Back in February I made a flannel Ilford shacket and I have worn it SO MUCH – it’s versatile, easy to style, fun to wear and super cosy! I knew I wanted to sew another ‘shacket’ ready for this winter and have been planning this make for months.
I saw this Robert Kaufman Chestnut Durango at the beginning of the year and desperately wanted some, but at £24 per metre it would have used up a big old chunk of my sewing budget and I decided not to splurge. Obviously it then sold out and I realised how much I really REALLY wanted some – isn’t it always the way?! Luckily for me, Sister Mintaka has all my flannel needs covered and she got some in stock a couple of months later – Sandeep was also charging a much more reasonable £18 per metre, so when my husband offered to buy me some for my birthday I wasn’t about to say no!
It would have been very sensible to make another Ilford – I absolutely love my first version, have worn it loads, know it fits well and I had enough fabric… but why make life easy? I thought about making a bit of a mash-up between patterns – the boxy shape of the Ilford with the longer length and curved hem of the Kalle were what I had in mind, but then I came across the Diana dress by Lenaline Patterns in a video by the Foldline and it was exactly what I was looking for!
When I made my Ilford I only had 2m of flannel and struggled to fit everything on the narrow width, so this time I got 2.5m of fabric – this would have been plenty for another Ilford, but was definitely not enough for the Diana. I laid the pattern pieces out and decided that by cutting two of the plackets, pocket facings, the inner yoke and hem facings from another fabric I was pretty confident I could make it work. I bought 1m of plain black cotton from Hometown and got my scissors out!
Obviously I cut everything on the flat to be as economical as possible with my fabric and this also meant I could carefully ensure that the checks on the two front pieces of my shacket WOULDN’T BLOODY LINE UP PERFECTLY AT ALL. I know I can pattern match (see my Ron Swanson shirt for proof) but for whatever reason I totally missed the mark this time. I briefly considered buying more fabric to re-cut one of the front panels, but I walked away, slept on it and when I came back to my project I decided not to. Fortunately, the bias cut placket and pockets break up the front enough to make it fairly unnoticable to the untrained eye, but trust me when I say I was absolutely gutted when I realised my mistake.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying I enjoyed sewing my shacket, likely caused by the hangover from the challenge of cutting everything out and my mismatched check disappointment. I have sewn many shirts and somehow the Diana instructions didn’t seem particularly intuitive – I also didn’t find the illustrations very helpful when I needed clarification on a couple of the steps. I mostly followed the pattern but I did change the order slightly – for example, sewing the yoke burrito before closing the side seams and finishing the hem with the facing, which just seemed more logical to me.
Now my shacket is finished and I have worn it a couple of times I have to say I really love it! The failed pattern matching has pretty much stopped bothering me and I’m absolutely thrilled with the snaps I chose to install instead of buttons – they look so good! The size 10 is ideal – fitted enough so I can wear the shacket as a dress with the tie belt and loose enough that I can wear it open as a jacket over jeans and still fit a long-sleeved top underneath. The only slight change I would make next time would be to lengthen the sleeves by a couple of inches to suit my personal preference.
I know my shacket is going to be worn constantly this autumn and winter and I can’t rule out making another if some more beautiful flannel comes my way!
Huge thanks to Patsy for not only taking me for a gorgeous walk around Brimham Rocks, but for patiently taking these beautiful photos for me while we were there too!