Once again, I have been testing patterns. I love testing patterns and it’s hard for me to say no, particularly when I saw a call come up for some that so nicely fit my work wardrobe needs!
But this pattern testing experience was challenging, mostly because I misunderstood a question on the testing application. You see, Itch to Stitch had 4 patterns in testing at once, and at the question asking which pattern I wanted to test, I checked two — the Seville Skirt and Salamanca Jacket (affiliate links) — thinking that I would test one of those two. So I was a bit surprised when I was selected to test both of those patterns — in a week! It was a busy week.
But I did it! Unfortunately, testing two patterns, one of which was fairly involved (the jacket) meant that I didn’t have time to go back and sew multiple versions after my first. That is the unfortunate reality of a quick testing period (and the reason I vastly prefer a testing of period of at least 2 weeks, preferably 3).
So as a result of that quick turnaround time, these pieces are too small. Both of them, though the skirt is far more pronounced than the jacket. I know it’s hard to tell here, since the Spanx I’m wearing and my lack of movement for photos pretty effectively hide the fit issues. So, I’m not going to opine on the fit of the Seville Skirt until I get a chance to make another one, except to say that you need to measure very, very carefully if you’re going to make these patterns and probably size up if you’re at all unsure. My measurements put me pretty squarely in the sizes that I made, so these seem to run a tad small.
Sizing issues aside (since those can be easily addressed once you know the tendencies of the pattern), I actually would highly recommend both of these patterns for the instructions alone. The Salamanca Jacket (affiliate link) in particular. The finish on both of these pieces is beautiful. really professional and the instructions guide you step by step through machine-bagging a lining on the jacket for a truly professional finish.
This was my first time testing an Itch-to-Stitch pattern and I was seriously impressed with how polished the pattern was at the testing stage. It was obvious that these patterns had already gone through some rigorous pre-testing, and that Kennis put a lot of work into their development. That is always a sign of a really quality pattern company to me — IMO testers should be looking for final tweaks on the pattern and instructions, not identifying major issues that quality pre-testing would have taken care of.
It’s also great that Itch-to-Stitch patterns come with a variety of cup sizes. My measurements put me in a 2C, which is what I made here. In hindsight, I think a 4B would have been better, and I may make another version in that size. We will see 🙂 But the 2C is wearable and it’s a nice alternative to have in my closet.
My only real gripe about my jacket is that the sleeves are too small. It’s comfortable everywhere else, but the sleeves are tight and short. Even with the 4B, I think I would need to lengthen the sleeves. Something to keep in mine for the long-armed out there. I also wish that that there was a different pattern piece for the sleeve lining. It is the same size as the sleeve piece, which is not ideal. Typically a lining should be a little bigger than the main piece to allow for movement. I suspect that may be part of why the sleeves are fitting tight on me.
But the pieces all fit together perfectly, the printing was manageable (there are print guides in the patterns) and the instructions were like having a sewing instructor sitting next to me since bagging a lining is something I’ve only muddled my way through previously. Even if I don’t use the Salamanca pieces again, I will definitely be referring to the instructions the next time I need to bag a lining!
Pattern: Salamanca Jacket (affiliate link) by Itch-to-Stitch Patterns.
Cost: $12.00 (But I think there’s a sale going on with the release of the new collection).
Size: 2 with a C cup.
Fabric: Random rayon/polyester/spandex suiting from Joann’s. I got something fairly inexpensive since it was for a test, but it is nice and soft.
Difficulty: Intermediate. There are a lot of steps for this jacket, and bagging a lining is something that won’t make a lot of sense without a decent grasp of garment construction. You need to have a good number of garments under your belt and understand how all the pieces work together, before attempting a lined jacket, IMO.
Techniques Required: Lots. Sewing darts and pleats, inserting raglan sleeves, sewing facings, bagging a lining, sewing buttons and buttonholes.
Similar Patterns: There are a few other jacket patterns out there, but none that I would say are truly similar. It’s the lining that really sets this one apart. It’s a real, professional lining with facings and bagged in a professional manner. The only comparable patterns and techniques I’ve seen would be in Big 4, or children’s patterns (the Blank Slate blazer patterns also have linings, facings and professional construction — great patterns).
Fit: Okay. I probably need to size up to a 4 with a B cup, rather than the 2 with a C cup that I made. It’s wearable but the arms are tight.
Pattern Format: PDF. The file appears suuuuper long at first, but that’s because the front bodice of each size is nested separately for the different bust sizes. You only need to print the size and bust you’re using.
- Wonderful drafting — every piece fit together exactly.
- Great instructions — some of the best I’ve seen, and I’ve sewn with a lot of indie patterns. Bagging a lining isn’t intuitive, so don’t be surprised if you have to read instructions a couple of times to get it, but they are great at walking through the process.
- Diagrams instead of a photo tutorial! I know some people would count this as a con, but it’s a big pro in my book. I vastly prefer diagrams in instructions, as I think they’re more effective at conveying what needs to be done, particularly on complicated instructions like the lining here.
- Sweet, feminine silhouette that will actually work on a wide range of body types.
- Includes different pieces for different bust sizes, reducing the need for alterations.
- The lining is the same size as the main pieces, from a width standpoint. I think that contributed significant to the tightness in the arm for me.
- The arms were a little short — I need to add about 2 inches. Easy to fix though.
- The pattern seems to run a tad small. My measurements put me pretty squarely in a 2C, and I think I need to size up to a 4B. Not a huge deal, but something to be aware of. Definitely muslin first before spending the considerable sewing time to make a beautiful lined jacket!
Overall Grade: A. This is a really great pattern and is a step towards addressing what I see as a major hole in the indie pattern market — a lined blazer. This isn’t a blazer obviously, but the techniques and construction is all here to make a beautiful fully-lined blazer. The silhouette and look of this jacket is great on its own, but I value it even more for the method and instructions on bagging the lining.