product.

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Thanks
Minerva!

 

 

 

A sharing community

After blogging for 11 years, there are people I’ve kept in contact with and over the years though sharing our sewing experiences and this has given me a sharing group of friends I truly treasure.

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#sewover50 @sewover50

The #sewover50 @sewover50 team asked me to write this post to encourage you to blog if you’re not sure about blogging about your sewing life. If you haven’t seen the #sewover50 @sewover50 team, have a look at their hashtag on instagram. There are now over 24,000 posts for this international team of 3 ladies who started this hashtag and the group now has over 12,000 followers.

About blogging

Going back to the reason for this post about blogging.

Blogging for me is about documenting my sewing experience so I can go back to the post and make sure I do a better job on the next version of the same project. Readers have the benefit of looking at my blog posts and possibly gaining my insights to make their future project better that I’ve created. My most embarrassing posts were the first ones. ‘You gotta start somewhere.’

All the opinions for each of my blog posts are my own and I’ll always show you what I did to make the project work for me. A pattern or project idea are a starting point.

Sponsored posts

Yes I am sponsored by Minerva Crafts every month. Prym consumer have generously provide me with their sewing tools to use and test. From time to time other online fabric companies and indie designers will contact me to collaborate with them. I’ll do this when their projects fit in with what I’ll realistically use and when I have the time to fit them in. I love pretty things but I have to be able to wear them more than once.

Pattern testing

I’ve pattern tested for Fehr Trade, Pauline Alice patterns and sometimes for Tuesday Stitches and I check the English translations for Sacotin patterns. Overtime, Melissa, Pauline, Vero and Erin have become friends that I enjoy supporting.

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I approach every pattern as a new experience and read all the instructions as a sew. When I pattern test I don’t assume any prior knowledge because I’m being asked to pattern test as a newbie. To be honest, through testing patterns I can give my feedback so that the pattern is the best it can be for others who actually pay for the pattern. You don’t want to pay for a pattern that is poorly drafted or poorly written, so I use this opportunity to be constructive.

On Pattern Review I’ve reviewed over 480 patterns and have been a contest manager four times. I try to use the review template so that if you’re looking for a specific piece of information, you can quickly scan the review and find what you’re looking for. Sometimes I’ve added different subheadings because the pattern had something more that I want to tell readers about. Other times, I’ve removed the template subheadings because I’ve already covered that point.

This year I’ve started to co-host That Sewing Blab, and it’s been a good learning curve for me. I’ve never seen myself being a live interviewer but sewing is my hobby/focus so I’ve enjoyed working with Dawn on the show.

Why blog

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Blogging can be a bit overwhelming when you first start out. I was sewing with local sewing friends when I started blogging so I had people to soundboard with as I developed my blog. There are a bunch of questions you might struggle with when you start blogging:

Do I have anything to contribute?
Is my post worth reading?
Does this post read well?
Are my photos helpful?
Is this blog post just a piece of fluff and not worth reading?
Have I missed anything out?

If technology isn’t your friend and you want to start blogging, ask people you follow about starting a blog. I’ve gone from a decent blog on Blogger and then had to move my blog to WordPress because of the Google glitch I just couldn’t figure out.

To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out how to make the most of WordPress without dipping into my pocket.

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There’s the issue of disclosing any affiliate links you include on any recommendations you suggest to people who follow you. The Fair Trade Commission have lots of good information that you need to be aware of and practice. These rules apply across any social media platform including Instagram, Pinterest, facebook, twitter…etc.

There are also rules about protecting people’s privacy.

Within Australia there are a few issues that are on the horizon, so keep an eye on how the ATO will start to treat ‘income’ earned through social media.

Influencers, sportspeople and celebrities to be slugged by ‘Instagram tax’

Taxation of income for an individual’s fame or image paper:

Remember that sharing on anything on a social media platform is a record so be mindful of what you’re saying/writing.

Blogging was huge up until twitter/Instagram started to grow a few years and I know the sewing community has become a bigger group with all aspects of sewing covered through these platforms.

What I love about blogging

Now for the fun stuff about the benefits of blogging, if you still want to create a blog.

Through blogging, I know that I have patterns that I can go back to again and again and they get adjusted as I put on weight or take off the weight. My blog is my library of sewing notes that you have access to.
Through blogging, I have friends globally and I can meet up with them when I’m away from home. When I’m home, I can still talk to a good handful of people globally and have a laugh.

