Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Paola Workwear Jacket in Wool Tweed


This is my third Paola Workwear Jacket and this time I made it in wool!

It was my first time sewing with woven wool fabric. I've sewn with merino wool fabric plenty of times, I've just been holding off sewing with woven wool because I really dislike having to dry clean, which is usually what you're supposed to do with wool garments. 


Pattern: Paola Workwear Jacket from

Fabric: Wool Blend Tweed Coating (90/10 wool/nylon, 369gsm or 10oz) from The Fabric Store Online. 1.5 yards. mystery pink-purple cotton poplin in stash for Hong Kong seams. 

Size: 0/2 (their smallest size)

Mods - many that I added in previous iterations  + some new ones this time around: 

  • 21.5" body length
  • 1" longer sleeves
  • deeper body hem
  • hem sewn the way Helen's Closet's Pona Jacket is
  • Hong Kong (HK) seam finishing
  • Top pocket piece as bottom pockets, 1 inner top pocket scaled down to 86% (with original hem allowance)
inner upper pocket, if you can see it

How I washed the wool

I really wanted a wool jacket, so I decided to buy some. And I got to wondering, if I can handwash my handknit wool sweaters, why can't I do the same with sewn wool garments? I started researching about it and read some conversations on various forums and it seems like handwashing wool is something that people do, as long as you are careful with it. I think clothing stores just tell you to dry clean because it is the easiest, though more expensive, way to handle wool. 

So I tried to be careful washing this wool tweed: soak in a bucket with my typical Kookaburra wool wash that I use for knits. Then squeezed out as much water as I could. Then put the fabric in a mesh laundry bag and spin in washing machine for a couple minutes. I stopped the spin early, to reduce agitation as much as possible. It seemed to have come out okay! It is a loose tweed so it is definitely more delicate than something like wool melton. You can try it as well, but just be careful. I'm not liable for any damages, haha. 

Pattern quality

I've made a lot of changes and added a lot of features to this pattern over time. It is a pretty good FREE pattern, but the instructions are a bit sparse and vague. I noticed a drafting issue on the shoulder seams once, which I've since corrected. The front/back shoulder seam was 3/4" longer than the other, which is pretty egregious to me. However, I think it's something most people don't even notice, especially since this pattern is so popular. I didn't even notice for my first iteration until after when I was wondering why my plaid didn't match up. Fabric can stretch and ease, which is why some wouldn't even notice. 

On sleeves (gets very technical)

I will give them high praise for drafting a great sleeve though. Some patterns have sleeves that are very hard to move around in - restrictive when you try to lift or move your arms. This has always worried me when I sewed sleeved woven garments in the past and I thought I was shaped weird and just didn't know how to fix a problem like that. After sewing this pattern, I realized that this sleeve issue isn't a problem at all because the sleeve cap height is fairly short. For my size, it's 4 3/4" tall, which worked great for me. Some other patterns have the height at 6" or more. Here is some photos explaining what I'm talking about. A taller sleeve cap is typically used for garments like coats and blazers, where as it states, "movement is not a priority". That phrase sounds so ridiculous to me. I don't know when I would ever be in a situation where I would prioritize style over movement. Arm movement is ALWAYS important to me. 

I don't think you will have this issue with this pattern, but since I'm already talking about it, if you do find yourself needing an adjustment like this, Sew Sew Live has a video about when she adjusted it for her Kelly Anorak. The link will take you to the exact timestamp when she starts talking about it.

Here is me being silly and incidentally shows you me moving my arms freely. 

If I had a carousel plugin on this blog, you could switch back and forth quickly and see me dance.

On HK seams

HK seams was also new to me. Since it's an unlined jacket and too thick to do flat felled seams, I had to do HK seams. The process was quite long but it wasn't too difficult. Sometimes I wasn't able to catch the binding on the second line of stitching, so I'll need to work on my technique a bit more. 1 1/4" binding width was a good choice though.

Some project grievances

The pattern calls for 6" buttons but since I shortened it, I did 5 and positioned the way it is in this Pendleton jacket. Is it just me or are these buttons comically large? They are 1" buttons as called for in the pattern, but I think a 3/4" button would look better. I did some research and that's typically the size used for blazers and coats. I might buy the smaller size and redo all the buttons. And I guess sew up one edge of the buttonhole a bit so that they don't open up. 

Also, these patch pockets seem to make the jacket look not as polished as it could be. I'm thinking I could change them to welt pockets in the future. Though that's a bigger undertaking than changing buttons. 

Sewing with wool

Thankfully, since this wool is so thick and loopy, a lot of seam lines are semi-hidden, so wonky seam lines aren't as pronounced so I won't feel as obsessed about fixing them, which is great for me. It was also very satisfying to press. Which helped with this snowman-shaped craft wood I bought at Target to use as a makeshift clapper for only $1.50, originally $5 but on sale after the holidays. Score!

