As I’ve been working through my fabric stash, I made my way to a checked flannelette I bought from Spotlight last winter. I think I intended to make a long Named Esme Cardigan from it, but the “cool reddish check” pattern on the roll looked a lot more like “grandma’s tartan pants” when laid flat, so I put it aside.
When I revisited the fabric this year, I decided that a button-up, chore style jacket / “shacket” might tone down the check pattern a bit and make for a comfy winter addition to my wardrobe.
I started with the Friday Pattern Company Ilford Jacket, but was soon put off by its unusual sleeve draft. The sleeve head is shaped as a triangle, with a sharp angle at the shoulder, rather than being rounded or even flat like usual. I can see how this is a top down solution to the problem of the straight body pieces meeting at an angle at the dropped shoulder, but I’m not convinced it would make for a great fit.
Anyway, I’ve seen enough patterns to know that if something seems off to me at the flat pattern stage, I should move on. So I did.*
Next: the Ready to sew Julien Chore Jacket. There are lots of chore jacket patterns out there right now, eg the free Paola Workwear Jacket, Merchant and Mills “The Foreman”, and Seamwork Rhett. But this pattern won me over with its angled pockets and rolled up cuffs, rather than straight hemmed sleeves.
As the flannelette from Spotlight was laughably thin, I chose to underline it with an old pink flannelette sheet we had hanging around for rags. This provided just the right amount of warmth, opacity and weight to suit the style of jacket I was making.
Of course, it also added a lot of time and labour to the project. Cutting out duplicate pattern pieces and carefully basting them together is not my idea of fun, plus I already had pattern matching to consider. I think I achieved that side of things fairly well…except for whatever happened to the sleeve. I meticulously pattern matched at the notch when cutting out, I swear, but when it came time to sew together… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I changed a few things about the pattern, namely, giving the sleeve a proper slit and placket instead of just not sewing the end of the sleeve side seam together. This places the placket and cuff join in a more conventional (and easy to reach!) location. Not necessary, but I think it looks better to the eye.
It also allowed me to set the sleeve in flat then sew the side seam together, which is a much easier construction method, particularly when topstitching seam allowances (and more typical for this style of garment).
I also finished the collar and button placket in a different manner to the instructions, which involved some hand finishing. I’m not quite sure how to describe my technique but I learnt it from a McCalls pattern. The front of the collar is sewn into the button placket facing and then clipped to the seam allowance at the neck outside of this, allowing you to turn the seam allowance under and topstitch down. I’m not sure it worked out better than the instructions method would have.
This jacket was a bit of a faff to sew (because of choices I made!) but the end result is very wearable. It’s warm but breathable, and goes with a surprising amount of clothes in my wardrobe. I’m also really, really glad I used up the tartan flannelette which was taunting me from my stash.
I would have liked to have added wooden buttons closures, but my sewing machine flat out refused to sew buttonholes in this fabric, not matter what enticements I offered (water soluble stabiliser, mainly). I gave up and hand sewed large snaps to the cuffs, leaving the front open. It’s a design choice!
Next time, I’d like to experiment with some other chore/workwear jackets I mentioned above in different materials. Cord or denim would be especially fun, or linen for summer…
Pattern: Readytosew Julien Chore Jacket
Pattern details: “Inspired by classic workwear, each seam of this jacket is topstitched or enclosed to hold up for a lifetime. This unlined button-up chore jacket features one front chest pocket, two front hand pockets, buttoned cuffs and a real knack for getting things done. Julien’s boxy fit is perfect for layering.” Sizes 32-52 (bust 76-123cm).
Fabric: 2.7m x 148cm wide check flannelette fabric, multicoloured, from Spotlight. Old pink flannelette sheet as interlining.
Other materials: Sheerweft interfacing. Large sew in snaps, for sleeve cuffs.
Mods: Size 46
– Had to true shoulder seam significantly, split difference at neck
– 1/2″ forward head adjustment, same to sleeve
– Added 4cm length to body and placket, then hemmed at 1cm+2.5cm instead of 4cm for a bit more length.
– Sewed traditional tower placket with slit as pattern used topstitched sleeve side seam. Cut cuff to fit length.
– Interlined with flannelette. Also fused cuffs, button placket facings and collar.
– Sewed collar/placket and sleeve/side seam in different way to instructions.
– Omitted front closures as machine wouldn’t sew buttonholes in this fabric!
– Shoulder seam not trued
– Measurements for some sizes missing from instructions
– CF lines and collar notches on neck not marked.
– For some reason my back pleat lines didn’t print but I can see them on the PDF, so may have been a printing or layer error.
*There was also some commentary on Instagram regarding the fact that this sleeve draft was actually fixing a previous problem with the draft. The consensus from those who had sewed it was that it wasn’t very comfortable in the armhole area.