Sewosphere, this week I actually put my money where my mouth went… I sewed my first French Indie sewing pattern, AND I made my first jacket. So, without further ado…. Meeeet Mona!
Mona is a simple biker jacket from the French brand Wear Lemonade. They are the pattern side of the well known French DIY and lifestyle blog, Make my Lemonade, published and curated by the stylist and influencer Lisa Gachet. Wear Lemonade offers quarterly collections of RTW clothes, on a ‘when they’re gone, they’re gone’ basis, but also the patterns for the same clothes, so you can make your own at home. They have 13 patterns so far, in both paper and PDF (all in French, I’m afraid), and I must admit, quite a few of them have made it on my ‘to sew’ list for this year. And Mona was definitely the one to win my heart the fastest. Here’s my first version (because I’m sure I will make loads more).
Mona Perfecto (French for biker jacket), free PDF pattern from Wear Lemonade. Line drawing below. It comes in sizes from 36 to 42 and I cut a size 38.
TIPS FOR ASSEMBLING THE PATTERN
For us used to PDFs that are easy to assemble, like Burda or the bigger indie pattern brands, this one is a bit of a pain to put together. This is really my only gripe with Mona, though can’t complain too much, as it was free. The pattern sheets are not numbered, or framed, and there are no matching triangles or the like to figure out what goes where. And there are 36 pages!!
If you want to make Mona too, I would suggest adding the page numbers in PDF (add header, then numbers), so you can make your way around it. Then measure the distance from the left side and top to the nearest pattern line and draw a line parallel to the paper edges, then trim those out. Then use your common sense to join the sheets together.
NB: pattern includes 1 cm seam allowance.
Image source: Make My Lemonade
I used a heavy weight cotton denim twill, from Classic Textiles in GoldHawk Rd. It was £6.5/m, but it was an end of roll, so I got 3m for £15. It has a lovely brushed feeling on the right side, and the regular twill weave on the left side. It has absolutely no stretch, and give that I had planned originally planned to make Ginger Jeans with it, this was a much more suitable use for it. I used about 1.3m, so plenty left for other projects.
You will need a separating zipper, about 35 cm long, but can be longer then trimmed to size. You will also need bias binding, about 4m (I used self made binding, from the black cherry fabric I used on the Sewing Bee) and 4 anorak snaps (just the female parts). Depending on the weight of your fabric, you will also need a bit of interfacing for the collar.
Because I was not at all sure about how exact I was in putting together the PDF, I made a quick toile. This is what I changed as a result
- It felt a bit tight across the back, so I added 0.5 cm to centre back and 0.5 cm at the side seams. It turned out it was entirely unnecessary and I ended up taking in the side seams, but of course, the CB could not be altered, so it’s a bit too wide over the shoulder-blades. Oh well, next time…
- I also moved the bust darts, they were very long and very high, so they came down by about an inch and shorter by about and inch as well.
- Having read this in other blogs, I also did a full arm alteration on the sleeve, as the original ones felt really tight and made it difficult to bend the arm if the fabric was not too stretchy. I added about 1 cm in total.
- When I set the sleeves in, I really struggled, so I took off 0.5 cm tapering down to nothing at the very top of the sleeve cap, and then it fitted in perfectly.
- Also, mind you that it comes out very short, as you can see from the pics, I am 5.6” and it hits about the natural waist. I might try a longer version next time, by adding a few more centimetres to the hem.
This is a dead easy project, even for beginners. It took me longer to put together the PDF than it did to sew the garment. The PDF does not have instructions, but Lisa made a video demonstrating how to put it together. It’s in French, unfortunately (and she speaks a bit fast too), but you can see what she is doing and it’s fairly self-explanatory. If you have done such a garment before, you probably don’t even need it. There are no major watch-outs, other than figuring out what pattern piece is what (there are 3 pieces for the front). Just mind the notches for the zipper ends and make sure you keep to the 1 cm SA.
I really enjoyed adding the bias binding to the edges of the facings, as well as the hem and the cuffs. And contrary to my habits, I hand stitched the bias binding instead of machining the hems and cuffs. Somehow, I thought it might work better, and it was really quick.
And now, the fashion shoot overload :). We discovered a small Japanese garden in the neighbourhood, so Carl went all artistic on us. Also, hope you like my new glasses, geek chic meets biker chick, ha ha.
This is possibly in my top 3 favourite makes ever, and I have already worn it as soon as I finished it. I know it will become a wardrobe staple and literally be worn to pieces, as it goes with anything, dresses, jeans, skirts etc. Luckily, it’s a sturdy denim, so should last me a while :). I can’t wait to make more, and figure out how to make a lining for it too.
If you guys want to give it a go, it’s free, and I’d be happy to help with translating the video or any other tips. Or I’m sure there must be more French speakers out there (looking at you Nee 🙂 ) who’ll love it too.
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