Hello all, I seem to have been sewing up a storm in lockdown 3.0 with so many plans fighting to make their way to the top of my list. I’m here today though with my next Felicity Fabrics blog, which is all about the Arlo Track Jacket by Friday Pattern Company. This jacket isn’t my normal sewing style but I realised (in lockdown) that the one RTW sweat jacket I do have, I was wearing so much of that I thought I could really do with another one! Obviously realising far too late that comfy clothes are what it’s all about these days. The pattern samples of the Arlo I’ve seen online look really stylish and what’s even better is that the pattern is designed for both men and women.
The Arlo jacket is a typical sports style zip up sweat jacket, with a short upright collar, stylish front pockets and a chunky zip up the front, designed to be made in knit fabrics. The size range is very good ranging from a XS to 7XL (which is chest size 32″ to 60″), and there are also three different hem and sleeve length options to choose from.
Based on my measurements I decided to cut out the XS, with the medium sleeve length and short body length. I was able to use the finished garment measurements given to measure on myself and my current RTW jacket how it would fit, which was so useful.
There are so many fabric possibilities for this garment that choosing which to use took me a little bit of time. You can of course make the jacket all in the same fabric but I’ve not really experimented with colour blocking very much before so I was keen to try this out. Fliss and Caroline sent me lots of suitable samples in the post and I had great fun mulling over different combinations that would work well together. In the end I settled on a slightly thicker grey chevon ponte, an ochre/mustard colour French Terry, and an ivory colour ribbing. I originally had a bright teal ribbing picked out however after I cut the pieces out I realised it wasn’t going to look quite right so changed my mind for the ivory ribbing, which tones with the zip much better I feel. I thought these colours together would create a lovely sporty but modern feel that I’d wear loads casually as well as out and about on relaxed days.
The pattern suggests a certain colour blocking option using three different fabrics, but of course you could use just 2 or 4 if you wanted to. I decided to use the grey ponte for the collar and upper front and back pieces, as this was the thickest and sturdiest of my fabrics and I thought it was most likely to keep its shape well for the collar. The mustard French Terry I used for the lower front and backs including the pockets as well as the sleeves. The ribbing is best used for only the sleeve and bodice hems. The pattern instructions give details of the different amounts required for each colour blocked section too so you may even find you have suitable amounts in your stash for one of these!
A note on the ribbing fabric, Felicity fabrics stock a narrow width ribbing (70cm wide) which comes as a tube and is of excellent quality. However the pattern assumes you have a wider (140/150cm) ribbing fabric. This worked out fine but I needed to cut the hem ribbing piece as two separate pieces with a seam allowance at the back to fit it out of the narrower width. So just bear this in mind when ordering your ribbing and double check the width as if it’s narrow you may need a larger amount than the pattern suggests. For the XS size range 0.5m was still plenty.
The instructions are very good and include how to finish the seam at every step – creating a really neat look inside as well as out. Construction starts with the pockets then moves on to the bodice, sleeves, then the collar and hem and putting the zip in is one of the last steps. I found putting the zip in a little tricky, but this was mainly because my zip ended up slightly too long. Even though I ordered the correct length for the short body size, it ended up an inch too long. I still can’t quite work out how this happened, but I think maybe I wasn’t precise enough with my seam allowances and ended up with the body slightly shorter than it should have been. Anyway, I got round it by ever so slightly stretching the front pieces to fit the zip in (there was no way I was unpicking it all, or ordering another zip!!) This worked out absolutely fine except I just couldn’t use the recommended wonder tape to secure the zip in as it prevented the front pieces from stretching, so I just used pins instead. I didn’t even know what wonder tape was until this make but it’s basically a very thin double sided tape, which makes things like inserting zips, attaching patch pockets or sewing anything where pins are difficult to get in so much easier! I will definitely keep a little supply in my sewing box from now on.
The fabrics all worked really well for this make, the French Terry is light to medium weight and the grey chevron ponte is medium weight. Both suitable where lots of seams meet at the pockets and not too thick to sew or topstitch through. They also pressed easily enough on a medium heat.
A few tips that I found helpful as I went along: If you’re doing a colour blocked version I would recommend labeling each paper pattern piece with what fabric it corresponds to, and double check before you cut into your fabric so that you know you’ve got all the right pieces in the right fabric. Keep the pattern pieces attached to the fabric for as long as possible as I found some of the pocket pieces looked quite similar so this avoided any confusion. If you’re colour blocking and using matching thread for each section, get all your threads and corresponding bobbins ready at the beginning to save time making these up as you go.
I’m really pleased with how this jacket has turned out overall, it’s very comfortable and something that was missing from my me-made wardrobe. I’m glad I made the short body length and medium sleeve length, as I found the sleeves have come up shorter than I was expecting (and I don’t think I have particularly long arms!). Next time I might even make the long sleeve version as I do prefer longer sleeves on things. Otherwise I’m very happy with the final fit. I would recommend thinking carefully about what fabrics to use for this jacket as something too thick will be difficult to sew the pockets with, but equally something to thin may also not work so well.
I love how there is an option to finish each seam with top stitching, I think this gives the jacket a very professional, RTW type feel. Although you don’t have to do this and you can just leave the seams raw or finish them with an overlocker or zig zag stitch if you prefer.
I can definitely see me making more of these in the future, it’s a great stash busting make too and it would also be a good idea for a gift for somebody as the sizing isn’t too crucial – what a lovely gift that would be indeed!