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Through blogging, I send out reference material to people from time to time to people who ask about ‘xyz’ adjustment for their sewing projects. I’m happy to share the resources I’ve bought and continue to use.

My general rule of thumb about blogging technology is, if I’m stuck with a technology issue, there will be someone out there who has already resolved the issue I’m struggling with. You are not alone when it comes to technology issues. There are also online communities that have already documented the technology challenges you’re dealing with.

Being over 50

Since sewover50 started, I never thought much about being this age and the challenges many people face and are facing. As I’ve already mentioned, I watch my weight fluctuate and sewing allows me to ensure I have clothes that fit, no matter what weight I’m at. The sewover50 team have written a lot about the lack of visibility ‘after 50’ but being a short person, I’ve always been ‘invisible’ so I’m used to making myself seen and heard, when I want to.

The hot flashes are a daily challenge but I make it a fun 60 seconds of sweating. Yes I do make it fun because I never know when it will happen or how long it will last.

For instance, I have a pink cd cover on my desk that I used as a fan when my body temp skyrockets. When I’m on a plane, I fan myself with the airline magazine. If I’m at a restaurant, I fan myself with the menu.

While I’m going through this crazy period of life, I really love running in the cold even though I use a puffer to breath properly when the air is less than 8C. When I’m running in hot, humid conditions, I look like I’m workout harder than anyone else.

The other symptom I’m enjoying is waking up during the night. This becomes my time to plan new projects, cut out fabrics, hand sew or simply chat to you all who are awake when I really should be asleep.

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Want to try it?

If you simply want to document your sewing projects and allow others to share what you’ve learnt, have a look at blogging as a starting point. Some people love Vlogging more once they try it.

I recommend you try blogging or vlogging and see if you enjoy it.

Once it becomes a chore, rethink what makes you happiest and follow that.

An evening teal

Would you believe this jacket is part of my teal wardrobe capsule as part of Minerva Crafts Network bloggers?

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I had really grand ideas of making a French jacket with lots of trimmings and a zipper.

Uhm, I edited these ideas back for a couple of reasons.

Knit fabric:

Last month I learnt a lesson about using woven trims on a base fabric with stretch.

My idea about adding the velvet trim was quietly removed from this month’s plan too.

Velvet trim:

The best option I came up with was to add the velvet trim at the seam line on the inside of this jacket, where the facing meets the teal lining.

I love adding cute trims on the inside of jacket so once I finished this jacket I was full of joy seeing this trim inside the jacket. These work well together.

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Zipper:

The other idea that got put aside for another project was adding a zipper front closure.

When the fabric arrived I was in awe of the sparkles and boucle within this knit fabric. Years ago I made a gold dress using a lace fabric with sequins stitched into the fabric. While making the dress I found that if I pulled the invisible thread, the small sequins in the fabric would fall like snowflakes in Winter.

This boucle fabric also has small sequins threaded into the base fabric with an invisible thread. I learnt last time to work with the fabric and not against it.

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The reason to not use the zipper was not because sewing it in would have been difficult. I decided to not use the zipper because I didn’t want the zipper teeth to catch on the fabric and cause an amazing snowfall of silver mini sequins in my sewing room.

I do love a good jacket with zippers!

Fur hooks:

My alternative solution was to hand sew Prym hooks and eyes that are traditionally developed for hook closures on fur pieces. There’s no real need to wear fur where I live but I’ve been waiting for the right project to use these large hooks ‘one day’ in the future.

The metal wires used in these hooks are totally covered. This means they blend into the fabric really nicely.

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When I hand sewed these hooks onto the fabric, they were easy to hold and sew on. You can sew into the fabric covering of these hooks and make them more secure.

Pattern adjustments:

I’ve been working with Butterick 6062 since I made a couple of these for the Day and Night Dress Challenge that Elizabeth Farr ran earlier this year.

This bulkiness of this fabric made me rethink the sizing I should use. I decided to use size 16 at the hips but blend up through the waist to the bust to size 12.

The sleeves were fine in the earlier versions I made so I left them as is.

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Those instructions:

This time I followed the instructions. In the earlier 2 versions I did my own thing. Somehow I missed the pocket that was in the pattern so I made a much bigger pocket.

