The Swing Jacket Using Dried Sage Thistledown Marl
When asked to make a garment from the gorgeous new Heart of Huddersfield Thistledown Marl wool, I wanted to demonstrate how this superb fabric handles. It does have excellent stability and a wonderful soft drape quality that makes it the perfect candidate for the Sew Different’s new pattern: The Swing Jacket. The Swing Jacket is the ideal smart/casual cardigan style. Perfect over my smart trousers and a shirt for work, or just as versatile worn with jeans and a roll neck sweater for the weekend.
This easy-to-follow pattern is rated as 2 stars out of 5 for difficulty and can easily be made in the space of an afternoon (3-4 hours advised). Quick afternoon stitch, anyone?
Patterns like this are excellent for beginner seamstresses, but will be equally pleasing to the experienced too, providing a satisfying and quick make for those times when you don’t want anything too taxing for the brain. There are lots of ways you can get creative and customise your Swing Jacket too, should you choose.
I chose the medium size in order to accommodate a full bust. This loose kimono style needs enough room to provide a generous drape, suitable for wearing over anything from a blouse or T-shirt to a medium weight roll neck sweater. This simple and elegant classic kimono style will suit most sizes & shapes and is also very forgiving too due to the naturally loose-fitting style. Another bonus is that there are no fiddly fastenings (– you can add fastenings too if you need).
The pattern requires 2m of fabric (150cm wide) which allowed me plenty of room to play with pattern placement. (As an experienced dressmaker I will naturally always try to get my pieces using less fabric than the pattern envelope guidelines suggest.)
Perfect to sit alongside the extensive purples & pinks and blues & greens that make up my current me made wardrobe, I used Thistledown Marl - Dried Sage for those silver and grey-green hues and a soft delicate pastel stylised look. Thistledown Marl is a fabulous alternative to a knitted fabric because it has a similar texture to a finely knitted woollen garment, just without the stretch, making it much easier to handle. The horizontal rows of fluffy textured bobbles and slubs (created by the bouclé yarn) give a pleasing cosy look and feel. Those tiny raised details will trap warm air next to the body to keep you warm. With the look of a cardigan/jacket in my mind I took a good look at the fabric and decided that it was a simple matter to move the pattern pieces around and not waste fabric unnecessarily. I used the horizontal rows of the weave to emulate the look of a knit. Thistledown Marl has a very uniform finish to both sides, so no worries about putting the wrong sides together.
The Swing Jacket has a really clever and simple construction, there are 4 pattern pieces in total:
- 1 x back with grown-on sleeves
- 2 x upper fronts (with grown-on sleeve and in-seam pocket bag)
- 2 x lower fronts (with grown-on sleeve and in-seam pocket bag)
- 1 x neck band (which is joined at the back neck, could also be cut in one piece)
Once I was happy with my pattern layout, I proceeded with the cutting out. The fabric is closely woven but does fray, so clean and neat cutting will help when putting the pieces together. Once placed together the pieces will stay put! Before assembling I couldn’t quite understand how the front pieces fitted together, but after following the instructions and basically lining the pockets up so that the straight edges line up, I pinned the diagonal seams either side, which form the pocket edge and the seam detail. This clever arrangement of upper and lower front pieces is genius! I started to wish I had chosen two fabrics now. The upper and lower fronts could easily be colour-blocked, using one of the jewel-toned Thistledown Marls or a coordinating pastel hues. You could also cut the back piece and the neck band in a contrast fabric for a very colourful albeit loud look.
|Front band pinned & ready to sew||Face side of front pieces||
Reverse side showing pocket bag
Once the front pieces are stitched together the rest of the construction is super easy. The sleeve and shoulder seam is continuous, so you can literally sew across both at the same time (in one stitching line). Just snip your threads at the neck edge and reinforce your beginning and ends. The side seams are the same, simply stitched from the cuff edge to the hem (matching notches of course for a neat fit!). I reinforced the seam where the pocket seam runs into the side seam for extra strength. Lastly the band pieces are joined together and are then lined up at the centre back neck and stitched on. I always like to start at the back neck and sew down to the hem (turning my pieces over to mirror the process for the other side) this ensures the band is sewn on evenly.
The band seam is notched at the neck edge to allow it to sit neatly when finished. The band is then pressed in half and a seam allowance pressed onto the reverse. I chose to omit this step because I utilised the fluffy selvedge to create a detail. I pressed my seam onto the band and the selvedge was pinned over the seam, thus making it super easy to stitch in the ditch on the face side. The lower hem and cuff edges were overlocked, as were the pocket and seams. I chose suitably matching threads (Gutermann 821 is perfect with Thistledown - Dried Sage), particularly for the hems and band.
Thew lower hem is pressed in line with the bagged out lower band then stitched. I chose to add a cotton trim to the back neck edge in Liberty Lawn - Cordelia - Blue, to pick up the blue green tones in Thistledown Marl - Dried Sage. Adding this and the H.O.H woven label gives my Swing Jacket a professional, bespoke and individual finish.
Now for the actual wearing of my Heart of Huddersfield Swing Jacket creation. The jacket falls softly and has a lovely swishy swing! It feels cosy and is ideal for putting on as an extra layer on those not quite warm enough to go without a jacket type of days. I can style it smartly or casually and it will become one of those go-to garments which never gets put away in the wardrobe!
Does the fabric and the pattern fulfill my initial wishes? In a word: Yes! Now to make a few more in different colour combinations. It’s so easy to sew and super quick, I think I will be making a few more for Christmas presents!
This garment has been made using Fabworks' own exclusive range of bespoke wool fabrics, made in the heart of the Heavy Woollen District: Huddersfield, Yorkshire. To learn more about this fabric and our story refer to the Thistledown Marl Overview Page
Now you can find this fabric, pattern, sewing notions & more all in one place at Fabworks Online. (Click the image of the pattern further up the page for a link on how to purchase)