Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sewing Workshop - Valencia Jacket

So many Sewing Workshop patterns yet untested! Just as I try one, they release a new one - this time it's the Verona jacket. I can't catch up. I guess I have to sew faster. :)

I know several people who like the Valencia jacket and pant, but I was surprised to see so few reviews on Pattern Review – there is currently just one review of this pattern! (I will be adding my review.)

This jacket is a very interesting design. Here are some of its features:

  • A generous shawl collar that folds back to expose the reverse side of the fabric. The only facing is the back neck. Well, there is a facing for the sleeve hem, but I didn't use it. :)
  • The jacket front is cut so that the hem is on the cross grain up until the "point", then it angles up on the bias. So the side seam on the front piece is on the bias. However, the side seam on the back is on the grain. Just make sure you sew with the on-grain edge on top, and the bias on the bottom against the feed dogs, and you won't have any problems. :)
  • The back is narrower than the front, and the top is rather narrow through the back between the armholes. Well, it's not narrow, exactly, but it's deceptive in that it's true to size. I made a Large, which is pretty normal for me, and it's none too generous through the upper back. If you are tempted to cut a smaller size, thinking it's yet another oversized SW pattern, you might be disappointed with the fit. If you do remove fullness, you might want to remove it from the front only.
  • It's a dropped sleeve design. I am really NOT a fan of the dropped sleeve. I don't know of any body type that is flattered by the drop sleeve, including my "busty apple" shape. The sleeve head has a very minimal curve.
  • The sleeve is a two-piece sleeve. The under sleeve ends in a triangular point, which behaves functionally like a gusset, though it's easier to insert than a standard gusset. :) (This also adds to the difficulty of measuring the pattern at the bustline.)

Because of the funky design of this top, it is very difficult to measure the pattern to determine the actual garment measurement at the bust. (I really wish SW would indicate the bust point along with the finish garment bust measurement like in the same way as Vogue patterns – I find that simple feature incredibly useful.) Therefore, it is essential to make a muslin or a sample garment from a non-cherished fabric.

I purchased a fabric at Joann's that looks like a handwoven, but is not. I liked the green/blue/black/white colors used in this fabric, it's machine washable, and has a very nice drape, but this is a tricky fabric. It ravels worse than anything I've ever seen, and one of the fibers is a synthetic that melts when the iron is too hot. (Though it is mostly natural fiber.)

I decided to take advantage of both the attractive selvedge and this fabric's natural desire to ravel. I placed the selvedge along the front edge and decided to fringe the bottom of the garment and the sleeves. This worked well except for the section on the front hem from the "point" to the side seam, which is on the bias. For those sections I applied a self trim from the fabric that is cut on grain, so it could be fringed.

I shortened the sleeves by 1". I could have shortened them 1 1/2" or even 2", and will do that next time I make he pattern. Because I fringed the sleeve, I did not use the sleeve facings. Also, because of the extreme fragility of this fabric, I neatly finished all seams. Either by flat felling, or turning under each edge and top-stitching. Other than this, I made the pattern exactly as designed.

I am still waiting for my dressform to arrive. I am soooo ready!


  1. What a lovely fabric, and it turned out well!

  2. great jacket! love the fabric.

  3. Sewing Workshop has some terrific patterns. This jacket looks really nice. And I love that new one you mentioned, the Verona. I just may have to make that one for spring.

  4. Really like this. Very clever about the fringing/self trim. You always seem to come up with the solution, oui? It helps that the fabric is one of my favorite colors too. Have never tried SW but might try this one if I can find some stash that will work?

  5. Fabulous jacket! Love the way you took advantage of the fabric's innate qualities. The jacket would make a terrific jumping-off point for a summer wardrobe with blue, black and white coordinates. Any coordinating pieces in mind? So inspiring, as usual.

  6. Shams

    this is lovely! I'm sure it's beauty is derived from the several good decisions that you made concerning how to handle the fabric and it's tendancy to ravel. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Very nice--great colors for you, Shams. Is the white contrast line around the edge of the shawl collar the beginning of the selvedge? Very clever placement, because that contrasty line is eye-catching.

  8. Thanks everyone. Yes, Kathryn, that white strip is part of the selvedge. I liked the effect of it. :)

  9. You rock! I've just found your site and want to make EVERYTHING you've sewn. Very, very cool clothes.