When the Monarch Jacket from Allie Olson released I just had to have it. I love the easy, classic style and knew I had to sew one up stat.
When it came time to pick a project for this sponsored Riley Blake post, I kept going back to a bomber jacket. The Monarch was the perfect silhouette but is meant for knits. Did I dare hack it?!! You know how much I love having all the work done for me 😉 With a little deliberation with my sewing peeps I was convinced I could tackle this project and I’m so glad I did.
Before I dive into the alterations I did, let’s talk fabric. I ordered this cuff ribbing in the fall and have been looking for the right project to really highlight it. I used it as my starting point and picked the fabric to coordinate. There are 33, yes 33!, colors of wool to choose from at Riley Blake. I stuck with a classic Navy then felt like the sky was the limit with a coordinate. I wanted something seasonless since I was sewing this in the spring but wanted to be able to wear it in the fall as well. I waffled between Mint, Beehive, Holly, or a classic Gray. In the end, I surprised even myself and picked Lipstick, a pretty coral-pink that looks equally suited for sunny spring or the jewel tones of fall. It’s got a bit of a rust tint that I really love.
This was my first time sewing with wool. I washed and dried my fabrics a couple of times to shrink them up and felt them a bit. I couldn’t tell you the last time I went to the dry cleaners, so I wanted to be able to throw this jacket in the wash. Hopefully, I’ll be good to wash on cold and hang it to dry when needed.
The fabrics softened when washed and I love the nubby texture they took on. It’s a nice medium weight and was not too thick to sew up or add my snaps to. It’s nice and structured without being too stiff.
Ready for my easy alterations. I fell into a size 4 chest and 6 waist but sized up to a straight size 8 to make sure there was enough ease. I probably could have stayed with the 6 bodice but definitely need the extra room in the arms. I lengthened the sleeve piece in an oh-so-technical way. I laid my cuff fabric on the cuff pattern piece and determined how much width I was loosing and added that to the sleeve piece length. It worked out lovely. I lined the sleeves in a super soft double brushed poly knit so I could easily wear a short-sleeved shirt and not be bothered if the wool was too itchy. I basted the lining to the sleeve piece and treated them as one piece when sewing up the jacket. The sleeve seam is a bit bulky and I was glad I used a thinner knit to keep it from being too terribly thick.
The collar was the most intimidating part for me. The collar pattern piece is angled and folded and I was working with a rectangular single piece of ribbing. I angled the ribbing onto the jacket neckline and basted it according to the pattern directions. I was pleasantly surprised it worked out so easily and I was able to finish the jacket according to the tutorial. It’s so nice having that soft ribbing on my neck!
The pattern does not have pockets which I totally get if you wear it as a light layering piece but I’m really missing them on this jacket. I’m contemplating adding patch or welt pockets to this to make it more functional. It didn’t help that these jeans are sans front pockets as well- a girl needs
her pockets! Any suggestions for me?
I used the pattern suggestion and finished the placket with a little bias tape. This fabric is another Riley Blake print coming soon, Edie Jane (I can’t wait to share my makes from that collection!) and I love the subtle feminine touch it adds.
Overall, I’m thrilled with how this project turned out. It’s a classic piece that I’m sure will be the first jacket I grab on those cold mornings or chilly soccer game days. I’d love to make a comfy knit version too and have already scoured my stash for fabric options.
My first go at working with wool might have spoiled me for the future. My confidence is high that I just might be able to tackle a real coat come fall. This Riley Blake wool was so nice to work with. The hardest part just might be picking a color!