This is my Friday Pattern Company Ilford Jacket and I may never take it off! I’ve had my eye on the pattern for a while and I am continually amazed by the fabulous versions I see pop up on Instagram. It’s SUCH a versatile design – not just because it is unisex and offers two lengths, two sleeve types and multiple pocket variations, but due to the sheer range of fabrics it can be made from and how it can be worn.
I really wanted this Robert Kaufman tahoe flannel the last time Sister Mintaka had it in stock, but I resisted the temptation to stash some. I regretted this a lot once it had sold out, so when she got another bolt in December I snapped up two metres, even though I wasn’t sure what I would use it for. I love wearing brushed cotton and the warm, muted tones of this check suit my skin tone nicely, so I knew it was a sensible purchase.
I started to see quite a few RTW ‘shackets’ (shirt/jacket hybrids) around this autumn/winter and decided that would not only be something I would love to wear, but the perfect project for my flannel. The Ilford looked like the ideal pattern for my shacket and I spent a long time exploring the hashtag on Instagram to help me choose which version to make.
The longer length and boxy sleeve were my preference, but I realised quite quickly that because my fabric was only 45″ wide, 2m really wasn’t enough and I may have to make compromises. I decided to make the size XS after looking carefully at the finished garment measurements and thinking about how I wanted my shacket to fit. The Ilford is designed to be over-sized, but I didn’t want it to be enormous and I definitely made the right decision – the XS is perfect. The jacket is drafted for someone who is 5′ 6″ tall, so I removed an inch in length from the front, back and sleeves, but I didn’t make any other alterations. Once I had cut and adjusted my pattern pieces I played Tetris for a while and worked out a way to cut everything – including pockets! I even managed to pattern match the check across the button placket AND make my pockets almost invisible – what a result!
I really enjoyed sewing my shacket and it wasn’t a challenging or time-consuming project at all. I finished cutting out on Saturday afternoon and after a few leisurely hours sewing on Sunday and Monday I had finished. The flat collar is super easy to sew and installing drop sleeves is a breeze – I used a great method to avoid bulk at the underarm seam, which has been helpfully saved as a highlight by Jane Kilpatrick – thanks for the tip! Sewing the button holes took a while as they are really long to accomodate the 22mm wooden buttons I chose, but they look lovely with the fabric so it was totally worth it! I would normally use fewer buttons than this and space them out more, but they looked really strange when they didn’t match the checks, so I just went with it.
I’m so pleased I bought the Ilford pattern and although I don’t have any immediate plans to make another, I think it’s one of those timeless, versatile designs that will get made again and again over the years. My husband has certainly got his eye on an Ilford jacket of his own!