hmmmmm, not sure where to start with this one…
Firstly, I love that fabric and not because Mood Fabrics NY gave it to me as part of the blogger network I must sing its praises. I absolutely think it’s fabulous fabric, it really is. I hadn’t sewn with ponte-style fabrics before but have discovered why people adore sewing with them. They have enough ‘give’ to make sewing a breeze, they are firm enough not to cause the headaches of tshirt style knits in the sewing process. They have enough body to skim over lumps and bumps for dresses, skirts and jackets. I’ll be back for more!
I wrote more about the fabric in relation to this pattern on my Mood Sewing Network blog post – there was too much to say to write it all at once so I focused on the fabric at Mood Sewing Network and the pattern here.
So this post is mainly about the Style Arc Ziggi Jacket pattern and my thoughts on it. Ziggi seems to be one of those patterns that is tucked away in pattern stashes or on a sewing ‘wish list’.
I’ve had a jacket fetish going on – yes, it’s out-of-season sewing. I just sew what I feel like. It was STINKING hot on this day. About 33 degrees and the humidity was suffocating. Naturally it POURED rain the next day, about 160mm in a few hours, and the temperature dropped by over 10 degrees (Celsius). I had to do a massive detour to get home from the fabric shop that day as many roads suddenly closed due to flash flooding.
STYLE ARC PDFs
I purchased this pattern from the Style Arc Etsy shop.
This is a great way to purchase Style Arc patterns (note: not all of them are available) if you have been concerned about purchasing one-size patterns – or want to avoid postage costs.
It’s important that you realise that you might get three sizes (I purchased the 4/6/8 jacket pattern) however those sizes are NOT nested. You receive three separate PDF files, one for each size. So if you are hoping to grade between sizes… it’s not going to be easy… unless you particularly like taping together 48 pages of pattern several times. I don’t know… I’ve got better things to do with my time!
This jacket can be made as a lined or unlined jacket. Unfortunately if you choose not to line the jacket the PDF has not been set up in such a way that you can just print the shell pattern pieces.
Ziggi is a monster PDF pattern to piece together, 48 pages in total. The only print option is A4 sheets. Hopefully one day Style Arc will also provide a print/copy shop version for A0 sheets and 36 inch wide paper as provided by companies like Grainline. I don’t mind PDF patterns however I do LOATHE trimming and taping together 48 pages. I know there are bigger patterns out there but I would prefer to pay a little more for printing and have several A0 sheets printed.
STYLE ARC INSTRUCTIONS
I think everyone knows Style Arc instructions are notoriously brief. I knew what I was getting myself into. I decided everything would be OK as there are many blogger posts about this jacket, including a sewalong by Sew Maris and Stacey Sews. If you are going to make this jacket – refer to these posts. And google – lots.
The instructions for this jacket are brief. Less than one A4 page in total. I think that is very brief considering all those zips and the lining. There are also no diagrams, other than diagrams of the jacket itself. I don’t have huge issues with this as I knew that before I started. I’m just pointing it out so if you do purchase this pattern you don’t get a shock.
I didn’t refer to the instructions much at all. I generally read sewing instructions before I start any project to see if there are any new or unusual techniques I need to be aware of or research before I start. Then I may refer back to them as a guide for order of construction or to see if the seam allowances vary as I’m sewing.
The pattern pieces have the stitching line printed on them. I personally hate referring back to pattern pieces to check seam allowances. I’d rather the pattern just said ‘sew the collar outer edges together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance’ rather than ‘Sew the collar outer edges together’. Call me picky but I don’t think it’s much to ask for a few more characters in the sentence.
It’s important to point out, before you rush off and buy supplies for this jacket, that the pattern requirements state 6 inch zips for the front pockets.
Unless you like shortening your zips, you will need to alter the pocket bags and facings to accommodate the 6 inch zips. I used 5 inch zips. I have long, skinny hands/fingers and decided I could get my paws into the 5 inch openings.
Longer sleeve zips are easy enough to accommodate, you just need to change the opening length.
That surprised me most about this make is how easy the zips were to put in. Yes, it was fiddly but I didn’t find it difficult. Sew Maris provides a fantastic blog post on this.
My Ziggi Zip Tips…
- Take your time
- Be generous with your zipper window facings – cut good sized pieces, you can always trim them back. I used silk organza for my facings.
- I like to press my silk organza facings and take lots of time to roll them to the wrong side of the jacket and achieve clean straight edges and neat corners.
- I also like to pin the facings in place before I baste the zips into the window opening. I always put an extra pin on an angle to the corner rather than just pinning around the straight edge. It seems to help pull out the corner of the facing and create a little more tension to create a nice sharp corner.
- Hand baste the zip into the opening you create. It’s worth that little bit of extra time and makes tops sticking around the opening much easier and smoother.
If you would like to add sleeve gussets to your sleeve zips (not part of the pattern), Shams of Communing with Fabric has a great post on this – and Ruth of Core Couture has added some helpful tips here. I chose not to add sleeve gussets but you can certainly do so for an extra finishing touch.
