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