Pona Jacket Class 6 May, 2023

I’m giving a full day class soon @craftystudio.ie in Dublin on 6th May with the Helen’s Closet Pona jacket. I’ve chosen this jacket for its simple construction, good size range (0-30) and satisfying end product. The lapels are particularly well designed and easy to attach (see pic). You can use a wide variety of woven fabrics for the Pona. Booking for the class is at http://www.craftystudio.ie

I’ve made two of these jackets for myself and one for my daughter. And I’m going to make a cropped, black denim one before the class – just to jog my memory!

The ingenious design of the Pona Jacket by Helen’s Closet Patterns makes the lapels easy to do. Illustration by kind permission of Helen’s Closet

This is a boxy jacket that is easy to fit. I ranged from size 16-22 and took this into account when cutting out. I also needed a biceps adjustment – so it’s worth comparing the sleeve pattern piece to your biceps measurement before cutting out.

If you are confident about your size and cutting out, it will give you more time on the day if you do this in advance. And it would be a good idea to add the interfacing too. If not I can help you out. If you don’t get the jacket completely finished, I will be sewing the jacket on the day too and you can see the process from start to finish.

If you are interested in binding the seams on yours, I will show you how on the day.
Here are my notes from when I made these jackets a few years ago.

Purple plaid – first make of 2020!
I’m so happy with this Pona jacket from Helen’s Closet. It’s a great pattern with wonderful instructions. Helen recommends sizing using high bust. However, I range from size 16-22 within this pattern and I wanted a nice loose fit, so I graded from 16 at the shoulders out to 22 from under the arms. Even with this when I sewed up the sleeves I had to unpick and sew the seam with smaller seam allowance – beefy biceps! And also I used very thick felt like wool when pattern recommends medium to lightweight and the wool causes bulk at seams – like where the shoulders meet the sleeves. If doing this, just remember that it will also affect the facing pieces.

I cut the pockets on the bias as there was enough plaid matching to be done elsewhere! I did manage to match the plaids across the front and at the side seams and that was very satisfying. I had to redo the hem on one side three times to get the plaid matching exactly.
I wasted time hand-stitching the front-facing down forgetting that when I added the pockets those stitches would keep the facing in place. The only other thing different I did was to under-stitch the back collar after attaching and as Helen suggests I hand-stitched facing in the ditch at shoulders.

I already have several more planned including one for my daughter, who has requested the cropped version in black.

Irish linen herringbone
I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of this Helen’s Closet pure Irish herringbone linen (from craftystudio.ie) Pona jacket. I Hong Kong bound most of the seams, including the sleeves, so I could roll the cuffs back if I wanted to. I used voile from SeaSalt for the bias binding. I cut the pockets on the bias to add interest. I hand stitched the bottom hem and the sleeve hems, and hand stitched the facing to the shoulder seams. I graded the pattern from 16 to size 22. I also did a biceps adjustment because that seam hits exactly the widest part of my arm and the bulk from the seams doesn’t help! (I did the Hong Kong finish just up 3/4 of the sleeve to avoid excess bulk at this join. This was a bit of a pain but it has done what I wanted to. I finished hidden seams with the serger because this fabric frays a lot.

Hong Kong binding made easy – I serged the binding on the first pass, which gives a nice edge over which to fold the binding. I don’t pin either, but just guide the edges together. This is easy because the binding is so narrow. I also used binding strips 1.5″ wide (the book I looked up said to use 1″ strips) because I use a decent size square to make binding and want to be able to use it for other projects. The voile folds over a bit on itself on the underside of the seam allowance, but it is so fine, I don’t think it matters – and it means you definitely catch fabric when stitching in the ditch to secure the binding underneath.


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