Monday, July 25, 2011

StyleArc - The Safari Jane Jacket

More pics

I have finally made my first Style Arc pattern for the upper body - the Safari Jane jacket. I've been wanting to make an anorak-style jacket for awhile and have been studying various patterns, both in print and out of print, and this pattern won out. This pattern features:

  • A fairly fitted silhouette.
  • A shoulder yoke that ends at the shoulder seam. It does not extend to the back.
  • An optional, removable hood. Included are instructions on how to add a fur trim to the hood. A fur trim is overkill for my climate.
  • The jacket features a waist seam. Stitching in the ditch of the waist seam, and then above the waist seam, creates the channel for the elastic.
  • The jacket is fully lined. There are separate front and back pattern pieces for the lining, as well as separate hood and sleeve pattern pieces. The lining does not have the shoulder yoke or the waist seam - those pieces are cut on.

I had an interesting fabric I wanted to use. This Georgio Armani fabric, no longer available from FabricMart, is very unusual - it is very textured. It is blue, but where the texture has little "valleys" or "dips", the color is black. The back of the fabric is black and so shiny it's almost metallic. I don't recall the fiber content, but it ravels like crazy. I suspect it contains rayon and plenty of synthetic.

Fusing the Angel Weft to the sleeve hem. You can see the shiny black reverse side of the fabric.

This fabric irons beautifully and I had no trouble fusing interfacing to it, despite the texture. The selvedge of the fabric is hand stamped with the words "Giorgio Armani." The order form from Fabric Mart states: "891546 Giorgio Armani Navy abstract Cloqué design 56" Wide." I have never heard of a cloqué fabric, but I gather it's a puckered, or blistered, weave.

Anyway, I loved this fabric, but it is "fancy" and I don't really wear fancy clothes. I decided to dress it down by sewing it into a casual style that I can wear everyday.

I usually plan ahead for a project, but not in this case. I decided on Friday night that it would be my weekend project. I did not have a suitable lining fabric, so I ran to Britex on Saturday morning - I wanted to start on the project as soon as I got home. I immediately ruled out silk because the silks at Britex suitable for lining are $40 per yard. (I sure wished I'd picked some up from Thai Silks the last time I was there.)

Britex had no remnants that would work, so I bought Bemberg lining. At $12 per yard, even this was not cheap and two of the employees urged me to spring for the silk for this special fabric, but that would have meant that the lining cost more than twice than the Armani fabric. Not going to happen. This was the first time I'd used Bemberg lining, but I can see why it has so many fans. It's delicious to wear and it won't be my last time using it.


  • Blue Armani cloqué fabric (891546) from FabricMart. I cut the jacket on the cross grain of the fabric, because I liked the texture better.
  • Black tricot fusible interfacing for collar.
  • Black Angel weft interfacing from Apple Annie's for the hem and sleeve hems.
  • 26" Antique Brass Separating Zipper in black by YKK (purchased at Britex over a year ago for another project).
  • Blue Bemberg lining from Britex.
  • A soft oval-shaped "velvet"-coated black elastic from Britex - approx 1/8" - for the waist.
  • Two black grommets for the elastic. These are inserted into the lining and are not seen from the outside.
  • Two toggles for the ends of the elastic. I purchased these either from Fabrix a year ago for my Au Bonheurs raincoat.
  • Round cord elastic for the button loops (very thin, to attach the hood to the jacket).
  • 5 1/2" La Petite buttons (from JoAnns) to attach hood.


Alterations and Modifications:

  • I started with a size 16, which is designed for a 42" bust, my high bust measurement. The finished measurement at the bustline was about 45", so I had to alter quite a bit as my full bust is closer to 50".
  • A 3" Y-shaped FBA. (See Fit for Real People.)
  • A 1" wide back adjustment - adding a total of 2". I removed the excess shoulder seam length by taking a dart in the back shoulder seam.
  • Lowered the waist seam (front and back) 1-1/2".
  • The finished hip measurement was about 51". I narrowed it to 46".
  • The upper sleeve was narrow. I added 1" to the upper sleeve and also 1" to the upper side seams.
  • Shortened the sleeve by 2".

