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Jalie Charlie Bomber Jacket

This was so nearly a write-off before it even got off the ground but in the end I have a garment I’m happy to wear. Basically, I chose a fabric from Minerva to write about in my next blog post for them but when it arrived I found I had completely mistaken not only the colour but the scale of the print, oh dear. I thought it was more of a teal background, not green, with much smaller birds, added to this were the words ‘kid’s collection’ printed down the selvedge and I really thought I’d come unstuck! Don’t get me wrong, the fabric is absolutely lovely quality loop-back Sweatshirting Fabric and perfect for lots of sweatshirt, jogging bottom and sweater dress-type applications, it’s just it wasn’t what I was expecting and not what I would usually wear. I don’t have any young children in my life so I needed to find an alternative.

As Minerva generously provide me with fabric in order to write fair reviews about it I absolutely feel a sense of responsibility to make a garment that I’m happy with so that I uphold my side of the bargain.

After a long think, and a lot of scanning through patterns that can be made using sweatshirting-weight fabric I settled for the Charlie Bomber Jacket Pattern by Canadian brand, Jalie.

This led to more problems because, as the fabric is very colourful, I needed to source an open-ended zip and ribbing which would co-ordinate well. Eventually I found a zip but the ribbing was more problematic. I ordered some from one company but when it arrived it wasn’t right at all and there wasn’t enough anyway! Eventually I found some pink Ponte which had sufficient stretch to use for the bottom band, collar and cuffs. Phew…

The fabric has a very distinct one-way design so every pattern piece needs to be cut taking this into account. Often I will be very stingy with fabric quantities but with prints like this I would err on the side of caution so that you’re not playing pattern Tetris too much. I just cut the fronts and back initially, placing them in alignment across the fabric so that the same row of birds runs right around the garment. Incidentally, Jalie patterns come in a huge range of 27 sizes beginning at young children and going up to large adults. I selected Size X from my measurements and I’m very happy with the fit.

I opted to use a ballpoint needle as it’s a knit fabric with some stretch, sewing with a short straight stitch is fine or you could use a very straightened out zigzag. The pockets feature a diagonal welt and are the first thing to construct. I found the instructions and diagrams very clear and simple to follow. I cut the pockets from the contrasting Ponte so I had to make sure they went in well as they wouldn’t blend in to the jacket fronts. The most nerve-racking moment is actually cutting through all the layers but really, if you apply a variation of the ‘measure twice, cut once’ rule, ‘check twice, cut once’ you’ll be OK. My advice would be to leave a long triangle at the ends when you snip so that there’s plenty to catch in when you pull everything through and secure in position.

One area in the instructions that doesn’t get mentioned is when to neaten or overlock the edges. This fabric doesn’t really fray although the edge does roll quite a lot so I overlocked after each stage. If you don’t have an overlocker then simply use a zigzag stitch instead. A good tip for neatening the end of overlocking is to thread them onto a large tapestry needle, or a needle with a large eye, and then poke the needle back though the end of stitching for a couple of centimetres before snipping the remainder off.

Before joining the shoulder seams, and before adding the sleeves I used iron-on fusible tape to stabilise the shoulder seams on the back, this stops them stretching. You could also stabilise the front edges with tape before putting the zip in.

The sleeve pattern is just a vertical half pattern so I taped some paper to it vertically, folded it in half and pinned in a couple of places and then cut it out as a whole pattern. I also decided to shorten the sleeve by 2cms so the photos show you how I did this. I drew a line at a right angle to the grainline and then another 2cms below it. Cut through one of the lines and move the piece up parallel to the other line keeping the grainline in alignment. Stick in position, then smooth off the new line at the sides.

Everything else went together well, the fabric is lovely to sew with, although it has stretch it’s very easy to manage and manipulate. The pink Ponte has worked very well instead of ribbing, I was able to stretch it to fit as I sewed [using a small zigzag stitch] and the colour contrasts beautifully, picking out some of the pinks in the print.

After an inauspicious start it’s been worth persevering with the jacket and I’ve finally got an outcome I’m pleased with. The fabric has been lovely to sew with and it’s a fun garment that I’ll probably wear with jeans, or even to go to exercise classes in. I would suggest if you’re in any doubt about a fabric from Minerva then definitely take advantage of their swatch service, I chose this fabric based only on a photo and I came a slight cropper but fortunately it’s come right in the end.

Sue @ Susan Young Sewing

Comments (2)

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Susan Gannon said:

Forgot to say the fabric colour is gorgeous on you and the pink collar etc really lovely. · 23rd Nov 2019 10:17am

Susan Gannon said:

This jacket is beautiful on you, you look so cool. It is beautifully made. All the very best and thank you. Susan · 23rd Nov 2019 10:16am