When I began to work on this version, low and behold, the pocket piece I thought went missing appeared. It must have been folded in one of the pattern pieces. I was so happy this pocket piece was there all along.

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I’ve lined the pockets with a dark silk organza. Pockets made to sit against the pockets need lots of reinforcement. I chose this organza as a way of keeping this pocket in shape, without needing to add iron-on interfacing.

I used the same silk organza to line the front facings as well. Organza is light and breathes well so it was a logical choice that has paid off.

Lastly, the instructions walk you through hand sewing the sleeve lining to the jacket lining. I had avoided doing this on the first 2 jackets but I hand stitched the sleeve linings this time around.

I’ll hand stitch the sleeve linings in again when I made more versions of this jacket. The shoulder line sits well and I only needed to sew the sleeves in once.

What I look forward to now is when it starts to get cold and I can grab this jacket to wear out in the evenings. The sequins will look great at night and I’ll feel cozy and snug in it without it looking casual.

Let’s call this a win-win fabric and jacket combo.

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Teal!

The beauty of being a Minerva Crafts network blogger is creating a 3-month sewing plan. As you can tell, my sewing plan was all about bringing comfy teal clothes into my wardrobe. I’ve really enjoyed wearing Style Arc’s Brice jumpsuit so it made sense to try their Marie jacket pattern.

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Style Arc Marie jacket first reviewed on PR in 2012 by Melissa Fehr. I didn’t realise the first Style Arc reviews started in 2011. That’s a solid performance from an ‘indie’ pattern company.

Minerva has a great ponte fabric supply and I chose this beautiful one by Lady McElroy Fabrics in teal. I used one last year and the top I made was perfect for travel. These pontes feel good against my skin so I knew ordering another ponte would be another great idea!

Zipper advice:

The key challenge with this jacket is the zipper length. I know my fitting adjustments including adjustments to cater to my curves.

Back to the zipper story.

Prym has a great range of Zippers That Are Designed for Knit Fabrics. I was able to get this grey zipper in the length stated but I’m short so I had to adjust the zipper length, except I wasn’t too sure by how much. So I made a wearable toile to confirm how long the zipper should be.

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Having jewellery making tools like flat-nose plyers and an awl helped me remove the zipper stops without ruining the zipper or the zipper tab. A bit of glue placed at the top of the zipper helped ease my worries of the zipper coming apart too.

You can get all of these supplies on the Minerva website.

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I added a couple of large press studs to keep the jacket flat when zipped up.

Fitting adjustments:

As I always am told, the pattern is your starting point. The measurements provided on all Style Arc patterns are where you can decide how to blend the sizes to suit your shape. For jackets, I’m more than happy to make sure I have plenty of ease to wear jackets over at least 1 layer of clothes.

When I looked at previous reviews of this jacket, some looked ‘flat’, and others looks like they had gathers. My version looks like it pulls at the front across the bust so I’ll have to look at making a full bust adjustment on a future version.

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To add or not to add velvet trim:

I ordered velvet trim as an idea to incorporate a warmer look to this jacket. Originally I was going to add the trim along the vertical lines on the front of the jacket as well as across the back across the shoulders.

Adding the velvet trim to the front worked really well. I used iron-on double sided tape to make sure the trim stayed in place as I sewed it. I used a different zipper foot that allowed the trim to be centred while I machine stitched it by moving the needle across.

Now what I didn’t think through was how this trim worked really well when sewn on vertically. There’s less stretch on grain right. However I had a ‘head slap’ moment – while I was able to sew the trim across the back and on wearing the jacket, it pulled badly when I wore the jacket. The greatest degree of stretch on ponte is the beauty of using it.

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Adding a trim with no stretch looked great but was pure folly on my part. The stitching was easy to pull out but there’s a wee-bit of glue on the fabric that I used to hold the velvet trim in place. Let’s just say this is a reminder to ‘future myself’ about what not to do. Live and learn.

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My final verdict:

Our mornings here in Australia are now getting cooler and I now appreciate how comfortable this jacket is to wear.

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The ponte used for this jacket is comfortable and feels lovely against my skin.

This style can be as casual as you want it or this can look more formal if you want it to be.

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I can now see why this jacket was very popular when it was launched and is still a good style to wear.

The neckline can look lovely when it’s zipped up. The neckline looks just as good half zipped or opened.

Next month I have one more teal piece to pair with the Bryce jumpsuit.