Construction Notes: The pattern required a fair amount of tweaking to fit. I do not blame the pattern for this, as I typically have to extensively alter garments to fit my torso.

  • The first thing you do is sew the collar. The instructions say to "bag" the collar, which is an unusual use of the term. On my first try, I sewed around the three edges of the collar, and turned it inside out, without thinking. You don't want to do this because the zipper extends into the collar. I then re-cut the collar, re-interfaced it, and only sewed the outer top edge of the collar - the side edges are sewn as the zipper is inserted.
  • I found that the shoulder was too square. This is an unusual alteration for me, but I removed about 5/8" from the shoulder seam at the armscye, tapered to nothing at the neck.
  • There were 4 darts in the outer garment: 2 for the shoulder, and 2 for the bust. On the lining, I treated all of these as pleats.
  • I shorted the jacket several inches. It was for this reason I used a 26" zipper, because that gave me leeway for shortening.
  • I found that the waist seam was not the ideal location for the elastic channel. I tweaked it by diverging from the seam when I stitched the channel. I didn't like doing this, but I got away with it because of the texture of the fabric.
  • When I sewed the second seam to create the channel for the elastic, I sewed it below the first seam, rather than above it.
  • The Armani fabric was hand stamped on the selvedge with the words "Georgio Armani". I cut this bit of the selvedge off and sewed it to the jacket lining.
  • The instructions suggest that you bag the jacket lining. I prefer a hand sewn lining, so there was much hand sewing.


I love this jacket! The lining makes it so yummy to wear. It is perfect for my climate. Today, for example, is July 25th - mid summer - in San Francisco. The high in my neighborhood today was 62˚F and it's foggy and windy. This jacket was the perfect layer.

Some folks are having questions about Style Arc sizing. I am finding that the pants are perfect, for me, when purchased by the hip. But I know of one woman who carries her weight in her thighs and finds that this is not accurate for her.

I purchased this jacket based on my high bust measurement of 42". A sewist on Pattern Review says that for her that she needs to purchase a jacket pattern based on her upper back measurement, not her high bust. I am not sure what is best for me. I did have to add 2" through the upper back and 6" to the front via the FBA. I had to remove about 5/8" from the shoulder seam (even after removing the 2" from the back shoulder seam via darts). I also had to add to the upper sleeve and the upper side seam to correspond. But I removed several inches through the hips. So I am not sure if I should go up a size for a top. At any rate, these patterns are beautifully drafted.

I already have my August order planned. ;)

More Pics

Worn open

With hood.

Hood buttoned to collar


  1. Sensational! Love the fabric and the style.

  2. ABSOLUTELY Fabulous! Love the fabric, love the style, love the way it looks on you!

  3. That's a very cool coat and it looks super on you! The fabric is wonderful, especially the color.

  4. Sharon, just beautiful and as usual your tweaks and adjustments look perfect. I really like Bemberg and is my usual lining fabric, but my all time favorite is silk charmeuse ....having used it only once after snagging a remnant from Thai Silk for a very good price.

  5. Absolutely LOVE that fabric 'dressed down' in this pattern! And as always, your custom fitting makes it a stellar piece - well done indeed!

    I would love to just hang out & peer over your shoulder for a day & soak up some of your techniques ... & talent! ;-D

  6. This is a great piece. I'm going to have to try this pattern line. The garments you've made are so interesting and different. And what a perfect fabric for this jacket! I have never heard the term, cloque, though I've seen fabric that is similar to this. I agree with others - Bemberg ambiance is often the best lining choice.

  7. Looks great, the fit is ideal and the color is fantastic. You should definitely make this pattern again. Can I suggest velvet for winter? with maybe a quilted lining?

