pattern testing, sewing

A New Black Harriet

So, as you may have seen, Named released their new pattern collection today, New Black! I’m quite a fan of Named’s patterns – they’re always fresh, different and very trendy. I’ve pattern tested for two of Named’s collections now – Ticket and New Black. They are a really nice company to pattern test for – super friendly, very quick to answer any questions, and very organised. There’s no requirement to blog about anything you test for them, but I have been dying to show you all my Harriet jacket that I tested for them this time! In case you were wondering, last time I pattern tested the Delphine maxi dress – I picked something out of my comfort zone, and although it’s a great pattern, it didn’t suit me at all and I didn’t feel comfortable in it, so I never blogged about it. C’est la vie!

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But back to Harriet. When Named sent me the catalogue to pick a pattern to test, I didn’t even hesitate. Harriet was number one on my list, and I was delighted when they let me know I was testing it! Unfortunately, right after they sent me the pattern was the unexpected start of an extremely busy period at work. Some people quit and my boss went on holiday, and I found myself working every day of the week, often for 10 hour days. Add to this the fact that I’ve never made a jacket before, of any description, and well…my delight quickly changed to terror.

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I already had a wool blend coating that I’d bought from Trademe some time ago, with the idea of making a jacket some time in the future. I did go to the Fabric Store to see if they had anything else suitable, but nothing there really caught my eye, and I was loathe to spend lots of $$ on fabric for a pattern that might not work out. So I stuck with my black wool, but I did splurge a little and buy some fabulous faux fur for the collar! For the lining, I bought a quilted…something from Geoff’s Emporium. In all honesty, I probably should have used an interlining, too – the black wool was just a little too lightweight, and I feel the jacket could benefit from a tiny amount more structure. I interfaced everything the pattern said to, and I had some fancy fusible interfacing in my stash especially for wool from making a wool circle skirt (that may or may not be sitting in my WIP pile, dating back to Berkeley days). I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s grey and feels fancy. And cost $14.95 a metre!

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I made up the jacket in a size 42. With the quilted lining, it’s a tiny bit snug – particularly in the upper sleeves, which I should have seen coming, since I always have trouble fitting my upper arms. I didn’t want to make too many adjustments though, as I figured it was most useful for Named if I made it as close to out-of-the-packet as possible. I did shorten the sleeves by quite a bit – 9cm – which ended up being slightly too much. It was hard to judge, and I didn’t have time to make a muslin. I think 7cm would have been perfect. It’s not too noticeable, that they’re a bit short – only really if I hold my arms out straight in front of me, and who does that on a daily basis? I also made a 1cm narrow shoulder adjustment, which is standard for me on almost any top these days. Next time, I’d lower the bust darts a smidge too. All of this could easily have been caught with a muslin, if I’d had the time to do one.

I used the size 40 for length – this style of jacket is something I’ve never worn before, and I honestly wasn’t sure where it was supposed to hit. Hip? Waist? I ended up going for hip, and I like it this way. I’m quite happy with the length. I left off the elbow patches, as I wanted a more simple jacket.

The jacket involve a lot of firsts for me – first welt pockets, first open-ended zipper, first sleeve heads/shoulder pads, first two-part sleeve and first lining of a jacket. Phew! It is an absolute testament to the quality of Named’s instructions that I was able to make this in the timeframe I did (1 week, basically, by the time I got the supplies and cut out all the pieces and fabric). Amazingly enough, I didn’t have to unpick anything! It all went smoothly. Notches matched up everywhere and I managed to mark the placement of the pockets and snap buttons perfectly (I thread marked them with silk basting thread that’s been in my stash for ages, because sometimes my beloved Chaco chalk pens don’t quite rub off fluffier fabrics). I was especially hesitant of the zip – it’s something that needs to line up pretty much spot on to work, and it did! Also, how awesome is my zip?!

IMG_1684Metal open-ended zips appear to be a rare beast in Auckland, and I was lucky to find this one in a basket in Geoff’s for $1. It was a bit too long, unfortunately, and I spent an unpleasant hour on the couch wrenching tiny zip teeth off with a pair of pliers – not fun. But it’s good to know that metal zips are able to be shortened! Speaking of the zip – I used my walking foot everywhere to sew this jacket (it lives on my machine now basically) except the zip – the only way I could get a nice finish with the zip was to use my zipper foot to sew it in. The instructions don’t mention this, but I found it helped immensely.

I got my shoulder pads and sleeve heads from Hawes & Freer, a local company that sells tailoring notions and fabrics. They have quite a comprehensive selection, and I chose ones on the lighter side – in hindsight, I should have gotten slightly bulkier ones, but the idea of shoulder pads was frightening and I didn’t have time to play around with different kinds. It’s possible that the ones I chose would have been fine with a more sturdy fabric, too.

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It’s not super flattering from the side – it’s quite a boxy jacket, and a bit bulky with the quilted lining and facings. But it’s not supposed to be a fitted jacket, and I think I just need to get used to a different silhouette on me. I feel very comfortable in it (it’s very warm!) and quite stylish – I’ve admired these kind of jackets on other people for ages but never thought of taking the plunge and making one myself. I’ll leave you with a couple more detail shots – I’m so proud of this jacket, it’s definitely the most complicated thing I’ve ever made! And I’ve already worn it a lot, even with the tiny-bit-too-short sleeves πŸ™‚

IMG_1730I lined my welt pockets with rayon scraps…so soft when I slide my hands in!

IMG_1731Snap buttons from Geoff’s – I love how they look!

So, what do you guys think of the new collection? What are your favourite picks? I like the look of the Sloane sweatshirt and the Mimosa culottes…they were second and third on my pattern testing wishlist πŸ˜‰

Disclaimer (I guess?): I received this pattern to test. I have received a copy of the final pattern for free as a thank you for testing. I hope you guys know by now I’d tell you the pattern was shit if it was, so hopefully you’ll know my opinion is not easily influenced by free patterns πŸ™‚ It’s genuinely a good pattern with good instructions.

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4 thoughts on “A New Black Harriet

  1. I am a Named Pattern fan. I made the maxi dress from their last collection and just love it – no muslin was necessary! I love love love your jacket, you have done a fantastic job with all those firsts as well. That zip, for just a $1 I am super jealous, even if it did take an hour to reduce the size, it was worth it. Enjoy your new jacket πŸ™‚

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