17 January, 2011

Fleece in my comfort zone: Jalie 2795

Over the past couple of evenings I stretched myself, ;))), to make the Jalie 2795 fleece jacket (thanks, Kay!). Not counting the fleece interlining of my Dr. Zhivago greatcoat and some mitten-making games, this was my very first fleece garment. And the fleece was thick. Stretchy, yes, and very, very thick:

Forcing all these layers of the stuff under the needle was truly a stretch for me.  Huffing and puffing all the way.

I used size T, per my full bust; lengthened the body by 1.25" and shortened the sleeve by 3/4".  The nice soft thick fleece I sewed up yielded the desired cozy little topper.  So far so good.

However. This is a very body-conscious pattern:  the raglan armscye is very high - any higher and it would be cutting off circulation to my arms.  The sleeves are narrow, and the upper chest is pretty close to the body. I think it would work much better in a thin fleece, as a lightweight garment than an outerwear type jacket. In fact, that's sort of how it's portrayed on the envelope: a thin, lightweight topper. 

A comparison with my ancient and much loved fleece jacket from MEC (Mtn Equipment Coop) is instructive:
 They're about the same length and width at the hip but the red oldie is much roomier in the sleeve and chest area - precisely the spots I find constricting in the Jalie.

In the Jalie, the raglan seam is a good 2" shorter...

 ...  the chest is about 2" narrower on each side... (and, interestingly, the back is wider than the front - note the location of the side seam)

 ...while the lower sleeve is over an inch narrower near the wrist, and far more than that higher up.  It's a little shorter too, and the length is perfect.

I took a look at the pattern pieces with a view to revising the fit a little:

This is the back - CB on fold, with one of the two side back pieces (the side hasn't been lengthened on paper, but was cut longer).  Notice the princess seam does nothing to shape the back - it's strictly, um, decorative.  It's the same story with the front princess panels - in fact, the same pattern piece is used for the side front and side back.  And the sleeve? 

The sleeve is made of four pieces: upper centre, lower centre (cut on fold), and two sides, one of which is shown because both are cut from one pattern piece. But again, no shaping is added by these pieces.  Also the waistband is, unnecessarily, made so that it has side seams; it could so easily have been made out a single piece of fabric for a smoother fit over the hips.

I confess I find all this non-functional slicing and dicing objectionable.  It adds considerable construction time (especially if you're going to topstitch each seam), and decreases the comfort of the garment (due to all those unnecessary seams along the body and the very narrow sleeves).  I could understand if the jacket was shown attractively colour-blocked, giving the extra seaming aesthetic value. But the pattern envelope & instructions make no such suggestions. What really ups the irksomeness factor is that the seams in sleeve and body pattern pieces have no relevance to each other, as you see below:

See? the side sleeve and side princess seams don't match. To me, this looks downright ugly. Now how easy would it have been to raise that princess seam a little so it meets the sleeve seam?  Unsurprisingly, it's the same story at the back.  Picky, picky, picky, yes:  I like it not!!! 

But wait! There's nothing wrong with the jacket per se.  I love raglan sleeved jackets. And the non-functionality of the pattern pieces can be of advantage:  it's so very easy to combine them.  My second version of this jacket has a one-piece front, one-piece back, one-piece sleeve, and of course, a one-piece waistband. 

I simply lapped the bottoms of the princess seam and spread them ~1.5" at the top to create more ease in the chest, lowering the side piece to accomodate the curvature.  Similarly, I spread the sleeve pieces to match, giving them a little more width at the wrist as well (not shown). 

I moved the pocket to the side seam and curved it as above. This is less belly-bulking than the in-front kangaroo style of the original.

The result?  A jacket that's still fairly closely fitting, yet unconstricting in the slightest, and smoothly comfortable.

 I gave my first effort to an underage offspring with a 31.5" chest and a penchant for kangaroo pockets. 


  1. Glad that you managed to rework the pattern to your satisfaction. Love the final result! In situations like these (and don't we all have them from time to time) I remind myself that I am in control of the pattern, which I need only use as a guide. Sometimes it does take sewing it up once to see what ails it, but sometimes you can see immediately where things need to be "fixed" for personal satisfaction.

  2. I am so impressed with your stripe matching across the sleeve. I have never figured out how to do that.

  3. Wow- what a great re-working of that pattern! Your jacket looks great!