Hello again! It seems I’m on a bit of a sewing binge at the moment – having sewn two pairs of jeans, two sets of PJs and a turtleneck recently. Now, adding to that, two coats using the brand new sewing pattern release from Helen’s Closet; the Pona Jacket. I think its safe to say my Sewjo is back and I couldn’t be happier!
I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for this one; as soon as I saw the initial line drawings I was in! *The Pona (a PDF pattern) was just the pattern I was looking for – a true wardrobe staple, something that will transition nicely all year round. It can either be a lightweight throw-on jacket for the warmer months or a full on warm coat for the cooler months. Or something in-between! And, as a bonus, this is incredibly simple – and quick – to make!
I love the drafting; it’s unlined but has a nifty facing that allows the front lapels to drape open. It also has no closures; it’s meant to be worn open, although there is enough cross-over if you do want to add a button or a frog fastening. I left the cropped jacket as is but added a simple hidden snap fastening to the top left on the coat version so that I can wear it closed with the collar up should I need to. I think this pattern makes for a great introduction to sewing coats and jackets for those wanting to dip their toes in these waters! If you haven’t already, I can heartily recommend you do so using this pattern – come on in, the water is warm!
Ok, so leaving the weird swimming analogies aside, let me clarify! Each of these took one sewing session to make. One. With the Pona you can have a full-on coat, warm enough for example, to brace the arctic chill of the desolate Moors I’m surrounded by (trust me, I tried it out just as the mists and rain descended!) whilst the little jacket is perfect for balmy summer evenings. I tried it out on the one remaining day we had before we bypassed Autumn altogether and went straight to Winter and have been wearing it around the house a lot.
OK, so I’ve gone from talking about swimming in warm waters to balmy summer evenings and artic chills. Grant me some poetic licence, what I’m really trying to underline is, from this one simple pattern, you can easily create several very different top layers to see your wardrobe through the year. That you can make in one day. Really, I could leave this post here. That says it all doesn’t it?
But let’s take a look at the line drawings instead!
It has an oversized blazer feel to it; in fact View A reminds me very much, in terms of its’ shaping and pockets, of the ol’ ‘Donkey Jackets‘ we used to wear back in the day. I say we, I mean me. Paired with a chunky pair of boots. Depending on the View you choose it can pretty much be made in any woven fabric but in fact I saw some pretty cool versions in the test group using stable knits. Linen, cotton, wool, denim, canvas – each giving a very different feel to the overall look.
I sewed the cropped jacket first using a lovely soft cotton red 21 wale needlecord I bought from Minerva – it’s quite lightweight and has a bit of drape to it. It’s actually photographed more tomato red than it is; it’s a true blue-based red in reality. But whatever. I love this sooo much! Although I got called ‘the Lady in Red’ in the supermarket my first day wearing it, which made me smile even though that’s probably one of the songs I detest most! (There’s no ‘probably’ about it, it is The Worst).
I think the Pona is a chic and instant way to smarten up an outfit which is essentially slouchy jeans and sneakers.
I also hangs really nicely through the back, I was initially a bit concerned – giving its oversized drafting – that it wouldn’t.
The second version I made in a heavy-duty true black velvety 8 wale ‘Premium’ cord I got from the lovely chaps The Fabric Guys (*free of charge). I think this fabric, which comes in several colourways, is a bargain at just £8.25 a metre. That’s several quid per metre cheaper than comparable fabrics I’ve seen elsewhere. It washed and sewed up a dream – just stick it through the tumble dryer, if you can, after pre-washing which helps to remove a lot of excess fibres. (I’ve a guest post on The Fabric Guys’ blog if you want to take a look here). I also used a coating interfacing I bought from Sew Over it ages ago – I can’t see it on their site anymore, which makes me go ‘Argghhh’ as I really need to get some more, that stuff is the bomb! (If you know the stuff I’m on about and know where else I can get it, do please let me know!)
In terms of sizing, you are instructed to sew a straight size based on your upper chest measurement; there’s no grading between sizes required here; with the drop shoulder also making it incredibly easy to fit.
For both versions, the only alteration I made was to take 1.5″ out of the three quarter length sleeve and 1″ out of the long. I’m short. For reference, the sleeve is designed for a 24″ arm – I mention it specifically as it can be quite hard to determine on a drop sleeve. However, I’ve also seen some great versions where the sleeve was left long, or the length increased, and then the cuff turned up – Miami Vice style – for an extra casual feel, which looked great!
The other thing I love about Helen’s Closet patterns, is the fab new techniques I pick up from them – this one specifically added the, very sensible (aka why didn’t I think of that before) pre-pressing tip to my bag of tricks.
This pattern, and the fabrics I’ve made them up in, resulted in instant love on my part (which may explain the billowy language I’ve used in this post, haha!) I can see many, many more of these peppering my sewing plans in the next 12 months, hopefully in some nice wool. I really want a petrol blue cropped one, perhaps a terracotta and definitely a mustard one. Maybe an olive green too. That would probably cover it! Probably.
Congratulations to Helen’s Closet on the Pona; and, lovely Readers, take note, it’s discounted in launch week! I can’t wait to see more versions of these popping up in my Instagram feed! (Talking of Instagram; you can find me over there, err here)
I’ll be posting next on my two pairs of Morgan jeans (yes, they are the ones I’m wearing in this post!) It’s been a journey…
In the meantime, stay warm and … happy sewing!
*Disclaimer : I was sent the black 8 wale cord fabric free of charge in return for a guest blog post on the |Fabric |Guys’ ‘Sewcial Network’. I was sent the tester and finalised version of the PDF Pona Jacket pattern free by Helen’s Closet in return for participating in the testing process but with absolutely no obligation to review. All other notions and supplies were purchased by me. All opinions expressed are my honest and considered opinion. Some of the links given are Affiliate links – if you choose to purchase via an Affiliate link, you will not be charged any extra however I may receive a small commission – Sarah x).