  8. I was looking up some info in the "All About Silk" book, & came across this: "cloque - French for "blistered." A soft, lightweight crepe fabric with a puckered, sculptured or blistered effect on the surface, similar to matelasse but not made the same way. Fabric has a firm hand and a high/low relief pattern that has lustrous and dull areas. Some versions are made with a modified double-cloth construction, while others are embossed or treated with a special finish to produce the raised effect. Cloque is usually silk, but it may also be rayon or polyester. The term is also used more loosely to describe any fabric with a puckered or blistered surface, including matelasse. Also called embossed jacquard."

    I love this book!

  9. Cool, JillyBe! I had looked the term up online, but your book has more info. And it sounds like a pretty accurate description of this fabric.

  10. Wow! This looks fabulous and I just 'love' the colour and fabric. I'm sure you will get a lot of wear out of this jacket.

  11. Wow! The work you put into this has really paid off Sharon, the finished jacket is a complete success. The colour and texture of the fabric work so well and I like the label as a finishing touch. Bravo!

  12. Great post Shams and great jacket. Thanks! Do you like working with Style Arc? I've not used them at. I noticed one of your purchases was from Apple Annie's. Ann has such beautiful fabric and teaches wonderful classes. It's 2 hours each way for me, but every bit worth the trip.

  13. Your jacket turned out so nice, Shams. The fabric is TDF. I'm envious that you have it and I don't :) . Perfect match for the lining, and as always a great post that both teaches and inspires.

  14. I love that color and it looks so nice on you. Thanks for sharing Shams it gives lots of inspiration.

  15. Wow, that is beautiful. I love the way you did the elastic so it's adjustable but you don't have strings hanging on the outside.

  16. Ha! I *knew* you'd make it interesting! What a great variation on what might have been a very conventional jacket (albeit one with good lines).

    You've got a great eye for fabrics, and the skill to use them really well.

  17. Thought I should come follow you as we seem to be on a Style Arc mission! LOL Hopefully I'll get one of the jackets made this week. It's been so hot here, couldn't get in the fall sewing mood.

    Love the fabric you used for that jacket!


  18. Oh Sharon it's sensational! Fabulous colour and fabric, and I looove how you were not intimidated by the fabric into making a special occasion garment, but instead a useful one that you can wear everyday, as it deserves! Bravo! You are an inspiration!

  19. Such a nice jacket and the fabric is TDF!

  20. I love the use of this fabric for an everyday jacket. What a great idea!!! (Wish I had such creative ideas.) Another great "Shams" creation!

  21. Shams, I must add my post to your list of admirers. You have really made yourself a wonderful jacket by combining elegant fabrics, casual styling, and a really nice looking pattern. All the collar detail , lining, zipper construction and shape are just perfect. All your instructions make your blog such a wonderful learning experience.


  22. Really beautiful. I do like the Athena blouse as well; I wear it like a little summer jacket.

  23. Beautiful! I think it is a fabulous coat. I might just have to try a Style Arc pattern one of these days.

  24. Gorgeous jacket Shams, and exquisite fabric! Your workmanship does credit to your fine pattern & fabric. This is a garment to treasure for years and years.

  25. Well I guess our boyfriend hooked my Sister Wife up with an awesome piece of fabric...and then you used it on this marvelous come up with an amazing jacket. It is really beautiful and truly you!

    Your sister wife in fabric,

  26. It's a great jacket and I love the fabric. I am regretting not buying it when I saw it! It's a beautiful jacket.

  27. great jacket Shams, like the others have said great looking jacket and fabric.

  28. Oh how I love this jacket! It reminds me of one sewn by Claudine last spring.
    I am going to sew one like it for myself. I only wish I lived in a place where I can wear a jacket in July.

  29. This is a great jacket! I was looking around to see what other bloggers had experienced with the StyleArc patterns. Thanks for such a detailed post about it.