I’ve made not one, but two different Monarch Jackets and I think it shows how different the pattern can look, depending on your fabric choices. I highly recommend checking out the official samples too. The new sample photo for the extended sizing is so beautiful!
I tested the Monarch Jacket all the way back in autumn 2020 and was pretty happy with the fit of the 16 D cup version on me. However, not everyone had the same feedback and so Allie decided to add a bust dart (which is almost always a good idea in curvy drafting) and make a few other tweaks for the extended sizing of this pattern. This is exactly what the testing process is for -and so I decided to make a second version of the jacket after the redrafting was complete for a fair representation of the final pattern – and also because I’ve worn the first green one pretty much non-stop since I finished it last year.
The Monarch Jacket has been around a little while, but is now available in extended sizing, which is based on a D cup bust and goes from size 12 to 30. It’s a boxy jacket that’s designed for thicker knit fabrics with a raglan sleeve and a bomber-type little collar. As you can see in the line drawing, the new version has bust darts, more snaps/buttons and also a divided waistband. I knew as soon as I saw the pattern that I wanted to use one of several gorgeous pieces of See You at Six fabric I bought last year and this green foliage print was my chosen piece.
The first thing to say about this pattern is that it’s a really quick sew. The pattern pieces are quite small and simple, so you can cut it all out in an hour or so, and from there it’s probably only a 2 or 3 hour sew, tops. The only slightly fiddly part is the collar and I think Allie does a really great job of ensuring a clean finish with excellent instructions and illustrations. I’ve made a couple of these bomber-style collars and this is undoubtedly the neatest finish I’ve managed. I think the secret was making you sew past the point you usually sew to when attaching such a collar, so you 100% catch everything when you flip it over. It makes a difference!
I used a mixture of the serger and the sewing machine, although you could overlock almost all of it if you prefer to. I normally do, but this French Terry was quite lightweight, so I was wary of getting too many ripples with the serger. The sewing machine gave me better control over this fabric, I think.
Sizing-wise, I made the 16D cup version and I think the drafting was spot on. My measurements were just slightly smaller than the 16 (my tummy a little more than “slightly less”) but I decided not to grade as there was still enough ease that it wouldn’t cling (I hoped). And, luckily, it worked out. As you can see, it’s not tight, but it’s not baggy either – I think perfect for my tastes. I would also point out that on many raglan-style tops you get a lot of excess fabric around the diagonal seamlines and shoulders if you have any sort of full bust, but I think Allie’s full bust drafting is great, because that is not the case here! No alterations necessary.
As mentioned, some of the testing feedback led to the final pattern having a dart added and a few other small tweaks. I had planned to make a second version anyway, so this was a great opportunity to do so. I decided to change it up a bit and go for a bit of a different feel this time. I went up to a size 18 because this time I wanted to create less of a sporty layer and more of an actual boxy jacket – a real outerwear piece, I suppose. My idea was to create something I could wear out over a dress in warmer weather, like this Cris Woods Envelope Dress, since I mostly seem to have heavier outerwear.
I got the fabric from Style Maker Fabrics in a selvage sale they had quite a few years ago and my only regret with it is that is doesn’t photograph very well. I tried lots of different settings, but unfortunately you just can’t see the beautiful metallic bronze threads running through it, along with the white variation. It really sparkles most enticingly and is a gorgeous fabric. I’ve tried still photos, inside, outside, Boomerang videos and I just can’t capture it. Oh well – you’ll just have to believe me when I say it’s very pretty. It has decent stretch – about 50% – and I’d say it’s a similar thickness to a heavy ponte, but with more texture.
The main differences with this version, aside from the size, are that I left out the snaps altogether for that boxy jacket look and that there are bust darts, which definitely add a little to the shaping. The darts were perfect and I didn’t have to adjust them at all. I think I mentioned it when I tested the Highlands Wrap Dress, but Allie really nailed the D cup bust as far as I’m concerned.
I also finished the inside of the placket with bias binding, as per a suggestion in the instructions and it adds an extra something to the jacket. The finished article is exactly what I had pictured before I started and that doesn’t always happen, so I’m very happy with it. There are so many adaptions you could make very easily to change it up even more. Leaving off the waistband would create the cutest little cropped bolero jacket, for instance.
Another great pattern from Allie Olson – I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for a versatile light jacket you can whip up in just a few hours!