Yowza! It’s cold out here, people! I am not on board with this weather! I left behind snowy New York this week for the even-more-frozen tundras of Vermont. I am NOT excited about the cold, but I AM excited to finally show you my new jacket!
This is the Style Arc Romy Anorak pattern, and it’s my January project for the Mood Sewing Network. I’ve been working on this thing for what feels like the entirety of my life. OK, it was closer to 2.5 weeks, but between the RTW details, winging it and adding a lining, and attempting to decipher the illustration-less, minimalistic instructions, this one was a real marathon.
First things first: this pattern is super cool and I adore the style, but it’s NOT for the faint of heart. There’s absolutely no hand-holding here– the instructions offer helpful advice like “Make belt loops and attach them”. They don’t tell or show you how to do this, the pattern piece (one single long strip) doesn’t give you any details, and the placement markings for the side front belt loops aren’t on the pattern piece, so you have to measure/eyeball to figure out where they go. That’s pretty much par for the course here. This is at least an intermediate pattern– I would really only recommend it to a confident sewist who doesn’t mind figuring things out on her own. It didn’t help that I strayed from the instructions and added a lining. I had to completely change the order of operations to accommodate that, but it was worth it (unlined jackets are kind of pointless in my climate).
OK, some more pattern details: it has raglan sleeves with darts at the shoulder, which I haven’t seen before but is a nice detail. There are tucks right above the hem in front and back, and elastic is inserted in the hem so you can cinch it in if you like. The zipper is hidden behind a fly guard, which feels very RTW to me. If you’re not familiar with Style Arc, their patterns come in a single size. I wasn’t super stressed about this because I’m pretty close to a straight size and this isn’t a very fitted style. I made this without any alterations and the fit is roomy, but works for the style. If you make this yourself, check the zipper and button placement and make sure it works for you. I followed the diagrams for zipper and fly guard placement, but it feels backwards to me– when I try to button up the collar, it’s really awkward and hard to do.
While I’ve really been digging the trend of slouchy anoraks that all the cool Brooklyn babes seem to be wearing lately, I’m not super into the ubiquitous olive green that seems to be the only color these jackets come in. Instead I opted for a nice medium gray cotton twill. I love twill– it’s my go-to fabric for hard-wearing, good-looking garments. I love how it looks when it starts to show some wear and tear. Because twill weaves fray easily, I serged all the seams, even though they would be hidden under the lining. It’s a nice precaution to help extend the life of your jacket. I topstitched all the seams with a twin needle (OMG, WHY WAS I SO SCARED TO USE A TWIN NEEDLE?! It’s stupid easy!), which gives it a RTW look and also adds some stability.
Since I’m the world’s biggest wimp, I added a lining made (mostly) from buffalo check flannel. It’s so warm and cozy! The sleeves are made out of black bemberg rayon– I get nervous that I’ll rip my lining putting on the jacket if the sleeves aren’t slippery! Since brushed fabrics have a tendency to pill over time, I made the lining with the unbrushed side of the flannel facing out. It’s still beautifully soft, but should stay in great condition longer. I basically made a second version of the shell and basted it to the neckline and center front before stitching on the collar and fly guard. I made a booboo when I was cutting it out and forgot to add a CB pleat in the lining, so after consulting the experts (the Twitter sewing crowd!) I cut a strip of fabric the length of the back bodice and stitched it in, so no harm no foul. The lining pieces were all cut at the hem line, so I just pressed the hems up over the lining, enclosing all the raw edges. I fell stitched the facings and inner collar down with about 488,135 teeny-tiny stitches… my finger and thumb are still sore!
The pattern calls for the pockets to be made with a box pleat that’s stitched down all the way. I wanted the pocket to expand to hold tons of stuff, so I used an inverted pleat that’s only stitched 2″ from the top and the bottom, so it can sort of bulge out. I find it annoying to iron under all the seam allowances when I’m making patch pockets, so I opted to line them instead. I cut a second pair of pockets out of the plaid flannel, stitched them together at the sides and bottom, then turned them right-side out, turned under the top seam allowance, and edge-stitched all around. This makes for nice, neat pockets, plus my hands will stay warm in happy flannel-lined pockets! We allllll know how much I love flannel-lined pockets! (Sidebar: Can someone please make sure my coffin is lined in flannel? Oops, got a little morbid there… but still– MAKE IT HAPPEN).
I wanted this to look very clean and RTW, so I used brushed antique nickel jeans buttons from Taylor Tailor that I had in my stash, a matching separating zipper, and two faux metal toggles at the CF hem. I’m really pleased with the way they look! Oh, and if you want to get in on the jeans button fun but aren’t sure where to start, here’s a great tutorial from Taylor’s blog (spoiler alert: you get to use a hammer! In the end I discarded the belt loop pattern piece and just followed this great tutorial from the Coletterie— you don’t have any raw edges, and you don’t have to turn a loop!
In the end, I’m over the moon about this jacket! It’s just exactly my style! Isn’t that the best thing about sewing? It took forever to make, and even though the pattern was frustrating, it’s so rewarding to sew something that you can actually get away with wearing day in and day out, and that you’ll love wearing all the time! While I’m thinking about it, if you want some serious jacket inspiration (and envy!), check out Kelly’s gorgeous Minoru! It’s stunning!
What are you guys sewing these days? Are you sewing for the season, or jumping ahead to the next one? As much as I dislike winter, I’ve still got some cold weather items on the docket to sew before spring sets in. What about you?