Pattern Fantastique Falda Jacket
You may have noticed we’re slightly crazed fans of Pattern Fantastique around here. I feel like we’ve spent the past few months exhausting the Aeolian and Celestial (is that even possible?), but they’re patterns we return to again and again – they have an edge that makes them a little more directional than your average pattern. So when the opportunity to test a new PF invention came up, the answer was simple. Yes please. Sight unseen.
Luckily I liked the look of the Falda Jacket immediately (phew!). The Falda is a drape pattern with a thoroughly post-modern silhouette. As sweetly summed up by PF’s Nita-Jane, it’s a nod to the classic Chanel tweed, the sensibility of a bomber jacket and the humour and volume of a Victorian era sleeve (oh yes – there’s volume).
Working this pattern felt a little like doing fabric origami, and I found myself having to approach the make in a different way. I like to push my skills a little on each new project, but honestly this was more of a giant leap for me than a gentle push! But I got there in the end, and it was a very satisfying make. I think the pattern has evolved a little since I sewed this tester – and is no doubt even more refined and easier to sew.
I made my Falda on a sewing weekend away with crafty friends late last year. There are two versions of the jacket – one for lighter weight fabrics, and one for deep dark winter. As the weather on our little retreat was warm and summer holidays were approaching, all of my co-sewists spent their days making a series of singlets, sundresses and lightweight pants, which seemed to literally fly off their machines by the hour. I instead chose to make my Falda in wool, with full lining and welt pockets – as seasonally inappropriate as it gets. But it was great to have the uninterrupted time to dive into this project, as it took a while to come together (though the non-stop nattering and occasional G&T may have added a couple of hours….)
I made this version with three fabrics: a warm charcoal silk from Rathdown Remnants for the lining, a Japanese black denim for the facing and a black and white, jagged weave, vintage pure wool from Crossley Job Lots for the main fabric. I have no idea what this weave is officially called – it’s not a herringbone, maybe some sort of tweed? Google is no help at all.
The pattern includes a zip, and the length was a bit of a challenge to find, especially in a simple utilitarian zip (I’m fussy). I ended up resizing a longer one with pliers after the first one I bought was completely and hilariously shredded by the owner of my local notions shop. I got this one from M.Recht and sized it myself – actually easier than it sounds.
Although there are many steps in the Falda process, the pattern comes with endless clear tips and diagrams for serious hand-holding – I’d say it’s the most detailed pattern I’ve ever sewn. The sleeves were the biggest challenge – not for the faint hearted. They come together in an impressive folding exercise; it’s hard to imagine the shape of them from the pieces (they don’t look recognisable as sleeves), but it’s such a lovely discovery to see them take shape.
My favourite part of the make was the welt pockets (I did mention I’m a sucker for challenges). The instructions are flawless – they take a bit of time but come together beautifully. I was pleased that my fabric choice is directional as the grain is emphasised by the pattern piece directioning. I’d recommend a fabric that has a clear grain direction because it also looks lovely on the sleeve pieces.
I may have felt slightly silly as I sweated over my heavy wool on summer camp, but I’m so smug now it’s getting cooler as I have a winter jacket ready and waiting (I know we talk about weather a lot). The sleeves are big enough to fit an army of layers underneath, so I feel like I’m equipped for anything in my Falda. And as with other PF patterns, I think this is a project I’ll definitely be revisiting.