I was scrolling through my Instagram late one evening, and I saw Gabriela post on Chalk and Notch's Instagram: A Call for Pattern Testers!
Excitedly, I rushed to complete the survey, and to my complete surprise and (literal) joy, I was selected as a pattern tester.
I've had the opportunity to test patterns before, but nothing this complex. The Joy Jacket is definitely an intermediate sewing pattern and I was excited to take on the challenge.
Taking my assignment very. seriously. I was determined to follow the fabric recommendations. There was a list of lots of American and UK stores with recommended fabrics (as well as one Canadian on the other side of the country), but I really wanted to support a local store for this one. The staff at Fabrications Ottawa had exactly what I needed. Initially, when I saw the tester call, I thought this might make a great rain jacket. However, when I looked at the pattern more closely, a drapier, lighter fabric was recommended. I decided to go with a Taupe/Beige Viscose Twill. They had a blush pink too, but I figured I'd get more wear out of the neutral.
For lining, again, the owner was incredibly helpful in recommending a dark denim blue Viscose Batiste. It's incredibly soft, and beautiful to work with. It's literally the perfect lining weight for this jacket. Again, deciding on colours was challenging, but I'm so happy with my choice!
When participating in a pattern test, you have a set time period to complete the project, take photos and provide feedback. It was really fun to collaborate with everyone in the Facebook group, see all the lovely things they made and different colour combos out there! It was also really neat to be able to provide feedback and help to make the pattern better - such a cool opportunity. That being said, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive - it really is such a fantastic, unique and lovely jacket.
I am looking forward to making another one, this time however not on a time crunch. This is definitely one of those soothing, slow-sewing projects that I would encourage you to give lots of time, space and patience to complete. I remember at one point my husband came in to ask how it was going - I hadn't even started sewing yet. There are lots of pieces, bits to interface - but again this shows Gabriela and her team's attention to detail which is showcased through the professional finish. Also- not a single seam allowance to finish! That's a win in my books!
I made View A, with a high collar and straight pockets. However, seeing everyone's versions of view B, I'm definitely going to give that a try too. Anyone have any recommendations on water resistant/proof fabrics that might fit the bill?
My two favourite features on this jacket are the shoulders and the collar detail. I have never seen sleeves constructed like this - in two separate pieces - but it actually creates a really nice fit and shape. Instead of boxy sleeves, they kind of contour your shoulders nicely. Almost like the princess seams of sleeves. Although the jacket is loose fitting, I find it's the sleeves that help it not seem "oversized".
The collar detail is also one of my favourite things. I love top stitching, and I love the "V-Effect" of the collar with the top stitching detail. Really unique and well thought out.
Here are some other helpful tips that are not listed in the instructions:
- Watch your seam allowance. Unless specified, the seams that I worked with were 1cm or 3/8 '' - but on a couple of occasions it was 2cm. This is in relation to the sleeves and shoulders. I caught the first one, but the 2cm seam allowance is also used when attaching the facings together - don't miss it!
- Especially with my viscose batiste, it was really hard to tell which was right side, and which was wrong side (is there a right side and wrong side?). Although I made extra careful as I was sewing, I still ended up with two of the same sleeve (instead of mirror images). Womp womp.
- Especially with your lining pieces, keep your sleeves, and lining front, separate and attached to your pattern peices until you use them. I say this, because unlike the outer shell where it's quite evident which piece is the front, the front lining actually looks a lot like the sleeve pieces. Keep them separate until you're ready to go and you won't have that moment of panic!
I really enjoyed sewing this fantastic pattern, and hope you do as well. Can't wait to see everyone's creations! Let me know if you have any water-resistant fabric suggestions!
Self-taught sewist, Knitter, Crocheter, and all round crafty person from Ottawa, Canada.