As anyone who’s read my blog for a while will know, I have a soft spot for Brindille & Twig patterns for kids. It’s not so much the drafting or design (although both are solid) as it is so much the modernity of the patterns. These are clothes that kids actually want to wear. They’re practical (virtually all knit), quick to sew and they always look funky and fun. Their new pattern is the zip jacket and as soon as I saw it, I tossed it straight into my virtual basket and coughed up the dough. This is very unlike me – I’m not usually an early adopter – but I thought it was cool.
I also knew pretty quickly that I wanted to make it in this very cute French terry from another of my fave online stores: Jumping June Textiles. The fabric is called Family is Best, by Verson Puoti, and it has a little elastane in it, which is perfect for kids’ clothing. To take down the cute factor just a little, I decided to do the cuffs, waistband and neckband in black cotton lycra and use a plain white sports jacket zip. Now that I’ve finished it, I think the black is a little too harsh for a 2.5 year old boy. It’s not terrible, but it would have been better in a softer colour. Oh well, you live and learn!
As you can see, the jacket is way too big for Joe (although trying to get a decent picture was not the easiest). I made the 3T-4T version and Brindille & Twig patterns run slightly large in my experience. Joe is in 3T RTW clothes, but as this is a spring-type jacket, I made it a little bigger than needed for him to grow into. I think it’ll do him for a while yet! The zip jacket is available in sizes preemie to 6T and has options for a hood and also a sleeveless version, so pretty versatile.Brindille & Twig always have very comprehensive instructions that are illustrated with photos of the construction process. I do find it a little difficult to see what’s going on sometimes (drawings are better I think), but at least they do cover the whole process. Nevertheless, there are a few little tricky bits and I’m not convinced there isn’t a better way for me to finish some parts. I had a look at an adult bomber jacket pattern and there were some different ideas for finishing, so maybe I’ll try them another time. The construction was certainly different to any piece I’ve put together so far.
You begin by sewing the zipper plackets and front pieces to the waistband and then fold the front pieces around and join at the front with the zip. I’ve never used the waistband as the anchor piece like this before, but it was fun to try. My zipper came up a little short although I used the recommended size. It was fine in the end, but only just, so maybe something to be aware of.
Once you have the front arranged and the zip sewn on, you attach the back at the shoulders and then sew the sleeves on flat. The first tricky part was then sewing the rest of the waistband on around the full circumference of the bottom. Because you’d already worked on it to attach the zipper pieces, it was quite difficult to get a neat finish (at least for me).
The second tricky part was attaching the neckband neatly. A couple of tips – make sure when you cut the curve into the neckband, the curve extends all the way to the base of the neckband (see above). I didn’t do this at first and had to rip it out until I understood that was required. My second tip is to use loads of pins or clips because you want that pointed end to get trapped neatly in the neckband and it has a habit of pinging off course. My finished neckband seems a bit stretched out at the top of the zipper, but I’m hoping a good wash and dry will sort that out.
The pocket piece that is provided with the pattern is a curved pocket set at an angle. I wasn’t too keen, so drafted up a more traditional bomber jacket-shaped pocket. I have to say it was quite hard to get a neat shape when you turn it out and press, so perhaps a simple rectangle would have been better. I might still remove them again, but haven’t quite decided.
What else? My machine didn’t like topstitching around the zip and waistband, so it definitely isn’t my finest work and the waistband doesn’t quite match at the front, but overall, despite these little niggles, the jacket came together quickly and fairly easily. It only took me a day to create it, which of course is one of the beauties of making miniature clothes. I suspect that many of these little errors would come out better the next time, now I know what’s involved.
All in all, I think it’s another successful pattern from B&T, and I can see myself making another couple for the less harsh seasons. There are some really cute versions on their website, so check them out if you’re interested!