I’ve had the Cookie Zipper Blouson by Waffle Patterns on my sewing radar for quite awhile, but had forgotten all about it. Then we were in the midst of planning a last-minute trip back to Vancouver and I was suddenly in need of THE jacket to solve my persistent outerwear dilemma. So I finally did something about it–I made myself a blouson!
My outerwear problem stems from my need to wear 3/4 length sleeves. Also, long sleeves rolled up to a 3/4 length. Shirts with sleeve tabs are awesome. I LOVE 3/4 sleeves! They hide the jiggly bits under the upper arms and they are more practical than long sleeves–when having to wash up after your kids, there’s no need to constantly push up your sleeves.
Anyhoo, if you wear 3/4 sleeves as often as I do, you’ll understand that choosing outerwear becomes a challenge. Cardigans are out–the sleeves are too narrow, causing the 3/4 sleeve to bunch up. Same problem with blazers. Wool coats are too wintery for the Bay Area. Besides, I’m not interested in anything past hip length anymore–it makes me look shorter and I’m definitely not about to compensate by wearing heels. So parkas, coatigans and trench coats are out, too. Finally, I wish I were cool enough to wear a cape. Nope, I am not. Do you see the dilemma?
Worn with my favourite Wiksten Tova 3/4 length shirt (yay!):
I feel like singing the Peg + Cat “problem solved” song! The Cookie Zipper Blouson is roomy in the arms, hip length, with a loose-fit, while maintaining a flattering silhouette.
The fabric is a heavy-weight stretch woven cotton with silver thread that gives it a metallic sheen. I bought it at Dressew in Vancouver and it’s exactly the same fabric as Froo’s coat dress. It’s the colour of black coffee–a really dark brown that Pantone would describe as a “warm black”.
The inside of the jacket is super soft and feels like brushed flannel. But the best part is the pretty bias tape binding that I used to finish my seams!
I made oodles of 1″ bias tape to make 1/4″ double-fold bias tape. I love the vintage look of this print. If there’s one thing I would do differently next time, it would be to make wider bias tape. 1/4″ leaves very little room for error, especially with thick fabric.
At the hem and pockets, I finished the seams with my serger. The hem needs to stretch and I couldn’t figure out how to ease the bias tape around the tight corners of the pockets. I should have changed the thread colour!
The pockets are a little snug. I have tiny hands, so it doesn’t bother me, but the opening of the fabric could be longer by 1″. The opening didn’t extend past the end of my 5″ zipper, so topstitching became tricky. The pocket fabric is the same stretch cotton twill used in Froo’s Sunki dress.
I was a little nervous about sewing up a separating zipper for the first time, but the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. Each step of the pattern is clearly illustrated–the pattern is a serious gem. But anyhoo, gold zippers! It adds a dressy element to the blouson.
I was really hoping to find the kind of thick rib knit fabric used in bomber jackets, but I couldn’t find any. I ended up buying a regular rib knit fabric at Jo-Ann. It was the colour of coffee with half & half, but with a package of Rit Dye in Dark Brown, I got it to a shade of coffee with milk. I didn’t get the perfect match I was hoping for–I should have mixed the dark brown dye with a bit of black dye. It was my first experiment in dyeing fabric, which wasn’t the horrible experience I was expecting, but nonetheless, a long process involving guesswork with an uncertain outcome.
I had to adjust the width of the knit pieces. The rib knit is extra stretchy with not-so-great recovery, so I trimmed 1″ off the cuffs and 2″ off the collar. I left the hem band as-is because I had already sewn on the end pieces, but it could have been shortened considerably, for a better fit.
All of my colour references are about coffee–I have been a zombie mommy. Luckily, we are in the land of Tim Hortons coffee and babysitting grandparents. This weekend, we drove to the North Shore to visit the Capilano salmon hatchery, but took a detour to Deep Cove–I convinced the hubs to go for honey doughnuts. They are like fluffy cake doughnuts, with a crispy exterior drenched in honey. Mmm…
One final comment–I’m sure I’m being picky, but since I had a lofty goal, I need to dissect every detail! I sewed up the 38 and I think it would be perfect for a non-stretch fabric. With a stretch woven, I think I could go down a size. Stretch wovens are my new favourite apparel fabric! I will definitely be making another one. Although the pattern doesn’t come with lining, there’s a tutorial here for instructions on adding lining.
I hope the weather in the Bay Area will finally cool down when we return. We left during a heat wave–I’m sooooo ready to hide in my cozy blouson, while drinking a much needed coffee, in chilly autumn weather!