Category Archives: Jacket

The Water Lily jacket

The idea for this project has been percolating in my head for a while, and finally a pattern came along that kickstarted me to make it come to life. Yes, turns out a pastel lilac spring jacket was exactly what my wardrobe needed and it’s really put a bit more colour and variety into my last few days of me-made May.

So weird confession first: this is one of the very first jackets I’ve both sewn and owned. Being a rare type who doesn’t feel the cold that much, I typically wear a coat for the proper winter months, switch out to a knitwear layer for the in-between-y months, and shrug off all outerwear and go t-shirt-sleeves as soon as it’s reliably above about fifteen degrees. But this spring I felt like challenging my layering-ambivalence and having a go at making a garment that could work on top of a tee, be a useful barrier to my sometimes overly-chilly office and feel a bit more put-together than my usual cardi or sweatshirt.

I swooped on the Lysimaque Patterns’ Nénuphar jacket as soon as I saw it in my Instagram feed. I was mostly taken in by the gorgeous patchworked and colour-blocked sample but also realised that it was just the right simple project to test out my jacket needs in a low-stakes sort of way. It’s a very simple but impactful and practical design. The body is basically square with tapered dropped-shoulder sleeves, a stand-less collar (I also have a weird aversion to collars) and lovely huge pockets with an overlapped little chest pocket just for fun. No plackets, cuffs, linings etc to deal with: this lack of fussy detailing and finishing techniques appealed to both my minimalist and lazy tendencies. Win-win.

I was fairly happy with the pattern itself. I did struggle a bit with alignment of the A4 PDF as there are no page borders or match points which I think led to some seams not matching perfectly. The instructions are supplemented with sketchy illustrations and are translated from French into English. I didn’t find some areas super clear, like hemming the lower edge to get a clean finish at the front and the standless collar attachment method, but mostly figured it out using prior art, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this if you need more hand-holding. (I have given this feedback to Lysimaque’s owner and she is very open to feedback and providing more guidance.)

I cut a size 40 and am quite happy with the fit. The upper back is a bit too broad but I think that’s to be expected in a boxy drop-shoulder style and I wouldn’t want to over-fit it as you’d probably lose some of the range of motion. The sleeves are a touch short and quite narrow at the hem but I like the wristbone length, and the proportion of the body length is spot on for me.

I used a Robert Kaufman Ventana Twill from my stash, bought originally for Lander pants but I actually find this twill too thin and unstructured for Landers. It’s perfect for this jacket though and quickly put paid to my fears of woven jackets feeling more uncomfortable and restrictive than my usual knitwear. 

I finished the jacket with my favourite flat metal buttons from Textile Garden, and did matching copper buttonholes: partly because I thought it’d look nice and partly because my spool of lilac thread ran out just as I was finishing the topstitched hem. I didn’t achieve the neatest finish at the collar-placket meeting point and I’m a bit worried the area feels quite weak and might fray over time. I sewed some bar tacks at the intersection point to try and reinforce it a bit. I chose to faux-flat-fell the other main seams ie overlocked them together then topstitched 5mm from the seam.

I wouldn’t have necessarily selected this lilac colour for a goes-with-everything jacket but weirdly I’m finding it really does pair nicely with large swathes of my wardrobe and I’ve certainly been reaching for it regularly since I finished it. I am unexpectedly keen on it buttoned up as well as loose and I like that it can be worn indoors as well as out as it feels quite shirt-like. I’m not sure I need another one right away but I’m definitely keeping an eye out for a nice forest green or black peached twill for a potential second go.

Foreman, for my man

I’ve started the year with an uncharacteristically selfless sew. Well, sort of, since I promised this to Josh before Christmas and it’s only just finished…

Josh had been after a navy twill workman style jacket for ages and couldn’t quite find what he was after in the shops. I showed him the Merchant and Mills Foreman pattern which fitted the bill pretty closely, though I had to make a few adjustments to get it completely on brief.


After making a toile (an essential step in this case) we made a few resulting alterations for fit and preference. I added a little width to the shoulder, took a chunk of ease out of the sleeve cap, and raised up the bottom of the armsyce a little. This was a bit fiddly with the two piece sleeve but I’m super pleased with the resultant hang and range of motion in the arm. We nipped in the waist a touch to make it less boxy and rounded off the collar/straightened the centre front curve too.


