Plaid-er on the Inside: Wiksten Jacket

The Wiksten jacket has been a real show stopper of the online sewing community since it was published. You’d be hard pressed to not come across it if you’ve browsed the sewing instagram hashtags for any length of time. This year, I made one too! The Wiksten Jacket is a minimalist jacket that takes its inspiration from Japanese Haori. It has an oversized fit, large deep patch pockets, a generous folded collar and three different length options. The jacket is fully lined and reversible.

I made the mid length version, which on me is about the same length as my beloved driftless cardigans from Grainline. The visual impact is very different though, because the proportions and the fabric make it drape very different.

The fit of the jacket is very oversized in all elements: body, sleeves, pockets and collar all are blown out of proportion. You are meant to be swaddling in fabric so to speak. I’ve seen lots of sewist size down on this pattern, sometimes quite significantly, which obviously produces a very different fit. For my version I just decided to to go with my bust size as I prefer the oversized look both aesthetically and in terms of wearing comfort. The pattern does not have inclusive sizing at the moment, which really is a negative, but the producer, Wiksten, has promised that updating the size range on their existing patterns has priority over publishing new patterns so we will wait and see.

The main modifications I made focused on the pockets. I made the openings angled and increased the pocket size. The angular openings were inspired by the pockets of the Yari Overalls that I made two summers ago. It has the coolest angled pockets set in the princess seams, so I wanted to recreate that here. To do this I drafted my own pocket piece based on the side pieces, making the pocket both longer and wider so all the edges would be set and hidden in the hem and collar seam. I then drew an angle (just picked an random angle that looked good) at the pocket opening, adding seam allowance for a folded edge.

Instead of lined pockets on one side of the jacket I put unlined pockets on both the main fabric pieces and the lining. So, no matter how I wear the jacket, I’ll have outer and inside pockets. I don’t notice any extra bulk or weird draping of the jacket so that worked out pretty well I think. It helps that my fabric isn’t stiff and quite drapey and fluid. Adding pockets to things that don’t have them is definitely my sewing brand, but I feel that making big pockets bigger to have mahoosive pouches on my clothing could be a successful potential sub brand – I think I own a project bag that is smaller than these pockets! (This is, obviously, said with nothing but admiration for these pockets!)

The pattern at present is only available in pdf format, which these days is the format I use most so for me that is fine. It has to be said though, this is not the most user friendly pattern I’ve ever taped together. The pattern sheets are numbered vertically, while the pattern build up is horizontal. This felt super very counter intuitive. Not all pattern sheets are numbered in the same place, most of them are, but sometimes the numbers are placed differently as to not break up the pattern lines. So instead of the bottom right corner, the opposite corner was used, which makes it even more confusing to tape. I avoided a lot of wrong taping cause I almost instantly decided to just abandon the pattern numbering and made little piles of each horizontal line and just worked with that. Obviously it worked out all right, but I thought I should mention it here as a bit of an outlier in pdf patterns in this aspect.

So let’s talk a bit about the fabrics. Because the jacket has a full lining, and the boxy and oversized nature of the design it takes quite a lot of fabric and you have to take into account the qualities of the fibres of both of them when making pairings. The pattern uses more of the lining than the main fabric if you, like Wiksten’s own example, make the collar in the lining fabric. Since I switched that around and wanted my collar in the main fabric, I needed a bit more of that than of the lining.

I picked this beautiful nubby linen cotton mix as main fabric. It is actually a weave made of dark brown and white strands resulting in this earthy washed out brown colour. Once upon a time I was very much into the re-enactment and the living history sphere, if you are a long (long!) time follower of my online endeavours you may remember this time even. I have some precious fabrics left of this time period, the linen I used for this jacket isn’t one of them but the fabric does remind me of the type of fabric that would have been used for clothing and costumes in the scene. So, the fabric weight and quality are pretty good, but it did make me more concious of what to use this fabric for. Just to say, I wouldn’t make just any type of dress style in this fabric, but this jacket is, in my opinion, perfectly suited to it.

The lining fabric is a plaid tartan lightweight cotton fabric that feels nice to touch. I actually pattern matched this, which uses more fabric than if you forgo that, but since the design is fully reversible so I thought I’d make the effort. I think the plaid works well with the brown linen and they accent each other really well. My favourite way to wear this jacket is probably with rolled up sleeves and the lining peeping out here and there as accents, but I was surprised that I quite like it fully reversed as well. It projects more “Fancy housecoat for lounging in a countryside mansion while being questioned by Sherlock Holmes in a period drama” vibes, than brown-side-out does but I think I can work with it occasionally.

Colour wise, I thought I would prefer the brown paired with warmer, earthy, autumnal shades and while it’s true that I like it paired with that, I found that it also pairs really well with cooler toned greens and blues to the point that I don’t have a preference with what to wear it with.

A fact that is irrelevant, design-wise, but meaningful to my personal story is that the jacket is modelled by Alela Diane on the Wiksten website. I didn’t actually know this initially, as I mostly knew the jacket from when it first appeared in a Making Magazine issue and then later all the versions that popped up on social media from individual sewists, so I never saw the studio’s own photo’s. Let me tell you a story about this.

I grew up in a music driven household. Exploring new music, artists and bands and instruments was strongly encouraged. Meaning, it was and is an important force in my life. I remember first hearing about Alela Diane when I was about fifteen years old. It was in an interview with her in a very small scale, niche indie music paper that my dad subscribed to. This was before she had a record deal and I think she had only one self published record at the time. I remember seeing her sitting at the kitchen table with her cat and wondering what her music would sound like. Fast forward to now: multiple records with her name on my shelf, years of concerts visits, following her journey through different music styles, a painfully shy photo with her and sharing a tear with her when the cat I saw at the table on that very first picture passed away. It’s been a journey. Especially her first two albums were beacons in my formative years as a young woman trying to find my way in the world. I don’t really do heroes, especially the last years have, ahum, stressed the importance of that approach, but even though her music isn’t as central to my music listening as it used to be, her albums will probably always have a special place in my heart. So in a roundabout way my sewing passion, and love for music and a bit of my growing up are connected in this jacket.

I think this is the first jacket I’ve ever sewed. It was an interesting experience and an easy first step into jacket making. I was curious to see how this would work in my life and my feelings around it. Since I finished this in May, I can tell you a bit about that already. Basically, it fits so well with my style that I’ve worn it a ton already. I really had not expected that, if I had the pattern would have grabbed my attention sooner. I found it to be really versatile, it works as a light jacket when going out, I’ve worn it over tanks and dresses and on colder days I’ve worn it over flannel shirts and my lighter knitwear, but I can also see it work over something like a lopapeysa.

This whole experience further shapes my theory that if you give me something with cool pockets I’ll run with it!

All the best,
Speak to you all soon!

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