I loved the Seamwork Lilliana the instant it was released; I used to have a cropped, boxy blazer in a charcoal suiting fabric that I loved, and I started thinking about the similar potentials of this pattern right away. I wasn’t going to make it right off until I dropped by SR Harris and they had a huge pile of Japanese suiting remnants for $6 a yard and I fell in love with two different textured cuts.
From there, Lilliana was a pretty quick weekend sew. So what’s the verdict?
Eh. I want to love it, but straight from the pattern plus a sleeve adjustment, and it’s fine. Not amazing, but fine. Many of the things I’d like to change are fit issues particular to me, which is to be expected; many of them, in fact, are common changes I make. I’ll talk about those more in a bit.
First off, though: the front of this pattern doesn’t at all fit like their fit guides suggest it should.
See how it’s supposed to be slightly open in the front? With a 47″ full bust, I’m just between Seamwork/Colette’s sizes 18 and 20, and with a 5″ difference between my high and full bust I’m right at the DD cup (in pattern making terms) that they draft for. Yet, when stitched up in a size 18, this jacket overlaps by about 2.5″ in front — a significant difference from the line drawings. The weight does mean it still tends to fall open, but with all that extra fabric there’s a lot of extra around my waist. While I also appreciate that they’re drafting for a full bust in the 18+ sizes, in a boxy fit like this, it really doesn’t require the big honking side bust dart that you’d typically need on a bodice. A dart half the size would still provide shaping without the weight or pointy end you get in heavier coating/suiting weight fabrics.
So, those are my disappointments with the pattern drafting. How about things I’ll change to better fit my own measurements? This list is perhaps getting a little bit nit-picky, but one of my goals this winter is to perfect my shoulder and sleeve fit, so I’m going to try to be precise.
- Small bust adjustment to reduce the bust dart size.
- Trim off about 2″ from each front piece.
- Somehow it’s too broad across the upper shoulders, just behind the neck, and too snug right across the widest part of the shoulder blades. I might futz a little with a split-and-spread to give it a slight diamond-shaped addition.
- Move the shoulder seams forward by about 1″. This is shaping up to be a pretty common alteration for me; I might start doing it standard at the beginning. I’m not sure if angling the shoulders in toward the neck just a smidge would work as well at this point, but perhaps.
- Figure out the sleeves. Maybe it’s just that I’m tired and this was my first foray back into sewing after a while away, but I’m still pretty frustrated that in order to get sleeves that fit with enough ease, I almost always have to add at least 3″ to the width. I know I have lovely, big arms, but the fact that I’m making a size 18 that’s too big in the body but the size 26 sleeves would barely fit around my bicep really bothers me. Regardless, this is a typical adjustment I have to make, so I really do need to make a better effort to figure it out. Here, I did a kind of slap-dash lazy full bicep adjustment, and it ended up cut a little off grain and with some excess volume where it’s eased into the armscyth. For the next one, I’m going to add even a little more width, true up the sides and grainline marking, and do a little more research on how exactly to adjust the armscyth in order to be able to ease in the sleeve properly with that much extra.
- Practice my mitered corners with bias tape! The outsides look good, but the insides are still a little sloppy. I don’t love working with bias tape but I do like the look of it here, so it’s worth it.
Okay, after all that, will I in fact make it again? I think so: I know that when fitted properly this style looks good on me and is versatile for my life. Honestly, one of the immediate things I thought of was Paris Geller’s amazing blush pink jacket in the Gilmore Girls revival.
In actual images, not just my memory, the jacket is closer-cut at the neck, with a small stand collar, and has full-length sleeves. Still, I think the Lilliana would make a great base for this ruffle-shoulder look.