I was really happy with the pattern overall (which I bought locally from Ray Stitch); the instructions are particularly great with nice clear diagrams and the drafting is solid. Definitely recommended if you have a man to sew for, and it’s reminded me to re-check out the patterns in their book which I own. It was a very enjoyable sew, quite simple and speedy as outerwear goes even with the alterations and being extra careful with my topstitching and finishing as it was for someone else (I’m much more slapdash when it’s for me, anyone else the same?!).

One big difference from the pattern is that Josh requested a warmer coat, which meant adding a lining. The Foreman pattern is unlined but has straightforward construction and nice deep facings so it was quite easy to draft lining pieces from the existing pattern by subtracting the facings from the front and back pieces, then adding seam allowances. I did a standard machine bagging, turning through a hole left in the sleeve lining.

All the fabrics came from MyFabrics or Stoff and Stil: cotton twill for the outer, faux sheepskin for the body lining and quilted acetate for the sleeve lining. Luckily I’d recently had experience dealing with fluffy faux fur on my own coat so I found it quite easy to use it for the lining. It’s on quite a substantial velour backing so gives the coat plenty of warmth and a bit of nice structure too.


Josh loves the finished coat and was very appreciative. It’s become his everyday coat and has already had a couple of weeks road-testing, so it’s starting to look nice and lived-in. He’s particularly fond of the deep pockets, perfect for stashing his Kindle, wallet and/or booze. He’s been a truly super boyfriend lately so it was nice to do a little thing for him in return. In fact I don’t really need many new clothes for myself at the moment so I’ve offered to make him a couple of shirts and tees, and he’s requested some chinos – so watch this space for more man-sewing.

Boyfriend Morris

Morris blazer

Like quite a lot of others in the sewing world, I’d been awaiting the release of Grainline Studio’s Morris Blazer for quite a while. I’ve been desperate to make a knit blazer to replace a very tired old Anthropologie one I wore to death last spring/summer, so it jumped right to the top of my sew-queue. I was going to wait a little bit longer until the printed pattern shipped, but when Gillian pointed out that the PDF is only 28 pages I went for it without wasting any more time!

Morris blazer

Morris is designed for stable knits or stretch wovens, and I had this fabric ready and waiting – a heathered wool-mix interlock from Cloth House. I didn’t make a toile but did make a few flat adjustments before cutting the fabric.

Morris blazer

Mainly I wanted to make more of a slouchy boyfriend silhouette rather than the shrunken, cropped shape, so I added 2 inches to the length of both the body and the sleeves using the lengthen/shorten lines. Besides that, I cut a 6 across the shoulders grading to a 10 at the hem.

Morris blazer
Morris blazer

I was a bit worried it still wouldn’t fit around my bum, but actually the fit turned out just how I hoped – swingy and loose, but still with a nice fit around the shoulders. I think the shoulders are a bit wider than they should be but I didn’t want to over-fit it so it’s comfy for cycling. Also the shoulder seams are quite far forward, which I’m not sure is a design feature or a sign I need to do an adjustment.

Morris blazer
Morris blazer

After finishing it, I felt like the larger expanse of front needed to be broken up by some pockets, so I used this tutorial to add some mini ‘cheats’ welts. I say cheat because you just fold up the pocket facing to create the welts rather than have a separate piece, so they’re much less nerve-jangling to install than the traditional method – but quite neat and effective anyway. They’re a bit tiny to actually hold my hands, but at least they hold a phone and/or Oyster card so are a practical addition.

Morris blazer
Morris blazer

Sewing it up was quick and fun. I used a mix of the overlocker and a straight stitch on my normal machine – I don’t think the stitches will pop since it’s not close-fitting. It’s unlined, but I like how all the facing edges are tucked under for a tidy finish inside. I just wish I’d sewn the lapels with the wrong side of the fabric facing out for a bit of contrast: I’d already fused on the interfacing (I found my knit interfacing at Ray Stitch by the way) before I thought of it. Nonetheless I think this is a worthy successor to my old jacket and should get a ton of wear in the coming months.

Morris blazer
Morris blazer

Let’s end on a cat photobomb! It’s a bank holiday Monday here and against all the odds it’s a beautiful day, so I’m going to put the machine down now and take my new Morris for a wander.