I can't wait to sew with wool again. I already bought several wool fabrics after. A 4th Paola could be in my future. Possibly with a bust dart added in, to make it more feminine. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Delicious Linen Joggers

I have a pair of Athleta joggers that I wear all the time. They are comfy, stylish, and fit well around my bigger than average calves lol. Which also means they are easier to take off or pull up around my calves. This is all due to the vertical panel along the inseam made of knit fabric, while the rest of the pants are made on woven non-stretch nylon. The only issue with them is that because they are made of nylon, they can get kinda sweaty and sticky over time. So, I wanted to make a more breathable pair. I saw that Athleta has linen joggers, but none that are just like this with the vertical stretch panel. So, I set out to make my own pair. 

stretch inseam panel
stretchy goodness

After calculating the minimum amount of fabric I would need, I bought 3/4 meter ZQ Merino in Acorn for $25.50, 1 1/4 Vintage Finish Linen in Acorn for $20.00, both from Even though they have the same color name, they don't actually completely match, which I wanted, because I don't want the panel to be in a contrast color, as that isn't the look I'm going for. They still work together, but I do wish the shop would stock their linen and merino lines in matching colorways. Just saying. I actually have a ton of the merino left over. Since the inseam panel needs horizontal stretch, and the fabric only has selvedge to selvedge stretch (as it has no spandex content), I had to buy that amount to cover the full length of my inseam. With the leftovers, I could probably eek out a tank top or some accessories. However, next time, I might consider buying a shorter length and piecing the panels together. No one but me is really looking at my inseam anyway.

somewhat frumpy bum in linen heh

Also, I still have about 14 inches left over for the linen. I was probably going to add more pockets, but decided on only side pockets (which I used mostly a cotton fabric for), thus the extra amount. Wonder what I can make with the rest (dish cloths? contrast pockets for other pants?).

So, the first mission was to construct some well fitting pants, which I thus far have not accomplished. I tried a few years ago, but it was a struggle, and just didn't think about it again until now. Most will probably agree with me. Since I've been getting into drafting my own patterns (drafted a hoodie recently which was pretty fun), I decided I would draft my own for these. I did try to find a pattern with the exactly features of my Athleta joggers (vertical inseam panel, optional cargo pockets, woven joggers, knit waistband instead of casing), but there weren't any that had all of these features. 

girl in linen joggers posing cool
Having fun with posing 😎

I followed a tutorial online to create my first pair, using my own measurements and of the Athleta joggers. They were pretty bad. So, I followed another tutorial and incorporated some of the info from the first tutorial to create muslin #2. They ended up better but didn't fit like the Athleta's. 

Finally, I decided to do a rub off of the Athleta. Wasn't a true rub off, as I didn't have a surface I could pin in to, so I chalked a lot of lines and measured a lot to draft what I thought it would look like if deconstructed. Turns out, it was a success! However, NOW I realize that even though there is enough crotch depth, the butt did not look good, kinda made me look like I had a pancake butt, when my butt is actually very well toned thankyouverymuch. I didn't mess up on the rub off, it's just that I just realized how weird my butt looks in the Athleta's and now that was shown in muslin #3. Since I had been looking at my butt so much for the past week ( weeks? I think muslin #3 was created the week after I started on this project) and since I was already 3 muslins deep, I wanted to get the fit right. I checked the my pattern alterations book and assessed all my fit issues, along with more blog posts I found. I won't go in the nitty gritty of what I did exactly, because I didn't photograph the drafting process or any nice photos of me in the muslins, but I mostly fixed the fit issues. However, due to the nature of linen fabric, having quite fluid drape, my butt doesn't look that great in these, but they are better than the Athleta pair, trust me!

girl posing very cool
I know I look super cool posing next to cute and cuddly stuffed animals

After all the muslins (which was more like 3.5, since I reused one muslin and drafted new back pieces + all the additional changes I did to existing muslins), I was finally able to add the additional features, like side pockets and the vertical inseam panel. I also really wanted back pockets. I almost never use them, but half the purpose of back pockets are to make your butt look good. But alas, I was running out of steam drafting new pieces. Plus figuring out back patch pocket placement and size is kind of a headache in and of itself. I could do welt pockets instead, but ack, I haven't done those in forever, and I don't want to create a hideous welt pocket that can't be undone. Also didn't add the cargo pockets like the Athleta's. I use those quite often, but I decided these would be an at-home pair, where I won't need to be carrying so much stuff (I rarely use a purse or handbag, so I love "stylish" cargo pants for going in public).

side seam pocket
cotton lawn in pocket. ack!

Speaking of pockets, the side pockets are made of cotton lawn from my stash. Lawn may have been a bad idea though. I didn't want bulk in the pockets, but after finishing the pants, I read that lawn is not recommended for pockets, and that the pockets will develop holes before the pants will. Whoops. We'll see how they hold up over time. Next time, I'll probably use quilting cotton, or self fabric (depending on the pocket type, I don't want pocket fabric to be noticeable if my pockets gape open, like when sitting).

I also added interfacing to the waistband, using knit tricot interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. In hindsight, this was not a good interfacing to use for this application. When the waistband is stretched, it creates weird wrinkles on the outer fabric. This is probably because the interfacing is being stretched to the point the adhesive dots get separated too much. Next time, I think I'll try a different interfacing, or elastic encased in the waistband.

This was also my first time drafting without seam allowances and adding them in when cutting. I was initially resistant about it, but it actually makes the fitting process and fit transfers to paper much easier. Plus, adding seam allowances on the fabric was not as difficult or annoying as I thought it would be, and you can add different amount of seam allowances each time you make the pattern, which is nice if you are a bit short on fabric, etc. So I highly recommend drafting/fixing sewing patterns without seam allowances! 

Despite all the potential issues, I'm loving my pants that I'm wearing right now. They look professional and fit better than the Athleta's. Kinda itching to make more now, with the other features I want.