I’m not such a huge fan of metal zips. I know they are ‘cool’ but clearly I’m not. They interfere with how the jacket sits on the body and moves. I’m just too picky about weird things I think. My zipper for the opening as a slight ‘wiggle’ in the teeth and that annoys me senseless.
I only used one of the pocket facings per pocket. Maris is right, you only need one. The pattern instructs you to cut four.
I like top stitching. I really, really do. It’s not just the look I like. I also enjoy the process.
I use upholstery thread for my top stitching if sewing with my Bernina. I find it behaves better than top stitching thread. It could just be my Bernina has issues with top stitching thread thickness and I just need to fiddle with the tension – or perhaps my Bernina is just antsy about very thick thread just like she is about shirring elastic. I love my Bernina but she’s got some quirks – don’t we all?
I lengthened my stitch to 3. I used my edge stitching foot and put my needle over 2 ‘clicks’. I also always top stitched on the same side. It might be overly fussy of me but with something like top stitching I find the more consistent your method/technique is the more consistent the outcome is.
I always keep a hand sewing needle close by when top stitching. When I finish top stitching an area I use my hand sewing needle to take the top stitching thread to the wrong side of the fabric and finish the thread off. I guess that’s more fussiness but that’s how I roll some days.
I top stitched a large piece of fabric and then cut my yokes and upper sleeves from the piece. I also fused some Pellon the wrong side of the fabric so some extra body. I also put in shoulder pads to bulk up my silhouette and support the shoulders and sleeve heads.
I found the lining a b.i.t.c.h to sew in. I’m not particularly happy with it. It feels slightly off and Jodi of Sew Fearless had the same issue. I found the instructions entirely useless for this step. All I can say is good luck, it may involve cursing and a seam ripper. (NOTE: GingerMakes made an excellent point – it maybe sewing a woven lining to the knit shell – probably true!
A big thank you to Ruth of Core Couture. When I was vacillating about this pattern and the fabric, I googled myself silly, researched Pattern Review (a time efficient way to check what fabric people used with a pattern) and finally contacted Ruth about her experience as she had sewn this jacket in a polyester knit, most reviews I’ve seen have been sewn in a woven. She provided plenty of advice and encouragement along the way. Thank you Ruth!
I often find when I’m sewing, it feels like I’m sewing in a vacuum. So I often reach other to other bloggers via email, twitter or messaging, particularly if I know they are experienced in certain patterns or techniques. I’ve always found people to be incredibly helpful and generous with their advice and encouragement. If you ever need some extra advice – don’t’ hesitate to reach out to someone else, especially if you have no IRL sewing circle to hang out with.
This jacket is a bit of a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Cougar… I roared like a angry beast during the making of this jacket (the lining caused me the most grief). I lined it with some cougar print fabric from my stash. This fabric has popped up a couple of times on my blog… here and here!
So this one is for you Anne! I feel like some old biker gang girl…. oh dear… perhaps I am a cougar after all!
POSTS I FOUND HELPFUL
Other than the lining, I didn’t find this too difficult to make. It’s detailed and fiddly in parts but not that hard. I did lots of research and googling along the way and found these posts very useful.
I chose the Style Arc pattern over the Kwik Sew biker jacket due to the volume of online posts and help available for the construction.
The sizing seems largish for this particular pattern. I sewed size 6 based on my measurements and the comments about the Style Arc sizing accuracy. I think a size 4 would have been better on my frame, for your reference my bust measures 32 inches and my under bust measures 27 inches (I find it helpful when bloggers include their measurements as it is so hard to judge someone’s physical size and the finished garment size on them).
I think Ziggi is quite boxy despite what the pattern illustrations indicate. If you are considering sewing this because you think it’s more fitted and sexy than the Kwik Sew biker jacket pattern… it’s not as fitted as you think it is going to be. I increased my seam allowance to 25mm between my bust and hip to eliminate the boxiness of this jacket. Given the instructions, PDF, single size pattern files, wrong zip sizes, lining issues I had… if I wanted another biker jacket, I would try the Kwik Sew next time. Yes, the catalogue images are not very enticing but I’ve sewn plenty of ‘ugly ducklings’ and been delighted by the end result.
I seem to have written a lot in this post and I suspect I will think of more to add later!
ALSO SEE: Stacey Sews | Core Couture | Communing with Fabric | Sew Fearless | Sally Bee Makes (love this one) | A Challenging Sew | Clothing Engineer (shearling) | Meggipeg (gorgeous two-tone leather) | Sew Maris | Sew Judy | Sigrid Sewing | Dodgy Zebra | Sewing Pattern Review…
And a Ziggi in progress (maybe) report: My Messings
Pattern: Style Arc Ziggi Jacket
Fabric: Wool Stretch Suiting from Mood Fabrics NY
Accessories: Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren (birthday pressie from my mum) | Key necklace: Tiffany & Co | Ring: sterling silver from some random little Hunter Valley shop during a girls’ road/wine trip